Home > 2014 SD Legislative Session, Free Speech, South Dakota > South Dakota legislature made a statement against transparency and free speech by endorsing the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

South Dakota legislature made a statement against transparency and free speech by endorsing the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

March 30, 2014

Early in the 2014 South Dakota legislative session Representative Gosch brought House Concurrent Resolution 1011 (HCR 1011). This was a seemingly simple resolution aimed at showing support for South Dakota’s ‘sister state’ the Province of Taiwan. Here is the purpose of this resolution as introduce and passed by both Houses:

A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Endorsing Taiwan’s participation as an observer in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the thirtieth anniversary of sister state relations with the Province of Taiwan in the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Taiwan’s inclusion in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The actual text of the resolution has a lot of WHEREAS statements explaining why Taiwan’s participation in the Internation Civial Aviation Organziation (ICAO) is a good thing. I actually agree with those WHEREAS statements. It also goes on to say how things between South Dakota and Taiwan have been keen since officially becoming sister states back in 1984. Again, nothing wrong with any of that.

Finally the WHEREAS statements go into an area South Dakota should not have gone into. Here are the statements in questions:

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:

A new successful Trade & Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) is a good thing. It was necessary in part because the Republic of China had refused to import US Beef for a number of years if the cattle had been fed with certain additives. But then the resolution has to mention the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP is an issue I’ve been following for a few years now and was quit stunned when I found out the South Dakota legislature actually passed a resolution endorsing this secretive multi-national agreement. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has a good summary of TPP (an infographic explains more at the end of this post):

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement. The main problems are two-fold:

(1) IP chapter: Leaked draft texts of the agreement show that the IP chapter would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples’ abilities to innovate.

(2) Lack of transparency: The entire process has shut out multi-stakeholder participation and is shrouded in secrecy.

The United States is already a part of TPP; and now South Dakota endorses TPP and Taiwans inclusion in this anti-free-speech and anti-transparency group with this RESOLVED statement in HCR 1011:

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

When the resolution was being discussed on the House floor it was only Representative Kaiser that spoke against the resolution due to its inclusion of TPP. Kaiser focused on the lack of transparency used by world leaders when creating agreements through TPP. None of the meeting agendas or notes is available for the public, or even Congress, to view.

In response Representative Steele made a statement I’ve heard many politicians say on a variety of topics; and it is always wrong to say. Here is what Rep Steel said about the resolution:

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…

He then goes on to say that any problems with TPP can be worked out elsewhere. Basically Rep Steele said he doesn’t care about what he is actually endorsing because he wanted to make Taiwan feel good. And I’m not just picking on Rep Steele here. The resolution passed the House with a vote of 64-5 (with 1 excused) and the Senate with a vote of 28-0 (with 7 excused).

By my estimation all of the legislators in Pierre that voted yes to this resolution were making one of the following statements:

  1. I don’t bother to research anything I’m voting on. Therefore I only thought this resolution was about Taiwan.
  2. I don’t care about resolutions so I’ll just vote yes and hope nobody actually holds me accountable for whatever I’ve voted on.
  3. I support a lack of transparency and support attacks on free speech at the international level.

None of the above stances are good from the viewpoint of a constituent. I’ve heard it suggested that hearings should be held on Resolutions before they reach the floor. Before I thought of that as a silly waste of time. But if the South Dakota legislature is going to thoughtlessly pass such bad resolutions maybe public input is required. Apparently few of our legislators in Pierre will take the time to actually research what they are voting on so it is up to constituents to let them know.

PS. TPP as a topic is too broad for one little blog post. The best resource for information about TPP can be found on the Knowledge Ecology International website. Alternatively the EFF has created the following Infographic explaining TPP:

tpp_1

  1. Lora Hubbel
    March 31, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Ken, great study here. But back it up a bit. Why don’t you research WHERE this bills came from. Do you really think they came from our legislators solely as required by our SD Constitution? Or do you think maybe they came mostly from “Bill Mills” like the Council of State Governments? AND how many unconstitutionally came from the Executive office?

    • March 31, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      That is on my list of things to research when I find time. Personally I believe there may be ALEC ties because Hollywood has a lot of big players that take part in ALEC conferences and TPP is a big agenda of the movie studios.

  2. April 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    I was under the assumption the (1976) U.S. copyright laws state that the copyrighted material duration is 75 years from the death of the owner, not 50 years. As an artist I have copyrighted material. You might want to check that out, as I sure will.

    • April 30, 2014 at 8:47 am

      I think it is 50 years after the death of the author, or 75 years for works done anonymously or for a third party.

  1. April 30, 2014 at 1:06 pm
  2. May 6, 2014 at 10:26 am
  3. July 8, 2014 at 6:43 pm
  4. July 22, 2014 at 7:21 pm
  5. September 10, 2014 at 1:41 pm
  6. January 30, 2015 at 8:54 am
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