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Archive for May, 2016

Final four primary blog posts coming on Thursday

May 31, 2016 Comments off

I have four SD Primary Election posts left to go. Due to a technical issue on the website I am not able to post them (I can’t post pictures right now). By Thursday the technical issues should be fixed and these four posts should be up. This is for the House and Senate Republican primaries in District 33, the Senate Republican Primary in District 34, and the Senate Republican Primary in District 35.

Categories: SD 2016 Ballot

Rules Review meeting on Weds June 1; ESSA, Stray Voltage, Elections, and Sturgis week speed limits

May 29, 2016 Comments off

22393032On Wednesday, June 1, at 10:00 am CT the legislative Rules Review committee will meet in Pierre. The meeting will be held in Room 414 of the State Capital building. There is also a remote site setup at the Black Hills State University in Spearfish.

The previous meeting was held on April 12. My post prior that meeting is here. The minutes from that meeting can be read here.

Here is a look at the proposed rule listed in the Agenda for the June 1 meeting. Those interested in education policy may want to take note of an ESSA related item on the agenda.

Department of Agriculture: South Dakota State Fair

Repeal a rule regarding health requirements for animals that is also addressed under ARSD 12:68:12 – Exhibition of Animals.

Listing on rules.sd.gov

Just as the description of the rule says, this will repeal a redundant rule.

Department of Agriculture: South Dakota Value Added Finance Authority

Amend a rule to allow the board to commission more than one study a year.

Listing on rules.sd.gov

Currently the Value Added Finance Authority Board of Directors can only fund one study per year. This change would allow multiple studies. I’m not sure about this change because currently the wording of the rule has a limitation of $100,000 per study. This change would allow the Value Added Finance Authority Board of Directors to spend a lot more money on studies.

Department of Transportation

There are four rule changes on the docket for the Department of Transportation. Three of these are to deal with traffic during the Sturgis bike rally.

  1. A temporary limited speed zone on Interstate 90 beginning at milepost 28.9 and currently ending at milepost 33.75 is being extended to milepost 55.02 in order to reduce traffic speeds and improve safety along this heavily-traveled segment of I-90 during the period of the Rally. In addition, the beginning date for the temporary limited speed zone is being moved back from July 24 each year to the Thursday preceding the first full weekend in August, and the ending date is being changed from August 15 to the Sunday of the second full weekend in August, which is the final day of the Rally each year. The change in dates is being made to more closely align the effective period of the temporary reduced speed zone to the dates of the heaviest Rally-related traffic, while minimizing the impact on normal traffic in the area
    Listing on rules.sd.gov
  2. The effective beginning date for a Sturgis motorcycle Rally-related temporary 35 mph limited speed zone on South Dakota Highway 34 from Blanche Street easterly for 3.8 miles, is being changed from July 24 of each year to the Thursday preceding the first full weekend in August. The official Rally week begins the Monday following the first full weekend in August. The ending date for this temporary limited speed zone is being changed from August 15 to the Sunday of the second full weekend in August, which is the ending date of the official Rally week each year. The change in dates is being made to more closely align the effective period of the temporary reduced speed zone to the dates of the heaviest Rally-related traffic, while minimizing the impact on normal traffic in the area.
    Listing on rules.sd.gov
  3. A Sturgis Motorcycle Rally-related 45 mph temporary limited speed zone on South Dakota Highway 79 beginning at its intersection with South Dakota Highway 34 then North for 1.5 miles is being extended an additional .25 mile North to encompass the area of the approach for the entrance to the Iron Horse Campground in order to improve traffic safety in this location where a significant number of vehicles are entering and leaving the highway. The effective beginning date for this temporary 45 mile per hour limited speed zone on South Dakota Highway 79 is being changed from July 24 of each year to the Thursday preceding the first full weekend in August. The official Rally week begins the Monday following the first full weekend in August. The ending date for this temporary limited speed zone is being changed from August 15 to the Sunday of the second full weekend in August, which is the ending date of the official Rally week each year. The change in dates is being made to more closely align the effective period of the temporary reduced speed zone to the dates of the heaviest Rally-related traffic, while minimizing the impact on normal traffic in the area.
    Listing on rules.sd.gov
  4. 70:01:02:36(11) – The speed limit on U.S. Highway 14 beginning 0.2 mile west of 321 Avenue, then east for 0.76 mile is being reduced from 65 miles per hour to 55 miles per hour due to increased truck traffic in the speed zone area. This speed zone change will help address safety concerns associated with the influx of these larger vehicles on and off U.S. Highway 14.
    Listing on rules.sd.gov

The first three rules are related to Sturgis. The final proposed rule change appears to be aimed at making a section of Highway 14 safer.

Department of Education: Board of Education

The effect of and reason for the rules is to make changes for purposes of carrying over classifications from the 2014-15 report card to the 2015-16 report card as a result of direction from the U.S. Department of Education regarding orderly transition to the Every Student Succeeds Act, PL 114-95 (December 10, 2015).

Listing on rules.sd.gov

This might be a rule worth paying attention to. It is a change being made due to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Many see ESSA as little improvement over No Child Left Behind. This letter from the US Dept of Ed may explain the need for this rule change.

Department of Labor and Regulation: Division of Insurance

The South Dakota Division of Insurance is proposing to amend rules in chapters 20:06:12, 20:06:13, 20:06:19, 20:06:25, 20:06:26, and 20:06:36. These changes will update sources referenced in rule and incorporate the 2016 Medicare coverage amounts.

Listing on rules.sd.gov

The rule change appears to do exactly what the description says.

Public Utilities Commission

Adopt rules to set forth specific measurement and testing procedures that an electric utility must follow when the utility tests a dairy for stray voltage or current.

Listing on rules.sd.gov

This is an issue I didn’t realize was an issue until I started following the legislature. In 2015 the following bill was signed into law:

SB 131 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Establish certain provisions regarding stray electrical current and voltage remediation.

Here is what I said about SB 131 after it was signed into law:

This bill passed through both chambers without opposition. This has been an interesting bill to listen to testimony on, I’ve learned a lot. It seems the bill is set to give a process for dairy producers and electricity providers to settle stray voltage disputes (something I had not heard about before). If the farmer believes stray voltage has negatively impacted a cow, then the PUC would be brought in. There are provisions built-in to make sure neither side of the dispute are doing so in bad faith.

SB 131 required the Commission to promulgate rules relating to stray voltage.

Department of Labor and Regulation: Division of Labor and Management

The Division of Labor and Management is proposing to update rules in chapter 47:03:05. The proposed changes will revise the workers compensation fee schedule and update references in rule.

Listing on rules.sd.gov

Just what the description says.

Office of the Secretary of State

Amend rules to update notary public application and change forms, update Uniformed Commercial Code rules, repeal outdated  Business Trust and Farm Corporations and Syndicates rules, revise the charges for absentee voting information, and revise the additional registration fee for reprinting lobbyists’ badges.

The SOS does not have changes listed on rules.sd.gov.

Office of the Secretary of State: Board of Elections

Amend rules to specify a location on the voter registration form for cancelling a voter’s registration, allow for a large print version of the voter registration form, and repeal the overseas registrant form; provide new language for Americans Disability Act (ADA) information on numerous election notices; provide municipalities and schools with another reason for a vacancy on the notice of vacancy; amend the notice of deadline for filing primary nominating petitions to include the filing deadline for independent candidates; create forms for notice of vacancy for newly incorporated municipalities and notice of vacancy for conservation district supervisor; amend format for primary, general, alternate optical scan ballots, and municipal election ballots; amend the instructions to voters on the optical scan ballots; create a ballot format for county question elections; amend the guidelines for acceptance of petitions to include the requirement for statewide candidate petitions to be verified against the statewide voter registration file; amend the five percent random sample process to include statewide candidates and use an up to date process for how the random sample is determined; create a new affidavit form for sponsors of statewide ballot measures; remove outdated language in the initiated constitutional amendment petition or initiated petition for repeal of constitutional provision and remove a statute reference that is no longer in state law; create petition for schools to implement a school sentinel program; repeal requirement for submission of a voter center plan and repeal the denied application process; amend the format for the official record of absentee ballots to allow both electronic and paper records and remove the requirement to be linked to the master voter registration file.

The SOS does not have changes listed on rules.sd.gov. The summary of the proposed rule change can be read on the SOS website. The Board of Elections had a meeting on May 23. The meetings agenda and draft minutes are available online. This is a meeting I had hoped to attend, unfortunately there was a major conflict and I was unable to be in attendance.

This is a set of rule changes I hope to have a new post done about soon. Election law and rule changes are important to keep an eye on.

Department of Health: Division of Family and Community Health

Adds Zika to the South Dakota reportable disease list and defines immunization requirements for early childhood program entry, kindergarten entry, 6th grade entry, and transfer students.

Listing on rules.sd.gov

I briefly looked at this proposed rule change prior to the Dept of Health public hearing.

Department of Health: Division of Health Systems Development and Regulation

Repeals ARSD 44:75:08:03 specific to medication therapy review that proved to be excessively onerous when applied to acute care settings.

Listing on rules.sd.gov

This appears to be a good change.

Department of Health: Division of Health Systems Development and Regulation

Establishes revised minimum staffing requirements for ambulance service personnel

Listing on rules.sd.gov

Apparently the DOH thinks there needs to be a rule about this…

District 32 State House Republican Primary: Ericks, McPherson and Conzet

May 28, 2016 Comments off
SD Legislative District 32. Screenshot from LRC website 5/27/16.

SD Legislative District 32. Screenshot from LRC website 5/27/16.

South Dakota legislative District 32 has  a Republican Primary for State House. There is also a Republican Primary on the Senate side. District 32 appears to be the center of Rapid City and goes South a bit.

Incumbent Rep Brian Gosch (who was originally a governor appointee) is term-limited. The other incumbent Rep Kristin Conzet will face off against Craig Ericks and Sean McPherson for the to House seats.  The winner of this primary will face Nik Aberle (D) and Susan Kelts (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.

Craig Ericks

Craig Ericks (R)
Website – Facebook – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

Craig Ericks. Photo from Ericks campaign Facebook page.

Craig Ericks. Photo from Ericks campaign Facebook page.

On his website Ericks describes himself as a “Bible believing, God fearing, gun packing, freedom loving, constitution cherishing, patriotic American, conservative Republican.” Ericks Issues page includes a sentence to expand upon most of those titles.

Founding Principles

I believe in the founding principles as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the South Dakota constitution.

Natural Rights

I believe in the Natural Rights of all people as enumerated in those documents, including the right to life both prenatal and post natal, liberty, and property.

Limited Government

I believe in Constitutionally limited government, limited taxation, free markets, personal responsibility and the rule of law.

National & State Sovereignty

I believe in the duty to safeguard our national sovereignty and to defend state sovereignty as outlined in the 9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The Right to Bear Arms

I believe strongly in the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and that the right to bear arms is foundational to a free society.

The Republican Party

I believe the South Dakota Republican platform encompasses the conservative values and principles that I believe in and desire that all Republicans elected to office in South Dakota adhere to the state Republican platform.

This might be the candidate for Republicans to look for that believe in the state Republican platform. Many of the right-of-center new candidates in the Rapid City area seem to want the state party to follow the Republican platform.

I’ve also noticed the more conservative candidates west-river have supported the 10th Amendment. It will be interesting to see if that helps get any of the more conservative candidates elected.

On his Facebook Ericks solidifies his socially conservative values with this excerpt from a post:

Here is another reason I am running for State House. It’s happening. State leaders are rising up in opposition to Obama’s outrageous bathroom edict. Yesterday, 11 states joined together in a lawsuit against the Obama Administration.

The suit states that the Obama edict “has no basis in law” and will cause “seismic changes” in public school education. The 11 states went on to say that the edict amounts to Obama re-writing federal law by “executive fiat.”

Sadly, South Dakota was not one of the states participating in the lawsuit! That leaves South Dakota schoolchildren at risk, and no voice in your state in opposition to Obama’s unconstitutional edict!

 This could be a winning issue to win a west river Republican primary race.

Sean McPherson

Sean McPherson (R)
Website – Facebook – TwitterInstagram – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

Sean McPherson. Picture from McPherson's campaign Facebook page.

Sean McPherson. Picture from McPherson’s campaign Facebook page.

The campaign slogan for McPherson is “Family Focused – Family First”. Here is part of McPherson’s platform:

My desire is To begin to examine the DNA within the legislation and to dissect every House Bill and Every Senate Bill, through the lens of family.  Asking the question:

 “Is this good for the South Dakota family?” Some have said that bills get complicated and are not always related to families, I disagree.  Every bill passed impacts somebody and therefore could have lasting positive or negative effects on our South Dakota families.  This approach needs support on the House floor! I want to lead that charge.”

McPherson gets credit for saying he will read every piece of legislation. But it also doesn’t really say how McPherson stands on issues. He does have a few issues bullet points on campaign literature:

  • Limited Government

  • Engaging, Equipping and Empowering South Dakota Families

  • Reining in Government Spending

  • Protecting and Preserving our 2nd Amendment Rights

It is interesting McPherson talks about reining in government spending, but not on about taxes.

Kristin A. Conzet

Rep Kristin Conzet (R, Dist 32)
Facebook – Twitter – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – OpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010(appointed)
SDPB Video: 2014

Rep Kristin Conzet. Photo by Ken Santema 1/27/16.

Rep Kristin Conzet. Photo by Ken Santema 1/27/16.

Conzet was first appointed to the House 2009 to replace Brian Dreyer. Since Conzet is a sitting legislator, her part of this post will focus on a few bills prime sponsored.

First up is a pair of bills Conzet prime sponsored on behalf of the Interim Committee on County Government:

HB 1002 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Eliminate certain reporting requirements for the county general fund.

HB 1004 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make form and style revisions to certain statutes regarding counties.

These were a couple of good bills that helped clean up language and remove unnecessary requirements for counties. In 2016 these were also the only two House bills Conzet prime sponsored; and both were signed into law.

Another bill to look at from Conzet is:

HB 1107 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the definition of certain alcoholic beverages that are classified as cider.

Previously the law only included apples in the definition of ciders. Now cider made from pears is allowed to be called a cider (otherwise it had been called a pear wine). This wasn’t a huge bill, but it did allow a change some brewers felt would help the industry.

The last bill to look at is from 2013:

HB 1209 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the definition of certain alcoholic beverages that are classified as cider.

Previous Secretary of State Jason Gant helped Conzet  write this legislation. This was submitted as an open government bill and an incentive to get campaign reports in on time. Gant spoke about the bill and said if the campaign finance reports were not properly filed a letter would be sent and the petition would not be certified. That apparently sounded like a good idea to the legislature since it passed through both houses without opposition. But the biggest problem with this bill is that it also applied to political organizations such as PAC’s and political parties. It is conceivable that someone could be on the statement of organization for one of these PACs or parties and be prevented from running for office, even though they are not the groups Treasurer and have no direct control over paying penalties. This was just a bad idea to fix a problem that existed even after this bill passed into law (that being the problem of late financial disclosure statements). Perhaps this is a law worth looking back and repealing or amending.

Conzet is getting a lot of heat from the right-wing of the Republican party in her district. Her vote for the two big tax increases over the last two years has left the more fiscally conservative Republicans unhappy. It should be interesting to see how the constituents of District 32 vote.

District 32 State Senate Republican Primary: Solano and Kriebel

May 27, 2016 Comments off
SD Legislative District 32. Screenshot from LRC website 5/27/16.

SD Legislative District 32. Screenshot from LRC website 5/27/16.

South Dakota legislative District 32 has  a Republican Primary for State Senate. There is also a Republican Primary on the House side. District 32 appears to be the center of Rapid City and goes South a bit.

Incumbent Sen Alan Solano is seeking reelection and is being challenged by Richard Kriebel.  The winner of this primary will face Democrat David Hubbard in the General Election.

Here is a brief look at both 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.

Alan D. Solano

Sen Alan Solano (R, Dist 32) – Incumbent
Facebook – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – OpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: Senate 2016 2015 2014(appointed)

Sen Alan Solano on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/11/15.

Sen Alan Solano on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/11/15.

Solano was appointed to his seat in 2014 by Governor Daugaard to replace Stan Adelstein. Solano had no opposition in 2014, so this will be the first real test for him defending the Senate seat. There isn’t much to learn about Solano on social media. But since he is a sitting legislature I will look at a few bills he has prime sponsored.

The first bill to look at from 2014 is:

SB 190  (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Clarify health coverage for applied behavior analysis, and to establish the Applied Behavior Analysis Provider Workgroup.

To me this was an odd mandate to pass in a state legislature where Republicans speak against federal health insurance mandates (only a few Republicans voted against this bill). Here is what I said about the bill after it passed into law:

I do think the proponents in committee made the case that such changes need to be made. I also think it is just wrong that insurance companies are not covering ABA. But at the same time I still see this as a mandate. It should also be noted that this mandate only applies to grandfathered plans (ones not compliant with ACA), and even then it might not apply to all of those plans. This is not just a mandate, but it is a mandate that is targeted to a class of insurance that will keep shrinking. Proponents tried hard to make it sound like the bill isn’t a mandate. But, I will defer to one of my favorite Douglas Adams quotes as to whether this is a mandate: “If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.”

Last summer I was setup to meet with an ABA specialists, but at the last minute she cancelled the interview and has since refused to answer my requests. Perhaps this summer I can find another ABA specialist to look deeper into this bill and try to understand why this mandate isn’t a mandate. It is still odd that Solano as a Republican would be the one to carry an insurance mandate bill. Perhaps like almost everyone else Solano does not see this as a mandate, but rather fixing current state law.

The next bill to look at from Solano in 2015 is a big one:

SB 73 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Improve public safety regarding juvenile justice.

Here is part of  what I said about this bill after being signed into law:

This is part of the Governors and Chief Justices initiative to reform SD’s horrendous juvenile incarceration rates. This bill would mirror some of the steps taken to reform the incarceration rates for adults. Parts of this bill has some good ideas and changes. But until the state actually looks at reducing the number of victim-less offenses that are crimes, there will continue to be an outrageous number of people in SD locked up for no reason. But having said that, I do think this bill provides an improvement over what is currently. The thing to watch with this initiative is what it does to county budgets. The adult reform has already shiften financial burden from the State to the counties; and this juvenile reform will likely continue to increase financial burden upon the counties. Hopefully in the 2016 session the legislature will do something about this increased burden being placed upon the counties.

Since that time the counties have only become more vocal about costs shifting to them. The counties had some small bones thrown to them in 2016, but not enough to make up for the constant cost shifting from the state to the counties (even though the state isn’t shifting revenue alongside those costs).  Perhaps if Solano returns in 2017 he will find a way to shift revenue from the state to the counties to help pay for SB 73.

The final bill to look at from Solano is:

SB 158 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise provisions related to restitution in cases involving juveniles and to declare an emergency.

Some of SB 158 was to cleanup language in statute. But, one big change in this bill comes about due to 2015’s SB 73 being passed. The statute for restitution was accidentally changed in that bill and has to be fixed. SB 158 does show that Solano is willing to fix legislation he prime sponsored in the past.

It should be interesting to see if Solano can withstand a challenge to his reelection.

Richard Kriebel

Richard Kriebel (R)
Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

Kriebel does have a lot of activity on his personal Facebook page. I’ve also seen him comment around the web on news stories and such. Most of the ones I’ve seen have to do with Education. He seems to be more to the right of the Republican Party than Solano.

The American Clarion has posted a story on his stances. Here is two portions worth reading in regards to education:

If you would have opposed HB 1182, what kind of legislation would you have sponsored or supported?

Multi step process – 1) do what the blue ribbon task force should have done; “evaluate the current funding formula”.

2) Fix the formula, link k-12 funding to the growth of state revenues instead of the inflation up to 3% cap – copy the formats of the surrounding states to stop the double taxation and double funding caused by Impact Aid (66 million alone) 66 million is more than the sales tax increase is providing for teachers’ salaries. Stop the funding of Phantom teaching positions (Another 15 million). 66 million plus the Teachers’ pension levy of 19 million = 85 million. Daugaard’s plan only raised 81 million for teachers.

3) I anticipate that if these things are done we will be able to repeal the sales tax increase because there is more than enough money already flowing into k-12 to pay for the target salary, it is just being wasted.

and

Do you support or oppose Common Core and other nationalized education standards? Why?

Oppose – common core is not “just standards” common core drives testing – testing drives curriculum.

If common core is just “standards” – explain the math curriculum?

Common Core testing has decimated the content of our history curriculum, decimated our math, and next it will decimate our science curriculum. Common Core has to go!

A stance for a smarter way to increase teacher pay and repeal the new sales tax could be a winner for Kriebel in the Primary if he is able to get that message out. And since more people are coming out against Common Core, that could be used as a get out the vote issue. It should be interesting to see if Kriebel can win this primary with stances to the right of Solano.

District 31 State House Republican Primary: Johns, Turbiville and Weyrich

May 25, 2016 Comments off
SD Legislative District 31. Screenshot from LRC website 5/25/

SD Legislative District 31. Screenshot from LRC website 5/25/

South Dakota legislative District 31 has  a Republican Primary for State House. District 31 is in the center of South Dakota’s Western border. Towns in this district include Central City, Deadwood, Lead, Spearfish, and Whitewood.

Incumbent Rep Fred Romkema (R, Dist 31) is term-limited. The other incumbent, Rep Timothy Johns (R, Dist 31), will face Charles Turbiville and Michael Weyrich for the two House seats.  The winner of this primary will not face any general election opposition.

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.

Timothy R. Johns

Rep Timothy Johns (R, Dist 31)
Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – OpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2016 2015 2014 2013

Rep Timothy Johns on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 3/29/16.

Rep Timothy Johns on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 3/29/16.

Johns doesn’t have much of an online presence. That is OK because like all sitting legislators a few bills Johns has prime sponsored can be looked at to get an idea of his legislative priorities.

The first bill to look at from 2016 is:

HB 1057 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the rule-making authority of the South Dakota Commission on Gaming.

This bill is was submitted on behalf of Deadwood, which falls within District 31. HB 1057 was signed into law and will allow blackjack/poker to have rules promulgated by the South Dakota Commission on Gaming. It also allows variations of limited card games, craps or roulette. Johns bringing this bill forth is not surprising considering gambling in Deadwood would be a big revenue driver for his district. There was a lot of resistance to the bill on the House floor, but that is not surprising for a gambling bill. It is likely any legislator for District 31 will have to have some sort of working relationship with the South Dakota Commission on Gaming.

Another bill to look at from 2016 was:

HB 1059 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise provisions related to the garnishment of debts and property.

This is another bill that was signed into law. A lot of this bill is cleanup of old language. There is a mixture of good and bad to the parts of the bill with substance. On the good side this bill changes the minimal amount taken from a check from $10 to $25. This change is good because some people actually end up owing more on their debt after the bank and collection services have taken their cuts with the minimum being at $10. A possible bad side to HB 1059 is that registered mail has been added as a means to serve papers. It just seems odd that a method of delivery with no confirmation of receipt could be used to serve papers. This bill was brought forth from the State Bar’s Debtor-Creditor committee. Johns is a lawyer.

Finally it is worth looking at one of Johns failed bills:

HB 1149 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Provide authority to establish a special purpose district for recreational purposes.

HB 1149 was brought forth as a way for West River locations to cash in on more tourism dollars. Johns bill would have created a new taxing district authority. There are already a number of special purpose tax districts:

county road, ambulance, rural fire protection, sanitary, irrigation, watershed, and water project districts

I think there is a large difference between the existing special purpose tax districts which are focused on core infrastructure projects; and this proposed special purpose tax district created for recreational undertakings. With landowners already feeling the pressure of high property taxes the House killed the bill by a good margin. This type of bill could either be seen as a local control bill, or as a proposed tax increase.

Charles M. Turbiville

Charles Turbiville (R)
Ballotpedia – VoteSmartOpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005

Charles Turbiville. Photo from LRC website.

Charles Turbiville. Photo from LRC website.

Turbiville is a former legislator and current Mayor of Deadwood. In fact he won reelection for Mayor just this year by one vote.  One thing voters should consider is if they want a sitting legislator to also be the sitting Mayor of Deadwood. Turbiville says he can do it, but voters should make that determination for themselves. Since Turbiville is a former legislator it is worth looking at a few pieces of legislation he prime sponsored.

In 2012 Turbiville sponsored this bill:

HB 1130 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise the fee schedule for certain documents filed with the county register of deeds, to create a county and statewide fund for the purpose of modernizing and preserving records, and to distribute certain revenue.

One of the good parts of this bill was to create a mechanism for modernizing and preserving records electronically. But at the same time this included a good number of fee increases. These fee increases are to help pay for the modernization and preserving of records. This is another one of those bills that can be looked at two different ways. First it can be seen as just another fee increase. Or it can be seen as the users of a service paying to upgrade the services provided via that fee.

A bill from 2009 worth looking at is:

HB 1090 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Prohibit the possession of Salvia divinorum or salvinorin A and to declare an emergency.

Salvia divinorum is a plant known to have some psychoactive effects.  Historically it has been used for spiritual visions and the like. Back around the time this bill was passed there was a great scare that Salvia use was on the rise. Also since Salvia is not a federally controlled substance it was legal. Turbiville brought for HB 1090 to make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to possess 2 ozs or less of Salvia and a Class 6 felony to possess more than 2 ozs of Salvia. Voters for or against the War on Drugs may want to keep this bill in mind when voting.

Finally, from 2009 it is worth looking at a Deadwood bill:

HB 1261 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Allow slot machines to be substituted for video lottery machines in certain alcoholic beverage establishments.

This bill died in committee. But it is an example of legislation that someone serving in District 31 is likely expected to  carry in Pierre. Looking at the legislative history of District 31 legislators it has become clear that Deadwood centered bills are common. Since Turbiville is the current Mayor of Deadwood it could possibly be expected he will not only carry on the tradition, but increase it.

Michael E. Weyrich

Michael Weyrich (R)
Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

There isn’t a lot of information about Weyrich available. This 2011 article from the Rapid City Journal has information about the end of his second term as the Mayor of Whitewood:

Schmidt’s first council meeting as mayor followed an emotional send-off for outgoing Mayor Michael Weyrich. Weyrich, who finished his second term of office, will report May 7 for a year of voluntary duty in Afghanistan with the South Dakota National Guard. Weyrich told the audience that his experience as mayor was mutually beneficial, “It’s been a good thing for Whitewood and a good thing for me.” Weyrich received a standing ovation as he exited the door and said with emotion, “It’s been great to be here.”

That makes two Mayors or former Mayors in this race. Other than that there isn’t much I’ve found out about this particular candidate. If Weyrich is in the race he must be sticking to door-to-door and mailers.

District 30 State House Republican Primary: Frye-Mueller, Oakes, Mounce, Lasseter, and Goodwin

May 25, 2016 Comments off
SD Legislative District 30. Screenshot from LRC website on 5/25/26.

SD Legislative District 30. Screenshot from LRC website on 5/25/26.

South Dakota legislative District 30 has  a Republican Primary for State House. There is also a District 30 Republican Primary, but that is a different post. District 30 is the South West corner of South Dakota. Towns in this district include Box Elder, Buffalo Gap, Custer, Edgemont, Fairburn, Hermosa, Hill City, Hot Springs, Keystone, New Underwood, Oelrichs, Pringle, Rapid City, Wall, and Wasta.

Incumbents Rep Mike Verchio (R, Dist 30) and Rep Lance Russell (R, Dist 30) are term-limited. Russell is running for State Senate. There are five Repbulicans looking to get one of these two House seats: Julie Frye-MuellerMarilyn OakesRichard MounceTravis Lasseter, and Tim Goodwin.  The winner of this primary will face Sandy Arseneault (D) and Kristine Ina Winter (D) in the general election.

Here is a brief look at all five 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.

Julie Frye-Mueller

Julie Frye-Mueller (R)
Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of online activity for Frye-Mueller. She was a candidate for District 30 House in 2014. Frye-Muller came pretty close to winning Verchio’s seat:

2014 District 30 Primary Results. Source SD SOS website.

2014 District 30 Primary Results. Source SD SOS website.

In the 2014 race Frye-Mueller received an 86% rating from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund.

Other than that I don’t see much about her current 2016 election bid. Perhaps as the election gets closer that will change.

Marilyn J Oakes

Marilyn Oakes (R)
Website – Facebook – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

Oakes doesn’t have an issues section on her webpage. But Oakes does have this included in the page telling about herself:

Marilyn Oakes. Picture from Oakes campaign Facebook page.

Marilyn Oakes. Picture from Oakes campaign Facebook page.

Political views: Proudly Christian-Conservative in every sense of the word. Strongly Pro-Life, Pro-Second Amendment, and anxiously concerned about the Rights of States, as designated by the 10th Amendment, that are being eroded away. Government should be less involved in our daily lives. We have become a nation dependent on “Big Brother” instead of ourselves. Neighbors should be looking out for neighbors instead of looking to Government for relief. Military must be treated better than immigrants, including our retired veterans. I respect our system of checks and balances, and am dismayed that the U.S. Supreme Court has jumped the boundaries of the system, recently. The only way to deal with a Federal Government gone out of control is to strengthen the State governments. I want to be part of the group that begins to resist continued erosion of states rights by the Federal Government.

It is too seldom candidates are willing to talk about the 10th Amendment and states rights. Her talking points above will definitely resonate with the conservative wing of the Republican party.

Richard Mounce

Richard Mounce (R)
Website – Facebook – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

Richard Mounce. Picture from Mounce's campaign Facebook page.

Richard Mounce. Picture from Mounce’s campaign Facebook page.

Mounce does have an issues page on his website. It includes this bullet list of his priorities:

  • Growing our economy (especially in the agriculture, tourism, small business and professional sectors)

  • Preserving cherished Second Amendment rights

  • Providing necessary yet sensible funding for our schools

  • Caring and responsible stewardship of South Dakota’s natural and financial resources

  • Supporting law enforcement

  • Aiding the global efforts of our military services, especially those at Ellsworth AFB

  • Improving rural access to health care and infrastructure investments

Mounce has some standard conservative priorities. He might have some problems with the libertarian-leaning portion of the Republican party in his district. “Growing our economy” sounds pretty similar to “economic development”, which libertarian and small-government type voters tend to see as a way to redistribute taxpayer dollars against the free market. But perhaps he just means getting government out of the way.

It is understandable that backing the efforts of Ellsworth AFB would be a priority for a candidate in this area. But again the more libertarian-leaning Republican voter might not be too enthusiastic to support the “global efforts of our military services”. That sounds quite war-hawkish.

A couple of his priorities such as  “Providing necessary yet sensible funding for our schools” and “Improving rural access to health care and infrastructure investments” might do better in a general election as opposed to a Republican primary.

Travis Lasseter

Travis Lasseter (R)
Website – Facebook – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

Travis Lasseter. Photo from Lasseter's campaign Facebook page.

Travis Lasseter. Photo from Lasseter’s campaign Facebook page.

Lasseter is pretty active on Facebook as he travels the district. He is definitely running to the conservative side of the Republican party. Lasseter’s campaign website includes two issue pages, one for the Second Amendment and one for Education.

The Second Amendment page includes this:

So how are our rights affected when the government places “reasonable restrictions” on a right? Reasonable restrictions are infringements, they violate one’s sovereignty to act without the permission of others. Any kind of restriction violates ones right.

In the case of the Second Amendment, it violates an individual’s right to self-defense, when ANY restriction is placed on a citizen. I know many people think it is acceptable to have “reasonable restrictions” placed on the second amendment, but if we apply those same restrictions to other “rights” would they be so accommodating?

The whole thing is worth reading. Lasseter appears to be an avid Constitutional carry candidate.

Lasseter’s page on education includes this:

The public was assured 25 years ago that profits from Deadwood gaming and the statewide video lottery fund would go to education. Now those very funds have been diverted to the general fund, no longer used exclusively for education.
Taxation increases as a first choice is a flawed philosophy, flying in the face of common sense, and the hard working individual and their families.

It is so easy for the agencies in the Governor’s Administration to grow, when federal funds are readily available. Then federal funds stop, but unfunded mandates remain. It is time to prioritize, make appropriate cuts in the Administration that have no direct impact on the state’s students, so that the teachers “in the classrooms” with day-to-day contact get a raise.

Lasseter’s approach was not even really considered in Pierre this year. The 1/2 cent sales tax increase is going into effect with no cuts anywhere else in the budget. Lasseter appears to be right in that only tax increases were considered to handle a teacher pay increase.

Tim R. Goodwin

Tim Goodwin (R)
Website – Facebook – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

Tim Goodwin. Picture from Goodwin's campaign website.

Tim Goodwin. Picture from Goodwin’s campaign website.

Goodwin has an online presence. Most of his campaign seems to revolve around his military experience. There isn’t much to find out about his issues or priorities other than things like this from his website:

As a career military man, I have fought hard for justice and democracy around the world. And now it is time that I fight for the people right here at home.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. -Ephesians 6:11-12

Goodwin might be going after the warhawk vote in the Republican party. It seems an odd stance to take for a State legislative race though. Maybe as Goodwin is traveling the district he letting potential voters know what his priorities in Pierre are.

District 30 State Senate Republican Primary: Russell and Rampelberg

May 25, 2016 Comments off
SD Legislative District 30. Screenshot from LRC website on 5/25/26.

SD Legislative District 30. Screenshot from LRC website on 5/25/26.

South Dakota legislative District 30 has  a Republican Primary for State Senate. District 30 is the South West corner of South Dakota. Towns in this district include Box Elder, Buffalo Gap, Custer, Edgemont, Fairburn, Hermosa, Hill City, Hot Springs, Keystone, New Underwood, Oelrichs, Pringle, Rapid City, Wall, and Wasta.

Incumbent Sen Bruce Rampelberg (R, Dist 30) is being challenged by Rep Lance Russell (R, Dist 30). The winner of this primary will face Karla LaRive (D) in the general election.

Here is a brief look at both 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.

Lance Russell

Rep Lance Russell (R, Dist 30)
Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – OpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009

Rep Lance Russell on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/18/16.

Rep Lance Russell on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 2/18/16.

Russell is term-limited in the House is taking on incumbent Sen Rampelberg. Russell definitely represents the more conservative portion of the Republican party. Russell doesn’t have a lot of online activity, but since he is a sitting legislator I will be looking at a few bills he has prime sponsored.

For 2016 the best place to look at legislation from Russell is:

HB 1130 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Dedicate revenue from video lottery for the purpose of supplementing teachers’ salaries, to establish a teacher salary enhancement fund, to transfer certain moneys to that fund, and to make an appropriation therefor.

This was an alternate to Governor Daugaard’s plan to raise taxes for teacher pay. I looked briefly at the bill in this post. Back when video lottery was passed it was promised the money from that revenue stream would go to the schools. The state did not stand by that understanding. The money now goes to the general fund, and some say (wrongly I believe) that this money still goes to education because some general fund money goes towards education. HB 1130 was an attempt by Russel to fund teacher pay directly with the video lottery revenue, thus keeping what many voters thought was the promise made by the state. This bill would have created a teacher salary enhancement fund, which is where the video lottery revenue would actually go. The fund would initially be filled with other money that is currently sitting in other funds. Finally the bill would have made cuts in other portions of state government to fund this redirection of the video lottery dollars. There were some technical details that would have needed working out; but overall I think this was a much better approach than a 1/2 cent sales tax increase. It would have prevented a large tax increase and shrunk certain areas of state government.

Another bill to look at from 2016 is

HB 1151 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Require legislative approval of certain land acquisitions by the Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

Russel brought up GFP failures in land acquisitions when testifying for this bill. One example was an Elk habitat that took potential property tax revenue away from the county and has been shown to be a failure. Many believe Russell made a good point that GFP needs to be reigned in and be more conservative with its lands purchases. Russel also pointed out the GFP purchases made with federal dollars have strings attached that basically goes against the policies enacted by the state legislature. I really found it surprising there was so much resistance to this bill from fellow Republicans considering the Board of Regents has to go through the legislature for approval of land purchases. Perhaps if Russel wins the Senate seat this bill will come back as a Senate bill.

Finally it is worth looking at a constitutional carry bill from 2015:

HB 1108 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Authorize concealed carry of a pistol or revolver without a permit to carry a concealed pistol.

Russell’s bill would have removed the Class 1 misdemeanor for carrying a concealed pistol or revolver without a permit. The bill also would have prevented law enforcement from disarming or seizing a gun from a law-abiding person. This basically was a true constitutional carry bill, meaning the permission of the state is not needed to carry a concealed pistol. The bill did not however get rid of the concealed carry permit; that permit would be needed for use in states with reciprocity with South Dakota. This bill did not make it through committee. And a similar bill from 2015, HB 1116 (SoDakLiberty Posts), also failed to be passed. It seems odd a Republican legislature was unable to pass a constitutional carry law.

Bruce Rampelberg

Sen Bruce Rampelberg (R, Dist 30) – Incumbent
Twitter – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – OpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: Senate 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

Sen Bruce Rampelberg on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 1/27/16.

Sen Bruce Rampelberg on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 1/27/16.

Rampelberg just like Russell doesn’t have a lot of online activity. But that is OK since he has a legislative history to look at. Rampelberg does not have any bills submitted for 2016. That in itself is not a bad thing, too many legislators seem to submit way too many bills.

The first bill to look at from Rampelberg comes from 2015:

SB 118 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Provide additional transparency for prescription drug plans.

SB 118 passed both chambers fairly easily. A lot of this bill was aimed at making sure certain parts of prescription drug plans have certain details. In the end this bill appeared to have been a decoy and was more of an Obamacare fix bill than about holding prescription drug plans accountable. In fact the bill may actually have created less transparency in prescription drug plans in certain cases because of an exemption added about plans that are not marketed by the carrier.

Rampleberg did have an appropriations bill in 2015:

SB 152 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Make an appropriation for certain costs related to mountain pine beetle suppression and to declare an emergency.

This appropriates $750,000 to continue the fight against the pine beetles. Before being amended it actually would have appropriated $1,900,000. Two years ago during the SD Ag Summit I was able to see the damage first hand and learn about the pine beetle. The bill passed with a lot of support in both chambers. It might be time to follow-up and see how the battle is going and if that money being spent is a good use of taxpayer dollars.

Finally from 2014 it is worth looking at this bill:

SB 173 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Provide authority to establish special purpose districts for libraries.

SB 173 would have created a special purpose tax district for libraries. The bill died on the Senate floor. Here are the special districts that currently exist:

county road, ambulance, rural fire protection, sanitary, irrigation, watershed, and water project districts

The existing special purpose tax districts all appear to be core infrastructure related. Rampelberg appeared to want to expand this concept to libraries. I don’t think many would disagree with the importance of libraries, but at the same time do people really want a property tax increase to pay for said library?

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