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Carcasses Still Stinking up House State Affairs, Bad for Public Participation

House State Affairs has six bills on its agenda this morning. Incredibly, three of those bills say nothing. Senate Bills 124, 125, and 126 are all carcass bills, shells awaiting someone’s brilliant last minute ideas to “enhance South Dakota,” fix education, and regulate medical services, respectively.

The Legislature likes to keep these extra sausage casings around, just in case, but on the whole, they are bad for democracy. If House State Affairs moves these empty shells along, we could see them hoghoused into proposals on the House floor that would never see the light of committee hearing. Without committee hearing, citizens have no opportunity to testify directly and on the record about the merits of those bills, or even to have enough heads-up to get out to Pierre or fire off an e-mail to inform and persuade their legislators about those bills before they go to a vote.

We have bill submission deadlines to ensure openness and public participation. Allowing citizens to have a crack at every bill before it is debated justifies holding to those submission deadlines and saying to legislators, “You had all year to come up with your idea. If you can’t think it up before February 4, tough shiskey. Bring it next year.”

If carcass bills and hoghousing have any just role, we should at least impose some deadlines and transparency on the practice. Let’s apply the Schoenbeck Openness Principle and require that amendments, at least those of hoghouse scope, rewriting an entire bill, be filed in writing and posted online at least 48 hours before they are moved and debated.

(By the way, Rep. Schoenbeck’s House Bill 1066, which was intended to require all public bodies to post their meeting notices two days before convening, got hoghoused into a measure to apply that two-day standard only to state entities, not local governments.)


  1. Darin Larson 2016-03-07

    The Republican controlled legislature is great at creating rules like open meetings that don’t apply to them and carcass bills are another example. Deadlines are for the minority party.

    The last minute all or nothing budgeting is another example of their abuse of power. It only serves to strengthen the hand of the governor and a few legislative leaders who make all the decisions.

  2. Steve Sibson 2016-03-07

    I agree with your assessment Cory, but the system in Pierre is not fixable. Both parties want it. That is how they got money for the education system and tax breaks for the crony capitalists with HB1182. Add the emergency clause, and you can’t refer it to a vote. And you whine about a lack of democracy. As Jesus Christ said…hypocrites!

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-07

    Good grief, Sibby, you pick one issue and talk about nothing but. Your inflexibility is worse than Pierre’s.

    Saying the system isn’t fixable seems a declaration of surrender. If it can’t be fixed, why bother? What is the intent of your online activism? If you say you can’t effect real change, are you simply seeking attention for yourself? What itch are you scratching, Sibby?

    I prefer to take Darin’s position: we can work to reclaim our political system. We can work to inform voters and arouse action to make democracy work better. Requiring prior publication of all amendments would be a simple, useful step in that direction.

  4. Darin Larson 2016-03-07

    “Both parties want it.”–Sibby’s law You mean the 8 Democratic senators out of 35 and the 12 Democratic Reps. out of 70 agreed to the current set of rules and procedures in the legislature that leave them without any substantial power to effect change in our state? The Democrats like to get run over like Wile E. Coyote so they have agreed to this system?

    PP brags about the irrelevancy of the Democrats in this state and you think Democrats are equally culpable in the corruption and backroom deals that dominate Pierre. Democrats can’t win for losing I guess. The Democratic caucus meetings are open to the public–Republicans not so much. The Republican caucus has all the votes necessary in the room to decide a bill’s fate before it is even debated, but the public is not welcome. Open meetings laws don’t apply to the legislature. Pretty anti-climatic to have a debate when the result is already agreed upon. I assume that’s why I see so many legislators not paying particular attention to what is being said.

    To accuse the Democrats of equal culpability in maintaining our current legislative system is like blaming a passenger on an airliner for crashing the plane. Yes, they were on the flight, but there wasn’t a lot they could do about the plane crashing except scream.

  5. Kim Conlin 2016-03-07

    Well all 3 carcasses got moved to the House Floor. So what are Gosch and Westra up to??

  6. Darin Larson 2016-03-07

    It’s aliiiiiiive!!! I heard screaming on the House floor!

  7. Steve Sibson 2016-03-07

    “What is the intent of your online activism?”

    To explain what is really going on. Instead of picking a side that is always right and the other side is always wrong, I am saying both sides are wrong. I tried to get Democrats, who claim to hate corrupt crony capitalism, to work with conservatives against the SDGOP establishment. Instead all but one Democratic legislator jumped in with the SDGOP Establishment. I still have not forgotten the million dollars the NEA gave the SD Chamber to protect their corrupt system in 2008. Now both sides are reaping the rewards off the backs of the working poor. And the working poor can’t refer it to a vote because the coalition of liberal tax the needy and give to the greedy politicians added an emergency cause. I just explained how we could fix this, but you people have way too much hatred and bigotry toward conservatives. That is why we can’t fix it.

  8. larry kurtz 2016-03-07

    Sibby, which bill finances the law enforcement industry this session?

  9. larry kurtz 2016-03-07

    From what i read in the budget Daugaard wants a $2 million increase for the law enforcement industry between AGs office and Department of Public “Safety.”

  10. Roger Cornelius 2016-03-07

    Sibson is in pretty bad shape, he doesn’t like anybody or anything that doesn’t fit his ideology, or is it idiotology.

  11. Roger Cornelius 2016-03-07

    There is nobody in this state that has fought republican capitalism corruption than Cory.
    You had an opportunity to join Cory in leading that charge, why didn’t you?
    Sibson wanted Cory to fight the republican establishment for him and Cory simple wanted to fight corruption by republicans.

  12. Steve Sibson 2016-03-07

    “There is nobody in this state that has fought republican capitalism corruption than Cory.”

    Well, if you can’t bet them then join them huh?

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-08

    Steve, get back on topic. Carcass bills are bad. They shut out participation and reduce our ability to check corruption. I’m not joining any member of the establishment in praise of carcass bills; I’m calling for their abolition, or at least their reform to require more opportunity for public scrutiny and participation in the process.

    Steve, you have stop commandeering every conversation to talk about your preferred hobbyhorse of the moment. Such conduct is why you get shut out of conversations.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-03-08

    Thank you, Roger. I’m doing what I can. (And while I continue to point out a variety of problems in state government, caused largely if not exclusively by the Republican establishment, let’s not forget that Steve actively participated in building that Republican establishment by helping John Thune get elected in 2004. We all are sinners, but Sibby, your sin seems much more destructive to the very principles you say you are fighting for.)

  15. Steve Sibson 2016-03-08

    Cory, the Democrats voted for the carcass economic development bill a couple of years ago, simply because the SDGOP promised education money. That is not one of my hobbyhorse of the moment. That is South Dakota’s political history.

    If we want to fix the system, then the people have to stand up to the establishment of both parties.

    And you are right about Thune. He and Daschle are working for the same people. We can’t fix the system if we have only two choices, both working for the same people.

  16. Roger Cornelius 2016-03-08

    Make up your mind Sibson, “If we want to fix the system then the people have to stand up to the establishment of both parties”.
    At the same time you have repeatedly said the system isn’t fixable.
    Which is it?

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