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DiSanto/Olson Welfare-Drug Testing Bill Fails

House Health and Human Services wisely killed House Bill 1076, the unconstitutional DiSanto/Olson proposal to drug test all welfare recipients. GOP mouthpiece Pat Powers offers a good summary of the sloppy arguments offered by proponents (30K+ people viewed my Facebook post, contended Rep. Lynne DiSanto, so HB 1076 must be good legislation!) and the solid arguments from state officials and health care providers offered in opposition—federal law prohibits, not cost-effective, etc. Bob Ellis summarizes the arguments in more detail and calls the Republicans who opposed this illegal bill RINOs.

Who are those RINOs? Here’s the roll call of the vote to send HB 1076 to the 41st day:

  • Aye (voting to kill the bill): Republicans Conzet, Deutsch, Heinemann, Holmes, Munsterman, Sly, and Wollmann and Democrats McCleery and Soli.
  • Nay (voting to keep the bill alive): Campbell, DiSanto, Greenfield, Haugaard.

While Bob exerts himself shouting futilely at those seven naysaying Republicans, how about the rest of us focus on recruiting sensible Democratic challengers in Districts 35 (DiSanto and Campbell), 2 (Greenfield), and 10 (Haugaard) who will point out the incumbents’ willingness to vote for unconstitutional, ineffective legislation to scapegoat and unjustly punish the poor?

Now, if you’d like a mandatory testing bill to support, try getting behind House Bill 1132, Rep. Peggy Gibson and Senator Angie Buhl O’Donnell’s new proposal to set a timeline for and require the testing of all rape kits. Funny: put Democratic women together, and you get good policy ideas that help protect the vulnerable among us.


  1. Mark Winegar 2016-01-29 05:58

    This is a victory for the children.

  2. mike from iowa 2016-01-29 07:29

    Bet Jackley is heart broken he won’t be able to waste taxpayer dollars in a futile defense of the constitutionality of this bill. C’mon guys,how can Jackley prove his wingnut bona fides if we can’t let him make an ass out of hisownself in court?

  3. BIll DIthmer 2016-01-29 08:53

    Unless I miss my guess here, someone with an R in front of their name is getting ready to make a pile of money after they get pot legalised. It will happen in two years.

    The Blindman

  4. Jackie Jessop Rising 2016-01-29 12:04

    I can’t believe I am going to back the governor up, but here goes. Governor Daugaard took a lot of heat in the state with his comment about the drug testing being “insulting.” You probably saw the unhappy people who argued, “I have to drug test to have my job, they should have to drug test to get handouts…” and other comments of that ilk. Most of the dissatisfaction (that I saw) was voiced by staunch Republicans, the Governor’s own people.
    So, I am going to defend the governor to his people. When he said that it would be insulting to welfare recipients, I truly do not think he meant to insult everyone else in the state. I believe he meant to convey that for most, being in a situation where help is needed is not a good feeling. Having to accept the help (welfare) and use it (in front of the eyes of the judgemental, compassionless people) strips good people of their dignity. Governor Daugaard was showing compassion by saying, “to subject all of these people to a drug test to get the help only attacks their dignity and self-worth, especially to catch what is probably a very small percentage. Let’s not make the masses suffer for the illegal activity of a few.”
    On another note, I have seen with my very own eyes, the abuse of public aid by the very people who do not need it. These are people that I know full well have the means to take care of themselves. I’ve seen people take advantage of the free and reduced cost of dental care through Dakota Smiles; these are people whom I know have the resources and not just because they are driving brand-new vehicles and taking vacations abroad. I have heard stories from small town businesspeople about the abuse of food stamps. Let’s stop the abuse of these programs so that the people who need the help are getting it, and not made to feel inferior because they do.

  5. mike from iowa 2016-01-29 12:21

    The biggest abusers of the SNAP and other welfare programs are wingnuts who take from the poor so the koch bros have more.And then swear they are god fearing kristians.

  6. bearcreekbat 2016-01-29 12:47

    I am always amazed at the number of people who say they have seen other people take improper advantage of our welfare programs. I find these anecdotal assertions puzzling because I worked for years helping folks apply for and qualify for various welfare programs, including AFDC, Food Stamps, TANF, SNAP, SSI disability benefits, Social Security disability benefits, County General Assistance, LIEAP, housing benefits from HUD and FMHA, unemployment insurance, etc, etc.

    In my work I learned about the rules and how difficult it actually is to qualify for these benefits and how strictly the programs were run. In addition, the penalties imposed on people who were caught cheating or lying on applications were severe. And the amount of aid provided was so small that the incentive to try to cheat seemed altogether absent.

    I can only guess that the anecdotes that so many people regurgitate in which someone without a need or disability somehow managed to get past all the red tape and difficulties necessary to qualify for a particular program must be based on speculation and supposition. The reality I was involved in for so many years is absolutely inconsistent with such cheating on welfare stories.

    In fact, it would much easier for someone to simply steal property, commit fraud, or even be a burglar, and the pay would be so much better than some paltry food stamps or a few dollars in TANF benefits. Indeed, the state law penalties for these latter crimes are less draconian than penalties for cheating at welfare, which can include prosecution and punishment for various felonies by both federal and state authorities since most welfare comes from federal funding. See e.g.

  7. larry kurtz 2016-01-29 12:56

    For those wondering about how white people think be sure to read the whackadoodlery in the hinterlands of the Black Hills. Read through several stories. It’s head-spinning. These people are pieces of work:

  8. mike from iowa 2016-01-29 13:06

    Pretty steep penalties just to run the risk of having wingnuts heap scorn on a poor person,bcb. But that is the risk many people have to take to survive.

  9. Porter Lansing 2016-01-29 14:15

    Well composed, BearCreek. Ms. Rising, if you actually know of people defrauding the system it is your obligation to turn them in. You’re the criminal if you don’t. As BCB points out, your accusations are just supposition and gossip. If not, then do your duty. Republicans love to kick the poor. It helps with their Conservative low self-esteem issues.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2016-01-29 14:54

    Porter is correct, if you witness SNAP/TANF or any other welfare fraud you have a legal obligation to report it. Why people say they witnessed such and such but did nothing is suspect.

    I doubt food stamp users can use their cards to buy cigarettes, alcohol, or other non-food items since all purchases are bar codes and would be rejected. Like Bear, I don’t think businesses would risk their business to sell toilet paper on food stamp cards.

    Just as politicians can find ways to defraud our government, farmers and corporations can find ways to defraud programs that are to serve them, etc, there is food stamp fraud at some levels.

    Republicans don’t like to talk about the largest abuse and fraud of government funds. Where have DiSanto and Olson been when EB-5 was going down? Where were they when Jason Gant was scamming the SOS, did they ask him to refund the state $43,000 and all those tablets? And of course, where were they with the disappearance of millions of dollars that their associates stole from Native American kids wanting to go to college?

  11. jake 2016-01-29 15:07

    And yet, when disasters strike, crops are threatened droughts/floods/blizzards and federal programs –who might be running over each other trying to get to the ‘trough of Goodies’ first???? You guessed it, our ‘got mine the hard way’ Righty Teapartiers and they’d much sooner have someone else pay for our needs (tourists) than tax those that can afford it! Also overlook “no-bid” contracts and conflict of interests…..

  12. 96Tears 2016-01-30 09:33

    It takes a gutless coward to kick a vulnerable person in the teeth when they are down, and that was precisely the objective DiSanto and Olson had in mind. If people want DiSanto and Olson to keep embarrassing them in Pierre, then they have what they want. I find it shameful that my state legislature would allow people like them to be seated.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-30 11:56

    Jackie, I appreciate the sentiment: the Governor deserves credit for speaking out against this bad bill, just as he deserves credit for speaking up for action on teacher pay.

    Food stamp fraud is pretty low. USDA said food-stamp trafficking in 2014 cost 1.3 cents on the dollar and happened more at small stores. I’m willing to bet we see more taxpayer dollars siphoned off at a shot by corporate cronies than by food-stamp and welfare cheats. Consider: has anyone on food stamps every made off with as much of out money as Richard Benda or Scott Westerhuis?

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-30 12:03

    As Roger says, DiSanto and Olson haven’t hollered about that higher level corruption, something they could shut down right away simply refusing to appropriate money to those corrupt agencies until heads roll. That would be easier than passing a whole new law forcing unconstitutional drug-testing on innocent citizens. That would be a more conservative legislative response. But no, DiSanto and Olson let their feel-good culture-war meanness distract them from the real corruption in government, happening right under their noses in offices just a short walk from their Legislative chambers, committed by people looking them in the eye and asking for millions in spending authority that they never substantively question.

  15. Paul Seamans 2016-01-30 12:26

    I wonder if rancher Betty Olson rents any rangeland from the BLM. I believe that there is a fair amount of BLM land in that part of the state. Rent on BLM land is around $1.50 per animal unit month whereas rent on private land is $30/aum and higher. Many people consider this cheap BLM rent as no better than welfare.

  16. Porter Lansing 2016-01-30 13:18

    You’re absolutely correct, Mr. Seamans. And so is mortgage interest deduction. This type of “wealthy welfare” doesn’t come as a monthly check or a bag of groceries but a credit annually is just as much public assistance as Section 8 Housing Vouchers.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-30 13:25

    I will never ask Betty Olson for a cup of her urine, not personally, and not through the force of government.

  18. 96Tears 2016-01-31 14:16

    A question for anybody, including the GOP interns and pages who’ve copied and pasted the party line on blogs to defend the putrid HB 1076, how many South Dakota businesses require all employees to take the pee pee test? While you’re at it, name the companies that make that requirement.

    Does DiSanto’s own enterprise to provide scantily-clothed hotties for the drug- and booze-ridden Sturgis Rally test the urine of the young women she sends to entertain the wild bikers? Does she test them immediately afterward to make sure they didn’t inhale, inject or swallow? The Rally is an infamous free-fire zone for dopers and peddlers.

    Advocates of this unconstitutional, radically invasive and cruel proposal make the claim that South Dakota job providers make this a routine requirement. I’ve never known an employer to do so as a requirement to being employed, unless there are legitimate security or public safety concerns.

    These genitalia-fixated bills from the SDGOP come attached to a lot of hype about protecting the public from undesirable people, yet nobody (in the press) seems to force the sponsors and supporters to cough up the evidence of their wild claims or admit they are lying. South Dakotans may be less inclined to send back flakes like DiSanto and Olson if they were also informed that too many lawmakers base their attacks on vulnerable people with a pack of lies.

  19. Porter Lansing 2016-01-31 14:35

    HB 1076 was (and it may return) another in a long list of Republican “Haybilly Hate Bills”. Deutsch’s is another. Do any on the Red Team know anything about the Supreme Court and what they’ve already decided? With an Attorney General like Mr. Jackley the hate door is wide open to these types of “going nowhere” legislative abortions.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-31 21:20

    96Tears, you ask some hard questions of Rep. DiSanto, who tried to portray herself as a noble welfare princess, then relied on anecdote and Facebook inflation to make her case. She did not address her own actions as an employer and a participant in the Sturgis culture.

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