So it’s Veto Day, and Governor Kristi Noem is trying to shoehorn two new bills into the last day of Legislative action. Her new transgender-bullying bill results from her illegal fake “style-and-form” veto of House Bill 1217, a confusing and politically costly flip-flop issued less than two weeks after she said she was “excited” to sign the ban on transgender girls in high school and college sports. Speaker Spencer Gosch (R-23/Glenham) is recommending members vote against that unconstitutional rewrite. Simply overriding the Governor’s veto and salvaging the original, more extensive HB 1217 will require a two-thirds vote, and the bill fell four votes short of that threshold on its original pass through the Senate. The Governor thus has a lot of work to do to get herself out of her transgender mess.
The Governor is also proposing an entirely new bill on medical marijuana. Her original ploy to sabotage Initiated Measure 26, the legalization of medical marijuana that voters approved last November, by delaying its implementation for a year didn’t come out in actual text until a House State Affairs hearing on February 10, a week after the normal deadline for submitting new bills. That hoghouse bill, House Bill 1100, passed seven votes short of veto-proofage in the House, then underwent a stunning amendment to full pot legalization in the Senate, then failed spectacularly at the conference committee stage. Noem tried to rush the Legislature into tinkering with the voters’ will, and the Legislature refused; now she’s trying to rush them again with an even more tardy bill that will require a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules on Veto Day, if not a Special Session, just to be considered. The Governor thus has a lot of work to do to get herself out of marijuana mess.
Governor Noem created a lot of work for herself on two issues that, frankly, don’t constitute as much of a threat to the health of the Republic as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, laggardly K-12 education funding, low and unequal wages, the GOP’s resurrection of Jim Crow, or environmental hazards from industrial agriculture. But if she thinks these issues merit such intense attention, she must have spent her weekend focusing on those issues, calling or visiting legislators, explaining the need for action, and wheeling and dealing for votes.
I don’t recall Dennis Daugaard governing like this. I never voted for him, but at least Dennis Daugaard governed. Daugaard did the work and mostly let the culture war fight itself. Kristi Noem just spends her time entangling herself with other crass attention-seekers and ignoring the real policy needs of South Dakota.