I do think coal has seen its day. More and more power companies, notwithstanding what President Trump has done, see that the lead time on a coal plant is so long and the difficulty and expense of keeping a clean power plant going if it’s coal-fired, just makes gas a more attractive fuel source [Gov. Dennis Daugaard, interview, “South Dakota Moving away from Coal Power,” Hub City Radio, 2017.11.08].
Our greenie Governor says gas is cheaper and fits better with renewable energy generation:
It’s also much more able to be integrated with wind…. So if you’re using wind for example and the wind drops off suddenly, you can crank up a gas plant to fill that load demand much more quickly, and coal is much more difficult to do that with, so pairing it with wind, pairing it with other renewable sources, gas is an easier sell. And the price is better [Daugaard, 2017.11.08].
Governor Daugaard tells Hub City Radio that wind and hydro power push the percentage of power generated by renewable sources in South Dakota as high as 75%.
It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary to invest money now in order to save more money down the road. I’m happy to report the money raised by the road-funding bill has made a difference. Since the bill was enacted, the state has awarded 298 construction contracts encompassing work on 6,078 miles of state highway and 172 bridges, most of which are local bridge projects. A significant share of these contracts would not have been possible without the new funds [Governor Dennis Daugaard, Twitter video, 2017.10.20].
Lead sponsor of the 2015 road tax, Senator Mike Vehle, joined several of his Mitchell and Davison County neighbors last Tuesday to celebrate the first bridge refit completed with new road tax dollars, a bridge right in his own district:
Before a group of guests on an unseasonably warm October day, Vehle was glad to see his years work come to fruition.
“You can have the nicest oil road coming up to the bridge, or you can have just a washboard piece of junk dirt road,” Vehle said. “But if there’s no bridge, it’s all over, you’re not going anywhere.”
The rehab was funded mostly through Bridge Improvement Grant (BIG) funds, for which the project received $507,200 from the state when it was awarded in 2016. The other funds came from Davison County, which was able to acquire the state grant because it has a five-year transportation plan and levies a wheel tax [Evan Hendershot, “Davison Co. Celebrates SD’s First Completed BIG Program Project,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2017.10.17].
Remember, those aren’t just tax increases the Republicans keep advocating. Those are investments in public works, government projects vital to the commonwealth.
Maybe the Governor and Mark Mickelson need to take the lead on this ‘sexual revolution’ going on in Pierre and own up to their own skeletons in the closet. Mark is fortunate he lives in Sioux Falls and has a buffer from the day to day operations, but Dennis should know these things are going on….
His cheesy dumb farm kid persona won’t cut it on this issue. And while Mickelson is worried about outside money on petition drives he should be more concerned about inside pocket pool going on in our capital city. Address the real issues going on in Pierre for once [Scott Ehrisman, “Maybe the Governor Should Take the Lead with the Sexism Problem in Pierre,” South DaCola 2017.10.22].
Senator Reynold Nesiba (D-15/Sioux Falls) has a good idea: let’s require ballot question committees to tell us who’s funding their petition drives while they are petitioning!
“It would inform citizens so they would have some chance of knowing who is actually paying for a ballot committee’s work before they sign the petition,” said Democratic Sen. Reynold Nesiba, who helped lead a successful 2016 initiative to cap payday loan interest rates [“State Officials Open to Addressing Initiative Campaign Finance Gap,” AP via Pierre Capital Journal, 2017.10.15].
Under current state law (SDCL 12-27-22), statewide political committees—ballot question committees, candidates, PACs, and parties—only have to file one campaign finance report for an odd-numbered year. The deadline for year-end reports is the last Friday in January. That lax reporting requirement may be tolerable for candidates—we voters don’t have to take any action with respect to Billie Sutton, Marty Jackley, and Kristi Noem until next June—but ballot question committees are out seeking official voter action on petitions for months in odd-numbered years, and we don’t get to see who’s paying their circulators and office rent until almost three months after their petition deadline.
I’d love to know who’s funding the current initiative petition drives right now. I’d love to know before I sign any petition. The Governor apparently feels similarly:
Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s chief of staff, Tony Venhuizen, said in an email that the governor hasn’t reviewed a bill on the topic, but “thinks the argument for this makes sense” [AP via PCJ, 2017.10.15].
Speaker G. Mark Mickelson (R-13/Sioux Falls) is running a whole petition drive of his own on the complaint that he doesn’t like out-of-state money in ballot question campaigns, so I would think he’d jump at the chance to co-sponsor his neighbor Reynold’s idea. But he sounds oddly lukewarm about this move for transparency:
House Speaker Mark Mickelson said he has no objections to addressing the issue, but said it’s not at the top of his list of desired changes to the ballot measure process [AP via PCJ, 2017.10.15].
What? Mickelson complains about out-of-state money but doesn’t add revealing that out-of-state money during petition circulation to his list of priorities? Is Mickelson himself hesitating to make the funding sources for his petition drives public?
Senator Nesiba will want to think about the timeframe for reporting. The point is to give voters information before they take action. During election years, we require candidates to report everything they’ve taken in and spent up to twenty days before we vote. Given that more people are voting early, we might want to consider requiring more reports from candidates, perhaps one report fifty days before the election (five days before early voting begins).
Ballot question committees may start collecting signatures as early as two years before the election for which they are seeking ballot access. Most initiative drives don’t hit the streets until summer, but this year, some initiative petitioners got going in April, and referendum drives will always happen in the spring. I suggest three new campaign finance reporting times for ballot question committees in odd-numbered years:
May 15, midway through the referendum circulation period (and close to the reporting date referendum committees must observe in even-numbered years).
August 15, right in the thick of fair season, when petitioners often do lots of business with those summer-ending crowds.
October 1, before the final, intense month of signature gathering.
Then again, since a number of ballot question committees get their main funding from one or a few big donors, perhaps Senator Nesiba should consider a simpler statutory scheme: subject all ballot question committee donations over $500 to the supplemental reporting requirement in SDCL 12-27-28. Candidates, PACs, and parties receiving $500+ donations within twenty days of an election have to report such big checks within 48 hours. Why not subject ballot question committees to that 48-hour reporting requirement whenever they are actively seeking voter signatures on their petitions?
When petitioners ask for our signatures, we should know who’s paying them to ask. Let’s support Senator Nesiba’s proposal and bring more transparency to campaign finance for ballot questions.
What we didn’t know was that task force member and gubernatorial chief of staff Tony Venhuizen, who’s usually pretty clever, would contradict his party’s line on why it was o.k. to repeal an initiative the voters supported:
Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, signed the IM 22 repeal. Tony Venhuizen, his chief of staff, was a task force member. Venhuizen said Monday his perception of IM 22 was the reduced contribution limits were intended to work with a public campaign financing system.
Kennedy’s proposal Monday called only for the lower limits.
“If we’re going to do half without honoring the other half, we are not honoring the will of the voters,” Venhuizen argued. Venhuizen said he voted against IM 22.
Tony! Get on message! Your own party says that restoring parts of an overturned law is acceptable practice. I’m willing to bet lots of voters would take a similar, practical, glass-half-full perspective, that at least restoring the campaign finance limits in IM22 would be better than nothing.
A piece of pie is better than no pie. Serve it up, Senator Kennedy!
The Oscar (and maybe my gubernatorial vote, if he wants to change his mind throw his Packers helmet in the 2018 ring) goes to Lt. Gov. Michels for playing along with a thrilled, “I get to go, too!”, then responding to his wife Karen’s admonition to “Stay with Dennis—don’t go off on your own” with a wonderful politically pregnant pause (o.k., maybe just waiting for Karen to finish her line, but please, allow me my theatro-political readings).
Oh! And then Governor Daugaard contradicts all the fanatic economic developmentism of the SDGOP and waxes environmental!
I hope we don’t become too developed. I think many states, they’ve become so densely populated, they’ve become one big urban landscape, and nature has been overtaken by managed lawns and trees and concrete pavement [Gov. Dennis Daugaard, interview with Larry Rohrer, SDPB Facebook video, 2017.10.11].
I might like my new local Regent. Governor Dennis Daugaard appointed Jim Thares to fill hoary old Harvey Jewett’s seat on the Board of Regents just three months ago, and already Thares is giving the Governor heck. Responding to a report that high school students taking dual-credit classes are the only thing keeping South Dakota’s public universities from suffering a 7% drop in enrollment since 2010, Thares blames the Governor’s budget cuts and argues for more money for higher ed:
Regent Jim Thares of Aberdeen said several times the start of the decline in South Dakota high-school graduates attending the state universities appears to have coincided with the Legislature’s decision to reduce state funding for the state universities in 2011.
…Thares said Tuesday the public university system is a big business. “And I don’t think we tell that very well,” he said.
A report presented by Jeff Mehlhaff, a budget analyst for the Legislative Research Council, said the universities needed an additional $15.7 million annually to reach the regional average for state funding.
Jim shouldn’t let his business thinking get too out of hand: universities are public institutions, not businesses. But if a Daugaard man is willing to contend that our current administration’s stinginess has hurt our public universities and that the state needs to pick up more of the tab for young people to get a degree in South Dakota, I’m ready to back him up. Keep pushing, rookie Regent Jim Thares!
The South Dakota Department of Transportation says they have received an additional $25.7 million in federal highway funding after the state met all of its fiscal year deadlines for federally-funded projects.
This is the highest amount the department has received and is above and beyond the funds the department is allotted through the federal aid program.
“The SDDOT has once again received additional money for its responsible use of federal funding by fully obligating our $259.8 million in spending authority by letting projects prior to federal deadlines,” says Secretary of Transportation Darin Bergquist.
When states or other federal entities which are funded through the federal highway trust fund do not fully utilize their federal funds in a given year, the Federal Highway Administration makes those funds available to other states that have successfully obligated their allotment of federal dollars. This year, the federal pool totaled $3.14 billion.
“The department has a proven track record of being eligible for redistribution of funds and maximizing its federal funding,” says Bergquist. “On average, the department sees about an additional $12 million per year by ensuring our federal transportation program is delivered and this money will greatly enhance our overall funding used to build and preserve our states highways and bridges” [South Dakota Department of Transportation, press release, 2017.09.21].
By my count from the state’s historical listing of statehood legislators, Barthel is the 89th person appointed to a Legislative vacancy since statehood and the 14th appointed by Governor Dennis Daugaard. Barring other changes, Barthel will be one of nine Daugaard appointees sitting in the 2018 Legislative Session. A tenth beneficiary of luck and gubernatorial largesse, Rep. Kristin Conzet, was originally appointed by Governor M. Michael Rounds in 2009.
David L. Anderson
May 13, 2013
December 1, 2009
R. Blake Curd
June 5, 2013
May 6, 2015
December 17, 2013
November 17, 2011
August 15, 2013
November 18, 2016
November 17, 2011
April 30, 2015
January 13, 2014
November 19, 2015
January 31, 2017
June 16, 2014
September 2, 2017
Daugaard now has the second most legislative appointments under his belt, behind only Bill Janklow, who named 20 legislators. Of course, Janklow had four terms over sixteen years to fill Legislative vacancies, and Daugaard is only in his second term/seventh year as Governor.
So often do the stories covering the Governor’s workshop use the words wages, salary, and pay?
KELO-TV story #1: once, quoting Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who says students have to pursue “Education that focuses on the skills demanded by the workforce, skills that lead to well-paying jobs.”