Archive for the ‘SD 2014 Ballot’ Category

Does Annette Bosworth deserve to lose her medical license?

August 3, 2015 1 comment
Annette Bosworth in Sioux Falls 8/9/2014

Annette Bosworth in Sioux Falls 8/9/2014

It was a month ago that Annette Bosworth was sentenced to probation and community service for being convicted of 12 election-related felonies. This is a case where I feel Bosworth was fairly convicted and the sentence was appropriate. But as a result of this conviction Bosworth must fight to keep her license because of her felony convictions. This brings me to a point where I actually support Bosworth.

Last Friday Annette Bosworth had to sit before the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners in order to fight for her medical license. KELO has a story summarizing the hearing. Since I didn’t actually get to see the hearing, or read a transcript, I will refrain from commenting about the hearing.

But I will comment about whether I believe Annette Bosworth should keep her license.

The board has the authority to take her license under SDCL 36-4-29:

Grounds for cancellation, revocation, suspension or limitation of license, resident license, or certificate. The Board of Examiners may cancel, revoke, suspend, or limit the license, resident license, or certificate of any physician or surgeon issued under this chapter upon satisfactory proof by a preponderance of the evidence in compliance with chapter 1-26 of such a licensee’s, resident licensee’s, or certificate holder’s professional incompetence, or unprofessional or dishonorable conduct, or proof of a violation of this chapter in any respect. However, the board may not base a finding of unprofessional or dishonorable conduct solely on the basis that a licensee, resident licensee, or certificate holder practices chelation therapy.
     For the purposes of this section, professional incompetence is a deviation from the statewide standard of competence, which is that minimum degree of skill and knowledge necessary for the performance of characteristic tasks of a physician or surgeon in at least a reasonably effective way.

SDCL 36-4-30 defines unprofessional conduct. There are 24 acts listed in that section of code that fall under unprofessional conduct. The one that would possibly apply here is act number 6:

Conviction of any criminal offense of the grade of felony, any conviction of a criminal offense arising out of the practice of medicine or osteopathy, or one in connection with any criminal offense involving moral turpitude;

Bosworth did get convicted of a felony (12 actually). So yes, by SD codified law the board does have the authority to revoke her license. But should it?

Annette Bosworth was sentenced to three years of probation and 500 hours of community service. That is actually a pretty big sentence (although I still feel it was fair). It doesn’t make sense to take her license away for something that has nothing to do with her medical practice and for which she is already being punished. If she were to skip out on her sentence I would say the board may be right in taking her license. But the court of law has already determined what is the best punishment for her; and more importantly the judge in that case did not recommend she lose her license. To me it would seem the board is saying they don’t believe the judge’s sentence was adequate if they take further steps and take her license. That is especially true since from what I can tell there are no ex-patients coming forward saying she is a bad doctor or a doctor that has ethical missteps in her medical practice.

I hope the board in this case decides not to take Bosworth’s license. Yes she did wrong. But she was convicted and is doing community service as her punishment. Taking her license doesn’t appear to serve any purpose and it will remove one possibly good doctor from South Dakota (I have spoken to many of her patients that speak very highly of her). If Bosworth fails to meet the terms of her sentence then I would say the board could take action. But at this point it makes no sense to take her license, especially since she is already actively doing good on Pine Ridge for her community service.

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Annette Bosworth sentenced to probation and community service

July 1, 2015 6 comments
Annette Bosworth being sentenced. Screen shot from KELO live coverage of the Bosworth sentencing.

Annette Bosworth being sentenced. Screen shot from KELO live coverage of the Bosworth sentencing.

The Annette Bosworth sentencing has just adjourned. She was given a concurrent suspended sentence of two years for each count, three years of probation, and 500 hours of community service. Since the judge suspended the sentence she will not spend any time in jail, and if I understand correctly if she does end up somehow serving that time it would be done currently.

The sentencing went quite quickly, it was over in less than an hour. I did live-tweet the sentencing using the hashtag #BosworthTrial.

To begin the defense had asked for the judge to consider a suspended imposition. For those of us who are not lawyers here is a definition of suspended imposition of sentencing from

Suspended imposition of sentence or SIS is a sentencing option available to the trial court. In SIS, usually the defendant is placed on probation. If the defendant violates probation and faces revocation, the Judge may order any sentence within the full range of punishment for the crime convicted. If the defendant successfully completes probation, no sentence is actually ordered. Therefore normally an SIS is not considered a ‘conviction’ for anything other than law enforcement purposes.

A suspended imposition may have allowed Bosworth to keep her medical license. The prosecution did not agree with a suspended imposition because “we don’t think she earned it”. Instead the State recommended a suspended sentence. Here is how defines suspended sentence:

A suspended sentence is a sentence rendered by a judge which will not enforced if the defendant meets certain conditions, such as, among others, performing community service, paying restitution to the victim, completing a drug or alcohol abuse treatment program, or staying out of trouble. If the defendant fails to meet the conditions, the sentence will be enforced. State laws on suspended sentencing vary, but a suspended sentence may count as a conviction for enhancing penalties of future offenses.

The judge seemed to agree with the state that a suspended imposition of sentence was not earned by Annette Bosworth. In particular he pointed out that she continues to blame others and he heard no regret from her. During her brief time speaking she mentioned she regretted that this proceeding was happening, but had no apparent regret for her actions.

Because of Bosworth’s actions the judge gave her a suspended sentence of two years per charge, concurrent. The conditions of that suspended sentence include three years of probation and 500 hours of community service. He did mention that work overseas did not count towards that time. Additionally the court imposed costs of $104 per charge in court costs. There were no fees imposed on Bosworth by the judge.

In the end I think the judge gave an appropriate sentence. If she had some regret for her actions or taken any responsibility at all for her actions perhaps she would have deserved a suspended imposition of sentencing. But she didn’t. So instead the judge found a way to make sure Bosworth understands the seriousness of what she has done, without actually making her sit in jail. And honestly I don’t think most people want her to be sitting in jail. If she does server any jail time it will be due to her own action by breaking the terms of her suspended sentence.

I would like to think this is the last I will have to blog about the Annette Bosworth case. But an appeal is likely coming…

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Annette Bosworth sentencing today at 2pm

July 1, 2015 8 comments
Annette Bosworth speaking in Redfeild.

Annette Bosworth speaking in Redfeild.

Today at 2:00 pm former Republican Senate candidate will be sentenced for the twelve felony counts she was convicted of back in May.  Six of the felony counts are for perjury and the other six are for filing false documents. I’ve stated before I believe her conviction of the felony counts should be supported. But now that it is time for sentencing I hope the prosecution and judge allows for some leniency.

Of course Bosworth is hoping for more. This from the KELO article on today’s sentencing:

A jury found her guilty of six counts each of perjury and filing false documents. Bosworth says she’s praying the judge throws out her conviction.

Bosworth also says she plans to appeal.

I don’t see the judge throwing out her conviction. She plainly committed the crimes she was accused of and throwing out her conviction would send a bad message about the meaning of oaths. But that doesn’t mean she should, or will, get convicted for the full 24 years in prison.

Personally I think she should get a light prison sentence, which she shouldn’t have to serve as long as she behaves on parole and doesn’t break anymore oaths. She is also possibly going to be convicted to pay up to $48,000 in fines. Actually that is the part of the sentence I don’t think matters. If she is convicted for a great amount of money she will just go through another fundraising round to pay for it.

For anyone that wishes to watch the sentencing it will be livecast on KELO starting at 2:00 pm. I will be watching and possibly live-tweeting if anything interesting happens. No matter what happens it is unlikely today will be then, because as KELO story noted Bosworth is going to appeal.

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A brief look at the SD 2014 race results

November 5, 2014 5 comments
The 2014 election season is over. I'm exhausted!

The 2014 election season is over. I’m exhausted!

The 2014 election is over! People can once again watch TV, listen to radio, get their mail, and browse the Internet again without fear of seeing or hearing constant political ads. Personally I’m ready to move on and blog about issues again, instead of elections. But I figure a brief post looking at the statewide races would be worthwhile; if for no other reason than to give closure to this election season. On the statewide races there weren’t any surprises, South Dakota will remain Red going forward.

Here are the results of each statewide race and some brief comments about them.

United States Senator

Candidate Votes Percent
Mike Rounds (R) 140722 50.38%
Rick Weiland (D) 82408 29.50%
Larry Pressler (I) 47728 17.09%
Gordon Howie (I) 8469 3.03%
TOTALS 279327 100.00%

Rounds winning really wasn’t a surprise. I was only surprised that he was able to get a majority (if only by a fraction of a percent). Over the last couple of months I’ve heard Democrats say “A vote for Pressler is a vote for Rounds”. Well, Rounds beat both Weiland and Pressler put together; and it is doubtful that the 3% of hardcore conservatives that voted for Howie would ever vote for Weiland. Plus it is doubtful all forty-seven thousand that voted for Pressler would have chosen Weiland in a two-way race. If I were the Democrat Party I would take that as a sign of an overly-progressive candidate being bad news in South Dakota. Yes, Rick was great at exciting parts of the Democrat base, but the Democrat base in South Dakota is not enough to carry a candidate. More is needed. Or actually, perhaps less is needed. The Democrat Party in SD needs to find a moderate candidate that can campaign and get a message out there that the people of SD care about.

United States Representative 

Candidate Votes Percent
Kristi Noem (R) 183797 66.54%
Corinna Robinson (D) 92438 33.46%
TOTALS 276235 100.00%

This was a race I didn’t vote in. I didn’t feel either candidate deserved a vote. What this race showed is how much support there is for a Democrat candidate with no campaign. A third of all votes is not going to get any wins for a Democrat in statewide races. So for the next two years we have Rep Noem. She has been showing improvements over the last term. Maybe she will continue to make improvements over the next two years. I doubt it, but its a nice thought…

SD Governor 

Candidate Votes Percent
Dennis Daugaard (R) 195374 70.47%
Susan Wismer (D) 70508 25.43%
Mike Myers (I) 11367 4.10%
TOTALS 277249 100.00%

The only thing that surprised me about this race is that Daugaard didn’t top 75%. Most people in SD have no reason to feel he has been doing a bad job. And Wismer was a bad candidate all around. She did not have the fire to truly take a fight to Daugaard. Her lack of campaign experience left her unprepared for a tough statewide race. The fact she couldn’t even get one third of the votes showed South Dakota did not have faith in her as a leader. As to Myers, he had some great ideas here and there. But his message was so scattered and he acted quite oddly during debates and public appearances. Myers was already at a handicap as an Independent, but he made it worse by having a disorganized and sometimes overly dramatic campaign. The big question now: is Daugaard going to expand Medicaid and raise taxes now that he is no longer seeking re-election?

SD Secretary of State

Candidate Votes Percent
Shantel Krebs (R) 155627 60.24%
Angelia Schultz (D) 84132 32.57%
Lori Stacey (C) 10253 3.97%
Emmett Reistroffer (L) 8320 3.22%
TOTALS 258332 100.00%

Those who vote anti-Republican shouldn’t feel too bad about Krebs winning this race. I think she will try over the next four years to restore respectability to the SOS office. I think Schultz was a good candidate, but not yet for statewide office. Had she won her District 3 Democrat State Senate primary against Remily I believe she would have had a good chance of being a legislator. With four years experience as a legislator I believe Schultz would have been a huge contender for statewide office (such as the SOS office) in 2018. But as it is she was not ready and didn’t have the support to put up enough of a fight. Stacey and Reistroffer simply didn’t have the resources or message to get more than a few percentage points.

Attorney General 

Candidate Votes Percent
Marty Jackley (R) 208810 82.00%
Chad Haber (L) 45826 18.00%
TOTALS 254636 100.00%

The only surprise here is that Jackley didn’t break 90%. Personally I have a lot of policy disagreements with Jackley, but he is the only one of the two candidate that were actually qualified be the AG. Haber not only isn’t a lawyer, but most of his social media memes used to create buzz for his campaign had nothing to do with the office. All Haber did in this race was give Jackley a chance to fund-raise and get ahead for a possible 2018 run at Governor.

State Auditor

Candidate Votes Percent
Steve Barnett (R) 191720 79.95%
Kurt Evans (L) 48076 20.05%
TOTALS 239796 100.00%

Evans did better in this race than I thought he would. Perhaps being on the ballot before in the US Senate race helped him. I think the real missed opportunity in this race came from the Democrat Party. This is where Susan Wismer should have been running. Even if she lost, this race would have allowed Wismer to gain some statewide campaign experience and statewide name recognition for higher office in the future. If the Dems want to have wins they need to start planning long-term.

State Treasurer 

Candidate Votes Percent
Rich Sattgast (R) 155737 61.19%
Denny Pierson (D) 85153 33.46%
Ken Santema (L) 13609 5.35%
TOTALS 254499 100.00%

I think this is a race the Democrats could have done better at if they had run it harder and put some resources into it. Instead, only the one-third that can be expected to vote Democrat gave their support to Pierson. On a personal note I would like to thank everyone that voted for me (Santema) in this race. I am very pleased with 5% running as a third-party in a three-way race. That is also three percent higher than most political junkies had given me. (this election has also taught me the value of a party in such races).

Commissioner of School and Public Lands

Candidate Votes Percent
Ryan Brunner (R) 174782 76.46%
John English (L) 53807 23.54%
TOTALS 228589 100.00%

English should be commended for getting almost one quarter of the vote. If all things were equal (money and party) I believe this would have been an interesting race. Both candidates are qualified for the office and are young enough to have the ambition that is needed in the executive branch of Pierre. That being said, I look forward to continuing working with Brunner on issues in the future. He has been very helpful as a Deputy Commissioner, and hopefully will grow into an even more helpful Commissioner.

Public Utilities Commissioner 

Candidate Votes Percent
Gary Hanson (R) 167700 65.74%
David Allen (D) 74780 29.31%
Wayne Schmidt (C) 12634 4.95%
TOTALS 255114 100.00%

I really don’t have any comments on this race. I didn’t give it much attention. Gary Hanson has been in Pierre for a long time and I think he could run for just about anything and win.

Constitutional Amendment Q – Allow the legislature to expand gambling in Deadwood

Y or N Votes Percent
Yes 152220 56.69%
No 116299 43.31%
TOTALS 268519 100.00%

This was the only ballot question I voted yes on, and it was the only one I thought might not pass. It’s passage will make this next legislative session interesting. I am looking forward to the debates on the legislative floor about whether gambling will be expanded in Deadwood.

Initiated Measure 17 – Any Willing Provider

Y or N Votes Percent
Yes 166353 61.81%
No 102769 38.19%
TOTALS 269122 100.00%

I actually expected this one to win with about 65% of the vote. I voted against the IM because I don’t believe it will do what was intended. So it is just another mandate causing more confusion and taking the healthcare system even further from anything resembling a free market.

Initiated Measure 18 – Minimum Wage increase indefinitely

Y or N Votes Percent
Yes 150760 55.04%
No 123151 44.96%
TOTALS 273911 100.00%

This ballot question finished just about where I thought it would at 55%. I voted against it because of my belief that it will continue to decline the purchasing power for poor people. But in the end there are bigger issues (such Fed Reserve policies) that are driving purchasing power down even further. It will be interesting to see what the minimum wage increase being on auto-pilot will do.

Other notable races

Yes, I’m tired of the election. So I’m only going to make a few brief comments on some local races in SD:

  • Chuck Welke losing his District 2 Senate seat to Brock Greenfield was a nail-biter. I actually thought Welke would squeak through (possibly in recount range). Greenfield has to be feeling good today!
  • Also in District 2, I thought Natasha Noethlich would win. She was ahead for a while, but in the end Burt Tunson’s incumbency allowed him to pull off the win. I may disagree with Noethlich on many (most?) issues, but I must admit she was probably one of the hardest working candidates in NE SD this election season.
  • District 3 had an even bigger nail-biter with Dan Kaiser defending his State House seat against Burt Elliot. Elliot was ahead until the last two voting centers were counted. In this race I liked all four candidates on a personal level; but I am glad Elliot did not win. I really think the legislature would have refused to seat him in January and Daugaard would have had a legislative appointment right away.
  • The Brown County Commission race also had a surprise. Many of us expected former legislator Paul Dennert to unseat either Mike Wiese or Nancy Hansen. But instead it was newcomer Doug Fjeldheim that unseated Mike Wiese. The race was within recount range, but I don’t expect for one to be called for.

That’s a wrap on this election season!

Thank-you to all of the voters trying to make informed decisions!

November 4, 2014 2 comments

I-Voted-2014110356Today is election day! For me personally this has been one heck of an election season that began last year. Over the last year I have been traveling to events and speaking with just about every statewide candidate in South Dakota, and many of the State Legislative candidates as well. It has been fun… and tiring! But now that election day is here I am happy with how many people I see researching the candidates online (including with my blog posts). I think it is great that a large number of voters are taking the time to do some basic research on candidates. Seeing that makes it feel like my time spent traveling to political events (most of which are boring) and writing blog posts (which is very time-consuming) has been worth it! Thank-you to every voter out there that is trying to make informed decisions when going to the ballot.

For those that have not yet voted I do have two link pages that can help research the candidates in South Dakota

  • SD 2014 Ballot – This page includes all of the statewide races and ballot questions. It includes links to research each candidate or ballot question.
  • SD 2014 Legislative Races – This pages includes all State Legislative candidates in all 35 Districts in South Dakota. I tried to gather enough links so smart voting decisions can be made for each.

Below is a Voter Info Tool that can be used to find out where you can vote. For those in Brown County I created a specific post about the voting centers.

Thank-you to everyone that chooses to be an informed voter!

Where to vote in Brown County

November 3, 2014 1 comment

gramzon_Ballot_boxI’ve talked with quite a few people over the last few days that are confused about the new Voting Centers that Brown County implemented this year. Brown County first used them for the Primary election in June, and will continue to utilize them. A brochure from the County Auditors office can be read here. Below are a few questions that have come my way over the last few days. I’ll pass on the answers I have. Hopefully this will alleviate some of the confusion.

  • Where do I have to vote at.
    • Brown County residents can go to any of the eleven Voting Centers distributed around the county. Three of the Voting Centers are in Aberdeen at the Brown County Courthouse, Ramada Convention Center, and the Best Western Ramkota Hotel. The remaining eight are located in Columbia, Westport, Warner, Stratford, Groton, Claremont, Hecla, and Fredrick. See the Brown County Auditors pamphlet for addresses.
  • What if I go to the place I’ve been voting at for years in Aberdeen? (I’ve heard this question a lot)
    • All of the polling places in Aberdeen have been reduced down to the three mentioned in the previous question. Some of the old polling places in Aberdeen, such as the Senior Center or Washington State Gym, will no longer have voting booths.
  • Is this electronic voting? (I’ve gotten this question a lot as well)
    • No, this is not electronic voting. As the Auditors pamphlet notes the only part electronic is checking in voters and verifying their name on the voter roll. The voter is then handed a paper ballot that must be filled out the traditional way with a pencil. In addition the votes from each ballot are counted in the same manner as before the Voting Center change.
  • Do I have to show an ID?
    • Yes. If a voter does not have an ID they can sign a personal identification affidavit. No voter should be turned away from the polls for not having an ID. See the Secretary of State website for more details.
  • What if I am turned away from a polling place?
    • My advice to anyone turned away for a reason they feel is incorrect should contact the County Auditor immediately. If the Brown County Auditor doesn’t help, or can’t be reached, I would contact the Secretary of State office. In the event the Secretary of State cannot be reached I would contact the local media (such as the Aberdeen American News) or even contact me on this blog. The media and bloggers cannot fix the situation, but we can bring attention to it at least.
  • What if I am turned away from the polling place due to “electioneering” or something that I am wearing?
    • I heard about this happening a few times during the primary election. Electioneering law in South Dakota (SCL § 12-18-3) is intended to keep political advertising more than 100 feet from the polling place. Basically candidates can’t do things like put signs out front of the building that is used to vote or hassle voters going into the building. The cases I’ve heard about people being turned away has to do with stickers or t-shirts that voters are wearing going into the polling place. Personally I would just put a jacket over the t-shirt while going into vote. But most of the complaints I heard about this issue weren’t just in reaction to being turned back due to a t-shirt. The people who talked to me about this were treated rudely by Voting Center staff and made to feel like a child because they didn’t understand South Dakota electioneering law. If that happens I would follow the steps from my previous question to bring attention to it. The volunteers working in a Voting Center should act in a professional manner.

Any other election-related questions can likely be answered at the Secretary of State website. Hopefully I won’t hear reports of confusion and voters being treated in a disrespectful manner during this election.

SD AG Marty Jackley speaking at the Brown County Republican Reagan Lunch

November 2, 2014 1 comment
Marty Jackley speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 10/23/14

Marty Jackley speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 10/23/14

On October 23rd South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley was the guest speaker for the Brown County Republicans at their monthly Reagan Lunch. Jackley is currently seeking re-election for his second term as Attorney General. There are quite a few things I disagree with Jackley on, but I will say he actually spoke about a lot more topics than the usual politician at these type of events. He also received a good number of questions. If nothing else he has given me a lot of info to blog about!

Jackley’s Remarks

Jackley spoke about the job of the AG. He said a big part of the AG’s office is to handle violent crime in South Dakota.  He said he always believes in leading by example and has taken some of the more violent and death penalty cases himself. In particular he mentioned a murder trial that had finished this summer that ended with Matthew Tornquist being sentenced to life in jail with no opportunity of parole. Additionaly he said the AG’s office has moved forward on the Berget Case and asked for an execution in May 2015. Personally I think South Dakota needs to get rid of the death penalty. It should never be the domain of the state to murder anyone. And that is exactly what the death penalty is: murder. But his involvement in these types of cases do back up his assertion that he is a hands-on AG.

Then Jackley moved on to talk about working with local law enforcement agencies around the state in preventative efforts. As part of prevention his office is seeing meth cases “skyrocketing”. He is working with local law enforcement and the legislature to slow down the rise of meth use. In particular he thanked Rep David Novstrup and Sen Al Novstrup for their support in trying to stop the production of meth. I believe he was referring to SB 24, which makes it even more of an inconvenience when people go buy cold medicines at the drug store. Jackley said the new tracking has already “blocked several hundred inappropriate sales of methamphetamine”. Further, he noted no actual prosecutions come from these blocked sales. It is just keeping people from buying the product that can be used for meth production. He also noted the AG’s office is speaking to a large pharmaceutical manufacture about “smart drugs”. These smart drugs cannot be compounded, meaning they would be useless for meth production. Jackley noted that issue may come up in the 2015 legislative session. Personally I think South Dakota, and the AG’s office, are on the wrong track by continuing the failed War on Drugs. That doesn’t mean I think drugs are good, but prohibition has done nothing but create criminals in situations where there are no actual victims. South Dakota’s continued support of the War on Drugs has also brought South Dakota to having the 16th highest incarceration rate in the world. I’m not sure that is something the AG’s office should be proud of.

Another area of the AG’s office that Jackley talked about was government power. He said it is part of the AG’s office responsibility to stop the government when it has gone too far. Jackley called out the EPA for expanding its power without Congressional authority. And after the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) rules against the EPA they just do a “end-round” and find another way to do what they were never actually given authority to do. He says he is part of a groups of AG’s from both parties around the country that are trying to fight against the acts of the EPA. Jackley said environmental protection can best be handled at the local level by zoning authorities. He said the State DENR also works to protect South Dakota’s resources. The closest EPA agent is in Denver according to Jackley. He says the SD DENR and the AG understand South Dakota and can better enforce environmental protections in South Dakota than the EPA can. Here is an issue I am fully supportive of Jackley on! I do think he has been fighting against federal overreach fairly consistently. There are a few times I think his office didn’t step forward when it should have, but overall I’m glad to see he is supporting Federalism in the State/Federal government relationship.

The last part his opening remarks was to talk about his campaign. He said he is taking the campaign serious and is “out on the trail”. All I will say on this is that there are enough things about how Jackley runs the office that I won’t be voting for him; but at the same time I won’t be voting for his opponent. I don’t feel either candidate is worthy of a vote from anyone liberty oriented.

Question about ISIS

Jackley received a question about ISIS. He didn’t have much to say on it because State Attorney General’s don’t receive a lot information about such issue. He noted that US Attorneys actually receive briefings on this type of issue and would be more informed. I found that interesting because I had assumed AG’s got the same info as US Attorneys. Jackley did note that ISIS is “serious and the President needed to act sooner”. I think most people of the US would agree with him. Personally I think our current interventionist foreign policy is doing more to expand terrorist threats and there are be better ways to curtail terrorism. But sadly neither ruling party really cares to look at other means of handling foreign policy.

Public Safety Improvement Act

In 2013 the South Dakota Legislature passed SB 70, which was marketed as the Public Safety Improvement Act. Jackley was asked about how the progress from this reform was progressing. Jackley said the AG’s office is “moving forward cautiously” on this “prison reform act”. At its core, Jackley said this act looked at how things were being done in prisons and that the spike of prison inmates were from drug-related offenses. Before SB70 all of these offenses were a ten-year felony. After the act there were three tiers based upon use, distribution, and production. Drug users are now eligible for drug courts. He said because of growing meth use it is hard to determine if the program is working better. Jackley also noted this system does shift some costs to the local level, so in the future the Legislature may need to provide more resources to Counties. Finally he said he is concerned with the Federal government doing the same thing the State of South Dakota has done. He said Eric Holder hasn’t been straight forward with people about it. Use of controlled substances are a misdemeanor under Federal Law, so only those distributing or producing controlled substances are felonies on the Federal level. Jackley says Holder talking about releasing felons at the Federal level for drug use is inconsistent with how Federal law actually works because it isn’t drug users that are federal felons. Jackley contends the Federal drug felons are the violent criminals. I’ll just reiterate that I believe South Dakota and US are wrong in continuing the failed War on Drugs. There are other ways to tackle social issues such as drug use without using the criminal system.

Governor Jackley?

Jackley was asked if he would be running for Governor in the future. He said he always works on things one step at a time. He noted he has moved his family to Pierre and will stay in State Government as long as the residents of SD want him to serve. Jackley didn’t’ say he would run for Governor in the future, but he also definitely didn’t say he wouldn’t.

Ballot Questions

Jackley was asked about the ballot questions on the SD 2014 ballot. All he really did was reiterate what the AG’s office had already released as part of their requirement to explain ballot questions. Here are the three AG explanations created for this election: IM 17, IM 18, Const Amend Q.

Marriage Amendment

Jackley was asked about the Marriage Amendment in South Dakota. He noted there was statute that existed in South Dakota defining marriage between a man and a woman. In 2006 the people then voted upon it and passed it as a SD Constitutional Amendment. Jackley noted that is currently the law in South Dakota. He noted there are a number of AG’s that went to SCOTUS and asked for a clear legal decision, but SCOTUS wouldn’t answer. Jackley did say this is a tough issue and that the “people of South Dakota should define what marriage is” and that it shouldn’t be up to judges or AG’s to determine what defines marriage. He wouldn’t say whether he agrees with the current law, only that it is his job as AG to uphold the current law. In the future Jackley expects more lawsuits to keep coming forward due to the non-action from SCOUTS. He said even if SCOTUS rules against the states it would at least provide clear guidance.


Yes, there was an EB-5 question for Jackley. Democrats have turned this into a partisan issue recently, but I’ve heard just as many Republicans (if not more) in the Aberdeen area worried about EB-5 than I have heard from Democrats. The morning of this event Aberdeen News had the front page story saying the FBI was investigating SDRC and EB-5. The question was about law enforcement coming in shortly before an election and announcing something like this. Jackley said as AG he had waited until after the Primary election to deal with two cases that had come to him (including his opponents wife Annette Bosworth) so as not to sway the election one way or the other. Jackley noted the Federal authorities have been looking into this long before the AG’s office was involved. Last year GOAC received a federal grand jury subpoena that was then passed on by the Governor to the AG’s office. He says the AG’s office then investigated and reported what he believes was some wrongdoing. Jackley was sure to point out his investigation was done in October of 2013 when he authorized a felony arrest warrant. He was careful to say the warrant was for what he believes was wrongdoing, he worded that carefully because there was not a subsequent trial or grand jury to determine if there truly was felony activity. Jackley asked what the federal authorities have been doing in the year since last October. He noted the FBI’s current subpoena was done in a way to make it a public record. He said as AG he has been trying to be as transparent and open as possible when allowed. He also reiterated that the evidence the AG’s office found had no connections with Mike Rounds at all.

I won’t go into the whole EB-5 situation in this post. But I will back Jackley on part. I believe he acted right in refraining from going after Bosworth until after the Primary election. If the FBI had released its subpoena in a way to create publicity that close to an election it does look suspicious and like the possible use of federal resources to electioneer. Additionally, I would add that I believe it is unlikely Rounds will ever be found to have done anything illegal. But at the same time I do think there were a lot of unethical things done in regards to EB-5 in South Dakota, and Rounds may or may not have been involved with breach of ethics.

Checks and Balances

Jackley went on to a conversation about Checks and Balances after talking about EB-5. He said the federal level does not have the checks and balances that exist in South Dakota. He noted the AG and SD Legislature are both elected and actually create some checks and balances. If the AG’s office acts in a way the Legislature doesn’t like, they can act through GOAC or defund his department. He says the current AG of the US enforces whatever laws he wants. Examples Jackley gave include: drug laws, immigration laws, marriage laws. Jackley noted that State AG’s also typically work quite well with the US Ag, regardless of party; but that has simply not happened with Holder in office. It is odd seeing a state AG speaking against the US AG. Remember, these are all lawyers and they typically stick together. With a quick Google search it can be seen that many AG’s from around the US and both parties have been consistently speaking against Holder. Perhaps it is good Holder announced his resignation.


There are some local residents concerned about whether Burt Elliot should be in the District 3 House race because he allegedly lives in District 2 and only rents an Apartment in District 3 to run for office (meaning he doesn’t actually sleep in District 3, only rents a place to keep an address). The question to Jackley was specifically about perjury. Jackley said perjury cases are always difficult to prove, even for the AG’s office. He also noted it is up to the Secretary of State to determine whether ballot access requirements have been met. Going back to what he said earlier, even if Jackley would somehow become involved in this situation, nothing would happen until after the election. That would also likely involve a US Attorney if this became a criminal issue.

But for ballot access issues he said that is not really an AG issue. Later when talking individually with people he was asked about the AG’s office getting involved if the SD Legislature refuses to seat Elliot. Due to prescience from  the SD Judicial system he says the Executive branch (including the AG’s office) likely could not legally get involved. I think the big lesson to take out of this as that no matter what happens with Elliot, it is unlikely the AG’s office will be involved.

My Conclusion

Jackley covered a heck of a lot of issues for what is usually a meet and greet type of meeting. As I said before, I won’t vote for him. But he is willing to at least speak on a number of topics when he knows there are people there that disagree with him. I also wish he had covered some of his work on consumer fraud protection in this meeting. Maybe I’ll catch up with him some time after the election to see what he will focus on for consumer fraud protection in the next four years.


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