Bolin Stretches Definitions of “Bipartisan” and “Constitutional” to Flack for Referred Law 19

If you like clash in a debate, you’ll love Inside KELOLand‘s segment on Referred Law 19, the petition reform bill, featuring Rep. Jim Bolin on the affirmative and me on the negative. We are the first segment on last night’s episode, starting about one minute in:

I’ve spoken several times (a few thousand times, if you count my door-to-door and sidewalk pitches while circulating the referral petition last year!) on Referred Law 19. This debate with Rep. Bolin, even with the trash talk he slipped into his arguments on camera and after the show, was easily the most challenging and enjoyable, simply because there was an articulate and crafty opponent right there beside me.

This great television almost didn’t happen. Like other media outlets, KELO TV struggled to find one out of the dozens of Republican legislators who voted for RL 19 when it was mere Senate Bill 69 in the 2015 Session. Rep. Bolin at first didn’t want to do this show, either. He changed his mind when they told him I would be on the show. As you can see, Rep. Bolin clearly enjoyed the chance to debate me.

Our main policy argument is over the intent and practical impact of the bill. Rep. Bolin says RL 19 addresses the problem of illegal petition activity by giving citizens more time to review and challenge petitions. I contend that the only measure of RL 19 does that, the earlier petition deadline, is not worth the cost to candidates, who lose the warmer, sunnier, longer days of March to collect signatures to get on the ballot. The other main provisions of RL 19—increasing signature requirements for Republicans and Democrats while taking away party members’ right to sign petitions for independents—do nothing to prevent or catch bogus signatures and only make it harder to get on the ballot.

Rep. Bolin tells independent candidates to “man up” (I invite your feminist critique—I think I also used the phrase “cowboy up”) and get signatures from “their own people.” I respond that independents’ “own people” are all voters, regardless of party label.

Rep. Bolin’s arguments only get worse as the debate goes on. He pivots from a question about constituent reponses to RL 19 (note that while we agree that not a lot of people are talking about or know about RL 19, I note that when I explain the bill, I get universally negative responses; I suspect that absence of public support is why Rep. Bolin pivots here) to his prepared point about RL 19 being “bipartisan.” Rep. Bolin here tries to abandon his majority leader Rep. Brian Gosch’s baldly partisan pitch for RL 19—”Republicans drafted this bill, Republican Legislators passed it, and a Republican Governor signed it.” But Rep. Bolin exaggerates: there was exactly one Democrat, Senator Jim Bradford from Pine Ridge, who voted changed from a Nay in the first Senate vote on RL 19 to an Aye on the voting on the conference committee bill over a month later. Every other Democrat in Pierre resisted this bill.

I’ll simply say that Senator Bradford’s wrong vote doesn’t make this bill truly bipartisan or useful.

To my long-standing argument that the “independents only for independents” rule is unconstitutional, Rep. Bolin offered the most specious argument of the show:

I know Mr. Heidelberger he claims all of these legal things and stuff like that…. For his claim that this is obviously unconstitutional, from my political science classes, Mr. Heidelberger, one thing I learned is that any law that is passed by a legislature and signed by a governor is inherently considered constitutional until challenged. So this bill, this law that is now before the public, if the public approves it, it will be considered constitutional unless a federal court would strike it down [Rep. Jim Bolin, on Inside KELOLand, 2016.10.30].

Rep. Bolin here argues a technicality to avoid talking about the real principles involved. His dodge here is like saying the Legislature could pass and the Governor could sign a law putting journalists in jail for criticizing elected officials. Everybody but Donald Trump recognizes that such a law would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The fact that we have to wait for a court to enjoin such tyranny does not change the fact that such a law is unconstitutional tyranny. I won’t call RL 19 tyranny, but I will note that neither Rep. Bolin nor any other Republican has explained why taking away party members’ right to sign petitions for independent candidates does not raise an unconstitutional barrier to independent ballot access.

Thus beaten down, Rep. Bolin ultimately has to appeal to authority. He asks viewers to “confirm the decision of the South Dakota Legislature and Governor Daugaard who signed this law.” Again, he’s not talking the merits of the law; he’s just saying that legislators and the Governor know what they’re doing, so don’t question them—just do what they say.

The Legislature has veto power because sometimes the Governor screws up. We the people have referendum power because sometimes the Governor and the Legislature screw up. Rep. Bolin’s inability to stick to the merits of the law itself and his resort to stretched definitions of “bipartisan” and “constitutional” show that Referred Law 19 is one of those screw-ups.


26 Responses to Bolin Stretches Definitions of “Bipartisan” and “Constitutional” to Flack for Referred Law 19

  1. mike from iowa

    If you like clash in a debate,

    They were better in Combat Rock where one could Rock the Casbah or decide-Should I Stay or Should I Go.

    Maybe Bolin should have chose to leave.

  2. Darin Larson

    Cory, it was unfair for you to bring up “legal things and stuff like that” as Bolin says. I mean you are talking to a legislator who writes state laws, why should he have to concern himself with “legal things?”

    Then you pointed out that the legislature took a reasonable bill to give the SOS more time to evaluate petitions and corrupted it into a incumbent and partisan protection program. As Bolin says, any law we pass and the governor signs is the law UNTIL A FEDERAL COURT STRIKES IT DOWN. That right there is a compelling argument.

    Was he blushing when he called the bill bipartisan? The arrogance that it took for the legislature to pass this bill that robs independents of their right to be treated fairly is breathtaking. That Bolin would get on TV and defend this abomination tells me all I need to know about him.

    Bolin claims Democrats will be overtaken by independents, so it is ironic that Democrats are defending the rights of independents, while Republicans are seeking to take away the rights of independents. Just another example of power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely.

  3. Thanks, Darin!

    Indeed, the point about independents overtaking Democrats seemed less about defending the merits of RL 19 and more about trying to needle me off message.

    I did appreciate the fact that Rep. Bolin referred to me as a “well-known” Democrat. :-)

  4. Susan Wismer

    Re Rep. Bolin’s “bipartisan” comment: He likes to use that in his anti-redistricting reform arguments too–that the last redistricting round was adopted on a “bipartisan” basis. The background there also involves Sen. Bradford, who was on the redistricting commission in 2011. Because the GOP had gotten tired (dare we say embarrassed?–nah) of getting sued for their redistricting plans, they took special care to get physical hearings at several reservations on the record this time around. Sen. Bradford voted yes in acknowledgement of that extra effort for his areas. Rest assured, the other Democrats on the redistricting commission were resounding “no’s” to the final highly refined gerrymander, and Rep. Bolin knows that quite well.

  5. Bolin the former teacher got schooled! He must have a sense of humor keeping a straight face trying to say there is no gerrymandering here in SD.

  6. Thanks, Susan. Indeed, Bolin seems to enjoy using “bipartisan” facetiously.

  7. I have heard that Mr. Bolin has won most of his debates in the legislatures, and has certainly out-debated Ms. Wismer on many an occasion. I expect when faced with a master debater like Mr. H his own mastery appeared only equal and thus seems less than his usual effort. Mr. Bolin may even have won this debate, but I will stick with the message that the public is buying and in this case side with Mr. H: Vote NO on Everything!

  8. We were at a dinner party this weekend and had just gone over all the ballots and local candidates to vote for in the Hub City area. It was mostly Democrats, two Independents and a Republican couple. Surprisingly everyone reached a consensus!

  9. The hosts and a few others at the party brought their tablets and laptops and looked over your blog and the one before, went over the local candidates and the consensus was that.

    Vote for Brooks Briscoe. Dennert is just too damn young and has had a sheltered life to be a legislator. The AAN letters to the editor supporting him are too shallow. Being patriotic is good but that alone does not qualify one to be in the legislature. He needs to get some more real life experiences under his belt.

    Vote for Dan Kaiser. Nikki is not qualified period. We miss a few of the well known Democrats that were Gerrymandered out.

    Vote for Al Novstrup. Sorry bud! Your working hard but if elected you will be a Pariah in Pierre and they won’t have a damn thing to do with you. You burned a lot of bridges. There are political things we disagree with Al on but he had good relationships with his fellow legislators in Pierre and we in Brown County need representation in Pierre. We all know Al and get along with him.

  10. I’m sorry to hear that your dinner party came to the wrong conclusion, Hogan, and that you’ll let the pettiness of legislators in Pierre who can’t get over a little constructive policy criticism trump the will and needs of an entire Legislative district. Is the Legislature really that high-schoolish?

  11. We attended the house party with mostly Brown County Democrats. Because we all have different work schedules with some of us working out of town another group met at Scottys last week and another at the Flame this week. Sounds like we are all voting the same way.

  12. Well, all I can say is that those Brown County Democrats should invite me to their next dinner party. We’ll build some bridges.

  13. CAH Not going to happen. It would be a waste of time for everyone.

  14. Darin Larson

    Hogan, You are a Democrat and voting for Al Novstrup who goes to hate group meetings and thinks that Sharia Law has been instituted in Dearborn, Michigan? Really, tell me another good one!

    You are a Democrat and your primary concern is electing someone who goes along and gets along with the establishment Republicans running state government? Really, tell another good one!

    Or maybe you are not a Democrat?

  15. That was rough fo watch.

    The equivalent of dropping 4 DAs in the 2ac.

    Brutal. Just absolutely brutal destruction.

    I don’t know how that guy managed to look so smug while simultaneously proving himself to be so stupid. I think the logical conclusion would be that he’s cynical and knows how bad his arguments are. Perhaps his failure to engage any of the warrant debate derives from a dogmatic rejection of verifiable reality. …that or he’s smoked a lot of pot in his time. I gusss I am praying he’s cynical?

    Great work!

    “Cory Heidelberger – for if you like facts”

  16. Roger Cornelius

    Hogan sounds like the guy that posts with some regularity on the Powers Dump Site using the name District 3 Democrats Against Electing Cory Heidelberger.
    It is unbelievable how a guy calling himself a Democrat can vote for the likes of Al Novstrup. He doesn’t sound like a Democrat to me.

  17. Voting straight ticket without careful consideration of the candidates is unwise to say the least. Some candidates are woefully unqualified and others could be a liability to the party and the district they would represent if elected.

    Now more than ever we need representation in Pierre for the region. NSU needs reinvestment bad and has been skipped over in favor of other state universities several times.

  18. Hogan hasn’t specified what bridges he/she thinks have been burned, but I can tell you that I will advocate tirelessly for NSU as a critical component of Aberdeen’s and South Dakota’s cultural and economic development.

    I can put personal beefs aside and do policy right for South Dakota. If Hogan really believes that some legislators in Pierre are so petty that they would damage or destroy a public university just to play “Mean Girls” against a legislator they don’t like personally, then Hogan should focus on changing the attitudes of those other legislators, or helping replace those legislators with real public servants who put duty, honor, and the public first.

  19. Darin Larson

    Roger, I had the same thought about Hogan = the Powers person.

    NSU has been skipped over and Hogan wants to go with the same legislator that has been in office during the skipping. Insanity= doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

  20. CAH if you have to ask what bridges have been burned in the legislature and simply dismissing it as “Mean Girls” further confirms why you will be a Pariah in the legislature and should not be elected as our state senator. It is either you are oblivious or do not care as to the consequences of your actions.

    Political differences aside relationships are very important.

    We were not in a position to have a primary this time but in this particular election for state senate my Hub City friends and I most of which are Democrats, Independents and a few Republicans are voting for Al Novstrup. We urge others to do the same.

  21. That’s a dodge, Hogan. Tell me what bridges have been burned, and how, and why those bridges cannot be rebuilt by legislators of good will putting the public interest first.

  22. Darin Larson

    Hogan is a fraud. He/She is a plant within what she views as the enemy walls of DFP in the same way as the Hogan’s Heroes TV show of yesteryear. In this case, Hogan is no hero. She is just a small, petty person who wants to call someone names and then run away into the anonymity of the internet.

  23. Darin Larson – I know Hogan and confirm he is a real life person and the a vegetable or crop. You can trust me because I know Hogan.

    My name is totally Andy. And I’m also from Aberdeen and I was at the meetings that Hogan was at and since I’m from Aberdeen I can also confirm that Scotties is a restaurant in Aberdeen and so is the flame. Also I was at Scotties with Hogan so all of that is true. I detailed our exchange that day just a few moments earlier here on this blog site.

  24. Roger Cornelius

    Andy,
    You may be able to confirm that Hogan is a real person, but since you don’t provide a full name, I have to ask if you are a real person?

  25. Sorry – I wrote a lengthy parody post of the the Bill Clay/PP/Hogan “totally from Aberdeen and 100% a democrat, seriously it’s true believe it” stuff immediately prior to the one that got posted and apparently it got lost in translation (or perhaps didn’t make it through moderation due to a couple of swears).

    Would have been abundantly clear that my comment was 100% parody of the manufactured, and perhaps even caused you to have a good laugh or two before you made it to noon.

    The notion that there are multiple groups of Brown County Democrats getting together at restaurants to talk politics (on their tablets and Laptops, lol – because excessive details make the story more believable) and then concluding to vote for only 1 of the 3 Democrats running AND one of them NOT being Cory Heidelberger is goddamn certifiable.

    The only Pariahs might be Novstrup and Bolin’s hair.

    Annette Bosworth should start a GoFundMe page to get those m*therf*ckers a haircut. Jesus Christ. 10 for 10 would pay money.

  26. Bill Clay? Bill Clay?!? Wow—there’s a blast from the past!

    Andy, I do find it remarkable that any group of true Democrats would not invite me to their dinners to give me a serious talking-to and measure in person whether I can be molded into the kind of Democrat they need. Alternatively, if there is such widespread disapproval, I’m surprised none of these Democrats came to the Brown County Democratic leaders and offered to run a primary candidate to save the party from the disaster that they think I would be. I announced early, in February; there was plenty of time for Democrats to talk me down or find a primary challenger.