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Wacky Speaker Haugaard Whacks Lobbyist Taylor for May 2018 Criticism

Last May, the South Dakota Municipal League published in its magazine an editorial by its director, Yvonne Taylor, that called over 20% of the Legislature “Wackies”… and she was not referring to the Democratic minority. Taylor explained her Legislative taxonomy:

Yvonne Taylor, photo from SD Municipalities, May 2018, p.4.
Yvonne Taylor, photo from SD Municipalities, May 2018, p.4.

I’ll have to give you some definitions. “Normal” doesn’t mean we always agree – but The Normals are usually willing to look at issues one by one, listen to facts, and make rational decisions. Wackies, on the other hand, have come in opposed to government in general and all forms of taxation; seem to firmly believe the state and local governments are ripping them off; and often have their own particular nit to pick on some other topic. They think facts they don’t like are lies and they blanket vote based on a preconceived mindset, not on the issue at hand [Yvonne Taylor, “Director’s Notes,” South Dakota Municipalities, May 2018, p. 4].

Taylor helpfully illustrated how the Wackies’ blind ideology and hyperbole get in the way of the practical problem-solving that her constituency—South Dakota’s local, non-partisan governments—depend on the Legislature to carry out:

Look at Senate Bill 25. Many years ago, the State took over regulation of water pollution control – meaning everyone here gets to work with the state DENR instead of the Federal EPA. When they did that, they put in place fees to pay the costs of administration. For municipalities, those were based on the 1990 census.

More than 20 years later, federal funding has decreased, and there has never been an increase in these fees. DENR came up with a bill to help them keep doing this – the alternative is having to work with EPA – if the state cannot do it, EPA will take it back over.

There were no opponents to the bill, and everyone who would pay an increase supported it – farm groups, business groups, the Municipal League.

It died in the House – the Wackies don’t like taxes or fees. Now eventually it was brought back to life and it passed – but 22% voted against it in the end – that mindset stops things from happening, even if people affected want it – and it stops people from bringing things forward [links added; Taylor, May 2018].

Exactly whom with this example was Taylor calling Wackies? Let’s see who voted Nay on 2018 SB 2015:

  • Senate, January 24, 2018: SB 25 passed 30–5. Nays: Phil Jensen, Nelson, Netherton, Russell, Tapio—all Republicans.
  • House, February 20, 2018: SB 25 missed the 2/3 threshold by two votes on first pass; 19 nays were Democrat Ahlers, then Republicans Campbell, Dennert, DiSanto, Frye-Mueller, Goodwin, Greenfield (Lana), Haugaard, Howard, Kaiser, Karr, Latterell, Livermont, Marty, May, Mills, Peterson (Sue), Pischke, Steinhauer
  • House reconsidered SB 25 next day on motion by Rhoden; passed 51–14; remaining Nays: Campbell, Dennert, Frye-Mueller, Goodwin, Gosch, Greenfield (Lana), Haugaard, Kaiser, Livermont, Marty, May, Mills, Pischke, Steinhauer—all Republicans.

Taylor named none of those legislators, but she called in her column for voters to “make good decisions” in the primary and the general and “get that wacky ratio down.”

Of those 19 SB 25 Nays, 15 ran to return to Pierre. 14 won in November; only Liz May lost to a Democrat. Of the four not returning, Tapio was replaced by Lee Schoenbeck, whom we may garland with many sobriquets but certainly not with the term “wacky.” Kaiser was replaced by Carl Perry, who’s wacky tendencies didn’t come raging out in the District 3 campaign but whom I’m watching for signs of contagion. Netherton’s replacement, Maggie Sutton, was picked by Dennis Daugaard, so she can’t be wacky. Campbell’s replacement, Tony Randolph, has my kind of mustache, but his bills show a wacky fanaticism for guns, God, and Trump.

Rep. Steven Haugaard, patron saint of Republican virtue and not understanding the practical impact of bills.
Speaker Haugaard, disinclined to accept criticism

I don’t know if the overall wacky ratio has gone down, but it certainly went up at the top: one of Taylor’s wackies, Rep. Steven Haugaard (R-10/Sioux Falls) is now Speaker of the House. Speaker Haugaard, whose personal sense of superior virtue probably chafes at any description beneath Your Holiness, peddles all sorts of falsehoods and regressive positions, seems to epitomize Taylor’s definition of Wackies.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve heard from four different sources that Speaker Haugaard has issued some sort of ban on Taylor’s lobbying activities in the House. I don’t know how exactly a Speaker of the House would restrict any citizen’s First Amendment right to speak to legislators and testify on bills. Under the Legislature’s Joint Rule 2-4, no lobbyists are allowed on the floor of the House or the Senate or in the lobbies from three hours prior to the chamber’s convening to one hour after adjournment. Joint Rule 1A-8 says no one may distribute items to House members’ desks without approval of the chief clerk of the House, “subject to the review of the speaker of the House,” so maybe His Holiness has decreed that Yvonne Taylor may not enter the Chamber during breakfast to drop off Municipal League swag. How satisfying that glorious revenge must be…

…but using one’s power to punish a citizen for speaking freely and criticizing elected leaders for putting partisanship and ideology over practical problem-solving? That sounds a lot worse than wacky.

Related: Yvonne Taylor remains a registered lobbyist for both the Municipal League and the South Dakota Police Chiefs Association. What? Dissing a lady who speaks for cops? Now that’s wacky.


  1. grudznick 2019-01-17 22:51

    Pope Steven probably not only banned this young lady from the floors, he slapped all of the lobbists with rules about when they can and can’t wear hats and what sort of shoes are godly enough to tread his floor. Mark grudznick’s words, this fellow is an overgodder of Howithian proportions.

  2. Debbo 2019-01-18 00:18

    I followed your links to remind myself of that guy’s previous actions and words.

    Ohferpetessake. I think Ms. Taylor is being extremely generous in only calling someone like him “wacky.” Its always a bad sign when it’s significantly easier to list what an individual or group is against, rather than what they are for.

    This guy is against LBTG folks, POC, immigrants, involved citizens, free speech, equal rights, women and girls, transparency in government, democracy, anyone who disagrees with him, criticism, Democrats . . . . .

    He’s for himself and a few people just like him.

    And the SDGOP made him Speaker. Wish I was surprised.

  3. John 2019-01-18 00:20

    Taylor’s only said what the media, cities, counties should have said for a generation.

  4. grudznick 2019-01-18 00:26

    Sensible people would demand this Speaker Steve fellow get a decent haircut. He looks like some sort of a backup porn wannabe, with that high-brow whispy longhair part and the crumbnumbler sort of beard going on.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-01-18 06:01

    “Crumbnumbler”—if that’s the proper term for Haugaard’s wispy chin fur, what’s mine: a street-sweeper?

  6. Donald Pay 2019-01-18 08:43

    Well, let’s just say whacky can apply to some of the Municipal League’s positions, too. They haven’t been a friend of the initiative and referendum over the years, where they are happy to be in lock step with the whacky crowd in making as much trouble as possible for ballot measures. They do tend to push regressive tax policies, rather than tax fairness. I haven’t looked at their lobbying priorities for this year, but I expect there is a lot there to criticize, as well as some to praise.

    Yvonne probably didn’t help her lobbying with her comments, but it’s nice that she is telling truth to power. Now if she would only join us in our chant, “Power To The People, Right On!”

  7. South DaCola 2019-01-18 09:20

    Donald, I would agree, talk about calling the kettle black. The Muni-League wants to raise taxes on a whim, without voter approval, they hate the initiative process, support presumptive probation and often support keeping government in the dark. I told the SF City Council that they should be called the ‘Anti-Citizen League’ and we should stop paying them to lobby for us. We have a legislative assistant for the city who makes around $100K a year, he can go to Pierre for us.

    I think the whole lot Repugs, Demos and the lobbyists are all a bunch of whackos in Pierre.

  8. Richard F Schriever 2019-01-18 10:59

    The German word for a “little pope” (His Holyness Haugaard) is Papka (my grandfather’s surname). I suggest we confer upon him the hyphenated tag “Papka-Haugaard”.

  9. Donald Pay 2019-01-18 11:52

    South DaCola,

    Yes, they tend to be anti-citizen input. They also were on the side of the out-of-state garbage dumpers. But they do sometimes have good positions. They are right on the DENR fee increase, which was the the purpose of Yvonne’s screed. South Dakota needs to start paying its own way on this programs and stop being a deadbeat.

  10. Sam@ 2019-01-18 21:48

    South Dakota municipal league needs to make a change in leadership. Very unprofessional editorial.

  11. Donald Pay 2019-01-18 22:14


    Taylor’s statement is accurate. When I was in Pierre the wacky contingent was much smaller and you could laugh at it, but it was there and it was pretty much as she stated. Now it’s larger and causing a problem, even for a good lobbyist who is just presenting facts. There is an argument that a lobbyist shouldn’t hang the truth out there as she did. Maybe the “wacky” appellation was not the best choice of words, but sometimes even a lobbyist needs to tell the truth. She did, and the wacky contingent acted wacky to prove her point.

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