Lana Greenfield Complains Governor Dominates Legislature: Willing to Fight?

Rookie Rep. Lana Greenfield (R-2/Doland) told Ken Santema two weeks ago that she sees an imbalance of power in Pierre that favors the executive branch:

Going into her freshman year, Rep Greenfield said the experience was quite enlightening. She felt at times that the whole process was setup in a way to push what the Governors office wanted. I’ve heard this from quite a few legislators actually, and it is an issue I wish would come to the forefront. At times it seems there is no true balance of power between the legislative and executive branches in Pierre [Ken Santema, “Rep. Lana Greenfield at the Brown County Fair,” SoDakLiberty, 2015.08.27].

Greenfield vs. Daugaard: Ready to Rumble?
Greenfield vs. Daugaard: ready to rumble?

Rep. Greenfield joins her son Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) and Senator Phil Jensen (R-33/Rapid City) in chafing under the Governor’s dominance over the Legislature. But what are they prepared to do to reclaim the Legislature’s prerogative? Will Rep. Greenfield ally with Democrats to elect a Democratic Speaker of the House who might more forcefully challenge the Governor’s usurpations? Will she drop her poo-pooing of the teacher shortage as an unsolvable national problem used to propel an “over-sized out of proportion political agenda on the part of a few” (that’s what she told Ken at the fair) and help those “few” fight for real state support of K-12 education? Will she jawbone her colleagues and forge more “No” votes against the items she perceives as the Governor’s agenda?

Everybody complains about imperial governorships, but no one ever does anything about them… or do they, Rep. Greenfield?


15 Responses to Lana Greenfield Complains Governor Dominates Legislature: Willing to Fight?

  1. larry kurtz

    Funny post, Cory.

  2. Donald Pay

    Here’s a little clue about the Legislature: you have to have the votes. If you have a majority of votes, you can do quite a lot. Some votes require two thirds of the Legislature. If you have a third plus one, you can stop anything requiring a two-thirds vote. If all you have is whining, you’re not going to be successful in anything.

    I would suggest that the Governor usually has done the work to assure he has the votes. A lot of times on close votes, there is a lot of cajoling in caucus. Caucus gives the Governor a big advantage. Want to tip the scales back to the Legislators? Get rid of caucus, or open it up.

  3. I see where some of these legislators are coming from given that their time in Pierre is very short in and out of their legislative session compared to the executive branch and understand the process as Donald mentions above.

    With the political environment and seeing some of these dumb bills come from the God Squad and 3rd tier legislators I’m grateful the executive branch is there to help kill and help bring a more reasonable influence into the legislative chamber.

    One example would be the paranoia with a few legislators illegally sneaking weapons into the Capitol and then try to pass a bill so it’s legal. Can you imagine if that bill were passed? Instead of focusing on the business of the session a few would distracted with scanning the gallery for potential threats, a guest in the gallery accidently makes a noise, firearms drawn, accidental discharges, one bullet goes thru a foot another thru another legislator’s gluteus maximus. The Highway Patrol staff responsible for Capitol security rush in to access the situation, shake their heads and proceed to care for the legislators.

  4. mike from iowa

    There would be more accidental discharges(not involving actual firearms) if gun nuts thought they could be allowed to legally carry weapons and harass their fellow pols.

  5. Hilarious.
    Mr. Bradford has been paving the insurgency for years.

  6. The question has always been, why do we need legislators? The king runs the show to think otherwise for South Dakota is a dream.

  7. Douglas Wiken

    Legislators are complaining that the charter of the “Blue Ribbon” committee prepared by the Governor does not allow them open discussion of alternate ideas which could improve education and education funding. Maybe it is just an excuse to put off ideas, but I suspect it is probably true.

  8. Rocket science for all republicans.

  9. I see that the imperial governor of Florida, Daugaard without hair, has declared his state “a state of emergency” as Hurricane Erika approaches. I do not make light of the dangers of a hurricane but find it interesting that these right wing governors hate the Obama government until they need help and then they are like Christie, embracing the money. Our haired one does the same when there is a need to as should be the case. I would say to the governor, we are in a state of emergency with our school situation as well as our infrastructure, pull your head out and govern. Stop being a dictator.

  10. Lynn, yes, if legislators like Greenfield are really frustrated with the Governor’s imperialism, they should quit wasting time with their culture-war bills and instead exert themselves in waging serious parliamentary war with the magic one-third-plus-one that Donald reminds us can bring any legislation to a grinding halt. They can’t just wait for individual bills to come up and then cobble together their ad hoc smokeout coalitions. They need to confab before Session, identify key priorities, and decide on general conditions under which they will agree to go to war and stop the process.

  11. Roger Elgersma

    Those Europeans all came here from monarchies. The first thing they did was to write a constitution to separate the power so no one person could rule.
    Now we have people run for office who want to make a difference. Some are statesmen who want to do what is best for the people and some want to rule and found a job where they have the goal of ruling. If we are to maintain a democracy where the government is by the people for the people then we need informed voters. This would necessitate either opening up the caucus or ending it. Because we need to know who is for what and how the process is working to be knowledgeable voters.

  12. Lana Greenfield

    Thanks for the “free press,” Corey. Just want to clear up a few things. The Governor’s office includes the advisors put in place to make recommendations to the Governor that in their infinite wisdom certain things should become law. He many times acts upon their recommendations rather than micro-managing every facet of government. Therefore the Governor is not totally to blame. Another thing : you seemingly assume that the minority party is always going into battle against the majority. Not true. There is horse trading that seems to be going on behind closed doors with them as well. What are those deals in trade for voting affirmatively?? It seems to be a secret. I am only a rookie plebian…so I do not know. I am guessing we may find out in the next session…stay tuned.

  13. owen reitzel

    Question Rep. Greenfield. What kind of trading goes on between the Republicans and the Democrats?
    The Democrats have absolutely no power. The problems we have in this state are due to years of Republican leadership.

  14. House Leader Jerome Lammers, R-Madison, would frequently proclaim to the whiners (frequently Democratic legislators) “you can do anything you want as long as you’ve got the votes!” Back to Don Pay’s statement and Rep. L. Greenfield’s statement, this is an issue of counting and networking. Those who complain about the Governor’s control on the Third Floor are not working it as they should. The votes are there to gain greater influence, but it won’t happen in a couple weeks. Credibility is built, not won. And the Bible thumper and gun nut panderer bills do not build credibility.

    Lana, you have the power as do any of the other 104 legislators to exert more control of the situation. As a rookie, you have the ability to define yourself as effective and willing to make a difference on real (not fake) issues, like education funding. As Rep. Lammers also famously proclaimed back in the day “it takes money to buy whiskey.” A discussion on teacher pay and retention and improving South Dakota’s standing in the nation that avoids the obvious tax increase defines you as a panderer. Building a coalition of Dems and Reps to pass that tax hike and put the education system on a competent path defines you as an effective builder. The voters back home will understand if you act and talk like a leader and a builder. People respect integrity.

    Lammers also like to include baseball hall of famer Wee Willie Keeler in his House floor soliloquies, the shortest man in professional baseball. You don’t have to be the tallest or the loudest or the fanciest player on the House floor to be the best at the political game. What you need is to make sure people know you’re serious about getting business done, and then use your talents to network and build a solution that has real meaning.

  15. 96, your description of the language Lammers used makes him sound like a somewhat more interesting statesman than our current crop of legislators. He’s still lawyering and enjoying the good life on Lake Madison; would he be able to restore the Legislative/Executive balance if he came back to Pierre?