David Novstrup Skittish About Denying Driver Licenses to Deadbeats

Republicans have a hard time holding their corrupt cronies in Pierre accountable. Senator David Novstrup feels skittish about holding everyday deadbeats accountable. Check out his comments to Bureau of Administration commission Jeff Holden about the state’s new debt collection—oops, sorry: obligation recovery—operation at Tuesday’s Government Operations and Audit Committee meeting. Instead of asking why a program passed by the Legislature last year and scheduled to launch April 15 still isn’t collecting money owed to the state, Senator Novstrup is worried that the state is planning to push people too hard to pay their debts:

Sen. David Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, asked Holden to provide to legislators its policy for driver licenses and Game, Fish and Parks licenses and permits being withheld from debtors.

Holden said people wouldn’t get a notification unless at least $1,000 is owed and the person hasn’t taken any action to resolve the debt.

“The process of notification is something I’m still working out between CGI and those agencies,” he said. “I can’t tell you exactly how it’s going to work.”

Novstrup said there is “a huge difference” between a hunting or fishing license and a driver license. He called losing a driver license “a pretty big hammer.”

“We’re drafting the rules now,” Holden said [Bob Mercer, “State’s Debt Center Is Almost Ready More Than a Year Late,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2016.05.18].

Senator Novstrup joined an intriguing mix of cranky right-wingers and Democrats last winter who tried to strip the debt collection center of its power to stop folks who owe the state money from getting driver licenses, vehicle registrations, hunting and fishing licenses, and even park permits.That measure, Senate Bill 123, failed in committee. That license-blocking power is one of the few teeth remaining in the much-compromised measure that hobbled out of the Legislature last year.

Being refused a new driver license is a pretty big hammer. But a thousand dollars or more is a pretty big debt. Money owed to the state may total $54 million, almost enough to cover the Blue Ribbon teacher pay raises without the new sales tax that Senator Novstrup fecklessly tried to sabotage last March. Senator Novstrup talks about fiscal conservatism and responsibility, but when the state has a plan to hold deadbeats responsible and recover dollars without raising taxes, he balks.

20 Responses to David Novstrup Skittish About Denying Driver Licenses to Deadbeats

  1. mike from iowa

    Did the state bother to take Joop Bollen’s license or even his passport away. Seems like he owes the state something in excess of 54 million bucks.

    Like the rest of SD codified laws,this will prolly be selectively enforced.

  2. Nick Nemec

    Is there a breakdown of the nature of these debts and the agencies they are owed to?

  3. Novstrup the younger is not as wise as Novstrup the young. Al will get this all sorted out by the end of the summer.

  4. bearcreekbat

    Under current law a creditor can obtain a judgment against a debtor and then direct the sheriff to seize and sell enough of the debtor’s property to satisfy the debt and the costs of collection. If a debtor has very little property he or she can claim it as exempt from seizure.

    Yanking a debtor’s driver’s license if he or she is unable to pay the debt to the state, or has insufficient property to seize and sell, will only hurt those who are the poorest in our state. These debtors are not “deadbeats,” rather they are friends, family, and neighbors who have suffered some unfortunate financial difficulties. Using such a punitive measure against “deadbeats” is simply choosing derogatory labeling to justify worsening the circumstances of the poorest among us due to their financial problems.

    It could also disenfranchise voters by confiscating their ID, harm children by making it difficult for parents to transport the kids to school or the doctor, reduce the ability to find and maintain employment, etc. It seems really, really bad public policy.

  5. Vance Feyereisen


    Have to agree 100%.

  6. Some people have no ability to pay. Others do have ability to pay their debt to the state in full or by making payments. The state should proceed with its plan to collect. If someone truly has no ability to pay, the public is better served by allowing them to drive legally than by taking their license away and potentially making criminals out of them if they drive.

    The bottom line for me is that the debt collection agency needs to allow room for someone to make the determination of which debts are worth pursuing and which are not. Uncollectible debts should be written off rather than taking someone’s license. Those who can afford to make payments can set up a payment schedule and avoid license loss.

  7. mike from iowa

    Curious-if the state would attach a quarter percent or half percent to the billionaires trust monies this state is legally sheltering for them,would that wipe out this 54 million dollar debt in about three seconds?

    Why harass and punish the least among you and reward the wealthiest?

  8. Roger Elgersma

    half of the deadbeat dads make $4,000 per year or less. Either gave up on life or are on drugs, could not buy much drugs on that. The old way before shared parenting was if mom got mad then dad got kicked out. Not good for kids, not good for dad and not even right for mom. You can not buy much of a car on four thousand per year anyways. Not sure how much the other half make. But then our shared parenting bill was such a farce that it does nothing at all. It was just the lawyers con game to make people think there is a shared parenting law.
    Give kids to a bad mother and Dad is disgusted and kids learn wrong lifestyles and no amount of money would fix that anyways. Just do not get me started on how evil the courts can be.

  9. I agree too, bcb. I wonder what is behind this legislation, beside that some of the debt may be legitimate. are there avenues for folks to realistically defend themselves from the state debt collector and do folks face jail for such civil debts?

    this just appears to be another way to create and privatize another public pool of money for republican corporate financial industry.

  10. Mike, Joop possesses both. Court documents say he’s traveling to Costa Rica this summer. Of course, he has not been found in any public proceeding to owe the state any money.

  11. mike from iowa

    There in lies the rub, Master. Some people are born wealthy. Some are born lucky. Wealth Drumpfs luck in practically every court in the land.

    I’m guessing Bollen is doubly lucky, He has wealth and he has a bunch of incompetent(imho) nincompoops representing the state. If I was a betting man, I’d say Bollen skates and takes the gold with him.

  12. Bear, my apologies—I am prone to some Trumpist ranting myself. Gotta work on that.

    Small point: No one will be disenfranchised by these debt collection rules. SD voters can still fill out the affidavit in lieu of photo ID. I do it every time to keep my local election workers on their toes.

    But that’s perhaps the least of folks’ concerns if they can’t get to work to make money to feed their kids and pay what they owe. I agree that the state should make an effort to distinguish between genuine hard cases and real deadbeats who are stiffing the public. Ror, is a private, profit-driven collection agency as capable of distinugishing folks in need from folks in greed as the state? Does the obligation recovery center legislation allow the state to exercise discretion in when and on whom to sic the full penalties?

  13. bearcreekbat

    Another issue that comes to mind is whether the State actually files a civil or administrative action against the alleged debtor to establish that the debt is owed as a matter of law before suspending a driver’s license. If not, then due process is implicated.

    For the State to take an individual’s driver’s license simply because that individual is alleged to owe the State funds looks like a denial of due process. The Due Process Clause, which is applicable to the States under the 14th Amendment, has been construed to require notice, a fair opportunity to be heard, and a decision by an impartial decision maker after hearing and evaluating the evidence.

    Only after these 14th Amendment Due Process requirements have been satisfied is the State permitted take away a property right (also known as an “entitlement”) from an individual. The right to a driver’s license is a property right if the holder meets all eligibility requirements.

    “. . . the continued possession of a drivers license, which may be essential to one’s livelihood, is protected; thus, a license should not be suspended after an accident for failure to post a security for the amount of damages claimed by an injured party without affording the driver an opportunity to raise the issue of liability. . . .”


  14. mike from iowa

    Morley Safer has left the building. RIP

  15. Jeff Barth

    A couple of issues:
    1) A former spouse may be a joint owner on an automobile and a woman owed thousands in child support would not be able to get plates on that car. Double whammy.
    2) Folks owe Minnehaha County $50,000,000 for public defender, rent, medical care etc. why no concern about the debt owed our taxpayers?
    3) When you can’t get a job (no driver’s licence), can’t drive to the job (no plates, no licence) you go to our county jail. Then we pay for the incarceration, prosecution and the defense of that pauper. Oh, and we support their families while in jail.

  16. well, and then the rehabilitated criminal is festooned with liens and bad credit the rest of his/her natl life until the incarceration is paid for. may as well take the ability for self transport to work and continue republicanist tromping the blue collar law breaker into the ground forever. and no voting, either. that’ll learn ‘um a lesson. our criminal justice system continues to bump around in the dark ages under paternal republican leadership.

  17. SD GO=-pathetic!

  18. I guess this just goes with the way South Dakota makes it’s money. Other states seem to attract big businesses through having a reputation for having great schools and having even handed government. Iowa attracts the likes of google and other high tech firms because they have chosen to rap their arms around wind energy that makes energy cheaper for their customers.

    These 2 articles show just how far we are behind neighboring states. This is something South Dakota could be doing. But it chooses not to!

    Governor Announces New Wind Energy Expansion in Iowa

    DES MOINES, Iowa – Driving across the state of Iowa, there’s always been on sight you could count on seeing an abundance of: cornfields. But over the years, wind turbines have slowly become part of that trademark Iowa landscape, too, and Friday, Governor Terry Branstad announced we’ll be seeing a lot more of them.

    $280 million’s worth of them, to be exact. MidAmerican Energy is set to develop one new wind farm site in Adams County and expand a second site in O’Brien County in 2015. This comes after a $1.9 billion project announced in 2013.

    MidAmerican-Energy-Wind-Map“Iowa has attracted major tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, because of our low energy prices and commitment to renewable energy,” Gov. Branstad said. “MidAmerican Energy’s newest wind project will help the state meet the demand for renewable energy that is attracting major companies and high-quality jobs to Iowa.”

    If approved, the company’s proposed project would bring up to 67 new wind turbines to the state, the blades of which would be manufactured at a Siemens facility in Fort Madison. At completion, the project would add up to 162 megawatts of wind generation to the state, bringing the total to 3,500 megawatts.

    “That can power about a million homes,” said Bill Ferhman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy.

    MidAmerican Energy is currently working with county officials and landowners to secure development rights for these proposed sites. In addition to these new proposals, current wind projects by the company are underway in Grundy, Madison, O’Brien and Webster counties.

    Warren Buffett Wants To Build The Nation’s Largest Wind Farm
    His company, MidAmerican Energy, has pledged $3.6 billion toward the project.
    04/14/2016 08:41 pm ET | Updated Apr 15, 2016
    5.3 K
    Chris D’Angelo
    Associate Editor, HuffPost Hawaii
    Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Company plans to invest $3.6 billion in what would become the nation’s largest wind energy facility.

    At 2,000 megawatts, the proposed Wind XI project would overshadow California’s 1,548-megawatt Alta Wind Energy Center — currently the largest wind facility in the U.S. and second largest in the world.

    MidAmerican Energy, which serves 752,000 electric customers in four midwestern states, said Thursday that the massive investment would provide Iowa with a cleaner energy future and be a huge step toward the company’s 100 percent renewable energy goal.

    “We have a bold vision for our energy future,” company CEO and president Bill Fehrman said in a statement. “We don’t know of another U.S. energy provider that has staked out this 100 percent position. Our customers want more renewable energy, and we couldn’t agree more.”

    Fehrman added the project will bring the company “within striking distance” of its renewable vision.
    With 1,000 turbines, the proposed wind farm is both the largest project MidAmerican has ever tackled and the biggest economic development project in Iowa history, the company said.

    It is not, however, the company’s first rodeo with wind.

    MidAmerican says it has built 3,450 megawatts of wind energy in Iowa since 2004, at a cost of $6.6 billion.

    Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad applauded the company, which he said has helped make Iowa a renewable energy leader.

    “Wind XI puts Iowa on track to be the first state in the nation to generate more than 40 percent of its energy needs from wind power — far ahead of any other state. Today, Iowa is the only state to have crossed the 30 percent mark,” Branstad said in a statement. “Every wind turbine you see in Iowa means income for farmers, revenue for counties and jobs for Iowa families

    The American Wind Energy Association released an annual market report this week, finding that wind power supports a record 88,000 jobs — a 20 percent increase over last year. Today, wind — the fastest-growing energy source — provides nearly 5 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, according to the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Program.

    Wind power currently supports some 7,000 jobs in Iowa alone, estimates Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

    “Today’s announcement continues to build Iowa’s legacy in the renewable energy space — and in a very real way, provides economic benefits to all Iowans,” she said in a statement.

    The Iowa Utilities Board must give MidAmerican Energy approval to move forward with the project. If it does so this fall, the wind farm could be completed as early as 2017 or 2018.

    In South Dakota we go after people that have become trapped in its legal system sometimes with people even having to take out a payday loan to get out of jail. So South Dakota is now a collection agency that will take away peoples drivers license?? I guess it fits. The South Dakota Lottery, South Dakota Gaming and the South Dakota State sponsored gambling machines are spread across most small communities in our state. I guess now being a collection agency it can continue to feed off its own citizens.

  19. mike from iowa

    Jon H-good articles. If its any consolation, the latest Obrien Co wind farm is near Sibley, iowa-so they are getting closer. Black Hills Energy is a partner in these wind farms. O see several of their company vehicles running around Obrien county.