My District 3 Senator, Al Novstrup, spoke lengthily during the campaign about how his warm and fuzzy relationships with his fellow legislators would help him get things done in Pierre. His appointment as Majority Whip seemed to confirm his relationship-building, bill-passing skills.
Yet Novstrup’s affable authority apparently has limits. He got his Senate colleagues to pass only two of the four Senate bills which he prime-sponsored. He got the Senate to advance measures allowing more booze at charity events and longer probation sentences for kids, but he failed to whip his Senate pals into shape on his $39-million property tax hike and his plan to let more out-of-staters hunt our ducks and geese. (Note: Novstrup welcomes armed strangers who drink and spend and drive the sex trade for a few weekends, but he’s scared of immigrants who would move here and live and work and spend all year.)
How does Senator Novstrup’s .500 batting average compare with the success of other majority whips in passing bills through their chambers?
- Sen. Bob Ewing (R-31/Spearfish) : 2 for 2
- Sen. Kris Langer (R-25/Dell Rapids): 1 for 1
- Sen. Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen): 2 for 4
- Rep. Arch Beal (R-12/Sioux Falls): 0 for 0
- Rep. Lynne DiSanto (R-35/Rapid City): 3 for 3
- Rep. Leslie Heinemann (R-8/Flandreau): 2 for 3 (withdrew #3)
- Rep. Isaac Latterell (R-6/Tea?): 0 for 2
- Rep. Larry Rhoden (R-29/Union Center): 3 for 5 (including passage of the most significant bill of the 2017 Session, HB 1069, the repeal of IM 22)
The total whip average is 13 for 20, 65% passage. The other two Senate whips passed all of their prime-sponsored Senate bills through the Senate. In the House, Rep. Isaac Latterell was a total failure. Rep. Arch Beal didn’t even try—he’s the only whip to offer no new legislation (classic conservative or just lazy? you decide!). The three serious House majority whips passed 72% of their primed House bills through the House (80% if you don’t count the bill Heinemann withdrew pre-committee).
In short, Mr. Relationships has trouble keeping up with his fellow, less experienced whips in getting his bills passed in Pierre.