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Democratic Rookies Offer Cornucopia of Reasonable, Helpful Policies for South Dakota

Rookie Representative Kaleb Weis’s (R-2/Aberdeen) legislation distinguishes him as both trivially ignorant and sinisterly fascist. Are any other rookies doing as poorly as Kaleb at legislating in the public interest?

Not on the Democratic side.

Rep. Peri Pourier
Rep. Peri Pourier

Rookie Representative Peri Pourier (D-27/Pine Ridge) bounced back from an early absence to file six House Bills:

  1. House Bill 1153 includes properties of cultural and historic importance to tribes in our historic preservation law and clarifies that South Dakota should follow federal law and consult with tribal historic preservation officers when reviewing projects that could affect such historical resources.
  2. House Bill 1237 tells DCI to collect and share information on missing and murdered indigenous persons.
  3. House Bill 1238 tells DCI to add that information about missing and indigenous persons to the training it offers to law enforcement personnel on dealing with missing person and runaway cases.
  4. House Bill 1239 allows tribes to request a local hearing before the Water Management Board to discuss temporary water permits that may affect tribal water rights. (Pourier withdrew a similar House Bill 1161 on this topic last week.)
  5. House Bill 1240 grants that same hearing right to counties and municipalities who fear their water supplies may be affected by a new water permit.
  6. House Bill 1241 directs the Attorney General to create training on human trafficking for employees of lodging establishments and requires lodging employers to provide that training. HB 1241 also provides lodging proprietors and employees immunity from civil action for reporting suspected human trafficking.


Rep. Ryan Cwach
Rep. Ryan Cwach

Rookie Representative Ryan Cwach (D-18/Yankton) has thrown six bills in the hopper:


  1. House Bill 1165 creates a South Dakota Prepaid College Program, allowing parents to pay tuition, fees, and dorm costs years before their kids go to a South Dakota public university or vo-tech at current rates.
  2. House Bill 1166 protects Regental students from cost recovery fees imposed by the state’s collection agency (ahem: Obligation Recovery Center).
  3. House Bill 1213 directs the Department of Labor and Regulation to contract for an independent feasibility study and actuarial model of options for long-term care in South Dakota, to be completed by December 15 of this year.
  4. House Bill 1214 would prevent the state collection agency from blocking folks who owe money to the Regents from registering their vehicles and getting driver licenses, hunting and fishing licenses, and state park permits.
  5. House Bill 1215 requires counties and municipalities who post their ordinances online to verify that they’ve published the most current versions.
  6. House Bill 1236 would strike the loophole that Sanford and Avera used last month to drop coverage for autism treatment.
Rep. Erin Healy
Rep. Erin Healy

Rookie Representative Erin Healy (D-14/Sioux Falls) is prime sponsor of three reasonable House Bills:

  1. House Bill 1122 strikes “hearing impaired” from statute and replaces it with the terms “deaf or hard of hearing” that folks with those conditions prefer.
  2. House Bill 1175 creates an Early Learning Advisory Council, which would allow South Dakota to receive federal collaboration grants to expand pre-school availability.
  3. House Bill 1230 would add clergy to the list of mandatory reporters for suspected child abuse or neglect.
Rep. Kelly Sullivan
Rep. Kelly Sullivan

Rookie Representative Kelly Sullivan (D-13/Sioux Falls) offers two sensible House bills:

  1. House Bill 1243 adds sexual orientation and gender identity to our hate crimes statute and clarifies that hate crimes shall be punished as Class 6 felonies.
  2. House Bill 1244 makes the “correspondence, memoranda, calendars or logs of appointments, working papers, and records of telephone calls” of state agency officials and employees public records. (Governor Noem wants transparency; HB 1244 offers transparency.)
Sen. Red Dawn Foster
Sen. Red Dawn Foster

Rookie Senator Red Dawn Foster (D-27/Pine Ridge) has one Senate Bill of her own (in addition to priming eleven House bills for her Democratic allies across the hall):

  1. Senate Bill 184 toughens up the standards that TransCanada used to renew its permit for Keystone XL from the Public Utilities Commission. SB 184 says applicants for certification of a permit after four years of inaction on a project must show they have complied with prior permit conditions. SB 184 also directs the PUC to consider the applicant’s performance on similar projects and past violations of state, federal , and tribal laws or regulations.

Rookie Representative Michael Saba (D-9/Hartford) evidently couldn’t come up with any House Bills of his own, but he signed on as prime to five Senate bills.

Representative Linda Duba (D-15/Sioux Falls) similarly slacked off in her first Session, offering no House bills of her own but priming two of her District-15-mate Senator Reynold Nesiba’s bills.

I wish Saba and Duba had kept up with their fellow rookie Dems on bill introduction. As you see, even the rookie legislators of the Democratic Party offer meaningful, substantive legislation designed to help people and solve real problems, not fight the bogeymen and culture wars that consume the meager imaginations of Republican noobs like Kaleb Weis.


  1. leslie 2019-02-05 07:33

    Excellent summary Cory. We also need another Cwach no. 5 for state statutes (SDCL) and administrative rules (ARSD).

  2. Kal Lis 2019-02-05 07:34

    At last Saturday’s cracker barrel, Representative Cwach astutely pointed out that we should start trying to pay attention to good legislation rather than all of the crap. WNAX had some clips this morning.

    The prepaid college program looks like a great idea.

  3. Jenny 2019-02-05 07:57

    It’s so nice to see some sensible Democrats introducing bills that actually help people. It’s also hard to believe that South Dakota hate crime statutes did not already include Gender identity and sexual orientation.

  4. Jenny 2019-02-05 08:06

    South Dakota is so so far behind in expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation and gender identity! MN Has included sexual orientation and Gender identity in their hate crime laws since 1989.
    It is always so startling to see how far behind South Dakota is From other states.
    Sad to say, but SB 1243 Will have a hard chance of passing.

  5. Donald Pay 2019-02-05 08:20

    Sometimes Democrats go way too far over to being reasonable. These are good bills,. I like SB 184 the most.

    I like SB 184 because it sticks it right up the Republicans’ behinds by addressing their big failures. You could have bills banning radioactive waste, undoing the corruption at the Gilt Edge Mine, re-introducing anti-corruption provisions, reform of water pollution statutes to protect the health of citizens and the environment, an income tax coupled with property tax relief through increased education funding. The list of Republican failure is endless and grinding their face in their failure might make them start paying better attention to good governance than to potty bills.

  6. Rebecca 2019-02-05 09:52

    SB 184 is for certification of permits for all PUC-permitted facilities, not just pipelines. It says that if you haven’t made significant progress in 4 years and must go back to certify, there’s a process for that (which is not simply the company saying, “yup, we’re doing everything right!” and the PUC saying “okey-dokey!”). And, what that process looks like is already laid out in statute in 1-26.

    Since TransCanada has already gone through certification, this bill won’t likely have any impact on KXL, but it’s a good government bill that addresses a glaring problem with the certification process (or lack thereof) exposed in court challenges to the certification of KXL.

  7. Porter Lansing 2019-02-05 10:15

    House Bill 1230 vs Roman Catholic Church
    ~ 28 States and Guam currently include
    members of the clergy among those professionals
    specifically mandated by law to report known or
    suspected instances of child abuse or neglect.

  8. Donald Pay 2019-02-05 11:18

    Why there is a 4-year period and not 1 year, as in other statutes for landfills, etc., under DENR permitting? Why this is just “certify” versus actually loss of the permit if they don’t construct? Companies demand quick and, thus, not very complete permitting, while getting the benefit of sitting on permits. The whole process needs to be inverted. The 4-year period ought to be for permitting, including environmental reviews, etc. The one year period ought to be for construction.

  9. Debbo 2019-02-05 15:38

    Hard to believe “clergy and other church officials” are not already mandated reporters. I always considered myself to be one. Every decent adult human being should consider her/himself a mandated reporter.

  10. Porter Lansing 2019-02-05 17:17

    HOUSE BILL 1230
    Pope Francis publicly acknowledges sexual abuse of nuns by clergy and vows to fight the problem
February 5 at 4:13 PM MT
The pope’s acknowledgment of the scandal of priests and bishops sexually abusing nuns came — for the first time in public — during a news conference on his flight to Rome from the United Arab Emirates. – Washington Post

  11. Debbo 2019-02-05 17:28

    Talk. RCC has been talking about their perv problem for years, apologizing, asking for prayers, saying prayers, confessing sin, yadda yadda yadda.

    In the meantime Vatican Inc instructs dioceses to file bankruptcy to protect their glittery doodads and limit help to the victims, hide files on perps from police, bring perps to the Vatican and refuse to extradite, set up committees that are so impotent lay members quit in disgust, go to court to protect Vatican Inc from legal suits by claiming distance from their diocese, refuse to instruct all members to immediately report perps to local police, stifle reports of RCC complicity,… it’s endless.

    Vatican Inc needs to be RICOed out of existence. It is a massive, world wide child trafficking program masquerading as a church.

  12. bernie 2019-02-05 17:44

    Good proposals — I’m proud of those rookies. But don’t be too hard on those who don’t have bills in their first year. There’s a lot more to being a lawmaker than proposing bills, and spending your first session learning and listening and building relationships is even more important in the long run.

  13. Porter Lansing 2019-02-05 17:54

    Agreed, Debbo – SDRCC is an ongoing crime in progress. State legislators cover it up. Catholic and born again voters walk around staring at the ground, thinking God will intervene. God IS intervening, folks. Stand up for decency and demand The Catholic Church be held to the same “immaculate standards” South Dakota is known for!
    Demand a yes vote on HOUSE BILL 1230, you know … for the raped children going unsaved.

  14. Roger Cornelius 2019-02-05 18:42

    Here is a case the Rapid City Catholic Diocese did not cover up.
    Yesterday Fr. John Praveen of the Rapid City Diocese plead guilty to one count of child sexual abuse and is being held in the Pennington County Jail until sentencing in April.
    By pleading guilty he will be sentenced to the low end of the sentencing, likely a year in jail.
    He faces deportation to India upon completion of his sentence.

  15. Porter Lansing 2019-02-05 19:02

    That story is indeed encouraging, Roger. Research shows the molested boy went to the police first and not to the diocese first, as Catholic teaching requires. Once the RCPD got involved, the church had no choice but to offer to help. We can’t say this story is anything but commendable, however rare it is.
    Putting a civil penalty against any clergy who covers up knowledge of abuse only seems right. As our resident mainstream Protestant clergy (Debbo) said, “It’s hard to believe clergy aren’t already required to report abuse.”

  16. leslie 2019-02-05 19:20

    It was only a few years ago our favorite eloquent litigator (Catholic) here argued against holding the church enablers responsible. The power of indoctrination?

  17. Roger Cornelius 2019-02-05 19:20

    Porter, you are probably thinking of a different case, I should have made it clear that Fr. Praveen molested a 13 year old girl twice by feeling her breasts through her clothing.
    At one point the court was going to allow him out on bail, a family in the Black Hills was willing to let them live with them, but the ankle monitor wouldn’t activate in the isolated area.

  18. Porter Lansing 2019-02-05 19:55

    Maybe, Roger. You’ve no doubt been following it. I read from the RCC Journal that John Praveen, also known as John Praveen Kumar Itukulapat, 38, was arrested in October and charged with two counts of sexual contact with a child under 16, a class 3 felony which carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $30,000 on each count, according to a press release from the Rapid City Police Department.
    It reads two counts of sexual contact with one child. I did read about the family in Nemo that offered to let him stay on bail but the monitor was out of range.

  19. Debbo 2019-02-05 20:45

    That’s great news Roger. That’s how it should always work, the victim goes straight to the police.

    Many times in that situation the RCC stonewalls the cops and prosecutors as much as possible. It’s really sickening.

    There are some wonderful RCC members, religious (nuns, monks, etc) and clergy, but they never get near the seats of power. Vatican Inc has a death grip on those and nothing will change until the $$$ starts drying up. Those “wonderful” people must walk away, painful as that will be.

  20. Roger Cornelius 2019-02-05 21:06

    Debbo, thanks for the kind comment.
    I don’t dwell much on religion because I have always considered it to be so personal, just as other parts of my life.
    Having been educated by Catholic Jesuits at Holy Rosary Indian Mission (Red Cloud Indian School) on the Pine Ridge Reservation and continued education by the Jesuits at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, I have always had a special fondness for them.
    I still remain in contact with some that are priests and a few that left the order. As I read the list of priests that were accused of sexual abuse there were only a few names that I recognized.

  21. Porter Lansing 2019-02-05 21:23

    Roger. Don’t mean to offend you when I indict the Catholic Church. I see it to be a big problem with South Dakota elected legislators. Powers, Schoenbeck, Deutsch, Jones et al. put the church above the constitution and it has to be mitigated.
    *I had many great Catholics in my immediate family. They’ve all become Episcopalians because of the church’s intolerance toward some groups.

  22. Roger Cornelius 2019-02-05 21:36

    Porter, the Catholic Church deserves to be indicted, I take no offense.
    The Catholic Church was a big party of my family and upbringing and for the most part was a positive experience. Fortunately I neve fit their profile to abuse and ended up with many of the Jesuit and priest educators as life long friends.
    Justice comes before the church, and that is what happened with Fr. Praveen. The Rapid City Catholic Diocese handled this matter properly with respect for the victim and her family as well as mercy for the priest.

  23. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-02-05 22:40

    No radicalism from these Democrats, no culture war or polarization, just honest bills, offering honest solutions to real problems.

    South Dakota, if you elected Democrats, this is the kind of legislation you would get.

  24. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-02-05 22:41

    “listening and building relationships”—who let Al Novstrup sneak in here under a pseudonym? ;-)

  25. Porter Lansing 2019-02-06 09:54

    Nuns Getting Abortions and Having Babies That Priests Won’t Recognize?
    It’s time to corral this crazed bull.
    DEMAND a YES VOTE! House Bill 1230 would add clergy to the list of mandatory reporters for suspected child abuse or neglect.
    ~ The women’s magazine of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, titled “Women Church World,” last week condemned the sexual abuse of nuns by priests and said that sisters have for years not reported the abuse for fear of retaliation, according to Catholic weekly newspaper The Tablet. The women’s magazine details the “scandal” of nuns having abortions or giving birth to children not recognized by their fathers.

  26. mike from iowa 2019-02-06 11:41

    Can I wonder how many catholic rape test kits will get lost, stolen, strayed, exorcised and ex-communicated before trial?

  27. Debbo 2019-02-06 13:44

    You may be right Mike.

    Porter, that’s just more perfidiousness on the part of Vatican Inc, the biggest crime organization on planet Earth. When they talk about “the sanctity of life” it’s no different than Jerry Falwell describing Mangled Mango as a godly man. Equal levels of hypocrisy and treachery.

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