Count on Bob Mercer to roam the halls of the Capitol and sniff out the nasty politics behind the House State Affairs Committee’s unconscionable charade of process over substance on childhood sexual abuse last week. The committee voted last week to kill the Jolene’s Law Task Force, which has been studying ways the state might better combat childhood sexual abuse. After a media uproar, Governor Dennis Daugaard stepped in to save the project with federal funding.
Mercer acknowledges that the House State Affairs vote was part of what Rep. Steve Hickey described on these pages as a non-nefarious effort to rein in the task force/summer study process. But Mercer says that’s not the full story:
There might have been other factors behind the scenes that influenced the committee members’ votes, such as the Senate Education Committee’s decision to kill two bills attempting to refute the transgender-participation policy adopted last year by the South Dakota High School Activities Association, or the same committee’s refusal to endorse the Heineman-Gosch private-school voucher legislation. Soholt is chairman of the Senate committee. House Republican leader Brian Gosch is chairman of the House State Affairs Committee that killed Soholt’s bill seeking the extension of the Jolene’s Law task force [Bob Mercer, “Regarding the Legislature’s interim duties and the current games of chicken on child sex abuse, highway funding and private school vouchers (w/rule 5-13 update),” Pure Pierre Politics, 2015.03.07].
Hmmm… Rep. Gosch is mad at Senator Soholt for standing for gender fairness and separation of church and state, so he uses sexually abused children as pawns in a game of personal retribution? I’m not sure I could dream up a seamier scenario.