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Remove Haugaard for Abuse of Speaker’s Authority

South Dakota Municipal League exec Yvonne Taylor sent an e-mail to League members yesterday explaining how Speaker Steven Haugaard has taken outrageous retaliatory action against her for exercising her First Amendment rights:

Something very disturbing has happened this week. On Monday, I was called into the office of the Speaker of the House, Representative Steven Haugaard (R), Sioux Falls, asked to close the door, and a conversation ensued about a column I wrote for our magazine, SD Municipalities, in May, 2018. The Speaker told me that I had made the Legislature look like “a bunch of buffoons” and that I was allowed to think the thoughts expressed in the column, but that I could not publish them. He then asked me to not be on the House Floor during the times it was open to the public until further notice [Yvonne Taylor, e-mail to South Dakota Municipal League members, 2019.01.17].

Memo to Haugaard: when you act like buffoons—and now when you say buffoonish things like, You can think your thoughts but you can’t publish them—it’s not the person who points out that you are acting like buffoons who makes you look like buffoons. Your buffonery stands as an independent and obvious fact.

Taylor tells League members she’s not taking this retaliation lying down:

Yesterday, after consulting with multiple attorneys, I had a letter delivered to the Speaker saying I disagreed with the premise of his action, and stated that I wanted to have a written justification of his authority to ban me from the floor by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16. I received no response [Taylor, 2019.01.17].

Nonetheless, Speaker Haugaard is threatening Taylor with contempt charges:

This morning at 9 a.m., I approached the Sergeant at Arms and asked if I could come onto the floor. I was told he had been instructed not to let me on the floor. I asked who had given that order, and he replied “The Speaker.” He further handed me a section of Mason’s Rules that refer to Contempt and maintaining order [Taylor, 2019.01.17].

…and impacting her ability to do the job she’s paid to do:

I am unable to adequately represent you without being able to speak to members on the Floor of the House when it is open to the public. I am seeking legal counsel on this situation, but if you would like to communicate with your legislators on this issue, I would appreciate your support [Taylor, 2019.01.17].

It sounds like Haugaard is taking a page from Donald Trump’s thin-skinned tyranny. Only a tyrant uses his power to punish people for expressing opinions. Only a tyrant misuses his power to selectively deny individuals who disagree with him their right to participate in their own government. Only a tyrant would say, You said something negative about me, so I’m going to threaten you with professional and legal consequences.

Speaker Haugaard has moved well beyond the “wacky” description that he earned with his poorly informed and hyper-partisan votes last Session. He is now moving to ominous, overbearing tyranny that should not be allowed to wield the honorable gavel of our august House of Representatives. Like Trump, for using his power to work out his personal grudges and punish citizens for expressing honest opinions, Haugaard should be removed from office.


  1. Kal Lis 2019-01-18 14:31

    I suppose I should go look at the rules, but South Dakota seems to give folks in positions of power a lot of leeway, so I don’t know if his actions here rise to the level that would allow Republicans to actually remove him.

    This is a situation where a few adult Republicans in the caucus should take the snowflake speaker aside and make him recite “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” a few hundred times and then allow Ms. Taylor back on the floor to do her job.

  2. Rorschach 2019-01-18 14:51

    Now I’m curious what Taylor wrote that offended Haugaard

  3. Debbo 2019-01-18 15:05

    But, does the Wee One have the power to deny a citizen her right to not only participate in government, but carry out her job?

    His behavior is very anti-business.

  4. Donald Pay 2019-01-18 15:18

    That guy should not be a legislator, let alone Speaker. It’s not as if Taylor got in his face and threatened him. She used her First Amendment rights to call out some legislators. Big deal. I said much worse things and not had problems like this. Give him the Diaper Award and some Pampers and an invitation to a civics class at the Lobbyist Dinner at the end of session.

    The House floor is a convenient place to touch base with legislators, but you can collar legislators anywhere, so she probably overstated the impact to her lobbying. Still, it seems to be a punishment for using the First Amendment, and that should never happen.

  5. David Newquist 2019-01-18 16:10

    There was a time when the Iowa legislature became known for its Wackies. At that time a number of lobbyists and agriculture journalists for major publications traveled through the Midwest. They would stop in my office to chat, and many had stopped by the Iowa legislature just for the entertainment. They would regale me with tales of foolery from the Iowa legislature. The attention seemed to have some affect, and I haven’t heard any tales of doltish frolic from Iowa of late, but maybe those looking for such entertainment might be diverted to South Dakota. Haugaard sounds like a bastion of buffoonery.

  6. mike from iowa 2019-01-18 17:21

    Bit of a stretch to stay with topic, but Molly Ivins wrote of the time Lonnie Pilgrim walked around Texas legislature handing out 10k campaign checks to pols who were set to vote on a bill Pilgrim favored. I’m guessing it had to do with chickens.

  7. Porter Lansing 2019-01-18 18:25

    grudznick once walked through the SD legislature handing out poker chips from Deadwood casinos.

  8. RJ 2019-01-18 19:44

    I think there are lobbyists with the greater good in mind and lobbyists who are money driven and selfish. Perhaps, if governmental officials on all levels actually communicated with the public and listened, lobbyists wouldn’t have the role they do. Haugaard is being a baby and it’s pretty pathetic. When you decide to run for a public office and are elected, your primary job is to listen first and then make decisions based on what people have said. Haugaard’s behavior is completely unacceptable.

  9. John 2019-01-18 19:52

    Ms. Taylor should consider contacting the SD professor who wrote and edits the US Constitutional law text book. Haugaard’s action won’t survive the light of day.
    The banana republicans should remove Haugaard as leader.

  10. Porter Lansing 2019-01-18 20:20

    These are the current bills presented by Rep. Haugaard esq.
    Require the national motto of the United States to be displayed in public schools.
    Require parental notification and agreement before the institution of an order to withhold resuscitation from certain patients.
    *Apparently, our motto as Americans is … “In God We Trust”. Haugaard would have every public school buy (with their own money) a plaque proclaiming In God We Trust and display it in a prominent place. (High schoolers would never vandalize a thing like that, huh?)
    *When I think of people with DNR directives I don’t visualize them still having parents alive. But, this must be some sort of Deutschian pro-life thing.

  11. Debbo 2019-01-18 20:28

    Well Porter, it’s good to see the doltish speaker is focused on taking action to improve the health, well-being and safety of all South Dakotans.

  12. Porter Lansing 2019-01-18 20:46

    A cursory search of the Speaker’s time in Pierre shows he takes a lot of action for a certain religion. That particular sect seems to “run the show” out there on the big Mizzou. Pierre’s like a personal confessional to petition Heaven for all kinds of sinners, Rev. Debbo.

  13. Debbo 2019-01-18 22:54

    Yup. No need for churches. 😏

  14. o 2019-01-18 23:01

    Require the national motto of the United States to be displayed in public schools.

    I am working on a snarly remark to the effect that if the legislature would allocate needed money to the public schools, schools would see the motto that way . . .

    It is late, so I might have to just crowdsource that joke.

  15. SAm 2019-01-19 08:28

    After reading the editorial in question it is time the SDML move on from Taylor. She has lost credibility by name calling and is anything but professional.

    The speaker is wrong on this one, however the SDML is also for not letting her pursue other opportunities.

  16. Dana P 2019-01-19 08:38

    The new Noem Regime.

    Not good, not good at all. “We” like some freedoms, but not others.

    side note — stop acting like buffoons and maybe people will not refer to you as buffoons.

  17. mike from iowa 2019-01-19 08:57

    e platypus onion got a nice ring to it.

  18. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-01-19 10:03

    Wait a minute, Sam: you’re telling me that we can’t call hyperpartisan, hyperideological, and most importantly impractical politicking “wacky” and still participate in the political process? That position seems to facilitate that, no matter how mean or petty our elected officials are, we still have to stroke their egos and leave unpierced their over-inflated self-impressions.

    I get called all sorts of names here. I don’t like name-calling, and I recognize that it doesn’t advance our understanding of issues, but I don’t ban people from participating in the discussion for insults as thin as “wacky.” Calling me “wacky” for advocating, say, a state income tax or a South Dakota-based anti-asteroid missile system (actually, think of the jobs….) would hardly register on my radar, especially not if the critique went, as it did in Taylor’s case, “You’re wacky for taking such a position, and here’s why.”

    Haugaard’ tactic is sheer Novstrupism: whining about name-calling while evading the real policy argument, not to mention while voting for resolutions praising the name-calling-est President in American history. Any standard that would remove Taylor from her position for calling Haugaard et al. “Wackies” would also require the immediate impeachment of Donald Trump… not to mention any of the Republican legislators who talk smack about me in caucus.

  19. grudgenutz 2019-01-19 10:26

    I am calling Heidelberger out right this second for being erudite and fair. Such behavior is unacceptable in a state wherein leaders like John Thune carry 80% approval.

  20. Porter Lansing 2019-01-19 10:45

    Voting for e platypus onion … twice.

  21. Buckobear 2019-01-19 10:52

    Considering the job they’re doing maybe it should be ” e pluribus feces.”

  22. Rorschach 2019-01-19 11:00

    Thanks for the link, Cory. I read the article Taylor wrote – breaking the legislature into broad categories (“normals” = 80%, “wackies” = 20%) and calling on readers to support “normals” in primary elections.

    I looked up the particular bill Taylor used as an example – SB 25 – that was nearly killed by the “wackies” because it included a fee increase, despite having no opposition from anyone affected by it. As expected I found that Rep. Haugaard sided with the “wackies” on that bill. And being called a “wacky” chafed a hole into his thin skin. You know who else reads this blog and is one of the “wackies?” Sen. Stace Nelson.

    Ms. Taylor is and always has been a Republican. She worked for John Thune when he ran the Municipal League and replaced him in that position when he moved on to bigger and better things. As Director of the Municipal League she lobbies for a public interest, not for a special interest. And she does a pretty good job. She has been around a lot longer than Haugaard and will still be around after he’s gone.

  23. Nick Nemec 2019-01-19 11:57

    I have it on good authority that Speaker Haugaard has called aside middle aged and beyond female legislators and admonished them for their skirt length. He is a religious kookburger trying to enforce religious edicts on a secular institution.

  24. Nick Nemec 2019-01-19 12:02

    In this case “good authority” is a current Republican member of the SD Legislature.

  25. Porter Lansing 2019-01-19 12:30

    religious kookburger … Take that, Mr. Greasy Chin.

  26. David Newquist 2019-01-19 12:43

    He is exactly what Barry Goldwater warned us about. But he was an Episcopalian of Jewish heritage.

    *”Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternatives.”

    *”Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”

  27. Sam 2019-01-19 12:55

    Cory: She has the right to call names I agree. The reason SDML needs to move on she will be stone walled and will not be a effective in helping our cites.

    Taylor need to go I stand by that

  28. Kal Lis 2019-01-19 13:54

    I am having trouble following Sam’s logic.

    Ms. Taylor has been in this job for over 20 years.

    She singled out no specific legislator.

    She referenced a specific vote. No one has come forward to say why returning water pollution control in South Dakota to the EPA is a good idea nor has anyone disputed the fact that EPA would have taken on that role if SB 25 had not passed.

    No one has come forward to explain why it isn’t whacky for folks who take a states rights’ position to cast a vote that would have resulted in more federal intrusion in South Dakota.

    Calling someone whacky is a far cry from questioning whether the person’s mother is of the canine persuasion, questioning whether the person’s parents were married at the time of the person’s birth, or asserting that the person, like the mythical Oedipus, may have had carnal knowledge with his mother.

    The speaker seems to be, without cause, making an effort to determine whom private organizations can hire and in what capacity these persons may serve the organization. That position is neither democratic nor republican, it’s autocratic and should be resisted.

    If the South Dakota Municipal League were to capitulate, nothing would prevent future legislative leaders from taking unwarranted punitive action against their advocates.

  29. David Newquist 2019-01-19 14:10

    What Kal Lis said.

  30. Porter Lansing 2019-01-19 14:25

    From Feb 15, 2017
    -A doctor performing a “pain-capable” abortion could face up to two years in state prison under a South Dakota GOP bill that cleared the state house Tuesday.
    -HB 1101 further criminalizes abortion care in a state with only one abortion clinic, but the bill’s Republican sponsor insisted the legislation does not impose a hardship on women—because abortions “kill” female fetuses.
    -“The fact is, half of the abortions include the death of a girl, so it’s certainly not an attack against women,” Rep. Steven Haugaard (R-Sioux Falls) said in support of the bill.
    -Haugaard is part of the group of women haters in positions of power and prominence in SD. Fred Deutsch, Steve Hickey, Troy Jones, Pat Powers and they’re not all men. Read this concerning today’s Women’s March in Sioux Falls.
    -Anne Beal -SDGOP Platform Committee
    January 18, 2019
    If they can get their cars started It will be a lovely rally of postmenopausal lesbians who are terribly worried they might get pregnant, and younger straight women who can’t figure out why they keep getting pregnant. Put them all together in a room to compare notes and they might have an epiphany about that. So some good might come out of it.
    Life is hard when you’re Stupid. We must try to be sympathetic. Or maybe not.

  31. Debbo 2019-01-19 15:03

    Oh Porter, that’s too stupid, sad, sick and perverse to even comment on. There is no rational response to such irrationality.

  32. 96Tears 2019-01-19 15:59

    As much as I respect Yvonne’s years of great work and excellent skills, maybe this is an important lesson to all Republicans in South Dakota. This kind of abuse and embarrassing juvenile behavior by the Speaker of our House of Representatives is what you get and what you deserve when you cowards fail to put reasonable people in charge. Instead, you Republicans elect nut jobs and haters. The canary in your coal mine is allowing Stace Nelson to run the roost on the Third Floor and electing zeroes like Noem and Ravnsborg to run our state government and piledrive it into the ground. Yes, Yvonne must suffer. The SDML must replace her with a coward who will kiss the ass of an idiot like Haugaard. Maybe a lot more damage will need to happen before you Republicans get so sick of ideologues and nutjobs running our state you might enlist qualified people to office instead. There are qualified, reasonable Republicans out there. But you Republicans have an absurd and obscene idea of what good governance looks like.

  33. mike from iowa 2019-01-19 16:01

    Second Lady Karen Pence is back at her old job teaching art to students at a Virginia Kristian school that does not accept LGQBT students, parents or teachers.

    Vice Weasel Pence is offended that people are offended by his wife’s offensive job.

  34. leslie 2019-01-20 00:17

    Another non-partisan board, West Dakota Water Development District has a wing nut director who hired a $7500 lawyer to sue Rapid City Journal for calling him “ultraconsevative” defaming him and sought to authorize $100,000 for the litigation. This guy has the same Trumpist thin skin we are discussing here.

  35. leslie 2019-01-20 00:22

    Twitter@sethtupper dec 12 2018

  36. grudznick 2019-01-20 08:50

    Back in the days when grudznick strolled the lobbies handing out gifts there was no poker in Deadwood. There were other forms of entertainment that one could hand out vouchers for, however.

  37. Darin Porter 2019-01-20 13:52

    You had my support until you brought up our president, Mr Trump. He has NOTHING to do with your situation. Now you sound like my 4 year old who blames others for everything.

  38. Rorschach 2019-01-20 17:12

    And Janklow shut that down, grudz. What ever became of Pam and her purple door?

  39. Porter Lansing 2019-01-20 17:37

    Ror … Pam’s probably passed away by now. God bless her. I would imagine the firetruck she gifted to Deadwood is gone, also. She was always kind to this young roughneck coming to visit, from Gillette.

  40. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-01-20 17:44

    Darin, I’ve probably also painted my walls a color you don’t like. We probably agree on several things. But our disagreements on other issues do not refute the plain fact that Haugaard is abusing his power and removed from office. Stay focused: work together where we agree, achieve our common goals, then fight about other things when the time is right.

  41. Jake 2019-01-20 18:31

    Should the SD GOP continue to condone this guy being in power it is despicable. We are witnessing almost total disregard of all things decent if the Repubs don’t pubicly horsewhip this guy-where are all the Municipal League members who must be PROUD members of the SD GOP? Hiding like Mitch McConnell under their desks???? He should be removed from his position immediately, if not sooner.

  42. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-01-21 20:55

    96 gets it and responds properly to Sam’s facilitation of abuse of power. Haugaard embodies the Republican sense that they are entitled to never face criticism, to never be questioned, to never be made to look like buffoons by their buffonery. Haugaard and Republicans believe that we are all to crave pleasant relationships with the members of their elite club, to fawn over them, invite them to dinner and sing their praises privately and publicly. If we comply, they will favor us with the occasional vote in our direction, for which grace further expressions of gratitude will be expected.

    Yvonne Taylor dared to be an uppity woman. Haugaard will have none of that.

  43. grudznick 2019-01-21 21:06

    Mr. H, in your generalisms to you include grudznick and my ilk in your “they” and “them” comments? I just want to know, because I usually try to use moderators like “Some Libbies are Whackies” or “those other crazy libbies” when I blog about stuff, so not to cast all the badness upon fellows like you and some others.

    Even grudznick never says “All of the out-of-state name-callers on Mr. H’s blog, libbies all, are wrong all the time.”

    Just sayin…

  44. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-01-23 22:01

    Grudz, sorry to take so long to cycle back to your comment.

    First the main point here is not a generalism: One Speaker of the House, Steven Haugaard has abused his power to salve his bruised self-importance. He has brought ignominy and a lawsuit on his office. He should step down or be removed.

    Second, while Schoenbeck shows some signs of independence from The Club, and while Nelson shows clear contempt for it, no Republican has made a concerted effort to overturn the rotten apple cart of power and privilege to which the SDGOP clings. Lust, Stevens, and Tieszen were the only House Republicans to vote against overturning IM 22 and restoring legislators’ privilege, and they are all three gone from the House. Nelson and Russell were the only 2017 HB 1069 Nays in the Senate, and they can’t even get an anti-nepotism bill passed for fear of impugning the integrity of a Governor who hired her daughter before her college graduation as one of her first policy advisors.

    Third, please refresh me on the line where I said all Republicans, extremists all, are wrong all of the time. Like Taylor, I will contend that the Haugaardian wackies in the SDGOP are a minority, but they are an unfortunately loud, overly represented minority that needs a time-out. Unfortunately, the non-wackies include a number of sycophants, ciphers, and greedy SOBs who don’t do much to make things better for South Dakota.

    Grudz, as to your membership in some vile they, I haven’t seen your voter registration card lately. Remind us of your party status.

  45. grudznick 2019-01-23 22:14

    Mr. H, I am a proud Past President of the Conservatives with Common Sense, and a Registered Republican. However, I did attempt a run at being Lt. Governor with the Libertarians, and I have Libertarian bents that have been pounded into me with a tire iron by my good friends Bob and the other Bob, and some tolerance and understanding that was softly massaged into my being by your and my good friend Bill. I hold the debates most Sundays at breakfast and most topics are solved, but Bob and Bill stopped attending the debates a few years ago. I think when Bob, the former, moved to Hot Springs, breakfast became less entertaining for most.

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