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Weis Abandons ASBSD Reporting Requirement for Fear of Fouling Noem’s Non-Profit Secrecy Law

While Representative Kaleb Weis (R-2/Aberdeen) let his House Concurrent Resolution 6008 attacking the state and national school board associations die in committee last week without showing up to say a word in its defense, Aberdeen’s dimmest Legislative bulb did drag himself before House Education yesterday morning for its scheduled hearing of his House Bill 1295, a bid to subject the Associated School Boards of South Dakota to more  bureaucracy and Legislative interference.

Yet rather than make a reasoned case for supposedly necessary legislation, Weis only showed up to deliver a couple of one-liners (starting at 1:09:55 in the SDPB audio) impugning the ASBSD as shady operators:

  • “Today I bring to you another transparency bill, so I expect my opponents to be lined up all the way out the door.” (That line got a laugh from an audience that had just witnessed and provided loads of opponent testimony to kill House Bill 1310, another attack on public education intended to crush teachers and school districts with time-consuming curriculum posting requirements.)
  • “What are they trying to hide that they don’t want to have to report?” (That line got no laugh—at least none audible on the SDPB audio—as the audience recognized Weis’s shameless McCarthyism)

Weis asserted that because the ASBSD receives state taxpayer dollars, “we should be able to see what those dollars are going for.” Of course, that makes about as much sense as saying that because the Weis family receives state funds, we should be able to see what those dollars are going for and thus require Weis and his Mrs. to submit their grocery receipts to the Government Operations and Audit Committee.

But after less than two minutes of proponentry, Weis raised his white flag, saying he recognizes the concern raised by some opponents that the ASBSD is a 501(c)3 non-profit. He didn’t explain why that concern matters, but the answer is obvious: his boss, Governor Kristi Noem, worked hard last year to win points with ALEC and Americans for Prosperity with 2021 House Bill 1079, her part of a nationwide push by Republicans to keep dark political money dark by prohibiting the executive branch from requiring any annual reports from non-profits or charitable trusts that would be “more stringent, restrictive, or expansive than that required by state or federal law.” Weis’s HB 1295 would have nicked Noem’s long-standing secrecy cred with her dark-money fans by setting a precedent for eroding that protection of nonprofits from prying eyes via a state law asking for itemization of every service provided and every charge issued by the ASBSD. Weis’s implication that non-profits that don’t want to submit to his snooping must be up to no good would have redounded on Americans for Prosperity and other non-profits who don’t want to tell us where they get their money or how much they spend on specific lobbying activities to influence Weis and Noem and others in Pierre.

Unable to talk himself out of the Legislative briar patch he’d written for himself, Weis thus feebly asked the committee to save him by tabling his bill. The committee quickly obliged with a 9–5 vote, with rank radicals Sam Marty, Scott Odenbach, Sue Peterson, Phil Jensen, and Bethany Soye voting nay. Weis’s suffering seatmate, Education Chair Lana Greenfield, joined the ayes, but she didn’t let the bill go without taking a last Weisian poke at the opponents of HB 1295, saying she could dispatch the pages to the parking to  dismiss the folks lined up to testify against Weis’s now-dead bad idea.

One Comment

  1. Porter Lansing 2022-02-15 13:30

    Subconscious liberals denying themselves progress by proposing progress.


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