The House has failed to override Governor Dennis Daugaard’s vetoes of House Bill 1149, the Democratic tax cut rejected by Republican budget hawks; HB 1156, the offensive bill to allow civilians to carry firearms in the Capitol; and HB 1072, the permitless concealed carry bill pushed hard by the NRA. (NRA national lobbysist Daniel Hall was in the gallery watching; no sightings have been reported yet of Maria Butina.)
Rather than trying to override the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 164, the juvenile probation bill, the Legislature took the remarkable step of suspending the rules and allowing Senator Novstrup to submit a whole new bill on Veto Day, SB 179, which consists of the first two sections of SB 164, which the Governor found unobjectionable. Both houses were fine with that measure, which extends the maximum period of juvenile probation from four months to six. A veto seems unlikely, but I do find very interesting the question of what would happen if the Legislature passed a new bill on Veto Day that then got vetoed after they leave town. How would the Legislature come back to address that veto?
The Legislature chose not to monkey with the fifth veto, of SB 33, since, as the Governor said, the special education formula increase was taken care of in SB 35.
Thus on this Veto Day, Governor Daugaard remains bulletproof!
p.s.: Not bulletproof are Senator Stace Nelson and Representative Tim Goodwin, who made Veto Day longer than it needed to be by moving suspension of the rules to consider a resolution calling for repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Their respective chambers declined to have that discussion. Nelson and Goodwin are lucky the chambers rejected their motions; a debate on the Affordable Care Act three days after the absolute failure of their party to turn control of Congress and the White House into follow-through on seven years of election promises would only give the Democratic caucus a well-deserved chance to gloat.
pp.s.: Depending on how you count, out of 25 vetoes over seven Sessions, the Legislature has overridden the Governor four times. In other words, when the Governor tells his caucus the big NO, he gets his way 84% of the time.
Date: March 22, 2017 To: Members, South Dakota Legislature From: Daniel J. Hall RE: HB1072—Constitutional Carry—VETO OVERRIDE _______________________________________________
The NRA-ILA strongly supports an effort to override the governor’s veto of HB1072-Constitutional Carry.
Facts regarding the bill:
–Allows law abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon without first being required to obtain a state issued permit.
–Makes no changes to provisions regarding who can legally carry/own a concealed weapon, or where a concealed weapon can be carried.
–Makes no changes to private property owners’ rights to allow/prohibit weapons on their property.
–Makes no changes to the current permitting process, as the permit is needed for reciprocity with other states.
This is a top priority bill for the NRA, and any veto override vote will be heavily weighted.[NRA-ILA, memo to South Dakota legislators, 2017.03.22]
No word from NRA on whether legislators will get extra points for overriding Governor Daugaard’s veto of House Bill 1156, the measure allowing non-law enforcement civilians to carry concealed pistols in the Capitol.
Initiated Measure 22 ran 70 sections, 15,388 words, but achieved all of its main campaign finance reforms (not counting Democracy Credits and the ethics commission) in 30 sections totaling 8,810 words.
One of the main reforms voters approved in IM 22 last November was to lower the limits on campaign contributions for darn near everybody doing politics in South Dakota. The Legislature repealed those limits and, for all their professed zeal to “replace” IM 22, forgot to restore any of those lower limits. Individuals can still donate up to $4,000 to statewide candidates and up to $1,000 to legislative and county candidates each year. PACs, parties, and candidate committees may once again donate unlimited sums to South Dakota campaigns…. meaning if Kristi and Marty had just held their horses, they could have formed their gubernatorial committees, transferred all the money they wanted from their other campaign funds, and declared their candidacies according to their own timetables instead of rushing their declarations last November before IM 22 was briefly enacted.
Rather than putting more limits on big money in their campaigns, the Legislature opened a new door for even more big money: following Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’s recommendation, Senate Bill 54 allows businesses, unions, and other “entities” to contribute directly to candidates. The FEC won’t let businesses do that for Shantel’s campaigns for U.S. House, but the folks who run for Shantel’s job and all other South Dakota offices can now double dip: get their favorite local business people to make personal contributions, then dip into the company cookie jar to double the cash.
Our legislators and the Governor didn’t vote for less money in South Dakota politics; they voted for more. Far from replacing IM 22 and respecting the voters’ will, our legislators and Governor have done the opposite.
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Senate Bill 54 does much more than allow businesses to contribute directly to candidates. Here’s my election-nerd list of SB 54’s notable changes to campaign finance law:
SB 54 Section 41 bans converting campaign funds to personal use. Candidates can spend money on their campaigns, on other campaigns, or on charities. Unclear is whether Section 41 allows candidates to pay themselves a salary, as federal candidates may under FEC rules.
SB 54 raises the penalty for repeat violations of campaign finance laws to Class 1 misdemeanor—one year in jail, $2,000 fine. First violations Class 2 misdemeanors—30 days, $500.
Right now, political ads must identify their bankrollers if they “expressly advocate for or against” a candidate, public office holder, ballot question, or political party. SB 54 expands the disclaimer requirement to include material that “disseminates information concerning” such subjects.
Campaign committees still need not give names of donors who give $100 or less each year; however, SB 54 requires candidates to keep records of those small donors and running totals of their donations.
SB 54 bans “miscellaneous” as an expense category on campaign finance reports. We still don’t get itemized lists of expenses, but at least candidates have to indicate somewhat clearly what they used their money for.
Right now, candidates have to submit pre-primary and pre-general campaign finance reports by the second Friday before the election and report all receipts and spending through the 15th day prior to the election. SB 54 moves those submission deadlines four days earlier, to that 15th day prior, and requires the pre- reports to cover all activity through the 20th day prior to the election.
Right now, the Secretary of State can fine committees that fail to file timely reports $50 a day, up to a maximum fine of $3,000. SB 54 raises that penalty to $200 a day, with no maximum. (Under that rule, 2014 delinquent filer extraordinaire Chad Haber would owe the state $175,400.)
County parties face a similar increase in their delinquent-filing penalties, up from $10 a day to $50 a day, with no more $600 maximum.
Right now, campaign finance rules apply to county races (candidate and ballot question) in counties with population of more than 5,000. SB 54 raises that threshold to 10,000, possibly exempting 18 counties from these campaign finance requirements.
Candidates must state the office they are seeking on their statements of organization.
Candidates may maintain both one legislative campaign committee and one statewide candidate committee (because nothing says “Vote for me!” like shouting, “I can’t make up my mind!”).
SB 54 exempts polling from communications subject to campaign finance rules if the polling question “does not expressly advocate for or against a candidate, public office holder, ballot questions, or political party.”
SB 54 adds “certified as a candidate by a political party” as a criterion satisfying definition of “candidate.” I assume this ensures that replacement candidates picked by their party committees are included in the campaign finance reporting requirements from Day One.
SB 54 clarifies that donors can’t launder contributions by buying items from political committees for more than fair market price.
SB 54 includes “political party” in the definition of “political committee,” thus alleviating wordiness in several statutes (i.e., a rule need not spell out that it applies to both political committees and political parties).
SB 54 restores the cosmic balance of wordiness by replacing “in-kind” with “donated good or service.”
For all their determination to choke the flow of money to ballot question committees, legislators still struck the Class 1 misdemeanor penalty for ballot question committees accepting contributions from illegal sources, because, with the new “entity” language of SB 54, I’m hard-pressed to think of anyone who can’t contribute to ballot question committees.
If we make oopsies, current law gives us three days to fix them by filing amendments to our campaign finance reports. SB 54 gives us seven days.
While trying to sort out the chaos wrought by the Legislature’s repeal of Initiated Measure 22 and its subsequent multipronged tinkerings, I just discovered a significant problem with Senate Bill 59, the new law that will delay the enactment of any voter-approved ballot measure until July 1 following the statewide vote.
The intent of SB 59 is to allow the Legislature to fiddle with, hamstring, or dispose of any voter-approved initiative before it can take effect. Logically, victorious ballot question committees will want to stick around through the Legislative Session immediately following the election in case they need to rally supporters and lobby legislators not to undo the will of the people.
The 2017 Legislature’s willingness to sue and bogusly invoke the emergency clause to repeal IM 22 shows that ballot question committees can’t stand down until after the Legislative Session. Delaying the enactment date of ballot measures to July 1 provides all the more reason that ballot question committees must be allowed to remain operative past the current statutory deadline.
Assuming Donald Trump doesn’t throw us into default, the federal government will provide just about 36 cents of every dollar South Dakota state government spends. Our sales tax, property tax, bank income tax, and other taxes will provide just about 35 cents; our fees collected by state government kick in the remaining 29 cents.
Over seven budgets, Governor Daugaard and the Legislature have made some progress in reducing our dependence on federal funding. Daugaard got 41.65% of his first budget from Uncle Sam, while supplying only 31.84% of the budget from state general funds. Daugaard decreased the federal share and increased the state share to the point that, in his FY2015 and FY2016 budgets, the general fund was larger than federal funding. Federal funding jumped back into the lead in the current budget and holds that lead in FY2018:
each fund as percentage of total state budget
My FY2017 includes the $37.6 million net cut in the current budget imposed by Senate Bill 32. The FY2018 budget actually spends $33.4 million less than that reduced FY2017 figure, a 0.73% cut, thanks to decreases in federal and other dollars outweighing the increase in general fund dollars. Let’s hope that 0.73% decrease gives Senator Nelson and his fellow smaller-government advocates some solace.
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Looking strictly at general funds, we can see that the FY2018 budget is the first time that Governor Daugaard will invest a larger share of the state’s general funds in K-12 education than his predecessor did in his last term:
K-12 State Aid
K-12 as percentage of general fund
Even in the current budget, flush with the Blue Ribbon sales tax boost for teacher pay, South Dakota is spending a smaller percentage of its general fund on K-12 education that it did in the 2011–2012 school year.
Six years ago, Governor Daugaard whacked K-12 education with a 10.92% cut in state aid in his first budget, the FY2012 correction of the Rounds deficit. The overall FY2012 budget slashed federal funding but increased general and other funds. As we can see in the table below, general fund spending rose 0.14% in the FY2012 austerity budget. State aid to K-12 education thus seems to have borne a disproportionate amount of that year’s austerity.
Change in general fund over previous year
Change in K-12 state aid over previous year
annualized rate of increase since FY2011
Since then, Governor Daugaard and the Legislature have helped K-12 make up for that lost ground. They have increased K-12 spending at higher rates than the state general fund increases in four out of six budgets, including the FY2018 budget. All together, the seven Daugaard budgets have increased state aid to K-12 education at an annual rate of 4.86% while increasing total state general fund expenditures at an annual rate of 4.64%.
The police blotter from Sioux Falls shows how carrying a gun around opens the door to turning a minor dispute into a felony arrest.
Two guys are driving toward each other in a narrow alley. Only one car can fit. Neither guy wants to back up. SFPD Sgt. Paul Creviston describes what follows:
“According to the victim the other driver became visibly upset. It appeared the hand gestures were becoming more aggressive. The driver then reached down underneath the seat and produced a hand gun. He started waving the weapon at the reporting party.”
Now consider the ego trips at stake in the State Capitol. Legislators come to loggerheads all the time arguing for animal science labs, tax hikes to subsidize local interests, deregulation of concealed weapons, and countless other issues that mean a lot to legislators’ constituents, donors, and egos, more, I would argue, than any brief tussle over alley space. We have long banned firearms from the Capitol, courthouses, and other such spaces of public discourse out of exactly that concern that disagreements over matters of such great import could easily lead to flaring tempers and rash displays of bravado.
A simple “you back up/no, you back up!” altercation in a Sioux Falls alley is nothing compared to a “raise everyone’s taxes/no, cut teacher pay!” dispute in the great marble halls in Pierre. We do not want a frustrated legislator putting his hands on his hips, pushing his coat flaps back, and saying, “Don’t push me on this bill” while (accidentally?) exposing his concealed pistol.
Governor Daugaard, don’t back out of the alley. Veto House Bill 1156, and tell legislators that our sacred disputatious Capitol is no place for firearms.
We should not be surprised: Stace Nelson has voted Nay on 80% of the state budgets presented to him (Aye in 2011, Nay in 2012, 2013, 2014, and now 2017.)
Senator Nelson complained about the budget process at Saturday’s Scotland crackerbarrel:
That was a brand new bill yesterday. Voters didn’t have a chance to look at it. I didn’t have a chance to look through it thoroughly. Any legislator that says they looked through that bill thoroughly in the little bit of time we had might not be telling the whole truth [Sen. Stace Nelson, in “SD State Senator Stace Nelson Unhappy with Budget Process,” WNAX, 2017.03.13].
SD’s $4.5 BILLION annual budget bill at about 2:20PM during the last two hours of session on the last day of session. Printed copies of the proposed new budget bill showed up on desks around 12:40ish, but we were still in and out of session debating bills. Before any legislator had any time to properly read, review, and verify the brand new annual budget bill with the budgetary information of the last 3 months, or the public to even do so, the bill was passed out of both chambers and everyone was gone by 4:37PM…. It was 31 pages long with vague accounting information that has to be cross referenced in order to see where the money is going. Let that sink in [Sen. Stace Nelson, in Todd Epp, “Legislative Procrastination on a $4.55 Billion Budget Is What a Teenager Might Do,” KELO Radio: Token Liberal, 2017.03.12].
Epp notes that rookie Representative Greg Jamison concurs to some extent with Senator Nelson about the relative rush and opacity of the state budget process, especially compared with the lengthier, more open budget process Jamison experienced as a Sioux Falls city councilman.
I understand why Senator Nelson would feel frustrated about the most important bill of the Session popping out of committee on the last day, leaving just enough for pat backs and vote before banging the gavel and running home. I agree in general with Senator Nelson about the need for transparency on every bill. No bill should emerge with amendment from committee a go to a floor vote unless legislators and regular citizens have had at least 24 hours to review the amended text.
I also share Senator Nelson’s frustration in trying to interpret the budget. The appropriations bill presents only the figures for the coming fiscal year. That’s all Senate Bill 178 really should say—a bill is the language to be enacted as law, not an econ/civics textbook. But it would be nice to have some notes attached to the bill allowing legislators and the rest of us to drill into the numbers and view comparisons to past years’ budgets.
However, I must defuse Senator Nelson’s critique with two responses, one technical, one practical.
We should note that the budget bill passed Friday was only technically a new bill. The first budget draft was posted on February 3 as Senate Bill 175. On Friday, March 10, the committee tabled that bill and put up a new budget in Senate Bill 178. However, 72% of the line-item dollar totals and 97% of the full-time job totals remains unchanged from the original draft. Thus, the great majority of line items in the budget presented to the full Senate and House for final votes on Friday had been available for review for 35 days.
The 52 line-item totals that did change cut the original $4.6-billion budget by just 1.1%. The five FTE changes in the new budget cut the original state workforce proposal from 13,862 to 13,858.8, a decrease of 0.02%.
Beyond the relative magnitude (parvitude?) of the changes, we should consider the work that produces the budget now and ask what work Senator Nelson wants the Legislature to do.
If we really want to open the budget for a department-by-department, line-by-line, employee-by-employee debate, we may need to throw out the Legislative Budget Handbook and make everyone an Appropriator. Divide the Session in half: get all the silly bills and resolutions—guns, gays, God, Trumpism—out of the way in the first five weeks, then dedicate the last four weeks to nothing but the budget. Seat each legislator on one of a dozen subcommittees, each assigned two or three department budgets to hash out. Those subcommittees pass their recommendations to Joint Appropriations, which pieces everything together into a complete budget package, which goes to the Senate and House floors for at least one full week—and it will take that long—of tedious dollar-by-dollar debate as legislators throw spreadsheets at each other.
To certain individuals, that may sound like a lot of fun. But would Stace Nelson want to give up four weeks of stroking the South Dakota Gun Owners to work on nothing but numbers?
Just be careful what you wish for, Stace: keep talking about your desire to study the budget more in-depth, and your Pro-Tem pal may stick you on Appropriations next year!
But this was hardly the first time. Several marriages have resulted in the past few decades from affairs involving legislators that occurred during legislative sessions. There was the ugly investigation involving a senator and a page a decade ago.
It took Nelson to finally get a straightforward ban in black and white. Admire him or detest him, he isn’t one to let something go.
He spent more than 20 years in military law enforcement. He is a U.S. Marine to his core and is proud of it.
In a Session where the Legislature exerted itself to whitewash its repeal of Initiated Measure 22 by creating the appearance of bipartisan concord on the need for ethics reforms, Senator Nelson still had to drag his colleagues to embrace banning what too many in Pierre have apparently viewed as a perk of serving in the Capitol. And Senator Novstrup’s final vote for that ban, lodged among several other rules, leaves us wondering if Novstrup really changed his mind from his three previous votes against banning sex with interns.
Senate Bill 151 shows how differently two legislative chambers can view a issue. This anti-corruption measure, creating new provisions for reporting and investigating public corruption, breezed through the House with less than a handful of nays, yet it barely got out of the Senate alive, passing Friday 18–17.
During the floor debate (timestamp 5:35:20), Senator Lance Russell pointed out that SB 151 actually makes it harder for citizens to bring complaints against public officials than it is to bring complaints against other criminals. Senator Russell, a former state’s attorney, said a normal complaint just requires contacting the police and maybe filling out a form, while SB 151 requires complainants to file a sworn affidavit.
Senator Stace Nelson, who like Russell has some law enforcement experience, noted that Section 3 requires folks complaining to the Division of Criminal Investigation of fraud, bribery, and violations of gift limits to send a copy of their affidavit to the person about whom they are complaining.
One of the highest levels of information when I was an NCIS agent in our manual was we were to treat anonymous complaints, anonymous informants, with the highest of credibility. I didn’t always understand that as a young agent, but I can tell you that in my experience, often times those folks who provided the anonymous information had a lot of motivation to do so, and they often times did so with great trepidation.What we’re trying to do here, I think, we’re defeating the actual cause of it. If our intent is to combat corruption in our state government, requiring someone to come forward and provide that information and identify themselves to the person they’re providing information on is contrary, as my good seat mate pointed out, to good law enforcement practices. I think it’s important that these witnesses have identity protection and allow their information to come forward and be vetted on the merits of the complaint not on who’s providing it, and definitely not making them a target for retaliation.
Robbery and rape victims aren’t required to notify their robbers and rapists that they are speaking to the police. Is there a good reason for SB 151 to require corruption whistleblowers to contact the subjects of their complaints?
With SB 151, legislators seem to be holding those who would challenge their sterling reputations to a higher, riskier standard than those who would complain about criminal activity by other, lesser beings. The close Senate vote on SB 151 indicates that many Senators share Russell’s and Nelson’s recognition that SB 151 doesn’t tackle corruption as seriously as it ought.