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Recap of the South Dakota legislative races without a general eleciton

July 22, 2016 1 comment
SD State Capital Building. Photo by Ken Santema 1/27/16.

SD State Capital Building. Photo by Ken Santema 1/27/16.

Updated 8/16/16. Added two more legislative races without a general election due to placeholder candidates not having a replacement. These are Neal Tapio (R) for District 5 State Senate and Craig Kennedy (D) for District 18 State Senate. The possibility of District 23 State House having a candidate from the Constitution Party of SD was stopped in the court; so that race remains uncontested. With the changes there are a total of 29 candidates in 23 races that have already won the general election.

Currently there are a total of 27 candidates in 21 races that have already won the general election for the South Dakota legislature. Over the last month I have done a post about each of these won seats and will recap the list in this post. These previous posts were meant to take a look at some of the legislative priorities for candidates that have already won their general election. This is probably the last time I will blog about any of these candidates this year, unless they do something interesting on an interim committee or I run into one of them at a fair.

It should be noted I said “currently” in the first paragraph of this post. Candidates still have a few weeks to withdraw their names from the ballot. If a candidate withdraws and the local party does not find a replacement in time it could lead to the possibility of more uncontested general election races. Currently there are three Democrats showing as “withdrawn” on the Secretary of State website which have not been replaced by the local Democrat party yet. Two of these could leave a race uncontested: Ardon Wek is withdrawn from the District 19 State House race and no other Democrat is on the ballot and Chuck Groth is withdrawn from the District 22 State Senate race. It is also possible other placeholder candidates will withdraw their names as the deadline to withdraw looms closer.

Another possibility is that one of the uncontested races may in fact become contested. The Constitution Party of South Dakota recently nominated Wayne Schmidt to be a candidate for District 23 State Representative. It is now up to the court whether this will be allowed; see Ballot Access News for more information on this.

As of July 22, 2016, here is the list of South Dakota general election legislative races that have already been won.

District 1 State Senator

Democrat Sen Jason Frerichs won reelection with no Primary or General election. My post about the District 1 candidates can be read here.

District 1 State Representative

Democrats Rep Steven McCleerey and Susan Wismer won this election with no Primary or General election. Wismer is going back to Pierre by taking the place of term-limited Democrat Rep Dennis Feickert. My post about the District 1 candidates can be read here.

District 2 State Senator

Republican Sen Brock Greenfield won reelection with no Primary or General election. My post about the District 2 State Senate seat can be read here.

District 5 State Senator

Incumbent Sen Ried Holien did not seek reelection. There was a primary on the Republican side where Rep Roger Solum (R, Dist 5) was defeated by Neal Tapio. My post about the District 5 State Senate Republican Primary seat can be read here. The Democrats had a placeholder candidate David Johnson; but the party was unable to find a replacement for Johnson after he withdrew. My post about Tapio winning the District 5 State Senate Seat can be read here.

District 15 State Senator

This seat had been vacated by Democrat Sen Angie Buhl O’DonnellReynold Nesiba won the seat in the Democrat Primary against Rep Patrick Kirschman; who was term-limited in the House. My post about the District 15 State Senate seat can be read here.

District 18 State Senator

Incumbent Democrat Sen Bernie Hunhoff did not seek reelection. Instead fellow Democrat Craig Kennedy filed a petition at the last minute; Hunhoff did not announce he was retiring until then. Republican Matt Stone entered the race as an Independent after it was found out Hunhoff was not seeking reelection; Stone later had to withdraw from the race, leaving no General Election. My post about Kennedy winning the District 18 State Senate seat can be read here.

District 20 State Representative

Republicans Lance Carson and Rep Tona Rozum won this election with no Primary or General election. Carson is going back to Pierre by taking the place of fellow Republican Rep Joshua Klumb. Klumb is seeking the State Senate seat. My post about the District 20 State House candidates can be read here.

District 21 State Senator

Democrat Sen Billie Sutton won reelection with no Primary or General election. My post about the District 21 State Senate race can be read here.

District 23 State Senator

Republican Rep Justin Cronin won this election with no Primary or General election. The incumbent Sen Corey Brown is term limited. My post about the District 23 candidates can be read here.

District 23 State Representative

Neither incumbent sought reelection for this seat; Rep Justin Cronin entered into the State Senate race and Rep Michele Harrison did not run for a second term. Republicans Spencer Gosch and John Lake won the Republican Primary. They defeated former legislator Charlie Hoffman and current legislator for District 22 Rep Dick Werner. My post about the District 23 candidates can be read here.

District 24 State Senator

Republican Sen Jeff Monroe won reelection with no Primary or General election. My post about the District 24 candidates can be read here.

District 24 State Representative

Republicans Rep Mary Duvall and Rep Tim Rounds won reelection with no Primary or General election. My post about the District 24 candidates can be read here.

District 26 State Senator

Democrat Sen Troy Heinert won reelection with no Primary or General election. My post about the District 26 candidates can be read here.

District 26A State Representative

Democrat Rep Shawn Bordeaux won reelection with no Primary or General election. My post about the District 26 candidates can be read here.

District 26B State Representative

Republican Rep James Schaefer won reelection with no Primary or General election. My post about the District 26 candidates can be read here.

District 27 State Senator

Incumbent Democrat Sen Jim Bradford is term-limited in the Senate and running for State House. Fellow Democrat Rep Kevin Killer was term-limited in the House and won this seat without a Primary or General election. My post about the District 27 State Senate race can be read here.

District 28 State Senator

Incumbent Republican Sen Betty Olson is not seeking reelection. Fellow Republican and former legislator Ryan Maher  won this seat in the Republican Primary against Steven Ritch and now faces no General election opposition. My post about the District 28 candidates can be read here.

District 28A State Representative

Incumbent Democrat Rep Dean Schrempp is term-limited. Fellow Democrat Oren Lesmeister won this seat without a Primary or General election. My post about the District 28 candidates can be read here.

District 28B State Representative

Incumbent Republican Rep Sam Marty defeated Karen Wagner in the Republican Primary and faces no General election opposition. My post about the District 28 candidates can be read here.

District 29 State Representative

Republicans Rep Thomas Brunner and Larry Rhoden won this seat without a Primary or General election. Former legislator Rhoden is returning to Pierre and taking the place of term-limited Rep Dean Wink. My post about the District 29 State Representative candidates can be read here.

District 31 State Senator

Republican Sen Bob Ewing won reelection with no Primary or General election. My post about the District 31 candidates can be read here.

District 31 State Representative

Republicans Rep Timothy Johns and former legislator Charles Turbiville won the Republican Primary. Rep Fred Romkema was term-limited. Johns and Turbiville defeated Michael Weyrich in the Republican Primary. There is no General election opposition. My post about the District 31 candidates can be read here.

District 35 State Senator

Republican Sen Terri Haverly defeated Tina Mulally in the Republican Primary and faces no General election opposition. My post about the District 35 State Senate race can be read here.

Dist 23 State House and State Senate already won by Cronin, Gosch, and Lake

July 9, 2016 Comments off
SD Legislative District 23

SD Legislative District 23

District 23 is the next legislative district to look at without a general election. District 23 is in North-Central South Dakota just East of the river. Towns in this district include Akaska, Artas, Bowdle, Chelsea, Cresbard, Eureka, Faulkton, Gettysburg, Glenham, Herreid, Hillsview, Hosmer, Hoven, Ipswich, Java, Lebanon, Leola, Long Lake, Lowry, Miller, Mobridge, Mound City, Onaka, Orient, Pollock, Ree Heights, Rockham, Roscoe, Selby, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Tolstoy, Tulare, Wessington and Wetonka.

The current State Senator for District 23, Sen Corey Brown, is term-limited. That left an opening for fellow Republican, Rep Justin Cronin, to switch over from the State House to the State Senate. Cronin also happened to be term-limited in the House. Cronin was able to attain the State Senate seat without a primary or general election.

The House side did have a primary election. As mentioned above, Cronin sought the Senate seat, leaving his House seat open. The other current State Representative, Rep Michele Harrison, chose not to seek reelection after her freshman term. That left a four-way Republican primary between  Rep Dick Werner (R, Dist 22), John Lake (R), Spencer Gosch (R) and Charlie Hoffman (R). Werner had moved from District 22 and hoped to keep a seat in Pierre in his new district; that didn’t happen. Some were surprised to see former legislator Hoffman did not make the cut. From what I’m told the two newcomers, Lake and Gosh, were out working hard. This might have been a case where voters in the district rewarded the hard work of some new faces.

Even though these three have already won the general election I will still do a post on them. It is still worth if for the constituents of District 23 to know a thing or two about the legislative priorities of these politicians. For Cronin this post will look at a few pieces of legislation he prime sponsored in the House. Since the other two candidates do not have a legislative history I will just repost what was found about the candidates for their primary election post.

Justin R Cronin

Rep Justin Cronin (R, Dist 23)
Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – OpenStates – SoDakLiberty
LRC: House 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009

Rep Justin Cronin speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 3/29/16.

Rep Justin Cronin speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 3/29/16.

Up first from 2016 is a Concurrent Resolution:

HCR 1007 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Requiring the use of sound science in evaluating crop protection chemistries and nutrients.

This was an interesting resolution because it was a message to the federal government, via our congressional delegation. Here is the key part of this concurrent resolution:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature opposes legislative or regulatory action,whether at the federal or state level, that may result in unnecessary restrictions, on the use of crop protection chemistries and nutrients, that are not based on sound science; and

There have been a LOT of special interest groups trying to fight against the use of chemicals in agriculture. It doesn’t appear those groups understand how important the use of chemicals in agriculture is; or how far science has come to make the use of such chemicals safe. Yes, there are environmental concerns, but that doesn’t mean farmers could, or should, stop the use of chemicals.

Now moving back to 2015 it is worth mentioning this bill prime sponsored by Cronin:

HB 1228 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Establish an obligation recovery center.

I have blogged quite a bit about the Obligation Recovery Center (ORC) on SoDakLiberty. The ORC is basically a collection center the state will use against its citizens. Yes, there are people who owe the state a debt. And yes these debts need to be paid. But many people just can’t understand how the legislature thought it was OK to give the ORC the power to withhold drivers licenses in order to try collecting that debt. Taking away the means for someone to actually earn money seems quite counter-productive. Additionally most of this debt is through the UJS, where there already exists the threat of other legal issues if these debts are not paid off.   It would have been interesting to see if Cronin would have made it through the election with an opponent after being the prime sponsor of this legislation.

Finally it is worth looking at a bill from 2012:

HB 1138 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Declare that any person who maintains or provides roll-your-own cigarette machines at retail establishments are cigarette manufacturers.

This of course goes back to the tobacco shops that had machines to let customers roll their own cigarettes on the premises. The largest benefit to customers was a lower tax rate on these cigarettes. It also allowed for a greater variety of flavors for cigarettes, as pipe tobacco was used for this process. This bill, which was signed into law, declared that these establishments offer a roll-you-own cigarette machine were to be counted as manufacturers, so the cigarettes made from these machines could be taxed as a higher rate. Technically I think it was a stretch to call these retailers any form of a manufacturer. But the legislature apparently thought there was a lot of tax revenue it could go after, so this “loophole” was closed via Cronin’s bill.

Spencer Gosch

Spencer Gosch (R)
Website – Facebook – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

Spencer Gosch. Photo from Gosch's campaign Facebook page.

Spencer Gosch. Photo from Gosch’s campaign Facebook page.

This is reposted from the blog post about the District 23 primary:

Gosch does have a Views page on his campaign website. Those are basically split into five categories: Agriculture, Taking Care of our Veterans, Business and Economic Development, Education, and Taking Care of our Finest generation.

Probably most interesting from that page is part of what he has to say about economic development:

So, where do I feel that Government fits in here? I believe that it is the Government’s job to support local business rather than regulate or tax people out of their lively hoods. It’s the Government’s job to use the money generated by the people to maintain infrastructure like roads and other public utility resources. To promote local economic development and to stay out of the way of hard working individuals that just want a piece of the American Dream!

Gosch has been very active on his campaign Facebook page as he travels District 23. He has actually been giving video updates. He doesn’t really give any information to learn more about him in these videos, but it is nice way to show all the towns he has been to.

John A. Lake

John Lake (R)
Facebook – Ballotpedia – VoteSmart – SoDakLiberty

John A. Lake. Picture from Lake's campaign Facebook page.

John A. Lake. Picture from Lake’s campaign Facebook page.

This is reposted from the blog post about the District 23 primary:

Lake has a campaign Facebook page. He does have one post on the page which includes a bullet point list of what he stands for:

A vote for John Lake to the House of Representatives is a vote to:

– Curb government growth
– Keep taxes low
– Maintain local control of education
– Not give up State control to the Federal Government
– Support Pro-Life legislation
– Preserve our 2nd amendment rights
– Keep state bureaucrats in check

He also has a post with his relevant experience:

Here is a short list of other positions held and organizations involved with:

– Past President of South Dakota Wheat
– National Director for National Association of Wheat Growers
– Former County Commissioner
– Gettysburg/ Whitlock Bay Development Corp.
– Gettysburg Education Foundation
– Gettysburg Cemetery Association
– Potter County Republican Chairman
– Potter County Fair Board
– Emmanuel Lutheran Church

I really don’t know much beyond that about Lake. I had hoped to attend the candidate forum in Mobridge, but life happened… He does seem to be pretty active going around District 23, so hopefully potential voters have had a chance to meet him in person.

Civil asset forfeiture was not chosen as a summer study topic

April 21, 2016 Comments off

Earlier today I blogged about the three summer study topics that were approved by the SD Legislature Executive Board during the 2016 interim session and one summer study topic that was assigned to the LRC as an Issue Memo. Now it is time to look at one of the summer study topic that wasn’t chosen to be looked at during the interim session: civil asset forfeiture. This is a topic I thought would be chosen, especially since it was a topic during the 2016 legislative session (even if it didn’t get any real press coverage). At the end of this post I will include a brief look at two bills from the 2016 legislative session dealing with civil asset forfeiture.

Rep Don Haggar speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 3/29/16.

Rep Don Haggar speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 3/29/16.

During the executive board meeting Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) mentioned the civil forfeiture in South Dakota summer study should be selected as one of the final topics for the 2016 interim session. He noted there were several committee hearings on the topic during this previous session (more on that below) and several million dollars are seized annually. Haggar believes there are constitutional issues, because sometimes assets are seized before conviction. Plus he believes there are questions about the controls that are in place (or not in place) as to how these assets are handled.

Here is the actual proposal for the summer study:

Title of Requested Study: Civil forfeiture in South Dakota. A study of the process, the volume of assets seized, how the seized assets are managed and disposed of, the reporting process, possible abuses, and how South Dakota’s process compares to other states.

Scope of Requested Study:

  • Breadkown seized assets by crime, by type of asset, and by volume.
  • Cost to sieze assets.
  • How often do seizure efforts fail?
  • What process is used to dispose of assets?
  • How are funds held? Checks and balances?
  • What reporting is done?
  • Due process and the burden of proof in forfeitures.

Requested by: Individual Legislators and Committee Vote: Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23), Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10).

During the Executive Board meeting Rep Jim Bolin (R, Dist 16) didn’t see a need for this as a summer study because he doesn’t hear constituents speaking out about civil asset forfeiture. Rep Timothy Johns (R, Dist 31) however disagreed with Rep Bolin and believes civil asset forfeiture is a “very timely topic”.

Unfortunately there was not a motion made to actually move this forward as a summer study topic after the other three had actually been chosen. Personally I think this should have been a chosen topic and hope Rep Haggar continues to work on the topic in the 2017 legislative session (provided he makes it through the general election).

Summary of bill from the 2016 session that dealt with civil asset forfeiture

To end this post I will look briefly at two bills taken up during the 2016 legislative session that dealt with civil asset forfeiture.

HB 1088 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise and consolidate certain civil forfeiture provisions.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Not Opposed (supported original version)
Prime Sponsors: Rep Don Haggar (R, Dist 10) and Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This bill originally combined and reconciled two different forfeiture areas of law: drug related and sex traffic related. The biggest change in the original version of the bill would have been to ensure there is a conviction for drug related crimes before forfeiture can occur; that is already the case with sex traffic crimes. That change would have ensured there is due process in place before property is seized.

The AG’s Office, States Attorney Association, and South Dakota Sheriffs Association testified against the conviction provision in HB 1088. HB 1088 then went through a series of amendments that took all of the good portions away. In the end all the bill does now is consolidate the process for civil forfeitures. When this bill becomes law on July 1 nothing will have changed.

Too bad, Rep Haggar brought forth a good bill that would have helped ensure the civil rights of South Dakota residents are protected.

SB 25 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Revise certain provisions concerning forfeiture of property interests of persons convicted of certain crimes.

Status: Signed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Opposed
Prime Sponsors: The Committee on Judiciary is the prime sponsor at the request of the Office of the Attorney General.

While Haggar was trying to reign in civil asset forfeiture in SD, the Attorney General Marty Jackley was trying to expand forfeiture.

Here is what I had to say about the bill when it was prefiled, and feel was relevant up to it being passed:

This bill would allow the AG’s office to take property from more human trafficking cases. Currently state law allows the state to take the property set forth in § 22-24A-15 for breaking certain state laws. This bill would appear to allow the state to take that same property from people convicted under certain federal laws. That would mean the state has greater power to seize the property of anyone convicted of certain crimes, whether convicted at the state or federal level.

Here is what Jackley had to say in the press release:

“State, local and federal law enforcement officers continue to remove sexual predators from our communities during our joint law enforcement operations and investigations.  Predators convicted of human trafficking and related sex crimes whether prosecuted by state or federal authorities should not keep either their profits or assets used to harm young women and children.  Their profits and assets used to commit these sex crimes should go to help victims and support further law enforcement operations saving taxpayer monies,” said Jackley.

I can understand where Jackley is coming from. But, I fear any time forfeiture laws are expanded that the potential to abuse those laws are increased. According to a report from the Institute for JusticeSouth Dakota already has poor forfeiture protections in place, getting a D- on the scorecard. Part of the reason for that bad score is how easy it is for law enforcement to take property in South Dakota. But another part, and a part I am truly worried about, is explained by this paragraph in the report:

Compounding those problems, South Dakota law does not require law enforcement agencies to track or report their forfeitures. By filing a South Dakota Open Records Law request, the Institute for Justice was able to obtain records of forfeiture proceeds from the South Dakota Office of the Attorney General, which prosecuted almost $4.1 million in forfeitures between 2010 and 2013, or over $1 million per fiscal year. These figures represent all drug-related civil forfeitures conducted in South Dakota during this time.

What is happening with all of this forfeited property and money? Do we really want to expand a program without actually knowing what is going on currently?

Additionally the IJ report gives SD good marks in one area:

Law enforcement agencies in South Dakota make less use of the Department of Justice’s equitable sharing program than do agencies in any other state, perhaps because state law makes it relatively easy for agencies to benefit handsomely from civil forfeiture. Ranking first in the nation on equitable sharing, South Dakota agencies received over $1 million in DOJ equitable sharing proceeds between the 2000 and 2013 calendar years.

Is the ability to use more of this equitable sharing money part of the reason the Office of the Attorney General wants to pass this law?

Gov Daugaard vetoes SB 100, tax break for broadband expanse

March 25, 2016 Comments off

26809301Today, March 25, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard announced his veto of SB 100, a bill “to enhance South Dakota economic development through broadband infrastructure improvements”. This post will briefly look at the bill. It still has to go before the legislature next Tuesday to see if the veto will be overridden.

SB 100 (SoDakLiberty Posts) – Enhance South Dakota economic development through broadband infrastructure improvements.

Status: Vetoed by Governor
SoDakLiberty Stance: Opposed
Prime Sponsors: Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) are the prime sponsors.

This is a bill I was glad to see the Governor veto, even if his reasons are different from mine.

SB 100 started out as a hoghouse vehicle bill, an empty piece of legislation waiting to be filled. Sen Brown hoghoused this with legislation relating to the Governor’s economic development slush fund Building South Dakota. This particular bill would add Broadband telecommunications network facilities to the list of projects that the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) should be spending money on.

I think the telecommunication companies can handle broadband expansion without the taxpayer dollars through GOED. Plus I think adding this to a hoghouse vehicle bill at the last-minute just seemed the wrong way to do this. For anyone wondering why money can’t go to teachers I would ask them to look at how much money GOED spends…

This bill went through the Senate without a No vote.

This was amended on the House floor to add a third section. It appears to clarify what the Board of Economic Development shall consider when determining whether to approve a broadband application.

This passed the House floor 61-5. The Senate then concurred with the House changes 35-0.

As to the Governors reasons for the veto, here is part of his press release:

This bill makes fundamental changes to the Reinvestment Payment Program, part of the Building South Dakota legislation passed by the Legislature in 2013.  Under the current program, businesses may apply to the Board of Economic Development for a sales and use tax refund on projects in excess of $20 million or $2 million in equipment costs.  Refunds are not automatic; applications are reviewed to determine whether the incentive is necessary to secure the project for South Dakota.  The Board of Economic Development’s evaluation process lies at the heart of our state’s economic development incentives and ensures that our state’s taxpayers are not asked to pay for projects that would occur without a state incentive.

So, the Governor objects to this bill because it doesn’t follow the process laid out by his plans from 2013. Perhaps now is a good time to review those plans. To do that it is necessary to go back to 2011, when HB 1230 was passed. That bill as passed would have basically taken 22% of contractors’ excise tax revenues away from the general fund and placed it into a slush fund for the Large Project Development Fund. Money from that fund could then be used by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) with little or no oversight.

HB 1230 was referred to the voters and appeared on the 2012 ballot as Referred Law 14 (RL14). RL14 was shot down by 57.64% of the voters. That should have been then end of this slush fund, but it wasn’t…

In 2013 the legislature passed SB235 (SoDakLiberty Posts), which was a rebranding of the Governors slush fund for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) to play with. This time it was called Building South Dakota with the purpose of enhancing economic development and education. Every year since 2013 when there is suddenly a surplus of money at the end of the fiscal year, this is the place where the Governor chooses to put those funds. I would have thought that would have been better to utilize for education…

So now we are back up to today. The Governor actually vetoes a bill relating to Building South Dakota because it doesn’t align with his vision of what Building South Dakota should be doing. I guess I should be happy he vetoed the bill. Perhaps the next governor will go further and get rid of this cronyistic program meant to choose market winners and losers.

This bill made it through both chambers quite strongly, so it is possible the Governor’s veto will be overridden when the legislature reconvenes on Tuesday, March 29.

SD Legislator list updated with the recent changes

May 11, 2015 Comments off

Now that all of the spring shifting has been completed in the SD Legislature I thought it was time to update my list of Current SD Legislators and do a short(ish) post about the changes. Immediately after the 2015 legislative session there were to resignations in the SD Senate. Since both Senators were in leadership positions that also left caucus elections to be held for these positions.

Lederman replaced by Shorma

Dan Lederman and Tim Rave on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/10/15.

Dan Lederman and Tim Rave on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/10/15.

On Monday, March 30, Dan Lederman announced he was resigning from the SD State Senate.  Lederman stated his reason for retiring was to spend more time with his family. Normally I would have no problem with such a reason for retiring from anything. The only thing that made this kind of different was the fact he has just been re-elected as a Senator and chose to take on a leadership role within the caucus. From an outside view it would almost appear Lederman decided to win his election and then resign immediately after election so the Governor could appoint his replacement. It also allowed a leadership shuffle to fill his spot for Assistant Majority Leader.

On Thursday, April 30, Governor Daugaard announced William Shorma of Dakota Dunes was appointed to replace Lederman. Looking at the press release it would appear Shorma has some good business experience. But there is one part of his resume that should give pause to anyone that is worried about the fiscal stability of the country:

Shorma is a former director of the Board of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank.

I’ve blogged a few times about the Federal Reserve and its lack of transparency. Most relevant are probably my posts before and after HCR 1007 passed the SD House floor during the 2014 session. HCR 1007 was a resolution to Audit the Fed. A part of me feels Shorma may be a bad fit for fiscal conservatives in the SD state legislature that are worried about the long-term financial stability of the United States and the State of South Dakota. It also should give pause to anyone worried about transparency, because the Federal Reserve is any anything but transparent (allowing numerous audits in specific areas of the Federal Reserve is NOT the same as being transparent.)

Rave replaced by Fiegen

Tim Rave speaking on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/11/15

Tim Rave speaking on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/11/15

On Tuesday, March 31, Tim Rave also announced he would be resigning from the SD State Senate.  His resignation is due to accepting a VP position at Sanford Health. Rave was also in a leadership position, that of the Senate Majority Leader. I really don’t have a problem with Rave leaving the Senate. I can’t hold it against anyone when opportunities open up for them.

On Wednesday, May 6, Governor Daugaard announced Rave would be replaced by Scott Fiegen of Dell Rapids.  Fiegen has a long history of business experience and political experience as mayor of Dell Rapids. I really don’t know enough about Fiegen to speculate one way or another about him.

Republican Caucus leadership shifts

Gary Cammack speaking on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/11/15

Gary Cammack speaking on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/11/15

With the Majority Leader and Assistant Majority Leader spots empty that meant the Republican caucus had hold elections. Here are the results of that election:

  • Sen Corey Brown (R, Dist 23) won the spot as the new Majority Leader. Brown was the President Pro Tempore.
  • Sen Jim White (R, Dist 22) won the spot as the new Assistant Majority Leader.
  • Sen Gary Cammack (R, Dist 29) replaced Brown as the President Pro Tempore. Technically Cammack isn’t the President Pro Tempore until the 2016 session when the whole Senate can vote, but in the meantime he will fill that position. Due to the Republican super-majority it is unlikely anyone but Cammack will be elected as President Pro Tempore in January.
  • Sen Alan Solano (R, Dist 32), Sen Ernie Otten (R, Dist 6), and Sen Deb Soholt (R, Dist 14) are the three majority whips.
Corey Brown speaking on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 03/30/15.

Corey Brown speaking on the SD Senate floor. Photo by Ken Santema 03/30/15.

I guess the 2016 session will show if any of these changes actually translate to good and/or bad results in Pierre. Personally I’m not overly excited about this line-up. Brown’s push to keep non-Republicans off the ballot through his changes made to SB 69 shows his lack of respect for the election process. Part of me hoped the Republican caucus would realize how damaging Brown has been to the Republican brand and refrain from keeping him in a leadership position. I knew that was unlikely however since his work on other conservative issues have gained him respect from fellow Republicans.

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