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New DFP Poll: Tell SD Legislature What Bills to Pass!

As promised, the latest Dakota Free Press poll asks you, dear readers, to vote on proposals you’d like the South Dakota Legislature to pass in 2016. I offer ten proposals, a combination of reader proposals and some topics that have been on my mind:

  • Enact personal income tax.
  • Hire more auditors (to check state contracts, reimbursements, any place tax dollars are flowing).
  • Restrict RV voting (to limit the ability of folks who only rent a mailbox in South Dakota to dodge their home state’s taxes from improperly influencing our elections)
  • Cut sales tax exemptions.
  • Restrict eminent domain (by requiring companies seeking eminent domain authority to obtain easement or sale agreements from a supermajority of affected landowners before commencing condemnation proceedings).
  • Tighten TIF rules (to restrict tax increment financing proposals to truly economically depressed or blighted areas).
  • Enact corporate income tax.
  • Public vote on nuke waste (essentially restoring the provisions of the 1984 initiated law approved by voters to require that any proposal to store nuclear waste in South Dakota receive approval from a majority of South Dakota voters; the Legislature repealed that initiative in 1987).
  • Lower no-bid contract amounts (for instance, the state can issue contracts for less than $50K without seeking bids; this measure would lower that amount to… $25K? $10K?).
  • Allow e-petitions & e-voting (citizens could circulate and sign nominating, initiative, and referendum petitions on their iPads and phones; citizens could cast real primary and general election votes online).

These options won’t appear in the same order in the right sidebar here; they are set to randomize so the same item isn’t favored by appearing at the top or the bottom every time.

I ask you to pick up to five that you think would be worth debating in the Capitol this Session.

I left out some great suggestions, like funding the Blue Ribbon recommendations to raise teacher pay, which already appear to be in the chute. I hit taxes in general with three proposals because I’m interested in hearing what support there may be for various angles on making our tax system more fair.

Poll is open until Sunday, January 3 (2016!) at 6 a.m. Central. Once I’ve tabulated the results, I’ll write up your collective recommendations as formal statutory language, ready for any brave legislator to toss in the hopper and present to committee.

Let’s make policy! Vote now, and tell your friends!


  1. Troy 2015-12-30 13:24


    Where is the choice “None of the Above?” :)

  2. Porter Lansing 2015-12-30 13:48

    Troy apparently is averse to new things. That’s “negativity bias” and is rampant in the “good ol’ boy” network where he traffics.
    As an ex-pat I won’t vote but will comment. Eight are already in effect in my little town and have balanced the power properly.
    -The RV voters are invalid voters.
    -You really repealed the nuke regulations? Have some self-esteem, South Dakota. You’re not anyone’s dump unless your majority votes as such.

  3. Porter Lansing 2015-12-30 13:50

    Oh, I’m sorry Troy. I didn’t see your little smiley face. I assume you agree with all ten, then?

  4. moses 2015-12-30 13:55

    Porter do you think Troy even understands this.Rv voters you think keep a home address here P.O. number to avoid paying taxes in the state where they live the most.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-30 14:06

    Troy, you’ll get that choice by contacting your legislators and telling them to ignore the foolishness Dakota Free Press sends their way. :-D

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-30 14:07

    You know, Moses, passing a personal income tax might obviate the need for restrictions on RV voters. If we pass the tax they come here to dodge, they won’t come here, and we don’t have to wrestle with the Supreme Court on voting rights!

  7. Porter Lansing 2015-12-30 14:26

    ps… just as background – My little town in CO is a Republican dominant town. Our U.S Rep is a Republican and we didn’t vote for Obama. All these issues are absolutely bi-partisan issues that benefit all citizens, regardless of political leaning.

  8. Troy 2015-12-30 14:31


    To communicate with my legislators in such away would be negative odhominem attack. If you had put abolish the death penalty on the list, I could have give one thumbs up.

  9. larry kurtz 2015-12-30 14:40

    hey, troy: illiterate much?

  10. larry kurtz 2015-12-30 14:56

    In his broken English Troy raises a good point: there are several choices missing from your poll, Cory.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-30 15:03

    Thank you, Troy. Feel free to word your “none of the above” message to your legislators in whatever way fits with your principles. :-)

    Thumb up on death penalty repeal? Great! Senators Rusch and Hunhoff already have that bill in the chute, don’t they?

    I left many options off this list, which should not be considered exhaustive or representative of my top legislative priorities, many of which will be brought up by other legislators.

  12. leslie 2015-12-30 15:41

    Broader ethics rules than just auditing and no-bid.

    Repeal Legislators Nuke Reg Repeal and Vote!

    Tighter TIF AND Financial Transparency on $2.7 trillion.

    R V voter Regs By Krebs

  13. Douglas Wiken 2015-12-30 15:49

    They all look pretty good except personal income tax if no other adjustments on other taxes.

  14. leslie 2015-12-30 15:54

    Yeah porter. We apparently had a vichey here too. I was surprised In Yer Lil’ State. 1st as an Undergrad@CSU thinking it would Be Like The Hill In The 60s(CU). Next Living In Steamboat Thinking It Would Be Liberal. But The Springs , what A Place To Talk Politics On A Long Winter Day.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2015-12-30 16:04

    Contrary to Troy’s “none of the above”, I want a box that says “all of the above and than some”.

  16. Steve Hickey 2015-12-30 16:42

    I still like my bill idea that you can’t gamble in SD if you are more than 60 days behind on certain bills. Creditors put a debtor name on a state list: easy on, easy off. The state keeps the list current. Video crack dealers access list electronically 24/7 and they can’t let you play that day if your name is on list. It’s been a long time since I dropped my drivers license at a counter to get a pool cue. Maybe they still do that but this idea is simply that you have to get clearance at the counter to play. The negative is out of state people aren’t on the list. Somewhere I spelled out specifics on this idea but I don’t remember where. Maybe Cory remembers. The purpose is threefold; it keeps gambling away from people who are ruining their families, it keeps people from throwing away money they owe to others, and the industry/state doesn’t get to profit from the poor.

    Two years ago I submitted a bill that weans SD off gambling over 10 years. That bill needs to be resubmitted and pass. OR, we change the Constitution so SD can sell lottery to the highest bidder and then regulate it. The state has no business in the lottery business.

    Also need a law that makes public every person our lottery commission is in business with right now. As is that info isn’t available as the players hide behind front corporations. For all we know SD is in partnership with the Vegas crime families. It bet my house the main players behind our industry are from Vegas.

  17. John Tsitrian 2015-12-30 16:55

    This is like Casey Stengel’s conundrum in the 1950s whe he was asked which outfielder was the best: Mantle, Mays, or Snider? Casey answered, “I’ll take all three.” That said, I’ll take all ten. Happy New Year, Cory and all.

  18. Paul Seamans 2015-12-30 16:55

    I like your idea of passing a personal income tax and forcing out the RV voters. That should get Pennington County on board. Now to come up with a reason that will convince Sioux Falls that an income tax will benefit them.

  19. moses 2015-12-30 17:12

    great post C.H.Steve Hickey why are you republican.

  20. Steve Hickey 2015-12-30 17:19

    Consider me a defector. I’m not alone. Neither party has my respect or support anymore.

  21. larry kurtz 2015-12-30 17:22

    Any other political party fit your template, Steve?

  22. MC 2015-12-30 17:25

    Ouch! Steve, that stings a bit. however I understand where you are coming from

  23. Ken Santema 2015-12-30 17:28

    You actually gave me a couple I could vote for!

    Actually the more I’ve looked into it, the more I like the idea of being able to do e-petitions. That would be a huge improvement over the current system. E-voting I’m a little more weary about, unless it is built on blockchain technology.

    And death penalty (even though its not on the poll, but was mentioned). Since I’ve been doing my posts coming out of the forum earlier this month I have been getting a LOT of emails from people on both sides of the issue. If a death penalty bill can make it out of committee that may end up being a huge issue. Kinda wish Hickey was still here to help in that battle. Although maybe it is for the best he isn’t there (that isn’t meant as a slight towards Hickey, I think sometimes having a different champion is needed).

    And I’m always up for eminent domain restrictions. I think to that I would also add changing how easements can be granted. I spoke with someone earlier this year (it might have been Seamans at the KXL rally in WTN) that educated me on how easements work and how they have been granted for things that most of us would not count as a utility.

  24. Porter Lansing 2015-12-30 17:43

    Hear, hear Mr. Tsitrian.

  25. Paul Seamans 2015-12-30 17:49

    Ken Santema,
    Most landowners willingly give easements for projects that will benefit their neighbors but giving an easement to a for profit corporation is an entirely different matter. I’m pretty sure that the framers of the constitution probably never considered such a situation when they addressed property rights.

    I agree that the laws that address eminent domain need reform. Going up against the utilities, big city planners, railroads and others makes this reform very hard to achieve.

  26. Steve Hickey 2015-12-30 17:57

    Partisan politics weary me and stymie what is best for our state. Crony capitalism in the context of a sneaky supermajority is what we have. I’m not interested to be numbered among them.

    Frank Costanza invented a holiday for the rest of us. Maybe someone can dream up a better way forward politically. A few of us are talking about it. SDs political reformers need to ignore partisan politics and unite on key issues.

    If I was in Pierre this session I’d be pushing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as the next step forward in addressing our state’s biggest issue: third world conditions within our borders.

  27. grudznick 2015-12-30 18:04

    Mr. Hickey, sorry to hear you have resigned as a Republican and a Conservative. Not surprised though.

    On your gambling black list do you mean like that young Ms. Buhl proposed last year?

  28. Steve Hickey 2015-12-30 18:16

    I didn’t mention conservative, Grudz. Just party politics.

  29. grudznick 2015-12-30 18:28

    Senate Law 155, my friend tells me it was. Ms. Buhl wanted a list of people banned from gambling. Is that like your idea?

  30. leslie 2015-12-30 20:19

    well said hickey, the p&ji.

    my gut paul says a fight against either eminent domain or gerrymandering would be a very big fight. remember RAGA, REPUBLICAN ATTORNEY’S GENERAL ASSOC. certainly jackley would love to chair for his resume. GOP national strategy uses little commandered right wing states for purposes that will benefit national strategies. dems maybe not.

    these are the stakes hickey shys away from.

    RAGA is just as dangerous (30 some states i think) for the nation/world as another hard core conservative on the SCOTUS bench, i would think.

  31. leslie 2015-12-30 20:22

    sorry troy, cory and that other guy, rohr maybe. no ” ‘ ” needed above for the grammarians out there. :) what do they say about imogees? is that japanese?

  32. leslie 2015-12-30 20:24

    oh damn, that apostrophe went the wrong way, too.

  33. Steve Hickey 2015-12-30 22:38

    Leslie I have no idea what you are talking about .

  34. Porter Lansing 2015-12-31 04:07

    2016 banned from the vocabulary for overuse and obnoxiousness …
    1. Starting any sentence with the word “so”.
    2. Presser
    3. Walk it back
    4. Rockstar
    5. Ecosystem
    Happy Western New Year … (So, you think you’ll not be told how to talk, huh?)

  35. mike from iowa 2015-12-31 05:58

    No more freaking wingnuts elected-ever in South Dakota. Immediate cleansing of the ones already elected and replaced by mild mannered.responsible Liberals, if you can find enough. There are nearly enough at DFP to fill that bill. Add in some of the more practical Republicans for a bit of spice and some body for the new legislative stew.

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-31 08:30

    Leslie, I’m all about broader ethics rules. However, for the purposes of this poll, I figured we have the Anti-Corruption Act from Weiland, Frankenfeld, et al. coming to the 2016 ballot to invite that conversation with all the voters. I’m fine with the Legislature staying clear of that issue and letting the initiative process play out.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-31 08:49

    Douglas, I’ll take the “other adjustments” under advisement in drafting any tax bill.

  38. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-31 08:50

    Roger, John—all of the above and then some?! Is there a limit to how many bills one legislator can file and prime-sponsor? I might need you to round up Tsitrian and a couple friends and run for Legislature so we can form a reform coalition to handle more than ten bills! :-)

  39. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-31 08:53

    Steve, even if you’ve soured on both parties, your defection from the GOP is still a step in the right direction. Defections like that should make it easier for reform-minded candidates (i.e., putting reform ahead of limited partisan interests) to forge coalitions and fix problems.

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-31 09:00

    Ken, I’ll take whatever support you care to offer on however many DFP bills you find useful. Your support for a DFP eminent domain restriction or e-petition bill will not oblige you to support a DFP bill for single-payer health are (although you should, because single-payer health care would do more to enhance the practical liberty of all Americans than any measure Libertarians have enacted in the last century).

  41. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-31 09:09

    Porter, I will not support legislation restricting individuals’ freedom to overuse words and apostrophes. However, I will continue to host a blog in which individuals are welcome to point out and correct such substandard communication.

    So stayed tuned for my presser in which I will announce several rockstar measures that will change South Dakota’s ecosystem. You won’t hear me walk a anything back. You also won’t hear me say what we’re going to do moving forward.

  42. Rorschach 2015-12-31 12:03

    Enact a payroll tax that starts at the income level where the federal payroll tax ends (currently $118,500 and indexed to inflation)and has no upper cap. This would be essentially a surcharge on high incomes split equally between employers and employees. Use the proceeds to fund education.

  43. WayneF 2015-12-31 15:07

    Cory: Here’s my response to your proposed SD legislation this coming term.

    Enact personal income tax … too many millionaires benefit from tax shelters and don’t pay their fair share for state government. In fact, many of them have purse- and marionette strings on state legislators.

    Restrict RV voting (to limit the ability of folks who only rent a mailbox in South Dakota to dodge their home state’s taxes from improperly influencing our elections). I met a couple of these leeches in Washington D.C. a few years ago. They were visiting Senator Johnson’s office and didn’t even know the name of SD’s capital city. They RV in New Mexico but vote Republican every year.

    Cut sales tax exemptions. Yeah. What’s up with that?

    Enact corporate income tax. Amen.

    Lower no-bid contract amounts (for instance, the state can issue contracts for less than $50K without seeking bids; this measure would lower that amount to… $25K? $10K?). Yep.

    Allow e-petitions & e-voting (citizens could circulate and sign nominating, initiative, and referendum petitions on their iPads and phones; citizens could cast real primary and general election votes online). Right wingers want to disenfranchise voters rather than cast a big net.

    Did I miss this? Give redistricting power to a group that has no political control (i.e. legislators who choose their own voters).

    Oh, there’s so much that needs to be done to clean up SD politics. I hope we get at least 10% done.

  44. Rorschach 2015-12-31 15:45

    Automatically register people to vote when they obtain or renew a DL or non-driver ID. California does this now.

    If you have enough documentation to get a DL then you should be registered to vote at the same time. This includes RVers. Those vagabonds have as much right to vote as anyone else, and as much (or as little) duty to become politically informed as anyone else. If SD is the one place they get their DL (you can only legally have one DL) then it’s the one place they are entitled to vote. Like it or not.

  45. Rorschach 2015-12-31 15:51

    One more thing on RV voters. Democrats rant and rave when Republicans throw barriers in front of people who want to vote with the intent to disenfranchise poor and minority voters who might be expected to vote Democrat. Then some of those same people who ranted and raved at Republicans look for ways to disenfranchise other voters who might be expected to vote Republican. Drop the hypocrisy! Let us make it as easy as possible for everybody to register and to vote.

  46. Porter Lansing 2015-12-31 15:55

    That’s called “motor voter”, Rohr and we fought for it in CO for decades. Republicans hate it as much as they hate mail-in/e-mail ballots. Both enable voters and Republicans want disenfranchisement.

  47. Rorschach 2015-12-31 16:05

    South Dakota allows people to register when they get or renew a DL Porter. But it ought to be automatic. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

  48. Porter Lansing 2015-12-31 16:23

    Well, yeah it should. Is it auto-renewed as long as you vote in the election and don’t move?

  49. bearcreekbat 2015-12-31 16:24

    Rorschach, that registration plan makes total sense, which unfortunately means it would not get through our legislature without a substantial change in makeup. Perhaps Cory will consider another initiative proposing such a law next time around?

  50. leslie 2015-12-31 17:21

    i meant trc hickey. Truth and Reconciliation Commission. failing to proof, “peace and justice initiative popped into mah head. sorry for the confusion.

    (its been a long day)

  51. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-01 10:52

    Thanks, Wayne! You didn’t miss redistricting—Farmers Union already got the anti-gerrymandering Amendment T on the ballot! We’ll let the people decide that one in November and focus on other bills in this Session.

    I’m very interested in the RV voting/residency issue, as, it appears, are a number of you taking the poll! BCB, if legislators won’t do it, I’m open to considering an initiative… but we’re going to need to think hard through 2016, see how the election goes with the current ballot measures, and then think hard about what our petitioning priorities should be in 2017. Those petition drives take a lot of time and effort. We should work with an outfit like Rick Weiland’s to circulate a package of reforms throughout 2017.

  52. leslie 2016-01-01 12:17

    we lost a very strong dem lakota activist to cancer today

  53. mike from iowa 2016-01-01 13:18

    In case I missed it,Leslie,whose activist did you lose to cancer?

Comments are closed.