Tag Archives: Kyle Schoenfish

The GOAC meeting on Tues, April 25, is one to keep an eye on!

Non-meandered lakes will be THE topic to keep an eye on!

On Tuesday, April 25, the legislative Government Operations & Audit Committee (GOAC) will meet in Pierre for its second meeting of the year. This is a meeting worth keeping an eye on for many reasons; I’ll go into some of those reasons as I list the agenda items below. Due to this meeting have so many big-ticket topic I plan to be in Pierre on Tuesday in order to record a video of the proceedings. Hopefully that will allow more people to see what GOAC does or doesn’t do.

The previous GOAC meeting was held on March 28 in Pierre. The minutes from that meeting can be read here.

The agenda for the upcoming April 25 meeting can be viewed here.  For this post I will briefly list each agenda items. Additionally I will add some notes pertaining to each agenda item.

Item 1 – Department of Legislative Audit to review the Single Audit Report for the State of South Dakota for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016

This agenda item has the two following documents posted online:

I haven’t had a chance to actually browse through either file yet.

Item 2 – Brand Board to review the 2016 annual report

The two documents available for this agenda item are:

Over the last few years I’ve learned the branding board is VERY important to ranchers. Cattle stealing still happens and the Brand Board is one tool used to keep rustling under control.

Item 3 – Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services to discuss Federal Communication Commission Direct Video Calling

For this agenda item the Department of Human Services (DHS) will give a presentation on Telecommunication Relay Services (TRS). The documents available for this meeting are:

Item 4 – Department of Game, Fish and Parks to discuss the discontinued access to non-meandering waters in South Dakota

Now we are up to what I think will be one of the, if not the, biggest item of the 2018 legislative session: non-meandered waters! This is a top that pits sportsmen against landowners against GFP. It is a topic I will spend more time blogging about this summer, so I will keep this particular blurb short. But I will say this is a topic everyone should be paying attention to. GFP’s move to close access to certain non-meandered lakes after a recent SD Supreme Court decision is getting a lot of attention. My next blog about this topic will be going over some of terminology and history around the topic.

Item 5 – Auditor General to provide an update on the Mid Central Educational Cooperative Special Review Report and the fiscal year 2015 Single Audit – final report to be reviewed at a future GOAC meeting

This is an ongoing issue and will continue to be HUGE. A lot of pressure is being placed on GOAC to find out everything about the GEAR-UP scandals, especially with MCEC. Recently Sen Stace Nelson (R, Dist 19) called out Rep Kyle Schoenfish (R, Dist 19)  for his firms part in auditing certain entities involved in these scandals. That will likely come up during the meeting as well. Unfortunately the Auditor General has not posted a copy of the audit update. People are demanding answers and hopefully this meeting will start to provide some of them.

Item 6 – Bureau of Human Resources to discuss:
• The length of time needed between the employment application and
the job offer
• Performance management indicators

I haven’t really looked into this agenda item….

Item 7 – Future meeting topics:

Finally, here is a list of what GOAC hopes to accomplish later in the year:

  • Juvenile Corrections Reports
  • Review the Mid Central Educational Cooperative Special Review Report
  • Department of Revenue review of performance indicators
  • Bureau of Information and Telecommunications review of performance indicators
  • University Centers financial review
  • Board of Regents application and acceptance process
  • Annual report from the Obligation Recovery Center
  • Annual reports from agencies receiving funds from the Building South Dakota Fund
  • Report from Bureau of Human Resources on compiled authorizations to derive a direct benefit from a contract
  • Report from the Auditor General on compiled authorizations to derive a direct benefit from a contract
  • Annual report from the South Dakota 911 Coordination Board
  • Review the annual work plan and report of the State Board of Internal Control
  • Annual report from the South Dakota High School Activities Association

Many of those topics will likely be blog-worthy. And all of the topics are worth keeping an eye on!

SD Dist 19 State House Gen Election: Peterson, Schoenfish, and Mentele

SD Legislative District 19. Screenshot from LRC website 5/20/16.
SD Legislative District 19. Screenshot from LRC website 5/20/16.

South Dakota legislative District 19 has  a general election for State Representative. District 19 is in SE South Dakota. Towns in this district include Alexandria, Armour, Bridgewater, Canistota, Corsica, Delmont, Dimock, Emery, Farmer, Freeman, Fulton, Menno, Montrose, Olivet, Parkston, Salem, Scotland, Spencer, Tabor, Tripp, and Tyndall.

Both Republican incumbents, Rep Kent Peterson and Rep Kyle Schoenfish, are seeking reelection.  Peterson and Schoenfish survived a primary challenge from fellow Republican ReGina Osborn. The Democrats have a single candidate on the ballot trying for one of these two seats. Originally that candidate was Ardon Wek. But Wek had to withdraw his name and was replaced by Democrat party with local activist Melissa Mentele.

Here is a brief look at all three 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. For candidates with a legislative history I look at a few pieces of legislation prime sponsored. For candidates with no legislative history I look at the issues I find for them online.

*** 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.

Kent S. Peterson

Rep Kent Peterson on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 1/21/15.
Rep Kent Peterson on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 1/21/15.

Rep Kent Peterson (R, Dist 19) – Incumbent
Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – OpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2016 2015
SDPB Video: 2014
SDPB Audio: 2016

I already did a post looking at bills prime sponsored by Ken Peterson for the Republican Primary election. In this post I will simply copy/past what I wrote about him then:

Peterson has completed his first term as State Representative. He easily walked into the position without opposition in 2014 to fill the seat vacated by Stace Nelson. It will be interesting to see if he can win reelection.

Since Peterson has a legislative history (and a non-existent online presence) I will take some time to look at the bills he has prime-sponsored. He really hasn’t sponsored many bills, but even a couple of bills can show something about him as a legislator. [a lack of bills prime sponsored is not a bad thing in my opinion]

The first bill to highlight from Peterson is HB 1219 (SoDakLiberty Posts) during the 2015 legislative session. HB 1219 is and Act to “permit entities to voluntarily disclose ownership on filings with the Office of the Secretary of State and to establish a fee therefor.” The bill basically added the ability to submit the statement of voluntary disclosure of beneficial interests with the SOS office and added a $25 fee to amended annual reports. Peterson’s opponent may use this to show he is willing support a fee increase piece of legislation.

In 2016 Peterson was not the prime sponsor of any House bills, but he was the House Prime sponsor of SB 74 (SoDakLiberty Posts). SB 74 was an Act to “authorize members of certain governing bodies who are displaced by a natural disaster to continue their term of office.” Basically this bill would not force certain elected officials to resign if their house is destroyed by a natural disaster and are temporarily living outside of their district. This happened in Delmont. There were no problems there with the elected officials, but could have been. This legislation passed into law will give elected officials one less thing to worry about in emergency situations.

The two bills Peterson prime sponsored could show a pattern of wanting to ensure government works efficiently. HB 1219 might be used against him as a fee increase.

Kyle Schoenfish

Rep Kyle Schoenfish on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/11/15.
Rep Kyle Schoenfish on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/11/15.

Rep Kyle Schoenfish (R, Dist 19) – Incumbent
Facebook – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – OpenStates –SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2016 2015 2014 2013
SDPB Video: 2012

Since I also wrote about Kyle Schoenfish for the Republican Primary election I will copy/paste what I wrote then into this post:

Schoenfish is currently on his second term as State Representative for District 19. Just like Peterson, Schoenfish’s online presence is virtually non-existent; making it very difficult for constituents to learn about him. He has only one post from 2016 on his campaign website, and it is basically someone on his campaign staff asking everyone to vote for Schoenfish and Peterson. It also asks people to vote for Caleb Finck on the Senate side.

Just like with Peterson above, I will now take a moment to look at a couple pieces of legislation prime sponsored by Schoenfish in 2016.

First in 2016 Schoenfish was the prime sponsor of HB 1230 (SoDakLiberty Posts). HB 1230 was an Act to “require lights on certain animal-drawn vehicles while operating on a highway.” This bill basically came about because of an Amish community in District 19. Looking back it seems odd a law had to be passed in order to deal with one specific circumstance in one community; especially since one would think the Amish in question would want to stay alive and let others know they are on the road at night. But, on the other hand this is legislation that shows Schoenfish is paying attention to issues in his district.

The other bill prime sponsored by Schoenfish in 2016 was HB 1089 (SoDakLiberty Posts). HB 1089 was an Act to “revise provisions for accumulation of funds for certain municipal enterprises.” Here is what I said about the bill after it was signed into law:

This would change the accumulation of funds from exceeding “an amount equivalent to ten dollars per thousand dollars of taxable valuation of all property within the municipality” and change it to “The governing body shall establish a maximum amount allowed to be accumulated in the fund.” In committee the proponent testimony noted the current limit was arbitrary. This change would make it more transparent for taxpayers and easier for cities to use their money in the ways the city finds necessary.

Since the LRC website lists Schoenfish as an accountant it makes sense this type of legislation would be prime sponsored by him. He does seem to prime sponsor legislation aimed at fixing specific problems.

Melissa R. Mentele

Melissa Mentele (left). Photo from Mentele's campaign Facebook page.
Melissa Mentele (left). Photo from Mentele’s campaign Facebook page.

Melissa Mentele (D)
Facebook – Twitter – BallotpediaVoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

Melissa Mentele may be a familiar name for those following politics in South Dakota. Mentele spearheaded the petition drive for New Approach South Dakota to legalize the use of medical marijuana within South Dakota. Mentele was not able to get enough good signatures to get that issue on the ballot for 2016. I think it can be safe to assume that medical marijuana is a legislative priority for Mentele.

To find out some of her issues and priorities I will look at her campaign Facebook page.

Abortion

Mentele has this to say about abortion and pro-life in a Facebook post:

As a candidate I receive lots of surveys from different organizations regarding my stance on a myriad of subjects. The most prevalent one being what is my stance on abortion. I find that a very personal question not just for me but for every woman in the world. Our bodies, our babies & our choice is just that ours. There is more focus on pro-life meaning we protect the unborn then there is on protecting & caring for the born.

As a woman I see how society & our lawmakers use this subject as a jump point for votes. It’s easy to convince people that you don’t support abortion & are protecting those poor innocent babies from death. I get it. It’s an issue that people vehemently use to garner feel good warm fuzzy votes. Sorry it doesn’t work for me.

The real issue is not abortion it is what are we as SD residents & lawmakers going to do to protect those children. What are we going to do to ensure they are clothed, fed, loved, educated & cared for?

This article really put things into perspective for me today. I hope you read it and can honestly answer the Pro-life question because I tell you what 75% of those who claim to be pro-life are not.

If you are ok with cutting SNAP, not expanding Medicaid, removing funding from programs like the backpack/summer meals/free school lunches & reducing TANF you are not pro-life. You are pro-vote and need a doctors appointment to have your heart checked.

https://medium.com/@t…/are-you-really-pro-life-ab5c5acbb293…

The above is interesting because more often it seems this is the approach being taken by candidates are labeled as pro-choice.

Teacher Pay

Mentele has this to say about the recent teacher pay raise:

Education is vital for our children. A good education comes from great teachers. In SD we have been dead last on teacher pay for awhile. Earlier this year a bill was passed to increase teacher pay. It took us out of being last in the nation but left us last in the region.

We can do better. I support additional funding for teachers. We need to pay teachers what they are worth. Their influence on our children’s lives is priceless. We as a state need to ensure that their wages reflect that.

Mentele definitely seems to have a legislative priority of getting more pay for teachers.

Medicaid Expansion

In the abortion section above Mentele notes support for Medicaid Expansion. Here is a longer bit on the subject of Medicaid expansion from Mentele:

I find it disturbing that the SDGOP passed a resolution to “reject and defeat” efforts for Medicaid expansion in South Dakota.
It is a blow to the many seniors, disabled and low income working families that fall into the no coverage gap. Many working families do not qualify for subsidized health care and cannot afford the high costs in the market for it. Medicaid expansion will help those families working 2 sometimes 3 jobs to obtain coverage.

Time to bring new faces, fresh ideas and common sense to Pierre in January.

Vote Mentele for House! I will push for Medicaid expansion so working families have health insurance. No family should work 2-3 jobs and still not have access to preventative health care. It is wrong. Those who think no expansion is the right option need to schedule a cardiology appointment for a heart check.

I will be interesting to see if Mentele can take her experience running a ballot question petition drive into a campaign to run for office. This might be a race to watch.

SD Interim Committees scopes and members for the 2016 session finalized

1664437I noted almost two months ago the three final selections for interim committees in 2016. In the May 16 meeting the scopes and memberships of these three committees were determined by the Executive Board. The minutes from that meeting can be found here.  Since I’ve already looked briefly at the scope of all three studies I will only report on any changes to the scopes in this post. This post will also note the membership of these committees.

Substance abuse prevent in early stages

Title of Requested Study: The study of substance abuse prevention at the earliest stages and options available to South Dakota communities.

The scope of the committee specifies meth. There was discussion during the meeting of adding alcohol and marijuana to the study. But the committee only voted to added prescription drugs to the interim study. This committee actually has its first meeting on June 16. A post looking at that meetings agenda will be forthcoming.

Here are the selected members for the substance abuse summer study:

Nursing and assisted living beds in South Dakota

Title of Requested Study: A study of the benefits, merits and negative impacts of regulating the number of nursing and assisted living beds in South Dakota. Further, recommend action that may include elimination of or revisions to regulations for the betterment of the South Dakota populace.

There was discussion of adding elder abuse in nursing homes to the scope. But that was determined to be a separate issue that really wouldn’t fit with this study.

Here are the selected members for the nursing and assisted living beds summer study:

Payment methodologies for Medicaid providers in long term care

Title of Requested Study: Assess existing payment methodologies for Medicaid providers to determine adequacy of payments that will provide for long term continuation of services and conclude with recommendations for any changes.

The executive committee added “impact of federal mandates” to the original scope.

Here are the selected members for the payment methodologies for Medicaid providers summer study:

District 19 State House Republican Primary: Osborn, Peterson, and Schoenfish

SD Legislative District 19. Screenshot from LRC website 5/20/16.
SD Legislative District 19. Screenshot from LRC website 5/20/16.

South Dakota legislative District 19 has  a Republican Primary for State House. There is also a primary for State Senate in District 19, but that is covered in a different post. District 19 is in SE South Dakota. Towns in this district include Alexandria, Armour, Bridgewater, Canistota, Corsica, Delmont, Dimock, Emery, Farmer, Freeman, Fulton, Menno, Montrose, Olivet, Parkston, Salem, Scotland, Spencer, Tabor, Tripp, and Tyndall.

The current State Representatives, Rep Kent Peterson and Rep Kyle Schoenfish, are seeking reelection. Republican ReGina L. Osborn is hoping to take one of the two spots from the incumbents.  The two winners of this primary election will face Ardon Wek (D) in the general election.

Here is a brief look at all three candidates.  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.

ReGina L. Osborn

ReGina Osborn (R)
Facebook  – BallotpediaVoteSmartSoDakLiberty

ReGina Osborn picture from her Facebook campaign page.
ReGina Osborn picture from her Facebook campaign page.

Osborn is hoping to take one of the House positions from the incumbents. Her campaign Facebook page does not list any specific issues or platform. However for the last couple of months she has been very active on that page and it has become quite clear that she is running to the right of both Peterson and Schoenfish. Osborn calls herself a conservative, and if the posts she does on Facebook is any indication I would say that label seems more than appropriate.

The Mitchell Daily Republic did a small story about Osborn’s candidacy that included this:

… She is focused on reining in the tax, spend, create more government, and corruption we are all witnessing in Pierre.

I don’t think there are many conservatives that would disagree with Osborn on the above statement. In just the last two years the legislature has passed the two biggest tax increases in recent South Dakota History; those of course being the infrastructure tax increase of 2015 via SB 1 (SoDakLiberty Posts) and the teacher-pay/property-tax-reduction sales tax increase of 2016 via HB 1182 (SoDakLiberty Posts). Osborn’s opponents voted Yea to both bills. That could be an issue for her to run on.

She is dedicated to protecting family values, defending gun rights, supporting private property rights, and bringing back accessibility of our district representation to people within the community, which has been conspicuously absent the last two years.

I wish Osborn had provided a list of issues so constituents could learn more about how she would protect family values, gun rights, and private property rights. These are issues the right-wing of the Republican Party cares about and could be winning topics for her if she can reach the conservative base.

I have spoken with a few Republicans in District 19 who know Osborn. They say she is as conservative as her campaign Facebook makes her seem. It will be interesting to see if the primary voters in District 19 agree a more conservative voice is needed in Pierre.

Kent S. Peterson

Rep Kent Peterson (R, Dist 19) – Incumbent
Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – OpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2016 2015
SDPB Video: 2014

Rep Kent Peterson on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 1/21/15.
Rep Kent Peterson on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 1/21/15.

Peterson has completed his first term as State Representative. He easily walked into the position without opposition in 2014 to fill the seat vacated by Stace Nelson. It will be interesting to see if he can win reelection.

Since Peterson has a legislative history (and a non-existent online presence) I will take some time to look at the bills he has prime-sponsored. He really hasn’t sponsored many bills, but even a couple of bills can show something about him as a legislator. [a lack of bills prime sponsored is not a bad thing in my opinion]

The first bill to highlight from Peterson is HB 1219 (SoDakLiberty Posts) during the 2015 legislative session. HB 1219 is and Act to “permit entities to voluntarily disclose ownership on filings with the Office of the Secretary of State and to establish a fee therefor.” The bill basically added the ability to submit the statement of voluntary disclosure of beneficial interests with the SOS office and added a $25 fee to amended annual reports. Peterson’s opponent may use this to show he is willing support a fee increase piece of legislation.

In 2016 Peterson was not the prime sponsor of any House bills, but he was the House Prime sponsor of SB 74 (SoDakLiberty Posts). SB 74 was an Act to “authorize members of certain governing bodies who are displaced by a natural disaster to continue their term of office.” Basically this bill would not force certain elected officials to resign if their house is destroyed by a natural disaster and are temporarily living outside of their district. This happened in Delmont. There were no problems there with the elected officials, but could have been. This legislation passed into law will give elected officials one less thing to worry about in emergency situations.

The two bills Peterson prime sponsored could show a pattern of wanting to ensure government works efficiently. HB 1219 might be used against him as a fee increase.

Kyle Schoenfish

Rep Kyle Schoenfish (R, Dist 19) – Incubment
Facebook – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – OpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2016 2015 2014 2013
SDPB Video: 2012

Rep Kyle Schoenfish on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/11/15.
Rep Kyle Schoenfish on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/11/15.

Schoenfish is currently on his second term as State Representative for District 19. Just like Peterson, Schoenfish’s online presence is virtually non-existent; making it very difficult for constituents to learn about him. He has only one post from 2016 on his campaign website, and it is basically someone on his campaign staff asking everyone to vote for Schoenfish and Peterson. It also asks people to vote for Caleb Finck on the Senate side.

Just like with Peterson above, I will now take a moment to look at a couple pieces of legislation prime sponsored by Schoenfish in 2016.

First in 2016 Schoenfish was the prime sponsor of HB 1230 (SoDakLiberty Posts). HB 1230 was an Act to “require lights on certain animal-drawn vehicles while operating on a highway.” This bill basically came about because of an Amish community in District 19. Looking back it seems odd a law had to be passed in order to deal with one specific circumstance in one community; especially since one would think the Amish in question would want to stay alive and let others know they are on the road at night. But, on the other hand this is legislation that shows Shoenfish is paying attention to issues in his district.

The other bill prime sponsored by Shoenfish in 2016 was HB 1089 (SoDakLiberty Posts). HB 1089 was an Act to “revise provisions for accumulation of funds for certain municipal enterprises.” Here is what I said about the bill after it was signed into law:

This would change the accumulation of funds from exceeding “an amount equivalent to ten dollars per thousand dollars of taxable valuation of all property within the municipality” and change it to “The governing body shall establish a maximum amount allowed to be accumulated in the fund.” In committee the proponent testimony noted the current limit was arbitrary. This change would make it more transparent for taxpayers and easier for cities to use their money in the ways the city finds necessary.

Since the LRC website lists Schoenfish as an accountant it makes sense this type of legislation would be prime sponsored by him. He does seem to prime sponsor legislation aimed at fixing specific problems.