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Republicans Stall Governor’s Teacher Pay Plan Until Tuesday

Teachers and administrators came from all around South Dakota today to watch the House of Representatives debate House Bill 1182, the Governor’s inferior (but preferable to the status quo) plan to raise the state sales tax from 4% to 4.5% to pay for raising teacher pay. Rep. Jim Stalzer (R-11/Sioux Falls) turned to them all, flipped them the bird, and told them to go home.

That’s layman’s terms for Rep. Stallzer’s invocation of Joint Rule 5-17, a parliamentary stalling tactic that allows one-fifth of the members to delay debate on amendments until one legislative day has intervened. An amendment was pending—Rep. Jeff Partridge (R-34/Rapid City) has just moved to amend HB 1182 to fund teacher pay with an Internet sales tax that doesn’t exist yet (again, Republicans and their fantasies)—so Rep. Stalzer’s motion was in order. But the practical effect was to shut down debate on HB 1182 until next week Tuesday.

A Joint Rule 5-17 delay requires support from one-fifth of the members, 14 in the House. Who stood for Stalzer’s stall? Here’s the view from the back of the House via SDPB (I’ve added red dots to show who appears to be standing to support the motion):

Stalzer Delay Second 20160210

…and here’s the House seating chart with those standers marked:

House members backing Stalzer delay 20160210

Those red dots are mostly in the middle of the House, but they are mostly toward the right fringe of the GOP. Wiik, Marty, Russell, Verchio, Haugaard, Craig, Brunner, Klumb, Haggar, Qualm, Heinemann, May, Campbell, DiSanto, Hunt—these are the Republicans who stood with Stalzer because their apparently couldn’t stand to voice their views and vote on the teacher pay plan with so many teachers in the House watching. They’ll come out spinning that they needed time to review Rep. Partridge’s amendment (but let me save you the time: it’s fantasy, so kill it!), but they just didn’t want to vote today.

Dana Ferguson tweets that gubernatorial chief of staff Tony Venhuizen is saying Rep. Stalzer is stalling because opponents may not have the 24 votes they need to stop the Governor’s plan. If that’s the case, and if Stalzer and his string pullers (Stalzer didn’t think this trick up himself, and his backers stood immediately, suggesting they knew this plan was hatching) can’t pull eight more people to join them over the long weekend, they can invoke Joint Rule 5-17 one more time and put HB 1128 off until Thursday.

Stalzer, Wiik, Marty, Russell, Verchio, Haugaard, Craig, Brunner, Klumb, Haggar, Qualm, Heinemann, May, Campbell, DiSanto, Hunt—teachers, parents, perhaps you’ll want to spend your long weekend in conversation as well, contacting those legislators and encouraging them to delay no more. And if they don’t listen, we’ll just have to work on the oldest parliamentary trick in the book: rounding up the votes in November to kick them out of our parliament and replace them with legislators willing to legislate.


  1. Jason Sebern 2016-02-10 17:17

    Over 100 school districts were represented in Pierre today to hear this scheduled debate.

  2. grudznick 2016-02-10 17:51

    Sounds like some of the nay-sayers were too afraid to debate it or vote on it in front of a crowd. They’d rather waste everybody’s time. I hope a few teachers show up next week too. Some of you should call the legislatures this weekend and tell them what you think. Email them maybe. But calling would be better because I bet they just delete emails from teachers and administrators.

  3. grudznick 2016-02-10 17:53

    Mr. H, I bet you a hot breakfast there were more people who wanted no that did not stand at the counting. They just didn’t want to look bad so made the lackeys stand.

  4. Donald Pay 2016-02-10 18:06

    Hey, it’s in the rules, and maybe they think they can generate a little more opposition. Don’t cry about it. Just get to work.

    Apparently things are heating up in North Dakota over the borehole disposal test. State agencies were going behind the Governor’s back, if you want to swallow that explanation. Not sure I do. But the locals are really opposed.

  5. grudznick 2016-02-10 18:12

    Yeah, Mr. Pay is right. About the rules. If those fellows want to just annoy and anger all of the teachers in the state even more, then it’s their right to do so.

    I will have to read the borehole plan. This sounds interesting. I know a guy in Rugby who is insaner than most.

  6. Paul Seamans 2016-02-10 18:28

    Does South Dakota have an anti-lynching law. If not then I would suggest passing one before they pull this stunt again. These legislators have no shame.

  7. Jenny 2016-02-10 18:42

    South Dakotans have to learn to fight for their rights. Maybe a teacher strike would get their attention?
    These legislators are just not interested.
    SD teachers, Cory H will work hard for you when he gets elected.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-10 19:17

    100 school districts? Wow, Jason! That’s a huge number! As I look for lemonade, I would suggest to teachers that the Stalzer Stall was perhaps as a sign of fear as of disrespect. Teachers, maybe Stalzer and the conservatives fear you. Maybe you have more power than you give yourselves credit for. Maybe you can take names from the list above, give those folks holy heck at your crackerbarrels this weekend on on the emails, and drive them to move this bill fast next week.

    KELO-TV reports glancingly on the delay, but doesn’t get into the details.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-10 19:19

    So handicap it, Grudz. Best guess: how many NO votes in the House? And if there are 24+ NO votes, why delay today? Does delay help or hurt passage of the bill?

  10. owen reitzel 2016-02-10 19:24

    A bunch of gutless chickens.
    Why didn’t the Democrats call for a roll call vote?

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-10 19:29

    I’m checking the rules, Owen, but I don’t think votes on amendments are required to be in the journal.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-10 19:38

    Listen to my neighbor and local debate coach Kerry Konda, one of the teachers who went to Pierre to see Stalzer wave them off. He says education is a voting issue in the November election:

    Kerry Konda, a social studies and debate teacher at Central High School in Aberdeen, said education advocates will be back next week to let lawmakers know they need to pass a plan that gets South Dakota out of last place for teacher pay.

    “They need to be held accountable, especially in this upcoming election year. They need to know that it’s not just the teacher community, it’s the entire state that’s backing this proposal,” Konda said. “And if you don’t vote for education, unfortunately you might not have your seat next year” [Dana Ferguson, “House Delays Teacher-Pay Vote; Supporters Say Stall Tactic Was Used,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.02.10].

    Konda! Konda!

  13. Donald Pay 2016-02-10 20:40

    Did you know that in Wisconsin the Republicans have banned photos (like the one above) or video from being taken from the gallery? At least you still have some freedom in South Dakota.

  14. Clyde 2016-02-10 20:42

    Every school administrator in surrounding states (Neb, Iowa, Minn, ND, and Wyo) thank these so called leaders for their stupidity towards education in SD!

  15. BJH 2016-02-10 20:45

    It is not a parliamentary trick in my book. It is reality. They do not deserve to be reelected. The legislature needs an overhaul!

  16. Les 2016-02-10 20:55

    Shush, Donald!

  17. kaz 2016-02-10 21:37

    What is just as surprising to me is that South Dakota Politics for YEARS has been disrespectful to teachers and education but teachers continue to re-elect these same political leaders! Please remember these legislators when election time comes around! That is the only way you can gain respect, especially you in the teaching and education field, and can accomplish real change.

  18. grudznick 2016-02-10 21:59

    Mr. H, if there were 24 no votes they would have voted. Mr. Gosh would have allowed it. I submit the no voters are in a hard spot and a rock. Now they get to listen to a few hundred phone calls a day, if our good teachers and their supporters are out there doing their jobs, and they get a thousand emails and texts and those twitters things every day from today until Tuesday. It seems hard to believe that the no people could sway more yes people and I bet more no people are swayed by the yes people and on Tuesday or whenever these rules allow them to vote Mr. Gosh and his roaddogs get a bit of a sheepish spanking. Spanked like a sheep. Don’t you think? You are almost a legislature and probably know all the rules and games open to them. I think Mr. Gosh has tried to swallow a whole mellon he wasn’t ready for and didn’t really know why he wanted to swallow the mellon in the first place and most of his roaddogs are insaner than most. Just look at your list.

  19. C Georgis 2016-02-10 22:12

    Email your reps to get off their _ _ _ _ _ and vote to pay the great teachers of SD

  20. Darin Larson 2016-02-10 23:50

    I made the 3 hour one-way trek to Pierre today to look the legislators in the eye and let them know this is the most important issue they have before them this legislative session. To my naïve astonishment, a rule that is intended to be used so that amendments have time to be studied was purposefully perverted to use as a stalling tactic. It should not have surprised me that politicians (who count themselves as fine upstanding and righteous citizens in their own minds) would stoop to the level of disingenuous, unethical device to waste the time of hundreds of constituents and citizens alike today. However, it did provide the motivation for me to try to have more effect on the political process in this state. Thank you to Rep. Hunt for that and for little else. I would like to find out who in the “Gang of Stallers”, if anyone, stood up against increasing taxes for teacher pay today but also voted for increasing taxes last year for road repairs. God help the individuals who think we have a crisis in roads in this state, but not a crisis in teacher pay! Pierre will be revealed as the place where common sense and good ideas go to die if teacher pay is not treated as equal to or greater than road maintenance.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-11 07:32

    Darin, remember the disrespect you and the entire teacher corps was shown yesterday by Jim Staller and his cohort. Remind your fellow teachers of it all year. Remind them this is why we teachers need to find good candidates among our ranks, go door to door, and take control of the Legislature. The Stallers think they can beat you by kicking you just for one day. Turn your frustration into ongoing action, beat them back. Beat them down at every crackerbarrel. Beat them down at every political rally. Beat them down on November 8 with good people who promise to respect education, respect educators, and respect South Dakota.

  22. Nick Nemec 2016-02-11 08:15

    Cory and Owen, sadly the Democrats don’t have enough members to force recorded votes. I don’t remember the number required but 1/3 of members elect seems to ring a bell. In the case of the 70 member House that would be 24 members elect. In the 1990s when Democratic numbers exceeded that level we forced recorded votes on every issue. In the case of this invocation of rule 5-17 division would have been called and if supported by 1/3 of the members (ironically by standing in support of division) a recorded vote would have been ordered. “The clerk may unlock the voting machine and the members proceed to vote.”

  23. Trygve nelson 2016-02-11 08:52

    Very disappointed I am a small business owner in the Black Hills more than happy to pay a little more for our teachers. Who else is with our kids longer than their own parents most everyday of the week, last in teacher pay in the nation shameful. Both Russell, Verchio and all the other Republicans who stood against teachers who have worked so hard for probably so many of your own kids, sorry I ever supported you.
    Being a conservative doesn’t mean being so far right you vote no on everything and actually think people put you there because of that. Make a difference and support the teachers who had the biggest part of putting you in your current position whether you believe it or not.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-11 09:02

    Nick, Goal #1 for Democrats needs to be getting one third of each chamber. 12 more Representatives, 4 more Senators. I’ll cover one of those Senate gains—who’s got the rest?

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-11 09:03

    Thanks, Trygve! It’s good to be reminded that even conservatives recognize the value of investing. Public schools are one of the most conservative investments one can make—can we argue that one always gets a stable, steady return on money invested in teachers and kids?

  26. Darin Larson 2016-02-11 10:15

    Cory, after yesterday, I am planning to be a campaign manager for a district 25 challenger to Mr. Roger Hunt. A state house seat is a terrible thing to waste!

  27. Wade Tirrel 2016-02-11 10:17

    This is ridiculous!!! These people need to be called out and asked why? Everyone of these people needed a teacher to get where they are today! As for this stunt that they want to make cuts here and there to come up with a portion of what the Governor suggested and then over the next three to four years get to what he wanted now, which is the same crap they preached about Video Lottery money years ago and the money never made it to the schools because it profited to much… People need to wake up because we truly do have a crisis in schools today and it is going to get real bad with in 5 years! This is not just in little schools in the middle of nowhere issue, it is every school in the state. When I went to SDSU we had our education orientation and their were 185 future teachers standing there, today I had a student at West Central go to SDSU and said at orientation their were 6!!!! Get ready people because we have lots of teachers retiring and nobody coming in!! THESE PEOPLE NEED TO BE CALLED ON THE TABLE. QUIT MAKING IT A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN THING AND DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION IN SOUTH DAKOTA!!!

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-11 10:22

    Darin, rock on! I’ll be happy to get together with your candidate and brainstorm ideas that can help both of us win!

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-11 10:27

    Wade, you’re right. Saving K-12 education from collapse should not be a Republican/Democrat thing. Everyone should be willing to put aside partisan politics and sovle the problem. Of course, if they’d done that, Republicans wouldn’t have shot down the numerous tax proposals Democrats have offered over the last 30 years to fund higher teacher pay just because those proposals cane from Democrats, only now to line up behind an uncreative tax proposal from a Republican governor.

    And when we look at the pictures of the stall vote above and of the Gosch Amendment that would have put the plan at greater risk of delay and defeat and see only Republicans voting for that delay, it’s kind of hard not to see that it is a Republican/Democrat thing: Democrats have been fighting all along for K-12 education, and Republicans are still the ones standing between us and a solution. That’s a partisan statement, but it’s also reality.

    This is also reality: replace every one of the Republicans you see standing to stall above with a Democrat in November, and you will see better policies from the South Dakota Legislature.

  30. Darin Larson 2016-02-11 10:29

    What too many in our state government don’t understand is that our most important resource is our kids and the biggest effect the state government can have on our kids is through their education. The biggest factor by far in the quality of their education is the quality of our teachers. The education of our kids is job #1 of state government in conjunction with local school boards.

    I have been critical of the governors’ slow response to the teacher pay crisis and was really critical when taxes were raised for roads last year and not for education funding. However, he has a good, not great, proposal to increase funding and I give him credit for that.

    The people in the legislature that cannot see the critical nature of our last in the nation education funding need to be doing something else next year. The future of South Dakota cannot afford to rest in the hands of people who undermine the very foundation of this state. Ignorance is unfortunate, but willful destruction of our education system and teacher morale is beyond forgiveness.

    I will be in the fight for this state’s future.

  31. Donald Pay 2016-02-11 11:55

    I don’t think teachers are getting any more disrespectful treatment than everyone else gets. It’s pretty common to have Rule 5-17 pulled on amendments to important legislation, whether it’s for a legitimate reason or just tactics. When Democrats had some numbers, they would pull that a number of times. That it happened when lots of educators were there was probably bad timing, but it shouldn’t be personalized. Just use the extra time to make more contacts and organize. That’s all you can do.

  32. Jenny 2016-02-11 12:02

    The SD legislature is just lazy and need to get off their butts and pass this bill. Really embarrassing that transgender hate bills are more important than living wages for hardworking teachers.
    Teachers and students need to rally at the capital with signs. Come on, Minnesotans do this all the time! Come on SD Dems, start the movement and go to Pierre to rally for change!

  33. Mary Konvalin 2016-02-11 13:39

    I’ll believe it when i see it. Teachers were supposed to get an increase when video lottery passed, when was that? 1987? Here we are again, still fighting the battle. The teachers will never see an increase – it will be eaten away by health insurance or some kind of extra curricular. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-11 13:53

    You aren’t the only cynic in this crowd, Mary. That’s why we need to not only pass a plan this year, but also elect legislators this fall who express a dogged dedication to sustaining that plan against increasing costs and other budget pressures.

    On the bright side, the new funding formula in SB 131 includes a benefits factor to take into account health insurance costs. Whether it’s enough is anyone’s guess. Whether we protect it is up to the candidates we elect in November.

  35. Darin Larson 2016-02-11 18:05

    Cory, I think you should do a little blog article on the representatives that last year voted to raise taxes for road maintenance, but this year appear to be against raising taxes for teacher pay increases. Those reps. who appear to have their priorities all out of wack are: Mickelson (running for governor; he didn’t stand but he is against HB1182) Hunt, Stalzer, Wiik, Verchio, Haugaard, Craig, Klumb, Haggar, Qualm and Heinemann. For shame!

  36. Jason Sebern 2016-02-11 18:13

    Roads > Children
    South Dakota Legislature Math

  37. mike from iowa 2016-02-11 18:40

    You are comparing apples to oranges (roads v kids) You should compare embryonic roads to human embryos and human embryos win even if it costs Mom her life.

  38. Bill Dithmer 2016-02-12 11:55

    If you dont think roads are important, you must live east river where there is another road every mile, section line roads.

    The Blindman

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