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Noem Issues One Deregulatory Executive Order, One Optional List of Things We “Should” Do

Governor Kristi Noem issued two executive orders Monday. One does things to address the coronavirus pandemic; the other does nothing.

Executive Order 2020-07, 2020.03.23, p.1.
Executive Order 2020-07, 2020.03.23, p.1.
Executive Order 2020-07, 2020.03.23, p.2.
Executive Order 2020-07, 2020.03.23, p.2.

Executive Order 2020-07 tackles covid-19 with good old-fashioned Republican deregulation. Acting under the one-month state of emergency she declared on March 13, Governor Noem is suspending a swath of administrative rules to allow the Department of Social Services to provide health care to the poor via telemedicine and allow substance abuse treatment and mental health care to be provided by telemedicine. EO 2020-07 suspends one specific rule that limits state payments to pharmacies to once a month, saying that this rule limits pharmacies’ “ability to dispense certain necessary medication in a timely manner.” The order suspends fair hearings rules governing the state’s Medical Assistance program, thus repealing time limits on when parties can file for hearings to challenge Department of Social Services action or inaction and the requirement that the state respond with a final decision within 90 days.

Just in time for the spring thaw, EO 2020-07 lifts load limits for trucks hauling pandemic relief supplies. During this emergency, haulers of relief supplies will not have to split their heavy loads or pay the $25 fee for each overweight load. Haulers still can’t exceed the legal load limit by more than 10%, and they need to avoid bridges posted with reduced weight limits (because we can repave busted-up asphalt later with all the laid-off  athletes and waitresses the Works Progress Administration will be hiring next year under the Biden New Deal, but overloading a bridge will put your medical supplies in the Jim River).

In its mildest deregulation, EO 2020-07 invokes the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which recognizes the out-of-state licences of any professional or skilled worker—not just doctors and nurses but electricians, architects, anyone who needs license—who comes to help with pandemic response in South Dakota.

Now I suppose you could argue that Executive Order 2020-07 does actually do anything; the Governor orders various state agencies not to enforce certain rules. But refraining from enforcing these rules opens the door for useful actions by other actors. Fair enough.

Executive Order 2020-08, 2020.03.23, p.1.
Executive Order 2020-08, 2020.03.23, p.1.
Executive Order 2020-08, 2020.03.23, p.2.
Executive Order 2020-08, 2020.03.23, p.2.
Executive Order 2020-08, 2020.03.23, p.3.
Executive Order 2020-08, 2020.03.23, p.3.

The Governor’s second order of the day, Executive Order 2020-08, doesn’t even promise fruitful inaction. In this second Executive Order, our Executive does not order any agency of the state to do anything. Governor Noem just lists a bunch of things that we “should” do. Not “shall,” as in “hop to it, right now!” but “should,” as in, “I’d like some things to happen, but I’m not about to risk my political neck by enforcing them.”

In EO 2020-08, Governor Noem says we all “should” keep clean and “encourage others to do so,” “know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19,” “understand” who’s most susceptible to the coronavirus, stay away from each other (but “support businesses who are adjusting their business model to reduce the spread” of the disease… which means support this blog, since I’ve shifted my business model to write more about the coronavirus and interact entirely with readers and donors online, thus reducing health risks!), assist doctors and cops, brace for at least eight weeks of this emergency, “innovate and continue to demonstrate entrepreneurial excellence,” encourage our staff to work at home (all South Dakotans should do this? all South Dakotans have staff?), and “offer… special shopping times” to old folks and others vulnerable to covid-19.

EO 2020-08 turns to “enclosed retail business[es] that promote[] public gatherings” and tells them they “should” suspend or modify their business practices and look for ways to support critical infrastructure.

EO 2020-08 tells healthcare organizations that they “should” follow CDC guidance, postpone non-essential elective surgeries.

Finally, EO 2020-08 tells local governments they “should” follow CDC guidance, “restrict public gatherings of ten people or more, unless it is necessary,” “encourage entrepreneurial innovation” to protect jobs and the free market, and protect critical infrastructure.

Generals in battle don’t usually hop on a tank and say, “Hey, guys! You should take that hill!” “Should” leaves us wondering if the general really means it… during which period of confusion the enemy is able to lob a few more shells and knock a few more of our guys off.

If you’re going to issue orders, Kristi, issue orders.


  1. John 2020-03-24 07:55

    ExOrder 2020-08 is laughable. This waste of government time and expense comes from an administration and party pretending to loathe government. The content of EXOrd 2020-08 is barely worthy of being in news release, letter, or public health public service announcement. This is another example that these folks do not know what right looks like when governing.

  2. Richard Schriever 2020-03-24 08:33

    Weak government – That’s the goal. Now get out there and don’t put your whole effort into it team. Just participate. Or as the woman in the hotel commercial says – “You’re so adorable. Now let’s get out there and lose that soccer game!” (while dropping a whole bag full of balls).

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-03-24 12:52

    Weak government: indeed, Richard, that struck me about yesterday’s releases. Like Hoover, Noem and Trump appear unwilling to take seriously their obligations to lead and to use the resources available to them as the leaders of vast communities to use the resources and power entrusted to them to solve problems that cannot be solved at the individual or local level.

  4. Clyde 2020-03-24 13:27

    Cory, this state effectively has no load limits on trucks now because they have no one policing trucks for load limits. I live on a favorite road for truckers to get across the border and avoid having to cross the scales. Truckers have themselves told me the road is known for being a good road to avoid those nasty ‘weigh boys’. It is common for a truck to go by my place and rattle the dishes in our cupboards. Wonder just how much the taxpayer payed for road gets rattled.

    Our walls are all cracked but fixing the cracks makes no sense. We haven’t seen trucks being stopped to check weights in decades. Used to be long ago.

  5. jerry 2020-03-24 14:18

    We pay high taxes here, to a government that hates governing a government. Add it all together, and you have a failed government that is ripe for stealing from. republican lesson 1980-2020.

  6. jerry 2020-03-24 15:04

    GNOem and trump, these guys sound so much alike, it’s getting harder for me to tell the difference. Exactly one month ago from the lying liar

    Donald J. Trump

    The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!

    3:42 PM – Feb 24, 2020
    Twitter Ads info and privacy

  7. Debbo 2020-03-24 15:20

    “It’s clear that social distancing measures are the most effective thing we can do early on,” said Ryan Demmer, an associate professor in the epidemiology and community health division of the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. “So anything we can do to increase that has potential value.”

    And that’s why I call her Klueless Kristi. 🙄🙄🙄

  8. Debbo 2020-03-24 15:28

    Here’s what a real governor does:

    “Gov. Walz has issued a revised supplemental budget that will allocate an extra $356 million towards the state’s COVID-19 response.

    “The bill, which has to be ratified by the Legislature, would ‘provide emergency grants to child care centers; support families struggling financially through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP); support veterans and their families facing financial burdens; increase funding for food shelves; offer small business loans; and increase resources for Minnesotans struggling with homelessness.'”

    In addition, Gov. Walz issued 4 Executive Orders, not suggestions or hopes – Orders. You can read them here, no paywall:

    Oh yeah. He’s doing all this while self-isolating at home because he was in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

  9. Debbo 2020-03-24 17:30

    This guy is the expert above all experts. Although there are some political comments, I hope you’ll pay attention to his medical opinions. HE KNOWS.

    “The world is not going to begin to look normal until three things have happened. One, we figure out whether the distribution of this virus looks like an iceberg, which is one-seventh above the water, or a pyramid, where we see everything. If we’re only seeing right now one-seventh of the actual disease because we’re not testing enough, and we’re just blind to it, then we’re in a world of hurt. Two, we have a treatment that works, a vaccine or antiviral. And three, maybe most important, we begin to see large numbers of people—in particular nurses, home health care providers, doctors, policemen, firemen, and teachers who have had the disease—are immune, and we have tested them to know that they are not infectious any longer. And we have a system that identifies them, either a concert wristband or a card with their photograph and some kind of a stamp on it. Then we can be comfortable sending our children back to school, because we know the teacher is not infectious.

    “And instead of saying ‘No, you can’t visit anybody in nursing home,’ we have a group of people who are certified that they work with elderly and vulnerable people, and nurses who can go back into the hospitals and dentists who can open your mouth and look in your mouth and not be giving you the virus. When those three things happen, that’s when normalcy will return.”

    The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What’s Coming

  10. mike from iowa 2020-03-24 17:42

    A new analysis released Tuesday shows that more U.S. workers filed unemployment claims last week than during any other week in the nation’s history.

    An estimated 3.4 million Americans filed such claims for the week ending March 21, according to the findings from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

    “This will dwarf every other week in history,” wrote EPI’s Aaron Sojourner and Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, adding, “The true impacts are undoubtedly of larger scale than described here.”

  11. Debbo 2020-03-24 18:47

    Here’s how a competent governor addresses his state and makes decisions in regard to COVID-19: (no paywall)

    Here’s responsible citizens in action:
    “Minnesotans appear to be heeding government urges to isolate themselves more than many Americans — even more than many midwesterners.”

  12. jerry 2020-03-24 18:59

    Maybe doctors could/should use this to ventilate up to 5 patients with one ventilator. As the crook and liar called trump will not distribute nor will he allow manufacturing of ventilators. Most expensive healthcare in the world and one of the poorest has to resolve itself to this

    All you need is duct tape and bailing wire and you can rig up anything, pretty good idea though and we will need that here in South Dakota.

  13. Debbo 2020-03-25 14:57

    Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz issues a shelter in place order effective Friday. no paywall

  14. Debbo 2020-03-25 15:49

    Your neighbors to the east are reconvening Thursday as agreed by Democratic and GOP leadership in conjunction with the governor.

    “Walz’s supplemental budget proposal would include money to help child care centers, food shelves, homeless shelters and veterans weather the pandemic. It would create a $200 million COVID-19 fund in the state treasury that state agencies could use broadly to respond to the pandemic. The fund could be used to pay for increased staff and health care needs in prisons, or overtime for people working with direct care and treatment programs that serve people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and addiction.” Strib paywall

    These are things a well led SD could do, though with smaller numbers.

  15. Debbo 2020-03-25 16:08

    This is an interesting, data driven expression of which states and counties within states are being smart about social distancing.
    No paywall

  16. jerry 2020-03-25 16:30

    Monument Health worker came into contact with 112 people who came into contact with who knows and on and on.

    What is the plan for the overrun on the hospitals and morgue locations?

  17. Robin Friday 2020-03-25 19:38

    I know some hospital executives who are privately and publicly warning that if we don’t stay home, SD hospitals are going to be in the same dire straits as far as overloading that big city hospital are now in. Trump is talking through his MAGA hat.

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