Archive for April, 2015

A look at the issues on Rand Paul’s campaign website

April 27, 2015 Comments off
Senator Rand Paul. Picture from Paul's Senate office press kit.

Senator Rand Paul. Picture from Paul’s Senate office press kit.

The 2016 election season has already started. To help organize myself I am once again creating a page to track various resources about the various statewide races in South Dakota (I also have apage to track the current statewide office holders). I plan to look at the issues being touted by each presidential candidate. So far I have been able to look at the issues on Ted Cruz’s website. Now it is time to look at the issues for another Republican hopeful: Rand Paul.

Rand Paul has a list of 17 issues on his website. Generally I have been supportive of Rand Paul, because I believe he would bring some libertarian policies to the table. Below is the list of his seventeen issues and what I think about them.

Spending and Debt

In part Paul has this to say:

As President of the United States, I will work to balance our budget and only spend what comes in.  We must cut spending in all areas, particularly areas that are better run by state and local governments.

This is one area I hope he would keep his word on (although I would say Congress has more to do with this).  There are simply too many areas the federal government spends money that should be left up to the states, local governments, or not handled by any level of government. It  would be refreshing to see a President that actually believes in local control. It will be interesting to see how well he handles people saying that would also place more burden upon states and other local governments.

Term Limits

Here is part of what Paul says about Term Limits:

It is time to put an end to the profession of “career politician,” and impose limits on how many times a member is allowed to seek re-election. As a Senator, I introduced legislation that would limit the amount of time a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate may serve.

Personally I like the idea of term limits, but it’s not an issue I see going anywhere. There are people who have served in Congress longer that I have been alive! These long-term politicians from both parties seem more beholden to DC politics than they do their “home” states. But I don’t see term-limits as a fix. In order for term-limits to work properly it would require voters to actually choose politicians that would do as they say during campaigns. Until that would happen I don’t see term limits as actually fixing anything.


Paul has quite a bit to say about taxes. I would like to highlight this one line:

Politicians and lobbyists tinker with the tax code so they can pick winners and losers.

Too often pro-tax advocates seem to make the tax system about class warfare. I find that to be an odd approach. But when watching politicians in DC it becomes quite obvious that lobbyists and special interest groups actually use the tax code to pick winners and losers in the market. Tax code is often used by big industry players to hurt small business owners and restrict the market.

Paul says his plan would “cut spending and balance the budget in just five years.” I believe such a move would do more to actually expand the economic growth within the United States and allow more Americans of all income levels to prosper and choose how to spend their own money. Such a move would be hard though. Special interest groups and a majority of politicians in both parties would fight against such changes. That would move much power away from DC politicians and special interest groups.

Audit the Fed

Here is part of what Rand has to say about Auditing the Fed:

The Federal Reserve was created by Congress and is supposed to be overseen by Congress. The Fed is now in every nook and cranny of banking with unprecedented regulatory powers and no Congressional oversight. I believe the Fed should be audited and the regulatory power should be placed back under the control of Congress.

This issue of course was championed by Rand’s father Ron Paul for decades. Ironically it was also championed by many Democrats in the Senate during the Bush years, but then was suddenly dropped when the Democrats gained a majority.

Personally I would love to see the Fed abolished. But that is not likely to happen. So at the very least it would be good to have full audits done to ALL areas of the Fed. Oftentimes those opposed to auditing the Fed will bring up that the Fed is one of the most audited organizations that exist. That is somewhat misleading. Yes, the Fed does get audited a lot, but there are four key exemptions that don’t get audited.

These areas as laid out in 31 U.S. CODE § 714 include:

  1. transactions for or with a foreign central bank, government of a foreign country, or nonprivate international financing organization; (foreign version of The Fed)
  2. deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary policy matters, including discount window operations, reserves of member banks, securities credit, interest on deposits, and open market operations
  3. transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee
  4. a part of a discussion or communication among or between members of the Board and officers and employees of the Federal Reserve System related to clauses (1)–(3) of this subsection

Basically almost anything the Fed wants to hide from Congress and the American people can fall under these exemptions.  I find it odd that Congress has outsourced monetary policy to what is now the largest private bank in world, but they are not able to fully audit certain areas of that bank that impact monetary policy. Perhaps with the Democrats losing the Senate they will swap sides on this and work towards transparency within the Fed. If not at least a few politicians like Rand are willing to do so.

Foreign Policy & Defense

Here is part of what Rand says:

I believe in Ronald Reagan’s “Peace through Strength.” I will continue to stand with Israel and our allies abroad, and I vow to explore all diplomatic options before sending our armed forces into battle. Finally, if and when we choose to fight, we will empower our military to fight to win.

I agree with exploring all diplomatic options. But I do think Rand is still a little hawkish in his foreign policy. He has vowed not to go around Congress before declaring war. Yet I’m sure he would agree that “war” is usually not officially declared. Thus any president, including potentially Rand, could easily decide to deploy troops for short-term actions, knowing full well that it will end up being a long-term campaign.  Plus citing Israel as part of his foreign policy seems to be keeping with the status quo war hawks.

I would rather see a President that sticks with the first line of what Rand says in this section:

I believe that one of the primary functions of the Federal Government is national security.

No disagreements there. But “national security” has been so twisted over the last few decades and has been used by Presidents from both parties to intervene in the national affairs of other countries. I would rather see less non-interventionist talk from a President.  As Commander in Chief I would like to see Rand work with Congress to create a more efficient and modern army. Doing so would help to reduce the deficit (by stopping unnecessary defense spending going to special interests) and increase security (by actually focusing on military defense strength).

Health Care

This is a hot topic for Republican candidates. Here is part of what Rand has to say:

As a doctor, I have had firsthand experience with the immense problems facing health care in the United States. Prior to the implementation of Obamacare, our health care system was over-regulated and in need of serious market reforms—but Obamacare is not the answer.

I’ve spoken to quite a few doctors in my local area that have said about the same thing as what Rand is saying: ACA has pushed them further away from their patients. Creating more regulatory layers between the doctor and patient was not the answer to the layers that already existed.  Unfortunately Obamacare has placed even more power in the hands of insurance companies than they had before. That is not a natural result of the market. That is the result of regulation being driven by special interest groups. Rand actually seems to get that more freedom is needed in healthcare to allow healthcare providers to innovate new and more efficient ways to deliver their services.


Here is part of what Paul says here:

Cutting the red tape and encouraging energy freedom, new technologies, and discoveries will be a priority in my administration. Like all other sectors of the economy, allowing businesses to compete in a free market will not only produce the most efficient forms of energy, but will also pass along the cost savings to the consumer.

This is another area I feel Rand “gets it”. Proponents of red tape seem to think energy producers want to use less efficient forms of energy. That just doesn’t make sense.  What makes market sense is for energy producers to innovate newer, more efficient ways to create energy. Sadly the current regulatory environment just doesn’t allow that. Current regulations are adding too many costs to current energy production, thus reducing the amount of money energy companies have to invest in newer, clearer, energy alternatives.

There is one part of Rands energy policy I don’t agree with:

I support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and I have repeatedly voted to allow this project to proceed.

I do think President Obama’s dragging out the KXL decision has been bad. But in South Dakota there are valid concerns about eminent domain abuse involved with KXL. If ind it odd any small government advocate would simply overlook potential eminent domain abuse. But other than the potential eminent domain abuse I also believe KXL should be allowed to move forward (as long as property rights are observed).


Some of Paul’s words:

I do not support amnesty, but rather I support a legal immigration process. I recognize that our country has been enriched by those who seek the American Dream and have a desire for a better life. However, millions of illegal immigrants are crossing our border without our knowledge, and this threatens our national security.

As President, I would secure our border immediately. Before issuing any visas or starting the legal immigration process, we must first ensure that our border is secure.

Here is another area I disagree with Paul on, and probably will for all of the Republican candidates. Securing our border simply isn’t going to happen (short of creating a DMZ along our border with Mexico). I would rather see politicians focus on fixing our current immigration system by streamlining the whole process. Immigration has become such a bureaucratic nightmare for those wanting to come into the US to work. If we can get the immigration problem fixed, it will likely create a situation where border security suddenly becomes a lot less relevant.


Some of Paul’s words on regulation:

In the Senate, I proudly introduced the Regulations from the Executive Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. This legislation is designed to increase accountability for and transparency in the Federal regulatory process.

I really wish the  REINS Act could have passed and been enacted into law. The REINS Act wouldn’t’ stop bureaucratic overreach, but it would at least slow it down and create more counter balance between Congress and the bureaucrats in the Executive branch. I would think even advocates of federal regulation would be in favor having accountability and transparency added to the process. With his record in this area I actually believe Rand could do some good as President in reducing the regulatory state.

Criminal Justice Reforms

Here is how he starts this section:

Since taking office, I have found that one of the biggest impediments to finding a job is a criminal record. Upon examining our nation’s criminal justice system, I found that the system is in desperate need of reform.

That is an understatement! So far everything I’ve heard from Rand on this issue gives hope that there is one presidential candidate that actually wants to fix the countries broken criminal justice system. This is an area I plan to do more posts on as the campaign continues so I will keep this short.

Here is the list of legislation he has worked on to promote a better criminal justice system: The REDEEM ActJustice Safety Valve ActCivil Rights Voting Restoration ActRESET ActFAIR Act.

Of course trying to get any of the above legislation passed has been near-impossible. There is so little willpower in DC from either party to work with Paul in restoring power to the people.

Civil Liberties

Here is one part of what Paul says in this section:

I believe that America can successfully protect itself against potential national security threats without sacrificing our inalienable rights.

Even though I still found Rand a little hawkish on foreign policy, I agree that national security can be dealt with and inalienable rights can be protected. It seems Presidents from both parties have continuously placed national security threats over civil liberties. I believe Rand with his libertarian leaning may actually do the opposite, and ensure civil liberties are protected.


Here is part of this section:

Parents and teachers should play an active role in their child’s education and should be encouraged to choose the most appropriate educational institution for their child. We should encourage a variety of educational formats—whether it’s public, charter, private, religious, homeschool or online. Our children should not be constricted to a one-size-fits-all format, as implemented by Common Core.

Notice in the paragraph above it doesn’t say “government should play an active role”. No instead Rand focuses on the need to parents and teachers. That is the key to successful education. The one-size-fits-all approach will continue to drive down the education in the US, especially if outcome-based education systems such as Common Core are utilized. This is another issue I think may be bigger in 2016 than it has in previous election cycles.


Here is part of what Paul says:

That’s why I proposed a bill called the “Stand with Israel Act” to cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority.

I’ve already stated I believe having a policy on Israel is too hawkish for me. But I do support his Stand with Israel Act, but only because it reduces foreign aid spent to a group that works against US interest. Personally I think we need to reduce foreign aid across the board. Too much of that money is used to prop up governments that work against the US. Plus that money is often used by foreign government agencies to pick and choose winners in their market. That just isn’t a wise move.

Social Security

Here is part of Rand’s stance:

Millions of Americans depend on Social Security and if we are to keep our promises to them, we can no longer ignore the fiscal state of this undoubtedly important program. Continuing to push Social Security reforms into the future will only make solving the problem harder and will require more painful changes for seniors.

Personally I don’t think any true reform will happen until the system collapses. No matter who gets the presidency I  just don’t see this problem being fixed.


Here is part of this section from Rand:

We consider all veterans, service members and their families to be an important part of our local communities. As President, I will continue to support veterans and service members of this country. It is my strong belief that we must protect those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation.

I won’t really go into this section either. There isn’t going to be a lot of disagreement between candidates on this issue.

Sanctity of Life

Here is part of what Rand says:

I believe we may be able to save millions of lives, and do no harm, by allowing states to pass their own anti-abortion laws. By giving this power to the states, I sincerely believe we would save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Rand is definitely pro-life. He actually says he believes life begins at conception. But he also can see that this is not a federal issue, and instead should be left up to the states.

Second Amendment

Some of what Rand says:

As President, I vow to uphold our entire Bill of Rights, but specifically our right to bear arms.

This is another area I won’t really go into. Rand has a long history of supporting all of the Bill of Rights, especially the Second Amendment.


Overall I think Rand Paul is the Republican candidate that I would vote for. There are arguments out there about whether he is ‘libertarian’. Personally I don’t think he is libertarian. But I do feel he would bring some libertarian ideas forth as President and actually work to defend the liberties of every individual. Going forward I will pay close attention to what he says about civil liberties and justice reform.

Interim executive board meeting today in Pierre

April 27, 2015 Comments off
SD Capital Building Dome. Photo by Ken Santema.

SD Capital Building Dome. Photo by Ken Santema.

Today the interim Executive Board is having a committee meeting.  Actually the subcommittee meetings are going on as I write this post. The previous meeting on March 30th was organizational in nature (audio available here).

In this meeting it may be worth listening to the  Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) update. I am also curious about the interim travel policies and travel budget. This might be a meeting worth listening to once the audio is available.

Subcommittee Meetings

8:00 a.m. Executive Committee
8:30 a.m. Technology
9:30 a.m. Budget

Full Executive Board

10:30 a.m. Call to order; Determination of quorum Approval of the agenda Approval of minutes (03/30/2015 meeting)
10:35 a.m. Management Reports
11:00 a.m. MHEC Update
11:30 a.m. Executive Board Appointments 1. Dakota Corp Scholarship Board (2) 2. Education Commission of the States (2) 3. Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision 4. Midwestern Higher Education Compact (4)
12:00 p.m. Working lunch
1:00 p.m. Selection of Interim Committee Topics
1:45 p.m. Technology Subcommittee Report 1. Chambers Upgrade, Phase II 2. LCR 1&2 Upgrade 3. IT System Upgrade
3:00 p.m. Break
3:10 p.m. Budget Subcommittee Report 1. Travel Budget Allocations
3:30 p.m. Interim Travel Policies
3:50 p.m. Chambers Carpeting Update
4:00 p.m. Executive Session
4:20 p.m. Other Business
4:30 p.m. Adjourn

Still light posting for the next couple of weeks

April 23, 2015 1 comment

A couple of week ago I noted blogging would resume on a regular schedule. Thanks to commitments in real (non-political) world that has not happened as planned. For the next couple of week I will continue to be busy. But after that I should be back to far more posting.

This summer I will also add one more type of blog post. I have had email requests to look into different pieces of legislation that was passed this year by the SD legislature. Such requests are great because they let me know what people want to read about. I will generally try to do something with such requests any time I can.

Categories: Uncategorized

Interim State-Tribal Relations committee meeting today

April 23, 2015 Comments off
Indian Camp - Art on the wall in SD State Capital. Photo by Ken Santema 2/25/15

Indian Camp – Art on the wall in SD State Capital. Photo by Ken Santema 2/25/15

Today is the first meeting for the State-Tribal Relations committee during the 2015 SD interim legislative session. The meeting begins at 11:00am in room 413 of the State Capital building.

Here is the agenda for the meeting:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

11:00 a.m. Call to Order
Determination of Quorum

11:05 a.m. Update on Indian Education
Deputy Secretary Mary Stadick Smith, Department of Education

11:30 p.m. Update on the Department of Social Services
Secretary Lynne Valenti

12:00 p.m. Update on the Department of Tribal Relations
Secretary Steve Emery

12:30 p.m. Election of Officers
Committee Discussion

1:00 p.m. Update on the Department of Corrections
Deputy Secretary Laurie Feiler

1:30 p.m. Public Testimony

2:00 p.m. Committee Discussion
2015 Interim Study Topics
2015 Interim Meeting Dates
Staff Direction

3:00 p.m. Adjourn


A look at the Ted Cruz campaign website

April 20, 2015 Comments off
Senator Ted Cruz  Picture provided by his press office.

Senator Ted Cruz
Picture provided by his press office.

The 2016 election season is underway. To help organize myself I am once again creating a page to track various resources about the various statewide races in South Dakota (I also have a page to track the current statewide office holders). To go along with that I thought it might be interesting to see what each of the entries in the Presidential primary race have for substance on their campaign website. Since Ted Cruz was the first in the race I feel his website would be a good one to start with.

Cruz doesn’t have an issues page. Instead he has a Record page. That is not unexpected. It seems the more conservative candidates are willing to run on their records, while moderates tend to avoid theirs…  Cruz’s record page is broken down into four sections:

  1. Our standard: the Constitution
  2. Stronger, Safer America
  3. Life Marriage & Family
  4. Jobs & Opportunity

I have generally been supportive of Cruz in the Senate. But my thoughts of him in the Senate will have little or no bearing as I read through his website and look at his stances from my version of a liberty standpoint.

Here are some takeaways and some of my thoughts on each of these records:

Our standard: the Constitution

Cruz starts out this section with the following paragraph:

Ted Cruz has spent a lifetime fighting to defend the Constitution — our nation’s founding document and the supreme law of the land — which was crafted by our founding fathers to act as chains to bind the mischief of government and to protect the liberties endowed to us by our Creator.

I like his focus on fighting to defend the Constitution and to protect liberties. Such an approach could do well to attract liberty groups to his side. Yet the inclusion of religion in the core of his standard may push away some of the less religious-focused liberty groups.

Going on he breaks his record down into the following sections: Religious Liberty, Second Amendment, US Sovereignty, and Government Overreach.

I’m not sure that all of his religious liberty bullet points should be included. Yes, he probably gained some points with christian conservatives by defending “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. But I fail to see how those victories help to keep the government out of religion; to me it seems the opposite would be true. But I will give him points for helping to protect preachers from having their sermons subpoenaed. To me this section of his Standard washes itself out.

I don’t think anyone is surprised by a good second amendment record for Cruz. I’m not sure he should be touting his NRA credits too much though. That organization has lost a lot of credibility with gun owners over the last few years. But overall his second amendment record is quite strong and I hope it continues to be so.

Cruz has a couple of bullet points listed for US Sovereignty. What is missing though is his current stance on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He has generally been in favor TPP and this is quite distressing from a liberty viewpoint.

Stronger, Safer America

Here is the opening paragraph from Cruz in this section:

A safer, stronger America safeguards freedom at home and across the globe. That’s why Ted Cruz has fought tirelessly to defend our nation’s servicemen and women, to restore America’s leadership in the world, and to secure our border and streamline our legal immigration system.

I would give points to Cruz for fighting to defend the nations servicemen and servicewomen; but it is likely all of the Presidential candidates will say the same.  I do however worry about his other two big points.

“Restore America’s leadership in the world” is a very interventionist thing to say. Now, I’m not an isolationist by any means. But it seems that decades of interventionist attitude from DC is what has gotten the US in too many fights we should not be involved in. It is troubling to see a liberty-focused candidate taking that route.

Additionally securing the border has time and again proven to be a dead-end issue that likely will do nothing to protect liberties. Perhaps he should just stick to working on streamlining immigration, then work on securing the border after that has been done.

Going through the many bullet-points it does re-enforce his record on a Stronger, Safer American from his perspective. Too bad I feel it is not a liberty-focused vision.

Life Marriage & Family

Here is what Cruz has at the beginning of this section:

Without life, there is no liberty. And ensuring every child is born into a home with a loving family provides the best chance for that child to achieve anything. That is why Ted Cruz has been on the front lines defending life and standing up for marriage when it has come under assault from activist judges.

I agree with his opening statement. Life and liberty are intertwined. But then most of his opening paragraph setup his belief that marriage needs to be protected from activist judges. I definitely disagree with Cruz on this point. To me a liberty-minded individual would first state that government should not even be involved in marriage (separation of church and state). But due to federal benefits, taxes, and welfare programs that stance has serious limitations. For that reason I would think a liberty-minded candidate would say that all citizens should be treated equally under the law. Therefore any two people willing to make the ultimate commitment to each other should be recognized the same under the law. That doesn’t mean that a liberty-minded person has to agree with or understand same-sex marriage, just that they have to acknowledge that it shouldn’t be up to the government to choose how individuals live their lives. That does not appear to be the path Cruz is taking.

He does tout a couple of abortion items in his record. The problem with abortion as an issue is that only the extremes from each side choose this as their top issue. But I do applaud his for working to keep public money out of being used for abortions.

Jobs & Opportunity

Here is how Cruz starts this section:

The American Dream — the idea that anyone, through hard work and determination, can achieve anything — is under assault like never before. Obamacare, an overreaching federal government, and out of control spending threaten the ability of small businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs and innovate. This has to stop and Ted Cruz has led the way to bring back jobs, growth, and opportunity to America.

OK. This is one section I think he has a strong start on. I don’t believe any true conservative would disagree that the federal government and federal spending has gotten out of control. He also takes the stance that it is small business owners and entrepreneurs that create jobs, and not the government.

This section has some accomplishments I truly think stand out:

  • “Authored legislation to end taxpayer dollars subsidizing corporate fat cats, including the Ex-Im Bank.” – This is a topic I wish more media and bloggers would give attention to (including myself). The Ex-Im Bank is crony capitalism at its worse. And yet it has generally had bipartisan support. Here is an article from last year that may explain why.
  • “Led the fight against regulating the Internet as a public utility because it threatens the Internet as a haven for entrepreneurial freedom and unlimited opportunity.” This is another area I have failed to blog on as much as I should. But Net Neutrality as imposed by federal bureaucrats is likely to destroy everything that makes the Internet free. I find it mind-boggling that many people believe that the government must regulate the internet in order for it to remain “free”. I don’t think we have the same definition of free… Kudos to Cruz for working to protect the Internet.
  • “Insisted on a commitment from Democrats and Republicans in the Senate that the debt ceiling would not be increased as part of a deal to pass the budget .” It is sad how often supposed conservative Republicans in DC have been willing to increase the debt ceiling. Instead legislators should be doing as Cruz is doing and find ways to actually cut expenditures. Sadly that isn’t likely to happen any time soon, but we can hope.


From my viewpoint Cruz has a few good areas, but overall he isn’t my flavor of “liberty”. Probably the biggest negative to his Presidency would be continued interventionist actions around the world. On the positive side he is one of the few Republican candidates I believe would actually work to reduce certain areas of government spending.

Rules Review committee meeting on April 20

April 19, 2015 Comments off

Tomorrow, April 20, the Rules Review legislative committee will have a meeting at 10:00 am in Room 413 of the SD State Capital. The previous meeting for this interim committee held on March 13th was mostly organizational.  The rules review committee meetings are important for anyone trying to keep an eye on the rules various state agencies are trying to pass. The rules are all listed on the website (make sure you have popups disabled for this site in your browser).

Below are the rules being reviewed in this meeting. I am listing these without commentary since this is an area of state government I am just getting into tracking.

Department of Agriculture: Division of Ag Development

Amend Value Added Agribusiness Relending Program rules to enhance the definition of “Rural Area” and to increase the loan amount as a percent of total project costs. link for this rule

This rule had a public hearing on 01/29/2015 via teleconference.

Department of Agriculture: SD Weed and Pest Control Commission

Amend a rule to add Japanese beetle and tarragon to the local noxious weed and declared pest list. link for this rule

This rule is listed to become effective 05/03/2015.

Department of Game, Fish and Parks

Amend a rule to allow dogs to be used to hunt mountain lions year round in all areas of the state located outside of the Black Hills Fire Protection District link for this rule doesn’t exist. But Resolution 15-02 of Appendix A in the March 5-6 GFP minutes appears to be what this rule is related to.

Department of Game, Fish and Parks

The proposed administrative rule changes will: 1) expand the shotgun and archery restriction area within North Point Recreation Area, 2) amend public water safety zones in Butte County, 3) remove the Cottonwood Lake State Waterfowl Refuge, and 4) modify and add rules within the Aquatic Invasive Species Chapter and change references from “nuisance” to “invasive” within the Chapter. link for this rule

The public hearing for this set of rules was back on 03/05/2015.

Department of Game, Fish and Parks

The proposed administrative rule changes will: 1) amend the season provisions and license allocations for the Black Hills Elk, Archery Elk, Prairie Elk, and Custer State Park Elk hunting seasons, 2) amend the season dates for the Custer State Park non-trophy Bison harvest, 3) re-open and allocate licenses for the Mountain Goat Hunting Season, and 4) amend the rules for party hunting size limits. link for this rule

This set of rules had its public hearing on 04/01/2015.

Department of Transportation

Amend a Speed Zone rule to change a reference to SD Highway 264 to Aspen Boulevard in two limited speed zone segments on SD Highway 11 in Brandon link for this rule appears to be missing.

Department of Transportation

Amend a Speed Limits rule in Grant County to extend a 45 mph limited speed zone on U.S. Highway 12 on the east side of Milbank an additional 0.60 mile east past the new Runnings store. link for this rule

Department of Revenue: Division of Business Tax

Amend rules to clarify the definition of the term “receive,” source attorney services at the office of the attorney who is performing such services, and clarify the taxability of nonresident attorney services used in South Dakota. link for this rule

Department of Revenue: SD Commission on Gaming

Amend Gaming rules to add a free bonus feature to Buster Blackjack; clarify the rules of the game of War blackjack; provide for consistency among progressive games for Three-card poker, Let it ride and let it ride bonus including three card bonus optional side bet or progressive optional side bet, Caribbean stud poker, Four-Card poker, Texas Hold’em Bonus poker, Mississippi Stud, and Ultimate Texas Hold’em; and add an optional four card bet to Silverado Stud poker link for this rule

Department of Environment and Natural Resources: Board of Water and Natural Resources

Proposed amendments related to funding from Consolidated Water Facilities Construction Program, Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program, Solid Waste Management Program and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program. link for this rule

Secretary of State: Board of Finance

Amend rules to increase the allowance for use of a privately owned vehicle, airplane rates, and per diem rates (out-of-country, out-of-state and in-state); increase the allowance for use of a privately owned vehicle and the lodging reimbursement for individuals with special needs; remove the evening supper allowance; increase the per diem rate for use of a private trailer house; and amend what is included in registration expense. link for this rule does not appear to exist. But the hearing notice can be read on the SOS website.

Department of Health: Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners

Adopt rules to establish what constitutes a conflict of interest and a potential conflict of interest related to hearings held by the board; establish best practices related to prescribing controlled substances; and add a code of ethics to existing rules link for this rule

Petitions out for two referendums

April 9, 2015 3 comments

election-panda-cleanOver at Dakota Free Press there are two referendum petitions that have been started by Cory Heidelberger. He has setup a page to be a central local to learn about and again access to the petitions. These petitions would stop two laws from being enacted on July 1, 2015, provided enough signatures are turned into the Secretary of State. In this post I will briefly look each referendum, one which I support and one I oppose. As time goes on I may do expanded posts about each referendum, but for now a cliff notes post is what I have time for.

SB 69 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions regarding elections and election petitions.

This is the bill that kept going downhill as it went through the legislative process.  That is too bad. I originally supported the idea of the bill because it would have been a fair start at election petition reform in South Dakota. I do believe the current petition system in South Dakota needs to be reevaluated and in particular the petition challenge process needs to be changed in ways that would protect the integrity of the election process. Sadly this bill as passed into law no longer does anything but play partisan politics with the rights of South Dakota citizens to challenge the party in power.

There is only one real reservation I have about the referendum process for SB 69. Personally I believe at least two portions of the bill as passed into law would not be upheld as constitutional in federal court. Back in the 80’s the Secretary of the State at the time acknowledged to a federal court that forcing a newly formed party to follow early petition deadlines was wrong. The State Affairs committee was made aware of this and still proceeded to leave that portion un-amended. Additionally SB 69 forces Independent candidates to follow partisan primary rules. That is also something that has been found unconstitutional in other states and shows a misunderstanding of what “independent” means when it comes to the election process. Independent candidates fall completely outside of the partisan primary process and should only have to worry about laws governing the general election. Personally I was hoping this law would go to court so the legislature and Governor would understand that playing partisan politics with constituents election rights are not something to be messed with. But then at the same time I hate it when the State has to spend money to defend a law that never should have passed. So with that mind I fully support SB 69 being referred to the voters.

I will have a copy of this petition with me over the next couple of months and plan to get at least some signatures for the referendum.

SB 177 – Signed by Governor – SoDakLiberty Posts – Establish a youth minimum wage.

SB 177 is an interesting bill because I can understand why many would support SB 177 being referred, but in the end I oppose it being referred. This law would change the minimum wage for those under 18 to $7.50/hour. This is in response to the minimum wage going up due to the initiated measure on last years ballot.

Part of me supports SB 177 being referred because I can understand where people are coming from that the SD Legislature should not change an initiated measure the year it becomes effective. Whether the initiated measure was good or bad from any particular viewpoint, it cannot be denied that a majority of SD voters chose to pass the new minimum wage into law. The legislature has the right to change such laws immediately after being passed into law. There was an attempt this year through HB 1175  to prohibit the legislature from changing an initiated measure for year. That would have been a bad idea. The reason the legislature needs to be able to change an initiated measure right away is in case there is a problem or an unintended consequence that must be fixed right away.

So the question is whether SB 177 can be considered a fix. There is an argument from the supporters of the bill that the new minimum wage will adversely impact young workers because it will make employers much less likely to hire any unskilled and inexperienced teenage workers. I know I’ve talked to some employers that often hire teenage kids for seasonal/temporary work at minimum wage. Due to the increased minimum wage many of them are likely going to reduce the amount of hours they offer these teenagers. That is mainly because the amount of money they have budgeted for such work is fixed. No matter what the wage is set at there is only so much actual funding available for these jobs. A second, and possibly more likely, scenario is that youth employment will appear to go down; but in fact will increase because such labor will be forced to the grey market. That means employers will still hire kids to do work. But they will pay these kids under the table. The grey market tends to increase when taxes and/or regulations go up. By increasing the minimum wage, especially on teen workers, it provides further incentives to hire teenagers outside of normal channels. That means the teenager can keep all of his or money (no taxes withheld) and the employer can keep their payroll liability costs down. A case could be made that passing SB 177 actually will keep more teenage workers in the tax system by keeping their labor out of the grey market.

But fix or not I won’t support the referral of SB 177. Minimum wage laws are temporary fixes for what is actually ailing poor people. The problem with the economy in the US is that purchasing power corrodes at ever-increasingly rates. No matter how far wages are raised through legislation it cannot do anything to reverse that trend. Instead time should be focused on reducing the biggest tax on American’s (especially the poor): inflation caused by the private bank known as the Federal Reserve. Additionally the cost of over-regulation must be looked at in order to reduce the cost of goods and services. Without addressing the root cause of purchasing power loss it doesn’t matter how many times the minimum wage is increased. Finally increasing the minimum wage is also a factor that reduces the purchasing power of US consumers (although a much smaller factor than many other factors). That is why I cannot see supporting the referral of SB 177. In the end it doesn’t really matter if SB 177 is enacted into law or not. Either way purchasing power for consumers will continue to drop and many will continue to call for the same minimum wage increases that haven’t solved anything over the last century.


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