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Grouchy Republicans Chafe Under Gubernatorial Domination

In perhaps the Legislative quote of the week, Senator Phil Jensen (R-33/Rapid City) rises in futile opposition to House Bill 1228, which will create a state debt collection agency, and likens the South Dakota Legislature to pro wrestling:

…whole lot of action, pre-determined outcome.

Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) rises to lament the numerous “blue badges”—i.e., executive branch officials lobbying for the creation of the state debt collection agency. Senator Greenfield says the Legislature is “weak by choice,” losing sight of issues in the final, rushed days of the Session and just playing nice with the executive branch in hopes of getting home on time.

The Senate approved the Governor’s debt collection agency 19–16.


  1. mike from iowa 2015-03-13 12:06

    Pre-determined outcomes is one thing Rev Hickey and I can agree on. Not sure I want to cozy up to too much crazy,though.

  2. Curt 2015-03-13 13:03

    Outcomes are pre-determined only to the extent the majority party allows them to be. Each house selects its own leadership but individual members are not legally bound to adhere to leadership’s directives. Party discipline provides the impetus for members to toe the party line.
    Most legislators probably grasp the concept of ‘separation of powers’ and the quaint notion that the body as whole is an independent co-equal branch of state government. However, they apparently have spine enough only to grumble a little about the ‘blue badges’ before they take their pay (plus per diem and mileage) and adjourn.

  3. larry kurtz 2015-03-13 13:27

    Hardly surprising that the executive branch would allow the nut wing of SDGOP to run the party even farther off the rails. Of course the governor is an autocrat but imagine a Governor Wismer or a Governor Hunhoff having to get anything done with a South Dakota legislature in its current form.

  4. mike from iowa 2015-03-13 14:55

    Dakota nutjobs could move to Texas. They’d be welcome in a heartbeat and Texas has the weakest guv in the nation. Basically a cheerleader and crook.

  5. larry kurtz 2015-03-13 15:05

    Steve Hickey:

    We all vote a variety of ways on every different issue for various reasons.

    What bothered me this session was that we changed or tried to change the rules four times so we could win.

    1. The Daschle law
    2. Doubling the initiated measure signature requirement
    3. The CAFO vote threshold from 2/3 to 1/2
    4. The CGI debt collection center bill amended to only require a majority vote.

  6. jana 2015-03-13 15:41

    Don’t let the governor’s campaign war chest of money fool you. Rather than thinking separation of power think separation of money and support.

    As long as we’re on the subject of money and campaigns…the Pope has come out against it. That’s gotta stick in the craw of conservative Catholics who have to choose between party and faith.

  7. Roger Cornelius 2015-03-13 16:56

    Actually Jana, conservative republicans have to choose between party, faith, and money.

  8. Paul Seamans 2015-03-13 18:02

    A lot of that “pre-determined outcome” is pre-determined in the Republican caucus so Senator Jensen is at least able to be privy to the decisions, unlike the rest of us. For private citizens to testify in committee is usually a sham, the vote on the bill has already been decided.

  9. Lynn 2015-03-13 18:33


    Do you think it is really that bad in Pierre that driving to Pierre would be a waste of effort to testify? What if the state Capitol were filled with protesters like what happened in Wisconsin regarding a single issue or bill. Has that ever happened in South Dakota? Would it make a difference?

  10. Paul Seamans 2015-03-14 06:40

    Lynn, maybe I have become a little cynical after helping lobby on different bills in Pierre but oftentimes it appears to me that decisions have been made before the committee hearings even start, down to who will make the eventual motion that will prevail in the bill. But I do believe it important to testify for what you believe in as it quite often will make it into the news media (like this blog as well as papers and television/radio).
    The people of South Dakota filling the Capitol in protest? I can’t quite see that happening in South Dakota but it might be worth a try.

  11. mike from iowa 2015-03-14 08:24

    Madison has nearly a quarter million residents,which is more than a fourth of the entire population of South Dakota. Lots of union workers,teachers,students,women-every single group that Wisconsin wingnuts despise-live in Madison. They are being dominated by nutjobs in only four years,not forty like South Dakota. They are gonna push back hard.

    If Pierre ever filled up with protestors,Daugaard would prolly order National Guard airstrikes to clear the building.And then blame Obama for civilian deaths.

  12. Lynn 2015-03-14 09:35


    I agree with the “pre-determined outcome” that has been mentioned before and what Rep. Hickey has experienced and shared with us. Also as you stressed it’s still important to testify.


    If the Capitol was going to be packed with support or protest against a bill it may be a good idea to contact the Highway Patrol officers in advance for a voluntary security screening and have those officers communicate with legislators that everything is ok. We certainly don’t want one of those illegally and sneaked in armed legislators to get all fidgety scanning our people’s house for threats and have an accidental firearm discharge. That could be a really bad day for everyone!

  13. bret clanton 2015-03-14 09:57

    Paul the point at which a person realizes that committee voting is a predetermined process does tend to make you cynical. I have always thought that with this knowledge there should be a gambling mechanism in place that experienced testifiers could use to fleece first time testifiers….At least that way you could maybe get your gas money back….

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