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