There are two televised political events worth noting this week. Tonight there is a US Senate Debate on KELO and tomorrow there is a statewide contest program on SDPB. I believe this is the last round of televised events in South Dakota (election day is less than a week away). I won’t likely blog about the Senate race tonight, but if the statewide contest program is interesting I could see doing a blog or two about it. Last week there were three televised debates. I did watch all three, but honestly I didn’t see anything new enough to blog about.
Here are the details of the two televised political events this week:
KELO SD US Senate Debate – Weds Oct 29 – 7:00 pm CT
This will be the final debate between Pressler (I), Howie (I), Weiland (D) and Rounds (R). I don’t really expect too much out of this one. I previously blogged about their Dakotafest and the State Fair debates. Since I didn’t blog about the SDPB debate last week I have no written summary of it. However I will say that Gordon Howie was fighting hard for the conservative vote in that debate. If he keeps that up tonight he might cause some troubles for Rounds going into next Tuesday (I don’t think it is likely, but it is possible). The debate will be broadcast live on KELO TV and also live-streamed on the KELO Election Page.
SDPB Statewide Choices program – Thurs Oct 30 – 8:00 pm CT
SDPB is dedicating a show to look at three statewide races: Public Utilities Commission, Attorney General, and Secretary of State. In addition they will be looking at the ballot issues. This might be a good program to watch for anyone that needs more information about those races or the ballot questions. If the program is interesting I may blog about it.
For more information on the three races in question and the ballot issues I have copied the following links from my SD 2014 Ballot page:
South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (6 yr)
South Dakota Attorney General (4 yr)
South Dakota Secretary of State (4 yr) – Current held by Republican Jason Gant, who is not seeking re-election
Ballot Questions - The brochure provided by the SOS about the ballot questions and their Pros/Cons can be read here.
If I am able to watch these live I will also be live-tweeting from my @SoDakLiberty twitter account.
In 2014 South Dakota voters have two Initiated Measures on the ballot. The first of these is Initiated Measure 17, aka the “patient choice” bill. The text of IM 17 can be read on the circulating petition used to get this measure on the ballot.
In the title this IM says it will “require health insurers to include all willing and qualified health care providers on their provider lists.” Theoretically the bill will allow people to keep the doctors they wish by forcing insurance companies to accept any medical providers that meet their requirements. This IM also theoretically would lower the cost of insurance by increasing competition and expanding the choices for consumers.
The SD Attorney General is required to create explanations of all ballot questions. Here is the explanation put forth the by Attorney General’s office:
Some health insurers offer health benefit plans in which the insurer maintains a list of health care providers. Plan members must use listed providers in order to obtain the maximum plan coverage, or to have coverage at all. “Health care providers” include doctors and other licensed health care professionals, clinics and hospitals.
The initiated measure establishes who is entitled to be on the insurer’s list of providers. The measure requires that these insurers list all health care providers who are willing, qualified and meet the conditions for participation established by the insurer.
The measure does not apply to all health insurers, nor to certain kinds of insurance and plans including those involving specified disease, indemnity, accident only, dental, vision, Medicare supplement, long-term care or disability income, and workers’ compensation.
A vote “Yes” is for the law requiring health insurers to include all willing and qualified health care providers on their provider lists.
A vote “No” is against the proposed law.
As I said above this IM would theoretically allow greater choice for medical consumers and drive the cost of medical coverage down through competition. I’ve seen proponents of this IM say it will increase the relationship between doctors and patients. It is possible that could happen, but i have my doubts.
As noted by the AG this IM has a lot of exceptions. But it isn’t the exceptions that people should worry about in this IM. In reality I believe insurance companies will use their escape clause written right into the IM: “…fully qualified to meet the terms and conditions of participation as established by the health insurer.” Basically health insurance providers will be able to “adjust” their requirements for qualifications to meet their desired healthcare providers. Such moves will force the legislature to create further laws governing patient choice or force another IM in the future. I just can’t see this as the path to truly increase the relationship between patients and doctors.
Additionally this is a new mandate that appears to be coming forward because of mandates that have already been passed. For decades politicians and regulators have increased interventions into the healthcare industry, especially into the healthcare insurance industry. It is understandable that people are worried and/or upset about the Obama administrations “You can keep your doctor” line being false. But is further mandates the best fix to currently broken mandates? Using government mandates to fix government mandates is about as far from libertarian viewpoints as one can get. For that reason alone I cannot see supporting this IM.
On Nov 4 I will be voting no to IM 17. I actually agree with what the supporters of this Initiated Measure are trying to do. They are trying to bring down costs for patients while allowing them to use the doctors of their choice. But in the end I do not feel this mandate will work as expected. Plus, it is an IM I can’t support because it creates increased mandates in an industry that is already over-regulated to an extent patients have almost no control. The unintended consequences from mandates generally outweigh the good what was intended. Personally I don’t want to see firsthand what those unintended consequences will be. I would rather see reforms focused on removing mandates that keep the power in the hands of insurance companies and healthcare providers.
There is one Constitutional Amendment for the voters of South Dakota to decide upon on the 2014 ballot. Constitution Amendment Q was passed in the Legislature as House Joint Resolution 1001. The Amendment text as passed by the legislature and passed on to the voters can be read here (or see this version to see what actually changes in the Constitution). Basically the Constitutional Amendment would allow more forms of gambling in Deadwood. Specifically it would allow roulette, keno, and craps. It also took away the ability of the citizens in Deadwood to choose what forms of gambling are legalized.
It should be noted that this amendment will not actually legalize roulette, keno, and craps in Deadwood. Rather it would allow the SD Legislature to legalize roulette, keno, and craps in Deadwood. Currently the net proceeds from card games and slot machines in Deadwood is “devoted to the Historic Restoration and Preservation of Deadwood”. The same would be true for roulette, keno, and craps; provided this amendment passes and the SD Legislature creates a law.
The SD Attorney General is required to create explanations of all ballot questions. Here is the explanation put forth the by Attorney General’s office:
An Amendment to the South Dakota Constitution authorizing the Legislature to allow roulette, keno and craps in Deadwood.
The constitution currently authorizes the Legislature to allow two kinds of games of chance in Deadwood: limited card games and slot machines. The proposed amendment authorizes the Legislature to also allow roulette, keno and craps in Deadwood.
Under federal law, any games of chance authorized by the Legislature to be offered in Deadwood would also be allowed at on-reservation tribal casinos.
A vote “Yes” is for changing the constitution to allow the Legislature to authorize roulette, keno and craps in Deadwood.
A vote “No” will leave the constitution as it is.
I didn’t realize constitutional change would also open the extra games of chance on the reservations until this Resolution was brought up in the Legislature. That is worth considering when deciding how to vote on this question. Economic development on the reservations is a big issue right now. It is worth considering if this can be used as part of a way for the reservations to help themselves.
Personally I wish this Amendment were different. I think it is bad policy to be so specific about what gambling is or isn’t allowed in the SD Constitution. If gambling has to be included in the SD Constitution it would be best done at a very high level allowing the Legislature to legalize or make illegal whatever gambling is passed in legislation; or better yet, keep gambling out of State business and let the free market determine the best types and levels of gambling that should exist within South Dakota.
But this Amendment is about modifying the way gambling is currently done in SD. In researching the CON side of this amendment I’ve seen it framed as a local control issue. Technically the Amendment does take local control away from Deadwood, because previously any gambling changes in Deadwood required 60% of the local voters to approve. With this change the legislature can make change without any input from locals in Deadwood. That argument would have more weight if wasn’t followed up by beliefs from opponents that gambling in Deadwood must be stopped because it will cause more social ills. That is where the free market argument from opponents have fallen apart. It appears that the majority of sources fighting against Amendment Q are not fighting just against expanding gambling, but they wish to remove gambling from SD altogether. Using government power to get rid of a social ill that a particular group doesn’t like is not a free market principle. Rather it is a method used by big government proponents to shape society at the cost of freedoms.
On the Proponent side I have seen this amendment proposed as a way to keep up with gambling competition in neighboring states. The gaming industry supports tourism and reservations programs. In addition the State of South Dakota gets millions of dollars to use on programs such as education. But I think there is a better reason for supporters of free markets to support this amendment. Amendment Q will not create a true free market in South Dakota, or Deadwood and the reservations, for gambling; but Amendment Q will bring gambling closer to a free market in Deadwood and the reservations. It is unlikely a true free market in gambling (or any product/service for that matter) will appear any time soon. So in this case it would be a good to at least get a little closer to a free market in one overly regulated industry. If this amendment does pass I expect the Legislature will pass a law allowing the games in 2015; and I will applaud it because they are at least loosening some restrictions upon the market.
As of right now I plan to vote yes for this amendment. It isn’t the amendment I would have written. But at least it reduced some of the burden in one industry. Personally I don’t particularly like gambling, but just because I don’t like an industry doesn’t mean that it should be over-regulated or outright banned. If gambling was truly unwanted in SD there wouldn’t be any customers to fill the casinos…
I have updated two pages on this blog that include links to research the 2014 ballot in South Dakota. Both pages can be accessed on the bar above by clicking on SD 2014 Ballot or SD 2014 Legislative Races.
SD 2014 Ballot includes all of the statewide races and ballot questions.
SD 2014 Legislative Races includes the legislative races for all 35 Districts in South Dakota.
Both pages have links that can be used to research each candidate or question. I created these pages for two reasons. First, it helps shortcut my time to research candidates or questions before I attend political events or write blogs. Second, I hope it will help at least some voters make informed decisions before marking the ballot this fall.
After the election both pages will be transformed to include the same information; but focused purely upon currently elected officials. If anyone knows of any links that I am missing please let me know.
PS. That is part of why I haven’t blogged in a few days. Updating those pages took a LONG time…
On Tuesday, Oct 28, Senator Tim Johnson will be in Aberdeen as part of his “Tour of Thanks”. He will be at the Eagles club at 5pm. Here is the blurb sent out by the Brown County Democrats:
Senator Tim Johnson is making stops across the state to say Thank You to his constituents. Folks are invited to stop by to enjoy a short program, visit with Senator & Mrs. Johnson, and enjoy a cup of coffee and dessert.
I plan on attending the event and hope to get a blog post out of it.
PS. For all the traveling I’ve done this year for political events it just occurred to me I haven’t once run into Senator Johnson. Maybe I happen not to go to events he chooses to attend. I’ve run into Senator Thune a couple of times and spoken with him at least once, but Johnson really seems noticeably missing from SD politics.
The Brown County Republicans are hosting their monthly(ish) Reagan Lunch tomorrow, October 23rd at noon in the Aberdeen GOP Victory Center (1205 6th Ave SW). I was happy to see this also happens to be a chili feed (I’m on a high protein diet, chili is perfect!). This months guest speaker is Marty Jackley. Jackley is seeking reelection as the SD Attorney General. For those unfamiliar with Jackley, here is the blurb sent out by the Brown County Republicans about him:
Marty Jackley has been our Attorney General since September 2009. Marty was raised in Sturgis and graduated from the SD School of Mines in 1992. he then went on to receive his law degree from University of SD in 1995.
He presently serves as President of the National Association of Attorneys General.
Marty and his wife, Angela, and 2 children live in Pierre.
I did an interview with Jackley while he was in attendance at the Brown County Fair. This is a good chance to meet the Attorney General and get some chili.
This week there will be three SD political debates/forums being broadcast on TV over the next three days. There will be debates televised for the gubernatorial race, US Senate race, and the US House race. KELO and SDBP will be hosting them. Here are the details of each debate:
KELO SD Gubernatorial Debate – Weds Oct 22 – 8:00 pm CT
Incumbent Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard will face Democrat challenger Susan Wismer and Independent challenger Mike Myers. This will be fourth and final public debate between the three candidates (Daugaard limited debates to four in June). Previously the three have faced off at Dakotafest, the State Fair, and on SDPB. Tonight will basically be the last chance for Myers and Wismer to show why they should be governor over Daugaard.
SDPB US Senate Debate – Thurs Oct 23 – 8:00 pm CT
The US Senate debate on SDPB might be interesting to watch. It will be interesting to see if Larry Pressler (I), Gordon Howie (I), and Rick Weiland (D) continue to pound Mike Rounds (R) about EB-5. I’ve blogged previously about these four debating at Dakotafest and the State Fair. This is not the final debate between the four. On Weds, Oct 29, there will be a televised KELO debate for the US Senate candidates.
KELO US House Debate – Fri Oct 24 – 7:00 pm CT
Just last week the incumbent Representative Kristi Noem (R) faced off against Corinna Robinson. That was a pretty lackluster debate, yet it was somehow an improvement over the Dakotafest debate. I wouldn’t expect too much from this one either. Robinson would have to do something pretty dramatic in her KELO debate with Noem to turn the tide of this election.
My schedule this week is pretty busy, so I may not actually follow all of the debates. But for anyone that has yet to hear from the candidates I would recommend watching them.