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Latterell Votes Against Alma Mater’s New Science Building

House Bill 1010 is a no-brainer. Northern State University received $35 million in gifts last fall for capital improvements. NSU President Timothy Downs and Aberdeen bigwig and Regent Harvey Jewett say $25 million is available to build a new science center. All they need is the Legislature’s permission to spend the money, and boom! new building, with no dent in the state budget.

Make Aberdeen happy, spend no state money—who votes against that? Well, legislators who sponsor and vote for anti-science legislation like SB 55 (Frye-Mueller, Howard, Brunner), a small coterie of other cranky conservatives (Haugaard, Marty, Livermont, May, Pischke)…

Rep. Isaac Latterell
Not getting an invite to the new VIP suites at Wolves games any time soon….

…and Rep. Isaac Latterell (R-6/Tea)…

…who still has family in Aberdeen…

…who graduated from Northern State University in December 2005.

I grew up in Madison. I lived and taught in Spearfish. I now call Aberdeen home. I’ve thus lived in all three of South Dakota’s small liberal-arts college towns. (DSU was DSC when I was growing up, and it was liberal arts; I felt the agony of the liberal arts profs when Janklow computerized everything.) Despite my attachments to all three college towns, I could vote against increased state funding for various programs at any of those campuses if the budget were tight. I could listen to an argument for folding one of those three small colleges into another institution (although geography turns that target toward Madison first). I could tell any campus president No, even

But if any campus president walks up to me and tells his or her school has all the private money they need to build a new facility that will improve education, research, and recruitment, and all they need is my say-so to go, I don’t say no. I vote yes and milk that freebie for all the good press and donations I can get from that college town.

Such, apparently, is not Latterell’s calculus. Far be it from me to expect critical thinking from an arch-conservative like Latterell, but he apparently can’t see benefits for himself or for Northern and Aberdeen in supporting a shiny building that costs the state nothing.


  1. jerry 2017-02-22 19:09

    If they already have the bucks then build it and tell Ike to take a hike.

  2. David Newquist 2017-02-22 21:51

    It’s the science, which deals with heretical things like facts.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-02-22 22:12

    There’s a campaign line for someone in District 6, David: “Isaac hates science so much, he won’t even let schools build buildings for it!”

    “Isaac wants his religion in your classroom, but he won’t build classrooms for science!”

  4. the lowly independent 2017-02-22 23:10

    huh, … Isaac Latterell, another guy from SD that I would like to NEVER MEET.

  5. Mark Winegar 2017-02-23 07:51

    HB 1010 passed on the House floor 60-9 so the majority of the House agreed with you Cory. Let’s hope the Senate does the right thing!

  6. Clara Hart 2017-02-23 11:35

    I am baffled that he would be against this Bill. Again, I am not surprised. it seems he has other things that are preoccupying his thinking process. He blames the Fed government for almost everything and yet he wants to put his nose in how the Refugee center is run. This is way out of his area. I am sure he thinks he knows better than anyone on how things should be in Pierre and in the Fed Gov. He wants to be the sole and lone voice against everything that involves common sense and facts. Sigh!!!!!

  7. Ed 2017-02-23 11:37

    This nut job ran for the legislature several times in the past while living in Aberdeen, and lost handily every time. He finally moved to a legislative district that was favorable to his beliefs so he could win a race. I’m sure his vote against Northern was based a little on revenge for being rejected so many times by the voters of Brown County as well as his complete disdain for proven scientific fact.

  8. Bob Newland 2017-02-23 18:07

    This doesn’t happen all that much, but I am at a loss for words.

  9. Bob Newland 2017-02-23 20:14

    The following is from the House Journal. What is Joint Rule 6D-1? I can’t find it.

    HB 1010: FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to authorize the Board of Regents to contract for the construction of the NSU Regional Science Education Center at Northern State University and to make an appropriation therefor.

    Was read the first time and the President Pro tempore waived the referral to the standing committee pursuant to Joint Rule 6D-1, placed HB 1010 on the calendar of Thursday, February 23rd, the 27th legislative day.

  10. grudznick 2017-02-23 20:35


    I am told that according to the rules every one of the law bills must get sent to a standing not a special committee after the first time they read it aloud in the legislatures. However they made up new rules so that the bills with money only have to go to a commingled committee meeting and then they can decide not to send it to one of these standing committees when it goes to the other side of the hall. That is all in that rule you blog about, sir.

  11. Bob Newland 2017-02-23 21:02

    I will believe what grudznick says when a human being points me to the rule so I can read it.

  12. grudznick 2017-02-23 21:30

    Would somebody make a blue link for my surly friend Bob to get to that the googles bring up? It’s a long read down to rule #6D but it is down there somewhere all written in that legal mumbo jumbo that Bob is versed and experienced with.

  13. Darin Larson 2017-02-23 23:13

    I think Latterell has a good reason for voting against this new building. It is actually very logical and not nutty at all. A new science building probably attracts more students. More students usually means more educated people graduating from our universities. More students graduating from our universities means a more educated workforce. A more educated work force means more people will look at better job opportunities in other states. Better job opportunities in other states will mean more SD kids leaving our state. So really, Latterell is just trying to keep our kids from leaving the state. Ignorance is our friend. Education is dangerous. (commence face palm)

  14. Richard Schriever 2017-02-24 12:21

    As with last year, he was likely busy thinking about some bill having to do with the regulation of behaviors around genitalia, and never read HB1010.

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