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Senator OK with Breaking Law 20% of Time

Speaking of the budget and the Legislature’s legal obligation to increase teacher pay 2% in Fiscal Year 2021, Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) tells the Aberdeen American News that breaking the law 20% of the time is fine:

Novstrup estimates the state law has been followed about 80% of the time.

“There are times you look at the budget and find there is no money or another need pops up and you have to make that hard choice between giving inflation or 3% or funding a critical need like nursing homes,” he said [Elisa Sand and Katherine Grandstrand, “Funding, Industrial Hemp Should Be Top Issues in Pierre {paywall},” Aberdeen American News, 2020.01.11].

Al Novstrup trying to wave away questions about his racism. Screen cap from Dakota Broadcasting video, 2018.02.24.
Really, officer, I wasn’t speeding the other four times!

Ah, I see. So by that logic, if things are busy at the Senator’s bumper-boat palace in Sioux Falls, he figures its o.k. to skip the safety inspections on his amusement equipment 20% of the time.

Or if I’m late for work on Friday, and I have to make that hard choice between obeying the speed limit and getting to work on time, it’s o.k. for me to speed through school zones, as long as I’ve driven the speed limit Monday through Thursday.

Or if the doctor at Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls has dutifully forced four women to listen to Al’s unscientific anti-abortion lies and subject themselves to Al’s coercive fake-counseling and a woman comes in in a panic that her abusive ex-boyfriend may try to stop her from ending her pregnancy if she has to wait 72 hours, the doctor can make a hard choice, ignore the law, and provide the woman with same-day service.

The ever sensible Senator Susan Wismer (D-1/Britton) would rather Al and her other colleagues just follow the law, but if the majority gives itself a get-out-of-jail-free card, Senator Wismer says it’s only fair that the schools should get a pass, too:

If the state can’t meet its end of the bargain, it should back off on the accountability measures for the schools, said District 1 Sen. Susan Wismer, D-Britton.

“Since the Legislature isn’t keeping their deal, we shouldn’t be holding the schools to those very strict formulas,” she said. “They were particularly hard on small schools” [Sand and Grandstrand, 2020.01.11].

If things are so bad that the Legislature can’t follow its own laws, then the schools they cheat by breaking that law should also get a break from Legislature’s demands. Sounds fair to me!


  1. Mark Young 2020-01-12 09:24

    The real “hard choice” is finding a way to fund the teachers’ pay increase AND prevent the closure of nursing homes by expanding Medicare as most other states have done.

  2. Donald Pay 2020-01-12 16:45

    Senator Wismer is right. Districts should be able to make up the difference between what has been promised and what has not been delivered by the Legislature without having to opt out to collect additional revenue to make themselves whole.

  3. grudznick 2020-01-12 17:41

    Mr. Novstrup, the elder, he of the distinctive coif, could be rarely wrong here. No laws are broken if they change the law. For instance, if grudznick said “I will have my granddaughter drive me down the freeway at 95 miles an hour to make it to breakfast on time” no law is broken if the speed limit is changed to be 95 miles an hour before I take said ride.

    So when the legislatures debate about giving teachers no raises despite the law saying they are to get some raise, they are not breaking that law if they change the other law that says that for today no raises must be given.

    They can play games, Mr. H, I’m just sayin…

  4. Debbo 2020-01-12 18:58

    Nostrap is such a sniveler. What doesn’t he try to weasel out of? Just be responsible and keep your word Al! Try it some time. You might like it.

  5. grudznick 2020-01-12 19:08

    Mr. Novstrup, the elder, is noted as being one of the most agreeable and least juvenile and name-calling in the legislatures. He is probably a Christian, although grudznick wouldn’t care, and certainly is an adult who treats people with the respect to which all are entitled. Probably like a fellow named Jesus would want, if there was a fellow named Jesus today.

  6. o 2020-01-12 20:22

    Seems like I have no obligation to go to work on Monday, or ANY Monday ever again: 80% of my work week is good enough!

    Has the state ever exceeded this (or the past) funding law? Do the excesses of good times ever belatedly help the dirges of the bad times?

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-13 05:31

    We all have to make hard choices, O. Bright noisy office or warm quiet bed. Funding K-12 education as promised or letting the governor choose different campaign-boosting priorities. Doing the work taxpayers elected and pay legislators to do or flying to sunny Texas for vacation in January.

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