Tag Archives: Dan Kaiser

Fall back 1 hour on Sunday, legislative attempts to exit daylight saving in South Dakota

5815401This upcoming Sunday at 2:00 am the State of South Dakota will join most of the nation in setting clocks back an hour. It is at that time that daylight saving time (also known as summer time) ends. Over the last few years there have been legislative attempts to remove states from daylight saving time and South Dakota is no exception.

Just this year Sen Betty Olson (R, Dist 28) brought forth SB 60 (SoDakLiberty Posts) in order to keep South Dakota on daylight saving time year round. That would have meant South Dakota residents no longer would have to worry about changing their clocks twice a year. Actually, Sen Olson said she didn’t really care if it stayed on daylight saving time or standard time; she had just aimed to get rid of the semi-annual time change. The bill failed to get the 18 required on the Senate floor by getting a vote of 17-16.

In 2015 Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) brought forth HB 1127 (SoDakLiberty Posts). Kaiser’s original bill would have kept South Dakota on standard time all year round. It was amended in committee to keep South Dakota on daylight saving time; but then the committee killed the bill. The final version of this bill appears to be what Sen Olson brought forth in 2016.

I haven’t heard if any legislators are going to bring daylight saving time legislation forth in 2017, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. A recent FEE article notes there have been many attempts nationwide to get rid of the semi-annual time changing ritual. Even though the FEE article includes click-bait type information about deaths, the article does a good job of noting there is no evidence to show that daylight savings time is actually saving any energy. Actually the results are mixed at best, and at worse slightly more energy is consumed yearly due to daylight saving time.

I don’t really see a reason for South Dakota, or the rest of the nation, to participate in daylight saving time. There are some arguments about children going to and from school, but I’m not sure even those arguments are too big of a factor in the modern world. As time goes on I expect states are going to start withdrawing from this odd semi-annual ritual. When that happens perhaps the South Dakota legislature will be ready to follow suite. Since there really isn’t a good reason to keep switching clocks, it really doesn’t make sense for the state to participate in the ritual. Yes, there are some people and politicians that like switching times. But I think this sentence from the FEE article sums up that argument quite well: “politicians’ whims are not a good basis for policy choices.”

Video of the District 3 legislative candidates at the Sept 24 candidate forum

District 3 Legislative Candidates. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
District 3 Legislative Candidates. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

On Saturday, September 24, the Aberdeen League of Women Voters and the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidate forum in Aberdeen. South Dakota. Earlier I posted some pictures from the event, now it is time to start getting the videos posted. This video features the District 3 legislative candidates.

All six legislative candidates were in attendance. The two candidates running for State Senate are Republican Rep Al Novstrup and Democrat Cory Heidelberger. The two Republicans seeking the State House seat are Republicans Drew Dennert and Rep Dan Kaiser. Opposing them for the State House seat are Democrats Brooks Briscoe and Nikki Bootz. Carl Perry, Chair of the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce, moderated the event.

I may do a post or two in the future about topics brought up in this forum. Of particular interest was question about ag land assessment.

Here is the video:

Pictures from the September 24 Candidate Forum in Aberdeen

On Saturday, September 24, the Aberdeen League of Women Voters and the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidate forum in Aberdeen. South Dakota. Legislative candidates for Districts 1, 2, and 3 were invited to attend. County Commissioner candidates from Brown County were also invited to attend. I will have video up later today and tomorrow so everyone can hear from the candidates (there acoustics in that room were horrible, its taken me a few days to get the audio cleaned up). But in the mean time here are some pictures from the event.

You can click on any picture to make it bigger.

Carl Perry, Chair of the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce, moderated the event.

Carl Perry moderating a candidate forum in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
Carl Perry moderating a candidate forum in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

Drew Dennert is seeking one of the District 3 State House seats.

Drew Dennert speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
Drew Dennert speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

Rep Al Novstrup is seeking the District 3 Senate Seat being vacated by Sen David Novstrup.

Rep Al Novstrup speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
Rep Al Novstrup speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

Rep Dan Kaiser is seeking reelection for a District 3 House seat.

Rep Dan Kaiser speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
Rep Dan Kaiser speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

Nikki Bootz is seeking out one of the District 3 House Seats.

Nikki Bootz speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
Nikki Bootz speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

Cory Heidelberger is seeking the District 3 State Senate seat.

Cory Heidelberger speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
Cory Heidelberger speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

Brooks Briscoe is seeking one of the District 3 House seats.

Brooks Briscoe speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
Brooks Briscoe speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

District 3 Candidates lined up with a representative of the League of Women Voters.

District 3 Candidates lined up with a representative of the League of Women Voters. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
District 3 Candidates lined up with a representative of the League of Women Voters. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

Rachel Kippley is seeking reelection as a Brown County Commissioner.

Rachel Kippley speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
Rachel Kippley speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

Duane Sutton is seeking reelection as a Brown County Commissioner.

Duane Sutton speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
Duane Sutton speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

League of Women Voters and Chamber of Commerce members lined up with the District 2 House candidate John Graham (2nd from left) and the two Brown County Commissioner candidates in attendance.

Event sponsors lined up with Dist 2 candidate and Brown County Commission candidates. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.
Event sponsors lined up with Dist 2 candidate and Brown County Commission candidates. Photo by Ken Santema 9/24/16.

SD Dist 3 State House Gen Election: Dennert, Kaiser, Briscoe, and Bootz

SD Legislative District 3
SD Legislative District 3

South Dakota legislative District 3 has  a general election for State Representative. District 3 encompasses most of Aberdeen. But it also goes out to encompass Bath and Prairiewood.

One of the Republican incumbents, Rep Al Novstrup, is seeking the State Senate seat being vacated by his son Sen David Novstrup. On the Republican side there was a three-way primary between incumbent Rep Dan Kaiser and fellow Republicans Drew Dennert and Todd Kolden. Kaiser and Dennert won the Republican primary and are on the general election ballot. The Democrats have put forth Brooks Briscoe and Nikki Bootz to try unseating the Republicans in District 3.

Here is a brief look at all four candidates.  The candidates below are listed in the order they will appear on the general election ballot. I’ve also included the links I could find to help voters learn more about each candidate.

*** It should be noted this is NOT a scorecard. This post only looks at some of the legislative priorities of these candidates. These legislative priorities may or may not have any bearing on how the candidates actually vote on legislation.

Drew Dennert

Drew Dennert speaking with Shantel Krebs. Photo by Ken Santema 7/7/14.
Drew Dennert speaking with Shantel Krebs. Photo by Ken Santema 7/7/14.

Drew Dennert (R)
Facebook – Twitter – Ballotpedia – VoteSmartSoDakLiberty
SDPB Audio: 2016

Drew Dennert will quite possibly be the youngest person ever elected as a SD legislator if he wins in November. Dennert does not have a large online presence. But as I noted in the post about his primary election this blurb is available on his Facebook page:

I’m running for the South Dakota State House because we need principled conservative leaders representing us in Pierre.

As a conservative Republican I strongly believe in promoting a business friendly environment by reducing regulations and keeping taxes as low as possible.

My platform is simple. I want to stand up for South Dakotans right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Fighting for the right to life and protecting the unborn is at the core of my principles.

I also want to fight for South Dakotans liberty and pursuit of happiness, by protecting our God given rights.

If elected I will fight for more liberty and less government.

I would be honored to have your support!

To expand upon that Dennert has been handing out a door hanger with the following bullet points (yes, he has been going door to door and has made it to my house):

I promise to fight for you in Pierre to:

  • Support education

  • Promote job growth

  • Respect the will of the people

  • Protect our hunting heritage

  • Fight government corruption

  • Keep taxes low

  • Support community

  • Reduce regulations

Another interesting tidbit I find on his Facebook page is a post about buffer strips:

As a farmer and rancher I support the “waterway buffer strip bill.”

This is common sense legislation that is good for farmers, good for wildlife habitat and good for our waters.

If passed farmers would be able to receive a reduction in property taxes along the edge of rivers, sloughs and lakes if you plant a grass strip on the edge.

This will be completely voluntary for all farmers.

If elected I will support this legislation and hope we can pass a bill similar to this next year.

The bill in question during the 2016 session was SB 136 (SoDakLiberty Posts). SB 136 was vetoed by the Governor, and the legislature didn’t have the numbers to override that veto.

I have an in-person interview scheduled with Dennert coming up. During that I hope to get more about his thoughts relating to conservation and protecting our hunting heritage.

Daniel Kaiser

Rep Dan Kaiser speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/24/15.
Rep Dan Kaiser speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/24/15.

Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) – Incumbent
Website – Facebook – Twitter – Ballotpedia – VoteSmartOpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2016 2015 2014 2013
SDPB Video: 2014 2012

For Kaiser I am simply going to repost what I wrote about him in my post about the District 3 Republican House Primary:

Kaiser does actually have an issues section on his website, which I will give him credit for.  But since he is an incumbent I would rather look at some key areas of his work as a legislator.

Also before going on I think it would be best to talk about the 2016 legislative session. Just days before the 2016 legislative session began Kaiser found out his son had been diagnosed with leukemia and would have to go through a series of treatments. Due to that Kaiser missed all but one day of the legislative session (he was there for Veto day). Personally I don’t think such a badly timed personal emergency sheds a bad light on him. But it is possible there are people who feel he should not be reelected due to missing a whole session. That is up to each voter to decide for his or her self.

One of the issues I have been blogging about over the last few years is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Kaiser happens to be one of the few legislators that actually brought up any possible misgivings about the Taiwan resolutions supporting TPP. Unfortunately Kaiser was not able to speak out against this years resolution HCR 1015 (SoDakLiberty Posts), which was the 2016 legislative session version of the Taiwan resolution.

Another issue that I think is important when talking about Kaiser is Common Core. Back in February of 2015 Kaiser led an effort to smokeout  HB 1223 (SoDakLiberty Posts), which would have ended South Dakota’s involvement in Common Core. The attempt to force HB 1223 did not completely succeed. But that doesn’t mean it was a failure. A social media #StandWithDan hashtag went viral (as far as anything purely SD political can go viral). Kaiser was able to breath new life into the battle against Common Core and give people hope this could become an issue for the 2016 election. I will be watching close this year to see if Common Core does become an issue for close races, especially west-river.

Finally I want to mention the fact that Kaiser shows his commitment to open government and transparency by posting each of his votes on Facebook. Just last year I commended Kaiser and Rep Fred Deutsch (R, Dist 4) for doing this. I wish more legislators would do this! It is a great way to see why a legislator voted in a way I would find wrong. It also happens to be a great way to possibly learn something about a bill that wasn’t mentioned in committee testimony (remember these legislators get constantly hounded by lobbyists, and not all of the lobbyists are bad).

Brooks Briscoe

Brooks Briscoe hanging a Vote sign at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema 8/17/16.
Brooks Briscoe hanging a Vote sign at the Brown County Fair. Photo by Ken Santema 8/17/16.

Brooks Briscoe (D)
Facebook – Ballotpedia –VoteSmartSoDakLiberty
SDPB Audio: 2016

To learn about Brisco I found a second Facebook page linked off of his campaign Facebook page called 20 Reasons to Vote Brooks Briscoe to SD House of Representatives.  So far there are five reasons listed on the page:

#1 Equal Representation in the SD Legislature

Here is a snippet from this part of Briscoe’s reasons:

My opponents, Drew Dennert and Dan Kaiser, are both running on a platform of being “Conservative Republicans”, and I’m running as a moderate Democrat.

With that in mind District 3 and our state deserve representation for the majority of its registered voters with a fair, honest and progressive thinking member of the SD House of Representatives. A vote for me in November will help assure an unbiased, willing to compromise, common sense legislator in Pierre.

Briscoe goes on to give the statistics of how many people in Dist 3 and the state are registered with each party and Independent.  This is an approach I’ve seen many Democrats take in this election, especially with Constitutional Amendment T on the ballot this fall to decide the fate of legislative redistricting going forth.

#2 Pro 2nd Amendment, Anti NRA

Here is part of what Brisco has to say on reason number two:

Unfortunately, the NRA has become an advocate for the firearm and ammunition manufacturers as well as one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington D.C.
When our national congress is unable to pass legislation to prevent citizens on the No Fly List from buying weapons, when 90% of Americans are in favor of it, it’s obvious that corporate money and power has defeated the voice of Democracy.

I try to stay somewhat unbiased in these posts. But this one is hard for me. It scares me when a politician is willing to look at restricting a constitutionally protected right based upon a No Fly List that likely already goes against the 4th Amendment. But I do think separating his support for the 2nd Amendment from supporting the NRA may be a good move within his party.

#3 A Realistic Approach to Problem Solving

Here is what Briscoe has to say about taxes:

My opponent has stated that if elected his priority is to create jobs and build our economy by lowering taxes and decreasing regulations. In the same interview he stated a top priority was to increase teacher pay. In the real world you generally can’t have it both ways. All you have to do is look to states like Kansas and Louisiana that cut taxes on the wealthy and deregulated corporations (and now find themselves with huge deficits and dwindling education and infrastructure programs) to see that’s a plan for disaster. Meanwhile California (who recently increased taxes on the top percent and passed more corporate regulations) has one of the fastest growing economies and top 10 education, infrastructure and healthcare programs. I support job growth, improved education, rebuilding our infrastructure and expanding healthcare, but realize lowering taxes and deregulation is not the way to achieve it.

Briscoe is definitely taking a pro tax approach. In District 3 that might actually work better than other parts of the state. This might actually help him with the more progressive independents.

#4 Transparency on Upcoming Ballot Issues

Briscoe has shared his voting intentions on all 10 Ballot Questions this fall. Briscoe also points out his opponents have not let their intentions on these ballot questions be known.

#5. A WILLINGNESS TO COMPROMISE

Briscoe’s final reason is a willingness to compromise. Here is what Briscoe has to say about this:

While having strong values is a great personal trait, an uncompromising value system can be a hinderance for a public servant. As a legislator I would always be willing to compromise my personal values to help the progress of my constituents and state that I’m representing. My opponents have both claimed to have uncompromising values, posting statements like “…from my cold dead hands!”. That’s the kind of thinking that has caused our US Congress to be dubbed the “do nothing” congress we’ve come to know. A vote for me in November will assure my constituents of a person that can accomplish positive progress for the state of South Dakota.

Briscoe might be able to go after his opponents for this a little bit. But at the same time Kaiser might be safe from this attack because as a Republican he actually votes against cronyistic bills brought forth by Republicans more than the Democrats do.

For voters in District 3 it might be worth keeping an eye on Briscoe’s 20 reasons page to find out if he has more reasons to vote for him upcoming.

Nikki Bootz

Nikki Bootz. Photo from Bootz campaign Facebook page.
Nikki Bootz. Photo from Bootz campaign Facebook page.

Nikki Bootz (D)
Facebook – Twitter – Ballotpedia – VoteSmartSoDakLiberty
SDPB Audio: 2016

Nikkie Bootz doesn’t have a lot of recent activity on her campaign Facebook page. But she does have this in her About Section:

Nikki Bootz moved to Aberdeen, SD in 2009 and chose Aberdeen because it’s centrally located between various family members. Nikki considers Aberdeen the perfect place where she and her to call home and enjoys the people here. She was born in Hettinger, ND in 1983 and is a graduate of Lemmon High School. So far Aberdeen has proven to be a fantastic place to raise her two children.
Passionate about helping the residents of District 3 get proper representation, Nikki has serious views on specific political issues that directly affect her own family and yours. This is why she is running our House of Representatives.
Nikki’s heart lies in being able to see concrete changes in District 3. She has long been disappointed with the lack of courage that has made the elected in Aberdeen be content with what is given to the district. Not satisfied being just a bystander Nikki pledges to dedicate all of her efforts to ensuring that her district will be recognized for having leaders who can speak up for what the people of Aberdeen and Bath really need and not for what the state sees fit for them.
Nikki will be the element of change that this district needs and not just a mouthpiece of the party. She isn’t going to back down once she arrives in Pierre. Nikki will appreciate your vote in November.

That really doesn’t tell us much about Bootz’s priorities for legislation. Perhaps I can find some time to catch up with her in the next few weeks for an interview.

District 3 Republican primary candidates for SD State House

SD Legislative District 3. Most of Aberdeen + Bath. Screenshot of map from SD SOS website.
SD Legislative District 3. Most of Aberdeen + Bath. Screenshot of map from SD SOS website.

To kick off the brief look at candidates in the SD 2016 legislative primary races I will start with District 3. District 3 is in Brown county and is composed of most of Aberdeen plus Bath. Sen David Novstrup (R, Dist 3) is not seeking reelection this year and his dad Rep Al Novstrup (R, Dist 3) is switching houses to run for State Senate. That leaves Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) as the only incumbent in this race. There are two people looking to get a House seat: Drew Dennert and Todd Kolden. Whoever wins this race will go against Democrats Nikki Bootz and Brooks Briscoe in the general election this fall.

For full disclosure I do know two of the candidates, Kaiser and Dennert, very well and have only briefly met Kolden. I also happen to support both Kaiser and Dennert in this race. But I will treat this just like any other race when blogging and try to step back and be as fair as possible.

Here is a brief look at the three candidates. Since I actually live in District 3 I plan to find time to do an interview with all three candidates some time in the next couple of weeks. The candidates below are listed in the order they will appear on the primary ballot. I’ve also included the links I could find to help voters learn more about each candidate.

Drew Dennert

Drew Dennert (R)
Facebook – Twitter – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

Drew Dennert picture taken from his candidate Facebook page on 4/27/16.
Drew Dennert picture taken from his candidate Facebook page on 4/27/16.

Dennert doesn’t give a lot to learn about him on his social media accounts. Here is a blurb he put on Facebook:

I’m running for the South Dakota State House because we need principled conservative leaders representing us in Pierre.

As a conservative Republican I strongly believe in promoting a business friendly environment by reducing regulations and keeping taxes as low as possible.

My platform is simple. I want to stand up for South Dakotans right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Fighting for the right to life and protecting the unborn is at the core of my principles.

I also want to fight for South Dakotans liberty and pursuit of happiness, by protecting our God given rights.

If elected I will fight for more liberty and less government.

I would be honored to have your support!

Those are pretty standard Republican talking points. Hopefully between the upcoming Republican forum and an in-person interview I can get more information to post about Dennert’s stances on issues.

An interesting side-note is that Drew Dennert happens to the grandson of former state legislator Paul Dennert (they are probably polar opposites politically).

Daniel Kaiser (R)

Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) – Incumbent
Website – Facebook – Twitter – Ballotpedia – VoteSmartOpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2016 2015 2014 2013
SDPB Video: 2014 2012

State Representative Dan Kaiser on the SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15.
State Representative Dan Kaiser on the SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15.

Kaiser does actually have an issues section on his website, which I will give him credit for.  But since he is an incumbent I would rather look at some key areas of his work as a legislator.

Also before going on I think it would be best to talk about the 2016 legislative session. Just days before the 2016 legislative session began Kaiser found out his son had been diagnosed with leukemia and would have to go through a series of treatments. Due to that Kaiser missed all but one day of the legislative session (he was there for Veto day). Personally I don’t think such a badly timed personal emergency sheds a bad light on him. But it is possible there are people who feel he should not be reelected due to missing a whole session. That is up to each voter to decide for his or her self.

One of the issues I have been blogging about over the last few years is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Kaiser happens to be one of the few legislators that actually brought up any possible misgivings about the Taiwan resolutions supporting TPP. Unfortunately Kaiser was not able to speak out against this years resolution HCR 1015 (SoDakLiberty Posts), which was the 2016 legislative session version of the Taiwan resolution.

Another issue that I think is important when talking about Kaiser is Common Core. Back in February of 2015 Kaiser led an effort to smokeout  HB 1223 (SoDakLiberty Posts), which would have ended South Dakota’s involvement in Common Core. The attempt to force HB 1223 did not completely succeed. But that doesn’t mean it was a failure. A social media #StandWithDan hashtag went viral (as far as anything purely SD political can go viral). Kaiser was able to breath new life into the battle against Common Core and give people hope this could become an issue for the 2016 election. I will be watching close this year to see if Common Core does become an issue for close races, especially west-river.

Finally I want to mention the fact that Kaiser shows his commitment to open government and transparency by posting each of his votes on Facebook. Just last year I commended Kaiser and Rep Fred Deutsch (R, Dist 4) for doing this. I wish more legislators would do this! It is a great way to see why a legislator voted in a way I would find wrong. It also happens to be a great way to possibly learn something about a bill that wasn’t mentioned in committee testimony (remember these legislators get constantly hounded by lobbyists, and not all of the lobbyists are bad).

Todd Kolden

Todd Kolden (R)
Facebook – Ballotpedia –VoteSmartSoDakLiberty

Todd Kolden picture from his Facebook campaign page on 4/27/16.
Todd Kolden picture from his Facebook campaign page on 4/27/16.

Kolden does provide a post down in his Facebook feed with some issues. Here is what he has to say:

I feel it’s an honor to have this opportunity to continue serving the district and state I grew up in. Before I provide a synopsis of where I stand on issues, I want to point out that I have no personal agenda (personal agenda’s do not belong in the legislature), I have an open mind and always listen to my constituents.
The statements below are not all inclusive and I will not commit to legislation one way or another until I see the details of what is being proposed.

• I support Veterans.
Our state has done a good job supporting veterans but I believe we still have room to improve. Improve healthcare, specifically suicide awareness and assisting veterans overcoming this crisis. Improve job opportunities, specifically strengthening veteran’s preference in public employment and improved assistance in their transition from military to civilian life.

• I support K-12 Education.
The 2016 legislative session took a huge step in addressing the teacher shortage. It was a very difficult decision to raise the state sales tax, one that I mulled over very seriously. One thing to remember, this wasn’t directly related to raising teacher salaries, it was to become competitive with our surrounding states, recruiting quality teachers and retaining them. I put my trust in the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Task force and would have supported their recommendation. I am not one for raising taxes but at some point you have to ask, are we serious about addressing this or not. As I said, I have an open mind and would have listened to any and all options but in my opinion, there was never a viable option presented (new funding and being sustainable). I think as Republicans, we should be proud that our state still has one of the lowest sales tax base in the country. However, I do feel the legislature should have had more time to debate the Governor’s education package, specifically HB1182 and SB131. I would have supported a conference committee to further address SB131 and the amendments that were presented. I’m always happy to discuss this further. With that being said, I don’t feel we are done with education funding.
I also support school districts having firm local control.

• I support Government Transparency.
This has been near the top of my list for the past number of years. Representative Al Novstrup (Senator later this year), has been at the forefront of this transparency push and I support what he has done thus far. He realizes more needs to be done and I would most likely support him. But again, I would need to see the details of any proposed bill before getting on board.

• I support Economic Development.
Simply said, this would include better paying jobs, improved business climate (in particular, small businesses), improved training for those seeking skilled jobs, and filling those hard-to-fill skilled positions. I have 12 years of experience in this area and would bring this to the legislature.

• 2nd Amendment Rights.
I have always supported the right to bear arms and always will. I admit, I don’t beat the drum on this issue because I’ve never felt threatened to have my guns taken away or restricted. However, if I ever felt that threat, I would meet it head on.

• Medicaid.
I do not support expanding Medicaid at this point, simply because from what I see, our state can’t afford it. Again, I’m willing to consider any proposed legislation.

• Community Support.
I would generally support legislation that would provide better support and control to our counties and cities. Again, details…

• Agriculture/Farms.
I have never farmed but know many who do. Farming and agriculture are a huge part of our state and quite frankly, they have a large hand in feeding our state, country, and the world. I would support legislation that keeps our agriculture industry striving to be successful. I believe that if agriculture is successful, it will assist our state being successful.

• Fiscally Conservative.
Simply said, you don’t spend what you don’t have. Reserves should be preserved and used only when absolutely needed. Increasing taxes is not the answer.

• Methamphetamine abuse.
This destructive drug needs to be further addressed. The “Meth” dealers need to be removed from our society and we need to assist the users in getting the help they need to break their addiction.

For the People, Serving South Dakota

I wish Kolden would pin the above post on his Facebook page so people wouldn’t have to dig for it. But I will give him credit for talking about a number of issues. As a current member of the Aberdeen School District School Board I would like to hear what fiscally conservative issues he has fought for on the school board level. I look forward to speaking with Kolden and possibly expanding upon a couple of his issues listed above.

Senate Commerce has 4 bills on Tues Jan 26

5815401On Tuesday, Jan 26th, at 10:00 AM the SD Senate Commerce and Energy committee will take on 4 bills.

None of these are department bills!

SB 57 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Redefine the term, written agreement, relating to contracts between a debtor and creditor.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Jim White (R, Dist 22) and Rep Mark Willadsen (R, Dist 11) are the prime sponsors.

This bill would modify § 54-3-1.1, which basically says there is no maximum interest rate or charge, or usury rate among entities in SD if there is an interest rate or charge set in written agreement (unless one is set somewhere else in law). SB 57 would add the following sentence to this statute:

A written agreement is a document in writing, whether in physical or electronic form, in which the parties have demonstrated their agreement to the terms and conditions of an extension of credit, including the rate of interest.

Basically this appears to be an update to current law that acknowledges that loans can now be done completely paperless.

It is possible Cory Heidelberger’s, Dakota Free Press, theory about the payday lending industry wanting this bill is correct. SB 57 seem to align quite nicely with the proposed Constitutional Amendment U (SoDakLiberty Posts) brought forth by the payday loan industry. By specifying that electronic forms constitute a written agreement it would ensure that payday lenders operating paperless can operate under the new constitutional amendment (assuming it passes, which I hope it doesn’t).

Even if this change does come from the payday loan industry, I think it is quite likely the whole loan industry will support the change. It really does acknowledge that the days of paper forms are going away.

SB 60 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Set daylight savings time as the permanent year-round time for the state of South Dakota.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Betty Olson (R, Dist 28) and Rep Sam Marty (R, Dist 28B) are the prime sponsors.

A version of this bill was brought forth by Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) during the 2015 legislative session as HB 1127 (SoDakLiberty Posts). Last years bill would have kept South Dakota using standard time all year round. It was amended in House State Affairs to do the opposite, and keep South Dakota on Daylight Savings time all year round. The bill was then killed in committee.

This year seems to be a revival of the amended version of that bill.  SB 60 would keep South Dakota on daylight savings time all year round.

Daylight savings time is also known as “summer time”.

I actually would like this bill to pass. The only amendment I would maybe add is to have the whole state be set to one time (most likely CDT).

SB 61 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Prohibit the cancellation or nonrenewal of homeowner insurance policies for certain claims arising from natural causes.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Betty Olson (R, Dist 28) and Rep Thomas Brunner (R, Dist 29) are the prime sponsors.

This bill would create a new insurance statute with the follow language:

No homeowner’s insurance policy may be denied for renewal as a result of a single claim within a three-year period arising from natural causes. No homeowner’s insurance policy may be cancelled during its term of any claim arising from natural causes.

Any insurer which violates any provision of this section is subject to fines and penalties applicable to a licensed insurer generally, including suspension or revocation of its license or the right to do business in this state. The director may order the reinstatement, with no lapse in coverage, of any policy cancelled or nonrenewed in violation of this section.

For the purpose of this section, the term, natural cause, means an act occasioned exclusively by the violence of nature where all human agency is excluded from creating or contributing to cause of damage or injury.

I haven’t heard of any homeowners insurance policies being cancelled during the term because of a claim. I thought that was already illegal, but cannot find the statute.

But to me the bigger question here is whether we want to mandate that insurance companies have to renew policies they believe would be bad for business. That would almost appear to be ACA-like.

I agree it is  wrong for insurance companies to cancel policies after a natural disaster. But I just don’t see a mandate as the fix for that problem…

SB 62 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Require manufacturers of farm machinery and equipment to replace the machinery or equipment or to refund its purchase price if it fails to conform to the manufacturer’s warranty, to specify the manufacturer’s obligations to remedy any nonconforming conditions, and to provide cause of action against the manufacturer for failure to comply.

SoDakLiberty Stance: Undecided
Prime Sponsors: Sen Betty Olson (R, Dist 28) and Rep Lee Qualm (R, Dist 21) are the prime sponsors.

I will wait until after committee testimony to go through this Act. But after reading through it once I wonder why this bill is necessary. Don’t farmers (or any customer) already have legal avenues that can be pursued if a manufacturer fails to live up to their warranty obligations? Is this being setup to treat farmers special? Or is this being submitted because there is a loophole in current law that has been adversely impacting farmer?

How to help the Kaiser family during their time of need

Earlier this afternoon Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) let everyone know via social media that his son Jaxon has been diagnosed with leukemia and will be treated at the Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls. This is a difficult time for the Kaiser family and they appreciate all the thoughts and prayers that are being sent their way.

Aside from thoughts and prayers, there is another way to help out the Kaiser household. A family member has set up a Jaxon Kaiser GoFundMe page to help the Kaiser household. Here is what is posted on the Jaxon Kaiser GoFundMe page:

Jax from the GoFundMe page.
Jax from the GoFundMe page.

My name is Sarah and I am raising money for my totally awesome nephew Jaxon Kaiser and his parents Dan and Laura Kaiser.
Unfortunately 2016 has started out to be the worst year for them, Jaxon was diagnosed with a type of Childhood leukemia, he is a sweet, fun-loving kid who truly cares about everyone he has ever met. He is in for a rough battle but we know he can beat the crap out of cancer. I am trying to raise money for his medical bills and also for his parents to be able to take time off of work to stay with him for his treatments.  The closest medical center for children is over 3 hours away from their home, which is where they will be spending a fair amount of time in the months to come.
Dan Kaiser is an Iraq  war veteran, and a police officer, as well as a state representative. Laura Kaiser is a former state agent and currently self-employed as a private investigator.
They are loving parents who would do anything for their children.
We would be so grateful for any amount you can share with them,  as we want to allow them to spend this time with their beloved son and not have to worry about paying bills, or covering what insurance does not.

Thank you in advance.
love and prayers welcome

For anyone that can help the Kaiser family in this time of need please visit the Jaxon Kaiser GoFundMe page.

South Dakota one step closer to implementing an Obligation Recovery Center

Debt Notices © Mark Hayes | Dreamstime.com
Debt Notices © Mark Hayes | Dreamstime.com

Today Governor Daugaard’s staff announced the state of South Dakota has officially entered in an agreement with CGI Technologies and Solutions, Inc. to create a new Obligation Recovery Center (Orwell fans, is it possible to get more newspeak than that?).  The Obligation Recovery Center’s originates from the 2015 SD legislatures passage of HB 1228 (SoDakLiberty Posts).

Daugaard had this to say in the press release:

“Through the creation of this center, state government will be able to more effectively engage those who owe debts to the state or to other citizens,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “Establishing the Obligation Recovery Center requires no upfront financial investment and it will help South Dakotans who are owed court-mandated restitution.”

I really think Daugaard is over-estimating the amount of money the new debt collection center will be able to bring in. The state privatized this around a decade ago due to problems. There is no reason to believe this new system will work any better. Actually I think Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) summed it up quite well when I spoke with him at the Brown County Fair:

We are taking a lot of money out of good South Dakotan’s pockets to put into another bureaucracy that we are going to have problems with in regards to accountability. And there is no guarantee that this will work better than the way it was up to this point. And again, the people they are going after is the poorest of South Dakotan’s.

I’ll cut this post short since I’m currently working on a post about the contract between the State and CGI. No matter what, it will be interesting to see how the Republican super-majority will handle constituents asking about this expansion of government as the new debt collection center gains more media attention. Perhaps it could be used alongside large tax increases to place some less fiscal conservative Republicans in danger of a primary election.

A recap of TPP in South Dakota politics Part 1, SD Legislature

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a topic I’ve been covering over the last couple of years.  TPP is the massive ‘free trade’ agreement that has been negotiated between a dozen Pacific Rim countries (including the US). This agreement has been criticized by many (including myself) for a number of reasons. Personally I think President Obama and the Republicans in Congress will wait until after the 2016 election to officially sign off on the agreement. No matter when the agreement actually comes up for a vote I thought it would be worth looking at some of the actions taken by politicians in South Dakota to promote or speak against TPP.

This will be the first of three posts. First this post will take a look at TPP in the South Dakota Legislature. Then two more posts will be done about  TPP in regards to the SD Secretary of Ag  office and TPP actions taken by South Dakota’s federal delegation.

South Dakota Legislature

The South Dakota Legislature isn’t directly related with TPP. Yet over the last couple of years the legislature has spoken up in favor of TPP as a body through resolutions. Every year in recent history the South Dakota Legislature passes a resolution to  endorse sister state relations with the Province of Taiwan in the Republic of China. Examples of these resolutions can be seen with HCR 1016 in 2012 and HCR 1007 in 2013. These are pretty standard resolutions showing support for Taiwan and endeavors that Taiwan is undertaking (although I wonder if the legislators noticed the inclusion of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC – in the 2013 resolution.)

In 2014 the resolution changed dramatically to include support for TPP. Rep Brian Gosch (R, Dist 32) brought forth HCR 1011 as the 2014 version of the Taiwan resolution. I did a post about the resolution after it had passed. The resolution included these two WHEREAS and one RESOLVED statements:

WHEREAS, for Taiwan, the resumption of TIFA talks with the United States is only the beginning of what must be a sustained push for further and more wide-ranging trade arrangements with its myriad trading partners. A chief target should be Taiwan’s inclusion in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the near future; and

WHEREAS, Taiwan’s inclusion in the TPP would contribute substantially to the depth, viability, and quality of the TPP, Taiwan’s strong economic weight in the Asia-Pacific, its well-developed knowledge base and highly-skilled workforce, its vital position along regional supply chains and value chains, and the positive economic and strategic gains for all make Taiwan an ideal candidate economy for the TPP’s expansion:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the South Dakota Legislature is supportive of all efforts to include Taiwan in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP); and

State Representative Dan Kaiser on the SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15.
State Representative Dan Kaiser on the SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/24/15.

It can be seen from that resolution that the SD legislature believed TPP to be important, and that Taiwan should join the US in the agreement. Only Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) spoke against the resolution on the floor. Kaiser pointed out the secrecy of the agreement and how transparency should be expected in such undertakings. Rep Manny Steele (then Republican representative for District 12) actually spoke in favor of this resolution by saying “I’m not sure what this TPP stands for or what it does. But, Taiwan has been a friend of the United States for many years…”.  I find it almost mind-boggling that a politician would be so honest as to admit they don’t understand what they are voting for and at the same time urge everyone else to vote for it.

The 2014 resolution supporting TPP passed the House floor 64-5. The only Nay votes came from Rep Elizabeth May (R, Dist 27), Rep Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2), Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3), Rep Kevin Killer (D, Dist 27), and Rep Karen Soli (D, Dist 15). The Senate passed the resolution unanimously 28-0.

In 2015 another Taiwan resolution was passed. SCR 2 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was sponsored by Sen Tim Rave (R, Dist 25). I wrote a post about the resolution after it passed the State Senate. In that post I noted the irony of this resolution being passed:

To put into context of this SD legislative session. Yesterday the SD House passed HCR 1005, which would Urge congress to pass the Regulation Freedom Amendment. HCR 1005 is a good resolution. It aims to reduce the regulator burden DC places upon the United States. Now SCR 2 would do the opposite. If TPP is finalized and the US is a member of TPP it will essentially allow bureaucrats from overseas to regulation certain industries within the United States. Theoretically every legislator that voted in favor of HCR 1005 yesterday should be voting against SCR 2 today.

State Rep Roger Hunt speaking on the SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 03/10/15.
State Rep Roger Hunt speaking on the SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 03/10/15.

On the House floor Rep Roger Hunt (R, Dist 25) spoke in favor of the Resolution and made it clear this resolution was not only about Taiwan, but the trade organizations included within. Rep Kaiser did offer an amendment to remove the language about TPP from the resolution. Kaiser noted he also wanted to support Taiwan, but did not feel it appropriate to commend TPP. He listed a few reasons to be wary of TPP: the secretive nature of the TPP meetings; the fact the US Congress and the US public cannot read the text; there are many portions of TPP that have nothing to do with trade. Rep Hunt spoke against the amendment to remove the TPP language by saying:

I can appreciate the representatives concerns about TPP. But the problem is we can find similar concerns with every, well with most every, international organization. I’ll name the United Nations as one. We don’t agree with everything they do. But we go there and we participate so we can get our viewpoint across.

Rep Hunt’s remarks might make sense if TPP were simply an organization. It is not. TPP is legally binding trade agreement, much of which has nothing to do with trade, that would create new regulations for Americans to follow; all done without transparency and without input from US citizens or elected officials.

Sadly the resolution passed both houses. The resolution passed the State Senate unanimously 35-0 and passed the State House 64-3. The only three representatives to vote no were  Rep Elizabeth May (R, Dist 27), Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3), and Rep Kevin Killer (D, Dist 27).

I wonder if the same resolution will be brought forward in 2016. I also wonder if the Democrats (who have opposed TPP nationally) will have more than Rep Killer opposing TPP. It is an issue I will definitely keep an eye on!

A conversation with Dist 3 State Rep Dan Kaiser at the Brown County Fair

District 3 State Representative Dan Kaiser posing with volunteers at the Brown County Republican booth. Photo by Ken Santema 08/13/15.
District 3 State Representative Dan Kaiser posing with volunteers at the Brown County Republican booth. Photo by Ken Santema 08/13/15.

One of the legislators I had a conversation with during this years Brown County Fair was District 3 State Representative Dan Kaiser. I am somewhat behind on blogging, this conversation actually occurred on August 13, 2015. Like most of these conversation this was not meant to be an in-depth interview; rather it was just a brief conversation to catch up with legislators.

When I asked Rep Dan Kaiser about the 2015 session he said the biggest success for this year was bringing so much attention to Common Core. He feels a lot more people were motivated to call their elected representatives and place pressure on them. He believes going forward the people of SD can mobilize in way to bring forth the dangers of Common Core and get rid of it in SD. Kaiser would like to allow SD teachers to have more control over curriculum and make it fit the needs of South Dakota students.

Kaiser gained a lot of attention this session as he battled against Common Core. In fact there was a social media push that was fairly successful in SD politics terms that centered around #StandWithDan. With 2016 being an election year it will be interesting to see what happens with Common Core in the 2016 legislative session.

Going on to drawbacks of this session Kaiser mentioned the debt collection agency that the state made (HB 1228, SoDakLiberty Posts). On this state collection agency Kaiser has this to say:

We are taking a lot of money out of good South Dakotan’s pockets to put into another bureaucracy that we are going to have problems with in regards to accountability. And there is no guarantee that this will work better than the way it was up to this point. And again, the people they are going after is the poorest of South Dakotan’s.

Kaiser went on to say that he really doesn’t like the idea of growing government just to go after poor people within the state.

Looking at the 2016 session Kaiser expects Common Core will be an issue. But he think it really depends upon what recommendations the Blue Ribbon Task Force comes forth with. He noted that certain topics weren’t even allowed to be talked about in the Blue Ribbon meetings; Common Core being one of those off-limits topics. Kaiser believes ignoring topics such as how much money is spent on Common Core means that not all cards are on the table during the discussion. He thinks that will backfire on Blue Ribbon Task Force and perhaps make it harder to get anything passed because of how the Blue Ribbon Task Force was conducted.

Kaiser hopes in 2016 there will be enough conservative legislators that will stand up and mention the under-funding of education in 2015 by changing how certain areas of education are funded. Part of what he had to say was:

We (the legislature) spent so much money last year on things we didn’t need and shortsighted education. That just blows my mind because every politician I talk to in this state is campaigning on education. Education will be a dominant, probably the dominant topic for the 2016 session.

I did ask Kaiser if he thinks anything will actually happen from the Blue Ribbon Task Force. Kaiser said he is hopeful something will happen, but he won’t hold his breath. There have been multiple task forces over many years doing basically the same thing and never have results.

Going back to the 2015 session I asked Kaiser about HB 1083 (SoDakLiberty Posts) which would have allowed rural fire departments to potentially collect fees when fires were set with negligence. The bill was gutted and killed during the committee process. Kaiser was not happy with how the bill ended up. He said “people need to take responsibility for their actions” and that this bill would have ensured that. He noted it would only apply when it came to outright negligence, such as people throwing a cigarette out their window and starting a place on fire. During those cases he believes it is the negligent person, and not the tax base, that should be held responsible. He has been working with the fire lobby and expects to have a bill ready in 2016 to deal with this situation.

Overall it was clear from the conversation that education, especially in regards to Common Core, will be Kaisers main focus in 2016. From that perspective it might be an interesting session to watch.