Last week the Aberdeen American News published the following public opinion from Aberdeen City Councilman Mark Remily:
Public Voice: Kaiser’s position on gays is hateful
2013-06-20 23:07 -0500
“Today, we still have legal discrimination against homosexuals, with many states forbidding legal civil marriage. But progress continues and we have come a long way toward ensuring the equal rights for ‘all’ people.”
Very gracious words, authored by well-respected associate professor of education at NSU Alan Neville and published in the Aberdeen American News on June 18. With that said, I am taking notes on District 3 South Dakota Rep. Dan Kaiser.
In the American News on June 15 (“Legislature split over protection orders for same sex abuses”), columnist Bob Mercer refers to Senate Bill 147, which defines family members covered by domestic abuse protection orders. Its original Senate version was fair. Then it went to the House. There, Kaiser offered his amendment to change the wording to cover only those in domestic abuse be of the opposite sex.
I cannot find the words to describe how angry I am at this hateful position by a person supposedly representing the people of District 3. Kaiser is saying that if you’re gay or lesbian you have no right to be protected by law enforcement. And this despicable legislator is an Aberdeen Police officer. How hypocritical is that?
In my opinion, Dan Kaiser as an elected official is a crime. Someone in District 3 needs to step up and run against this discriminating individual and get him gone from South Dakota politics forever.
Aberdeen City Council
As an Aberdeen resident I find it disheartening that Mr Remily relies upon one sentence in a newspaper to determine that Representative Kaiser is a “Despicable legislator”. The article Mr Remily refers to can be read here.
Mr Remily apparently skimmed the original article too quickly. He did not notice it was mentioned the Senate version was changed when it hit the House Judiciary Committee where the major word changes had happened. The passed Senate version of SB147 had the following language:
(2)(c) Persons who are or have been in a dating relationship with each other;
(5) “Dating relationship,” any social relationship between the persons of a romantic or sexual nature. The term does not include any platonic, casual relationship in a business or social context.
After Rep. Anne Hajek amended the bill in the House Judiciary Committee the bill removed section 5 defining “dating relationship” changed (2)(c) to as follows:
(c) Persons who are or have been living in the same household;
This amendment in the House Judiciary Committee seems to have completely undone the very intent of SB147. According to testimony provided by Pennington County State’s Attorney Mark Vargel it is important to pass SB147 so the definition of domestic violence can be narrowed and simplified for use by police officers. Mr Vargel goes on to say that domestic violence cases have mandatory arrests and potential protection orders issues. However as the law currently stands anyone that lives together can be charged with “domestic violence”. This could mean an officer would have to make an arrest when college roommates fight.
Representative Kaiser provided testimony before the whole house that mirrored what Mr Vargel had said. Basically it was important to narrow the scope of domestic violence so police officers were not forced by law to make an arrest when they knew it wasn’t really ‘domestic’. The amendment offered by Rep Hajek and passed in committee actually changed the language in the bill to “Persons who are or have been living in the same household”. Now the bill was in a state that essentially undid what was done before.
So far I have added very little information to Mr Mercers original article. However here is where Aberdeen City Councilman Mark Remily should have done more research.
An amendment was placed before the house to change the bills original language back to that which Dan Kaiser (and many others) had co-sponsored. It turns out the Senate did not in fact introduce the bill that was planned. That amendment to return the originally indented language did not pass. Rep Kaiser then added language to an amendment he knew would stop the bill during the House/Senate bill reconciliation process. Rep Kaiser did not add “of the opposite sex” because he is anti-gay; he did so because he knew such language would cause problems.
Representative Kaiser then spoke against the “of the opposite sex” amendment before the conference committee because it was unfair. The committee agreed and removed the amendment. However the committee would not accept Kaisers proposal to return the bill to its originally intended state. The bill died when an agreement could not be reached.
I believe Representative Kaiser should be commended for taking the necessary steps to stop a bill that was not going to work as advertised. Had Councilman Remily done even a little research on the LRC website he would have known that Mr Kaiser did not take any actions that were ‘anti-gay’ or discriminatory. Instead Rep Kaiser was trying to return the bill to a state that would actually help law enforcement by narrowing the definition of domestic violence. I only hope that Councilman Remily researches Aberdeen City Council matters better than he does legislation in Pierre.
PS. I need to check Facebook every day. Representative Kaiser actually released a statement on Remily’s letter. It would have saved me a lot of research (time spend listening to legislative audio files) had I seen his statement before writing this post. Here is Rep Kaisers statement from Facebook:
What a morning, if you have not read the Aberdeen American News Public voice, I would encourage you to do so. Mark Remily Aberdeen city council (as identified in the paper) makes some wild accusations about me, below are the facts
We must all understand how domestic violence may affect you and your family. The way the law is writing currently if you have ever lived with someone (college roommate, basic training room mate) it qualifies as a domestic. So if you lived with someone ten years ago and you get into an argument and you push your roommate, now as the law is, Law Enforcement MUST (they cannot use discretion,, if they did they would be breaking the law) arrest you. So you go to jail (career may be over, you lose your gun rights etc.)
After reading the article I’m disappointed in Mark Remily’s mistaken idea of how the legislative process works. First of all, Mark states (Senate bill 147) “its original senate version was fair”. But Mark never cites I was a Co-Sponsor of the bill! I sponsored this bill because in its original fair state it removed the wording of people who have lived together and replaced it with people in a intimate relationship. Now when the bill went to the Senate, the Senate removed the new wording and put in the old wording where law enforcement must arrest college roommates back into the bill.
When the bill came to the House, I tried to pass an amendment to restore the bill to its original Fair state. My amendment failed. I knew if I did pass an amendment the bill would have to go to conference committee and be voted on again, so in order to protect college roommates and people who went to basic training from arrest, I added the amendment to change the wording to opposite sex. It passed.
I testified in conference committee about how the opposite sex bill was unfair and based on my testimony the amendment was taken out. I attempted one last time to amend the bill to its original “fair” state. It did not pass and because the committee could not come to an agreement the bill died.
Anyone who knows me knows I want all people to have protection under the law. I also do not want people wrongfully arrested because the state legislature cannot agree on terminology of a simple bill. I’m happy to go into further detail of domestic law and (in my opinion) a somewhat vague assault law, if you would like more information please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or shot me a Facebook email.
I think this response from a local Aberdeen area resident on Facebook is also worthy of mention:
MR. Remily I was greatly disappointed and frankly very offended by your letter to the editor in yesterday’s American News where you said “I cannot find the words to describe how angry I am at this hateful position by a person supposedly representing the people of district 3”. Rep Kaiser’s position is not in the least bit hateful to ANYONE. Yesterday you managed to take Rep. Kaiser’s amendment WAY out of context, as well as hurting your ability to do your job as a city councilman, by damaging your working relations with Rep. Kaiser and his ally’s. I respectfully demand that you publicly apologize to Rep. Kaiser and the citizens of Aberdeen for greatly misrepresenting the truth.
I think Mr Dennert will be disappointed. It is unlikely Remily will apologize. That would mean he would have to admit either:
- He is not good at researching (making him look like a bad city councilman)
- He was looking for an opportunity to attack an outspoken friend of liberty (and also someone looking to take Kaisers job next eleciton)