Rep Lana Greenfield at the Brown County Fair

Rep Lana Greenfield on the SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.
Rep Lana Greenfield on the SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

As I continue my posts about short chats with SD state legislators at the Brown County Fair I’ll now focus on Rep Lana Greenfield  (R, Dist 2). Rep Greenfield is a freshmen legislator, who won the seat previously held by her son Brock Greenfield (Brock switched over to the state Senate). Like all posts in this series it will be short; these posts are more of a mid-term chat with the legislators I meet and not truly an interview.

Going into her freshman year, Rep Greenfield said the experience was quite enlightening. She felt at times that the whole process was setup in a way to push what the Governors office wanted. I’ve heard this from quite a few legislators actually, and it is an issue I wish would come to the forefront. At times it seems there is no true balance of power between the legislative and executive branches in Pierre.

Rep Greenfield was one of those that called for a special session of the legislature for education funding. Greenfield believes Rep Elizabeth May (R, Dist 27) is someone who is fiscally conservative enough that she would not call a special session unless there was a reason. Rep Greenfield feels it was prudent to support Rep May and for the legislature to meet and hear her proposal. In particular Greenfield felt the $21 million dollar surplus could have been immediately given to education in order to help the teacher shortage. Without the special session that will not happen. When talking about the special session, Rep Greenfield was very disappointed that so many legislators would not even open the certified letter.

When talking about the good of the 2015 legislative session, Rep Greenfield is glad the legislature didn’t wait another five or so years to start funding infrastructure maintenance and repair (SB 1, SoDakLiberty Posts).

Going into 2016 Rep Greenfield believes elderly abuse should be a priority for the legislature. She feels that elderly people are being taken advantage of. During this previous session there was a task-force created to look into the issue (SB 168, SoDakLiberty Posts).

Jail population is an other issue Rep Greenfield believes needs to be looked into. She understands that many people are against building bigger jails, but she says many of the smaller towns are having problems because the bigger towns cannot always hold prisoners for smaller towns. Personally I think the legislature should look at way to reduce the amount of prisoners by getting rid of victim-less crimes…

Finally, Rep Greenfield believes the shortage of teachers will be a huge topic in the 2016 session. She says there is a national shortage, and hopes the conversation doesn’t ignore that fact. Going into the session she hopes this topic doesn’t become an “over-sized out of proportion political agenda on the part of a few”. Personally I feel that will happen. Additionally she would like to make sure teachers are treated with the respect such a caring profession deserves.

That was about all I spoke with Rep Lana Greenfield about. Like I said these posts were not meant to be in-depth interviews. They were just a chance to catch up with some elected representatives.

A few words with Rep Steven McCleerey at the Brown County Fair

Rep Steven McCleerey at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema 08/12/15
Rep Steven McCleerey at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema 08/12/15

Over the next few weeks I will be posting short interviews with local state-level elected officials I ran into at the Brown County Fair. None of these were in-depth, they were just a chance to catch up with some elected representatives. Actually I started this series last week with my post about Rep Dennis Feickert (D, Dist 1) in regards to the County Government Interim Committee .

Today’s post will focus on freshman legislator Rep Steven McCleerey (D, Dist 1). McCleerey was elected to the spot previously held by Susan Wismer; which she gave up to run as the Democrat candidate for Governor in 2014.

When talking about his first year, McCleerey said there was some frustration being in the super-minority party. But he said most bills were not partisan and everyone basically worked towards the same goals regardless of party. Most of his partisan frustrations came from healthcare related legislation he felt was stopped for partisan reasons. McCleerey was not happy the tanning bed prohibition for minors (HB 1166, SoDakLiberty Posts) did not pass. It was a bill he worked on and from his time spent on a Hospital board he felt it should have been passed. He doesn’t think comparing the needs of small business to cancer was appropriate. (for the record, I personally am glad the bill failed, it was an unnecessary intrusion into the market).

Continuing on about healthcare McCleerey said: “We really need, as a civilization in the United State, we really need to take care of ourselves”. For that reasons McCleerey is for Medicaid expansion in South Dakota. He had just visited a nursing home and came to the realization that the baby boomer generation is going to need taking care of and new facilities will be needed. He believes Medicaid expansion is one necessary step towards taking care of the elderly.

Changing to the conversation about Keystone XL, McCleerey believes the project is a mistake. He has problems with the oil going through a pipeline all the way to Texas so it can be shipped to a foreign country. In addition, McCleerey has questions about how safe the aquifer will be that the pipeline goes over. He did note that Alaska has much more leaks than the average person realizes. And for that reason he questioned the pipeline planned to go near Brookings. Additionally he noted much of the farmland is tiled now, which could potentially hide the existence of an oil leak for longer. That was interesting because I hadn’t quite heard that reasoning against the pipelines before.

That was really all I spoke with Steven McCleerey about for this conversation. These posts are not meant to be an in-depth interview or report, they are just a way to catch up with legislators and speak about an issue or two.

SDHSAA Interim Committee meeting today in Pierre

TransGender Symbol from WikiMedia Commons.
TransGender Symbol from Wikimedia Commons.

Today the legislative South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) Interim Committee will meet in Pierre at 10:00 am. This interim committee came about because of the SDHSAA choosing to implement a transgender policy last year, and the legislature trying multiple attempts of overturning that policy during the 2015 legislative session.

In this post I will look at some of what has been done up to this point, and then briefly look at the agenda for this new meeting.

Here is my previous summary of the attempts to override the SDHSAA transgender policy through legislation:

The South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) has gotten a lot of attention this year. The history, authority, make-up, and oversight of the SDHSAA is the topic of a summer study approved by the Executive Board.  Of course the true reason so much attention is being placed on the SDHSAA is the transgender policy that was adopted by the organization.  HB 1195(SoDakLiberty Posts) passed the House to try removing the policy, but failed to pass Senate Ed; and then also failed a smokeout. A companion bill HB 1161 (SoDakLiberty Posts) to limit the authority of the SDHSAA also passed the House, but failed in Senate Ed. At the end of session there was then a hoghouse done on SB 140 (SoDakLiberty Posts) to resurrect HB 1195, but that also failed.

This committee already had a meeting on June 26. The minutes from that meeting can be read here. Much of the meeting was spent looking at statutes and legal cases showing where the SDHSAA gets its power.

Also in that meeting the questions put forth in the scope of the committee were discussed:

  • How is the SDHSAA accountable to the legislative and/or the executive branch (DOE)?
  • Does the SDHSAA exceed rule making authority and do they provide adequate public notice?
  • Are there other associations with similar issues?
  • Should schools be required to pay dues to this organization?
  • What is their relationship and responsibility to the National Federation of High School Activities?
  • What is their status under South Dakota law?
  • Are they subject to open meeting laws?
  • Is the one school/one vote policy of the organization valid?

Personally I think those questions raised by the scope are perfectly valid. About two years ago I was able to speak with a group of athletic directors from around the state that believed the SDHSAA had gotten too powerful, and was trying to dictate to schools instead of working with them. Sadly I don’t think that will be the focus of this interim committee though, it will be overwhelmed with attention on the transgender policy.

Sen Bill Van Gerpen (R, Dist 19) asked about where the authority to make policies lie; is it with the legislature, SDHSAA, or the schools. That was an interesting question because the legislature has passed bills into law that the SDHSAA must follow, specifically pertaining to drug use and high school activities. The answer was that the SDHSAA has the authority to set policy, but must follow any legislation passed as well.

Rep Tona Rozum (R, Dist 20) asked what precipitated the need for a transgender policy. Apparently this came about because one student had made an inquiry, and then a year worth of research and public meetings was done. Also, trying to comply with the  Office of Civil Rights (OCR) requirements was a driving factor, so the SDHSAA would not be sued.I don’t see it in the minutes, but this is probably because the OCR has said Title IX protects transgendered students civil rights.

Rep Kris Langer (R, Dist 25) asked how many students would be impacted by this transgender policy. The answer in the minutes was “less than 1/10th of one percent and fewer that will ever choose to participate in school activities. ” I find it odd such a specific policy was needed for such a small cross-section of students. Especially when there are already policies in place to allow students to participate in activities of the opposite sex.

The agenda for today’s (August 20) meeting can be viewed here. Most of the morning appears to be centered around the transgender policies. Here is part of what the press release about the meeting has to say:

The second meeting will include a presentation on the legal precedent currently surrounding transgender protections around the country, and presentations by the SDHSAA on their own transgender policy and site selection policy

Going forward I don’t think anything will come out of this interim committee that has a chance of passing the 2016 legislative session. But I do think the information coming out of these meetings will be used by opponents of the transgender policy to create legislation to curtail the power of the SDHSAA going forward. Specifically I would bet Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) is going to work on some legislation, he isn’t really a fan of the transgender policy. I’m not sure that such legislation will pass, but it should make for an interesting side-show in the 2016 legislative session.

A few words with Rep Dennis Feickert about the County Government Interim Committee meeting today and tomorrow

Rep Dennis Feickert speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15
Rep Dennis Feickert speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15

Today (Aug 19) and tomorrow (Aug 20) the County Government Interim Committee is meeting in Pierre. With the Blue Ribbon Task Force looking into education this committee will probably get little attention. But, I find it odd funding about education can be discussed without talking about county government funding. County governments are funded around property taxes, which have to compete with money that goes to education funding.

Last week I took a few minutes to talk with Rep Dennis Feickert (D, Dist 1) about the County Government Interim Committee, which he is a member of. Feickert is also a former Brown County Commissioner, giving him a good handle of both county and state level issues. Actually the conversation about the County Government came about after speaking with him about the transportation bill SB 1 (SoDakLiberty Posts) being passed this year. Feickert was mostly happy something was passed to fund transportation, but he noted the bill did very little to help out local governments.

When I asked about property taxes I asked Feickert what he would like changed. Specifically I asked if education funding should be removed from property taxes (something I’ve heard some commissioners around the state say they would like). He doesn’t advocate getting education funding out of property taxes. Instead he would like to limit the amount of money that goes to education from property taxes. Currently he said the formula does limit education funding from property taxes to a certain extend through the mil levy set by the legislature. But he says “it robs the local governments of a good funding source”. He thinks a good solid funding mechanism for education should be found so local governments aren’t competing for the same funding source. Feickert believes a small corporate income tax won’t push any businesses out of the state.

Talking specifically about the County Government Interim Committee Feickert hopes something good will come out of the study, but he isn’t going to hold his breath. He noted there are a variety of counties within the state that have different needs and issues. Some county governments need to fix issues with law enforcement and jails, while others such as Brown County are focused on infrastructure issues. As a former county commissioner Feickert hopes to continue being an advocate for county government in Pierre.

I don’t agree with Feickert about a corporate income tax. But after following both state and county politics for the last few years I agree that county level governments are getting screwed by the state on many levels. The state has consistently been pushing more of its duties off on the counties and municipalities in the name of local control (which I agree with); but at the same time the state refuses to allow the counties to raise the revenue needed to meet what is expected and have basically left the counties with a revenue stream that cannot be counted on. Perhaps it is time for the Republican majority in Pierre let go of some of its revenue and let the local governments utilize it. That is fiscally conservative talking point that many Republicans run for office on…

The meeting is going on as I write this post, and will continue into tomorrow. The agenda for the meeting can be found here. Personally I don’t think anything meaningful will come out of this for the 2016 legislative session. Education funding will be the highlight of next years session. And if something is done I would fear it would be the corporate income tax that Feickert and others have been talking about, and that would be bad from my point of view.

Rules Review meeting going on right now

Right now the Legislative Rules Review Committee is holding its regular meeting in Pierre. I’m a bit behind on blogging so this post is coming a bit late. The previous meeting was held on July 20th; my post about that meeting can be found here and the minutes from that meeting are here. All rules from the previous meeting were passed without opposition.

Below are the rules being reviewed in the August 17 meeting.

Whenever possible I’ve included a link to the rule being discussed on the Rules.SD.gov website (make sure you have popups disabled for this site in your browser). Another place to look for more information is to search through the register archive. For this post though I have tried to find things in Rules.SD.gov or through the agency website relating to that rule. I am trying to see how easy the State Government is making it to actually get info.

Department of Agriculture: Division of Ag Development

Adopt rules to establish a Water Drainage Mediation program.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

This set of rules appears to be in reaction to SB 3 (SoDakLiberty Posts) that was passed into law this year. The Regional Watershed Advisory Task Force was the origin of SB 3. Here is what I had to say about SB 3 before:

This is a HUGE topic… especially here in Brown County, where the County Commissioners act as the drainage board. There have been a lot of incidents where neighbors get into battles (sometimes with fists) over water drainage issues. At first I opposed the bill. But as time went on and I studied the bill more I feel this was actually good legislation. It will allow for drainage disputes to be settled outside of the judicial system. Currently the County Commissioners have no actual power to settle disputes, and it would be unwise to give them that power. This bill allows for a mediation path that should be cheaper for landowners than through the judicial system.

I’ll have to keep an eye on the implementation of this mediation program to ensure it is actually doing what it is supposed to do.

Bald Eagle on display in Reptile Gardens. Photo by Ken Santema 07/08/15
Bald Eagle on display in Reptile Gardens. Photo by Ken Santema 07/08/15

Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Amend Waterfowl Hunting Seasons rules to decrease the daily bag limit for scaup from 3 to 2 contingent upon approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; increase the number of hunting days for white-fronted geese from 72 to 86 consecutive days contingent upon approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and remove the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephauls) from the list of state threatened birds.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

The interesting part of this rule is the removal of the bald eagle from the list of state threatened birds. Technically it was on a rule meant for the previous meeting, but not enough time had been allotted for public input. Thus it is now in this meeting that the rule will be looked at.

Department of Transportation

Amend a Speed Limits rule in Campbell County on Highway 10 in Pollock; amend a Speed Limits rule in Jackson County on Highway 44 in Interior and south of the Badlands National Park boundary; and adopt Movement of Oversize or Overweight Vehicles rules to create an extended period emergency declaration permit and an extended period emergency declaration fleet permit

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule and Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

DOT changing some speed limits. The second rule here appears to allow trucks to go over the limit to deal with public emergencies that have been declared by the Governor.

Department of Education: Board of Education

Amend a Career and Technical education rule to increase the postsecondary technical institute per student allocation to the level set for fiscal year 2016 by the Legislature; repeal an Application for Certificate rule regarding revoking, suspending, or voiding a certificate; amend Certification rules to clarify the test required to obtain a 7-12 mathematics endorsement and create a 7-12 intermediate mathematics endorsement; amend a Certificate Denial and Discipline Procedures rule to detail the procedures for the denial of an application for a certificate, the duration of an order imposing discipline, the procedures for reinstatement, and the public or private nature of disciplinary records; and repeal the tuition equalization grant program, Robert C. Byrd honors scholarship program, Christa McAuliffe fellowship program, school term length grades 1-3, and teacher compensation program rules.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

This is a long list of rule changes for the Dept of Ed. The current version of the rule changes with amendments can be read here. Due to lack of time I haven’t really had time to read all of the changes.

Department of Revenue: SD Lottery Commission

Amend a rule to allow a change to the Powerball game matrix and include the 10X multiplier for Power Play in certain defined instances

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

This rule appears to be in regards to a change made by the Multi-State Lottery Association’s Powerball game rules.

Department of Public Safety

Amend rules to increase the amount of time allowed to appeal an administrative driver license action, to repeal unnecessary driver license rules, update commercial driver license language to conform to federal standards and 2015 legislation, update the prorated fees for licenses or identification cards issued to those under 21, and update the adoption of Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance standards.

Rules.SD.gov link for this rule

Part of this rule is in response to SB 41 (SoDakLiberty Posts) being passed this year. SB 41 is the type of bill/law I hate. It was a change the legislature had to make to law in order to keep federal highway funds.

How many Republicans have filed a FEC Statement of Candidacy

kattekrab-CrowdWith the Republican debate for the presidential nomination on Fox News tonight I’ve seen quite a few comments about the clown car of candidates. Currently there are 17  Republican candidates that are acknowledged by the media, and only ten of them that get to take event in the main debate tonight. Yet the clown car is actually much bigger than many think it is; if you take into account the hopefuls that will never be allowed out of the trunk.

Part of becoming  a presidential candidate is to submit a Statement of Candidacy to the FEC (FEC Form 2). Here is a list of all the people around the country that have filed FEC Form 2 for the 2016 Presidential election.  As of today (August 6, 2015) there are 545 candidates that have filed with the FEC, 137 of those are Republicans.

Here is the full list of Republicans that have filed a Statement of Candidacy and the date they field FEC Form 2 at this time. The list will likely continue to grow. TheGreenPapers.com has links to many of these candidates on their website.  This will probably be my last post about the Republican presidential race for quite a long time because the only candidate from that bunch I could ever possibly support, Rand, is not as libertarian as his father Ron Paul. Furthermore I don’t think the RNC would allow Rand to get the nomination anyhow, they will give his delegates the same disrespect that was shown to Ron Paul’s delegates in 2012.

 

ADAMS, JACK LYNN 7/20/2015

ALLEN-REESE, POGO MOCHELLO 1/21/2014

ANDERSON, JOSEPH EDWARD DR. JR. 3/17/2015

ANDREWS, CHARLES PERRY III 11/10/2014

ANTLEY, RAY MILLS JR MD 5/6/2015

ANZOLI, ARMANDO 7/14/2015

ASKIN, RAY WILLIAM MR 7/9/2015

BAILEY, GEORGE BRENT JR 3/19/2014

BAUCOM, DAVID EDWARD 7/7/2015

BERHANE, DANIELLE HUSSER 4/27/2015

BICKELMEYER, MICHAEL 1/1/2015

BIZGA, JOHN CARL 5/4/2015

BOATENG, KWAME APPIAH 7/11/2015

BONIFICIA, ANTHONY A JR 4/9/2015

BOWERS, KERRY DALE 4/28/2014

BRANNAN, DANIEL LESTER 7/20/2015

BROWN, SAMMY MUREL 6/30/2014

BRUCATO, GEORGE JAMES 2/27/2015

BUSH, JEB 6/15/2015

CAISSIE, GARY DAVID 4/23/2015

CARSON, BENJAMIN S SR MD 5/4/2015

CAVANAGH, ERIC SCOTT 6/2/2014

CHRISTENSEN, DALE H 10/8/2014

CHRISTIE, CHRISTOPHER J 7/1/2015

COLE, BRIAN ARI DR 8/14/2009

COLE, SCOTT MICHAEL 9/10/2014

CORNERSTONE, DAVID REED 7/17/2015

CROMBIE, MELODY ANNE MRS. 4/15/2015

CROTZER, EZEKIEL GEORGE 8/24/2013

CRUZ, RAFAEL EDWARD “TED” 3/23/2015

CULLISON, BROOKS ANDREWS 6/10/2015

DAY, TIMOTHY TERRELL 6/11/2012

DEBOW, PAUL W MR 2/20/2014

DELONG, PAUL 5/11/2015

DIGGS, MICHAEL WAYNE 9/9/2013

DONALDSON, KENNETH 4/7/2015

DOUGLAS, DIANA LYNN 8/3/2015

DRAKE, PATRICK ANTHONY 8/21/2013

DUBON, TODD NORMAN 7/17/2015

DUCKWALD, WANDA GAYLE 1/9/2015

DUKE, DOUGLAS HEWITT MR 6/9/2015

DUMMETT, JOHN ALBERT JR 3/10/2014

ELIJAH, ISIS 7/12/2015

EVANS, NICHOLAS 4/14/2015

EVERSON, MARK 3/10/2015

FARMER, ELMER MR. JR 6/16/2015

FEENEY, GERALD FRANCIS 7/13/2015

FELLURE, LOWELL JACKSON 10/29/2012

FIORINA, CARLY 5/4/2015

FIRMANI, JAMES PARIS 7/29/2015

FOX, CHERUNDA LYNN 5/15/2014

FRATTERSON, TURK YOLNINETIMES MR. 7/10/2015

GILMORE, JAMES S III 7/29/2015

GRAHAM, LINDSEY O 6/1/2015

GRISKIE, CHRISTIN NOEL 4/29/2013

HAWKINS, TAMEIKA NICOLE 7/8/2015

HAYDEN, JAMES A 1/23/2015

HENRY, RUSSELL R 7/29/2015

HENRY, SELDEN KENNEDY 7/16/2015

HILL, CHRISTOPHER V 8/28/2014

HUCKABEE, MIKE 5/2/2015

HUNT, EUGENE ROSELL JR 10/17/2013

HYDE, JUSTIN NICHOLAS MR. 2/27/2015

JEWELL, ROGER 4/29/2014

JINDAL, BOBBY 6/26/2015

JOHNSON, TYRONE MR 6/17/2015

JULIUS, TYRONE 2/18/2014

JUSTICE, BRENDA DAWN 4/15/2014

KALEMKARIAN, TIMOTHY CHARLES 2/3/2011

KALINCHEVA, MAGDALINA G DR. 8/3/2015

KASICH, JOHN R 7/23/2015

KELLER, MARC ALEXANDER PAUL 1/24/2013

KINLAW, MICHAEL WAYNE 11/13/2012

KISSI, ALEXANDER OB. BISHOP 7/14/2015

LANG, JENNIFER MARIE DR. 6/22/2015

LAROSE, JOSUE 12/12/2008

LAUREL-SMITH, ABBEY SAMUEL MR 3/11/2015

LAWSON, EDGAR A 7/17/2015

LEE, MONROE 7/20/2015

LEONARD, JERRY L 10/31/2013

LONG, CHARLES ANTHONY 7/20/2015

LOPEZ, AURORA 4/13/2015

LOWER, BARTHOLOMEW JAMES 4/2/2014

LYNCH, DENNIS MICHAEL 4/22/2015

MALONE, JOAN 7/31/2014

MARKOVICH, BARBARA MAE ADAMS 8/2/2014

MARTIN, JAMES RAY 7/1/2015

MARTINX, ANDY 7/16/2015

MARTISKO, MIKE BENJAMIN 3/22/2013

MATHEWS, CORNELUIS 7/22/2015

MCDOWELL, EDDIE 5/30/2014

MEADOWS, NATHAN EVAN 7/31/2015

MILLER, RAYMOND MELVIN 4/8/2015

MILLS, DAVID ALLEN MR 7/6/2015

MIMS, TIFFANI EL DAWN 11/27/2012

MITCHELL, JAMES CREIGHTON MR JR 3/11/2015

MOORE, TIMOTHY JAY MR. 4/17/2015

NEWLAND, K. ROSS 6/11/2015

OLEWINE, SCOT GRANT 12/31/2014

OLIVEREZ, ESTEBAN MIGUEL MR. 7/9/2015

PATAKI, GEORGE E 6/2/2015

PATTERSON, STEPHEN MICHAEL 7/9/2015

PAUL, RAND 4/8/2015

PERRY, JAMES R (RICK) 6/19/2015

PETYO, MICHAEL EDWARD 12/9/2014

PROPSNER, WILLIAM PAUL 7/2/2015

RODEO, KENNY 6/10/2015

ROGERS, LORREN MR 6/23/2015

RUBIO, MARCO 4/13/2015

RUNDBERG, JIM L 2/2/2015

RUSSELL, BRIAN PATRICK KETTERER 9/3/2013

SABBAG, DOUGLAS WALTER 4/8/2015

SANTORUM, RICHARD J 5/28/2015

SAVIOR, OLE’ 4/15/2014

SCHIESS, JOHN THEODORE 2/21/2014

SHERMAN, JEFFERSON WOODSON 6/10/2014

SIMS, GREGORY 7/20/2015

SLEGGS, MARK MR. 5/15/2015

SMITH, DARRYL JOHN MR. 8/1/2015

SMITH, JEFFREY LYNN 5/19/2015

STAGG, SILVIA 3/13/2013

STAUFFER, SCOTT WESLEY 7/31/2015

STERLING, SHAWNA 6/11/2015

STETSON, JOSEPH ARTHUR 5/11/2015

STEVENS, SHERLENE D 5/29/2013

STORY, RICKEY JOE 3/11/2015

SZCZEPANSKI, MICHAEL GARY DR 5/18/2015

THOMAS, MAXWELL 7/12/2015

TOMLINSON, DWAYNE ALAN 6/3/2013

TORKKO, CAROL CONSTANCE MRS. 7/10/2015

TRUMP, DONALD J 6/22/2015

VAUGHN, CORROGAN R 5/4/2015

WALKER, SCOTT 8/5/2015

WALKER, THAI ALLEN REV. 7/21/2015

WARNER, STANLEY WESLEY 7/27/2015

WEST, WARREN PHILIP 7/30/2015

WYMAN, KAYE 6/2/2015

 

A brief look at the failed attempt to call a special session of the SD Legislature

Rep Elizabeth May speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15
Rep Elizabeth May speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15

Last month Rep Elizabeth May (R, Dist 27) sent out a letter to legislators asking for a special session of the SD legislature for the purpose of “addressing the system of educating elementary and secondary students in the state”. Unfortunately I was busy at the time, so I was unable to blog about it. Now that I have some time I will take a few minutes to look at what the special session would have been about, and why it should have been called (even though it would have done no good).

The letter from Rep May and the petition she sent out to fellow legislators can be read on her website.

This special session is a reaction to the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Education theater currently being held in South Dakota.  Originally the task-force was sold as a way to look at how education is funded and other peripheral issues dealing with how that money is used. Yet when the task-force was created it has become quite obvious that funding is the only area that will be looked at. In particular some areas of state mandated costs increases, such as the implementation of Common Core and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing, are completely off the table in this task-force. It is odd these topics are off the table, because they are being mandated by the state and adding to the cost of public education in South Dakota. There are many that feel the Blue Ribbon Task Force is nothing but political theater being used to push a large tax increase in the 2016 legislative session; in much the same way the Transportation funding committee was able to get a massive infrastructure tax increased passed during the 2015 legislative session (SB 1 –SoDakLiberty Posts).

It is too bad. The task-force could have been an opportunity to truly fix some of the problems with public education in South Dakota. But without looking at both the revenue and expenditures it means the task-force is basically admitting that ‘revenue enhancements’ are the only way to fix problems. It is almost mind-boggling that a Republican legislature believes that simply throwing more money at the problem will fix it… (and no, I’m not saying public education doesn’t need more money, I’m saying simply throwing money at any problem doesn’t fix any underlying issues).

Part of this goes back to what I’ve blogged about before. The problem with the Blue Ribbon Task Force isn’t how the meetings are being conducted, the problem is the topic that has been chosen. Here is part of what I had to say in that post and it still sums up by feelings about the Task Force:

There just seems to be a disconnect when the Task Force is saying on the one hand that SD needs to discover how other states are able to do more with less money; but at the same time the public meetings will only look at how to increase funding. It is almost like hearing “our school districts in SD are wasting our money” while simultaneously hearing from the same source “we need to raise more taxes to fund our school districts”. Having such a large disconnect is just asking for trouble.

Rep May did not receive that many yes replies to her call for a special session. Actually the part that really annoys me is that many legislators didn’t even both to pick up their certified letter from a fellow legislator. I can understand that many of the legislators feel Rep May is wrong, but to not even get the certified letter from a fellow legislator makes me wonder how well those same elected officials are at listening to constituents. The list of legislators and their replies (or non-replies) can be found on Rep May’s website.  I was happy to see some Democrats step up and join the Republicans that aren’t afraid to go against the establishment.

Personally I think the special session would have been a good thing. It could have been used to redirect the Blue Ribbon Task Force to look at more than just revenue enhancements (tax increases). But even if the special session had been successfully called it is very unlikely that anything would happen. Too few legislators in Pierre are willing to go against the Executive branch in battles such as this. Perhaps in the 2016 legislative races  it will be possible to get a few more representatives in Pierre elected that realize they work for their constituents, and not the executive branch.

John Kasich sort of has some stances on his campaign website

John Kasich photo from the media kit on his website.
John Kasich photo from the media kit on his website.

As I continue looking through the presidential hopefuls that people in SD will have to choose from; I thought the campaign website for the current Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, would be worth looking at. Like many of the establishment candidates his website is lacking a section focusing on issues, his platform, or any stances. But his About page does at least give some idea about his priorities if elected President.

His focus appears to be on two big areas: economic and national security.

BALANCING BUDGETS, CUTTING TAXES $5 BILLION, HELPING AMERICANS CREATE JOBS

This section focuses on Kasich’s economic conservative accomplishments as Governor of Ohio. Here is a  blurb about what he would do as president:

As president, John Kasich will make balancing the federal budget a top priority and continue his fight for a Constitutional amendment to force Congress to do its job and balance the budget.

That is a great talking point, one that often makes fiscal conservatives happy. I’ve touched on this subject many times when talking about a balanced budget amendment proposed with an Article V convention.  Part of me feels if someone such as Kasich were to become president there would be an attempt to balance a budget, except those attempts would be completely undone at the same by pouring more money into military operations overseas.

Which brings us to the other big stance from Kasich:

NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERIENCE—TO KEEP AMERICANS SAFE

The world is more dangerous now than ever before. On-the-job training just won’t work. John Kasich doesn’t need to “read-up” on national security or foreign policy but will hit the ground running as Commander in Chief on Day One. America needs John Kasich’s experienced, steady hand to reinvigorate our military, strengthen our alliances and start defending ourselves against those who seek to destroy freedom and harm Americans.

That sounds pretty war-hawkish to me. In fact ‘reinvigorate our military’ sounds like code for ‘spend more and more money on the military-industrial complex’. Further, when Kasich says “start defending ourselves” he makes it sound like we are not doing enough military-wise at this time. I really hope the US doesn’t send another war hawk like Bush or Obama to the White House.

Conclusion

This post is pretty short, mostly because Kasich really doesn’t give enough stances on his website to analyze. Personally I don’t see much difference between Kasich and the majority of the establishment DC politicians already in power.

Does Annette Bosworth deserve to lose her medical license?

Annette Bosworth in Sioux Falls 8/9/2014
Annette Bosworth in Sioux Falls 8/9/2014

It was a month ago that Annette Bosworth was sentenced to probation and community service for being convicted of 12 election-related felonies. This is a case where I feel Bosworth was fairly convicted and the sentence was appropriate. But as a result of this conviction Bosworth must fight to keep her license because of her felony convictions. This brings me to a point where I actually support Bosworth.

Last Friday Annette Bosworth had to sit before the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners in order to fight for her medical license. KELO has a story summarizing the hearing. Since I didn’t actually get to see the hearing, or read a transcript, I will refrain from commenting about the hearing.

But I will comment about whether I believe Annette Bosworth should keep her license.

The board has the authority to take her license under SDCL 36-4-29:

Grounds for cancellation, revocation, suspension or limitation of license, resident license, or certificate. The Board of Examiners may cancel, revoke, suspend, or limit the license, resident license, or certificate of any physician or surgeon issued under this chapter upon satisfactory proof by a preponderance of the evidence in compliance with chapter 1-26 of such a licensee’s, resident licensee’s, or certificate holder’s professional incompetence, or unprofessional or dishonorable conduct, or proof of a violation of this chapter in any respect. However, the board may not base a finding of unprofessional or dishonorable conduct solely on the basis that a licensee, resident licensee, or certificate holder practices chelation therapy.
     For the purposes of this section, professional incompetence is a deviation from the statewide standard of competence, which is that minimum degree of skill and knowledge necessary for the performance of characteristic tasks of a physician or surgeon in at least a reasonably effective way.

SDCL 36-4-30 defines unprofessional conduct. There are 24 acts listed in that section of code that fall under unprofessional conduct. The one that would possibly apply here is act number 6:

Conviction of any criminal offense of the grade of felony, any conviction of a criminal offense arising out of the practice of medicine or osteopathy, or one in connection with any criminal offense involving moral turpitude;

Bosworth did get convicted of a felony (12 actually). So yes, by SD codified law the board does have the authority to revoke her license. But should it?

Annette Bosworth was sentenced to three years of probation and 500 hours of community service. That is actually a pretty big sentence (although I still feel it was fair). It doesn’t make sense to take her license away for something that has nothing to do with her medical practice and for which she is already being punished. If she were to skip out on her sentence I would say the board may be right in taking her license. But the court of law has already determined what is the best punishment for her; and more importantly the judge in that case did not recommend she lose her license. To me it would seem the board is saying they don’t believe the judge’s sentence was adequate if they take further steps and take her license. That is especially true since from what I can tell there are no ex-patients coming forward saying she is a bad doctor or a doctor that has ethical missteps in her medical practice.

I hope the board in this case decides not to take Bosworth’s license. Yes she did wrong. But she was convicted and is doing community service as her punishment. Taking her license doesn’t appear to serve any purpose and it will remove one possibly good doctor from South Dakota (I have spoken to many of her patients that speak very highly of her). If Bosworth fails to meet the terms of her sentence then I would say the board could take action. But at this point it makes no sense to take her license, especially since she is already actively doing good on Pine Ridge for her community service.

Bobby Jindal avoids issues on his campaign website

Official Governor portrait for Bobby Jindal. Portrait from State of Louisiana website.
Official Governor portrait for Bobby Jindal. Portrait from State of Louisiana website.

I had someone email me this morning asking why I hadn’t done a post on Bobby Jindal yet (I’m way behind on the candidate posts). Since someone requested it I thought it was high time for me took at the Jindal campaign website to see what he would do as the Republican nominee for President. Sadly Jindal doesn’t list any issues on his official campaign website. Instead he appears to be like a lot of establishment candidates, and is relying upon his name ID from being the current Governor of Louisiana to win the Republican Primary.

Jindal does have a section of the website where you can learn a little about his history. From that small section I can definitely tell he is not a good fit for libertarian-leaning individuals. The two biggest dings against him is working for the Bush administration and being a supporter of economic development (crony capitalism).

I think it is a good thing Jindal doesn’t focus on any issues at his website. It leaves me more time to look at candidates that are willing to let the voters know where they stand!

South Dakota political blogging from a libertarian-leaning individual

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