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Venhuizen Voted Against Indian Child Welfare Study Because Committee Had Too Many Indians, Not Enough Legislators

Tony Venhuizen managed to retain his sharp policy mind and wit while maintaining some semblance of intellect in the Noem Administration. But his ascent (literally: Executive Branch occupies the Second Floor, Legislature the Third) to represent District 13 in the House of Representatives seems to be infecting his brain, perhaps not with an erosion of his IQ, but at least with that annoying sense of clubby Legislative elitism:

A bill to create a study committee to improve Native children’s lives was killed in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 1.

Senate Bill 191 was approved on the Senate side and then received unanimous approval in the House Judiciary Committee, but two days later it died on the House floor.

SB 191 required a 17-member committee to meet at least eight times before November 2024, with the Legislative Research Council coordinating the effort.

Rep. Tony Venhuizen said that the bill required too much.

“Nine of the 17 members are from the tribes, just over half,” he said. “Two from DSS, two from the court system, then just four legislators. So, four legislators on a 17-person committee, but we’re paying for it” [Victoria Wicks, “House Kills Study for Native Families,” SDPB Radio, 2023.03.02].

Um, Tony? I’m surprised that I have to remind you that it’s not the Legislature that would have paid for the SB 191 study or for any other budget item; it’s we taxpayers. (And nearly half of the budget your old boss Kristi proposed isn’t even paid for by South Dakotans; it comes from the federal government!)

And wherever the money is coming from, should the committee consist of the funders or of the actual people who would be affected by whatever policies the committee would be commissioned to study? If I had a trillion dollars and wanted to fund fusion research, I wouldn’t insist that I and my rich family be doing the math and physics; I’d commission mathematicians and physicists! If we’re trying to figure out how to do better for Indian children, we don’t need more legislators on the committee; we need more representatives of the tribes to tell us what’s going on with Indian children and what we may be able to do to help them.

Next I suppose some legislator will tell us that since the Legislature is paying its staff salaries, legislators can smirk into their staff’s bedrooms and tell them how to have fun in bed and produce more milk. Such is the arrogant elitism that appears to infect even the best minds in the South Dakota Legislature.


  1. All Mammal 2023-03-08

    They dissed Rep. Pourier’s well thought through bill twice. Overwhelmingly. She had all her stuff together and implored respectfully with all she had. Her colleagues robotically complained about the cost and shot it like an old printer/copier/scanner/fax machine that always gave you hell. As soon as the shameful deed was done, the next bill was almost unanimously voted through to allocate an extra couple mill. onto an already $5 million shed! If you’re going to be that classy, guys; at least wear your ascots!

  2. Mark Anderson 2023-03-08

    I thought that I read that even the ” were paying for it” wasn’t true. However, unlike a Republican, I could be wrong.

  3. RS 2023-03-08

    “Best minds in South Dakota Legislature”. Now that is certainly a relative term.
    Maybe 4 legislators being outnumbered would give them the same feeling every minority faces every day. They would rather act like a pack of wolves on a defenseless prey. Trans, medicaid, natives, immigrants, teachers …etc.

  4. Bob Newland 2023-03-08

    On SDPB online today, I heard Rep. John Wick imploring the lord to continue giving SoDak a growing economy, while justifying denial of bailing out nursing homes.

    Once more a Republican praises the lord for federal money while giving lip service to a lie.

  5. Donald Pay 2023-03-08

    Somehow these brilliant thinkers, including Venhuizen, are willing to fund a study to facilitate placing a socialist nuclear plant in South Dakota, but when it comes to how the state can improve the lives of Indian families, they can’t seem to come up with the money. That’s the Republican way. Fund the rich and spit on everyone else.

  6. larry kurtz 2023-03-08

    Hey, if Mr. Venhuizen is going to raise money from the far white wing of the SDGOP for his ambitious quixotica he has to hate on some brown people to win a statewide seat.

  7. O 2023-03-08

    Bob, perhaps the GOP, as self-appointed emesaries of the Lord, see it as their mandate to act in mysterious ways?

  8. Arlo Blundt 2023-03-08

    “When in doubt, blame the Indians” a well worn Republican Creed.

  9. Algebra 2023-03-12

    If’s sovereign nation wants to form a committee to discuss how to improve the lives of their children, what do they need the SD state legislature for?
    Why don’t they just do it themselves?

    ……never mind…..

  10. All Mammal 2023-03-12

    Hey Algebra- because the State reserves a monopoly on violence against Native children. They also flex their authority to collect Native children for federal money. The brokeass welfare State of SD collects on the skin of Native children to pay it’s bills. Talk about not motivated to earn its own way and you will be talking about a poor, inbred SD. It is a system worked into the foundation of how SD is even able to eat. So, when you insinuate reservations need the legislature to do a summer study, you really need to get your facts straight. The State needs to take Native kids to function, you can bet your racist, bumpy country butt on that.

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