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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Kaiser’

Reps Kaiser and Deutsch have shown a commitment to constituent communication during the 2015 SD legislative session

March 25, 2015 2 comments
SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 01/21/15

SD House Floor. Photo by Ken Santema 01/21/15

Open government and transparency are huge issues for me. I would say anything that elected officials do to improve communication with constituents should be applauded for the commitment it shows towards the goal of open government and transparency. During the 2015 SD legislative session Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) and Rep Fred Deutsch (R, Dist 4) showed their commitment by posting why they voted the way they did on every House floor vote. This is something I noted US Rep Justin Amash doing two years ago and hoped more would follow suit. Luckily SD had two Representatives willing to step up to this informative, yet potentially dangerous, thing for a politician to do.

Kaiser has actually done this both during the 2014 and the 2015 SD legislative sessions. After every vote he goes to his public Facebook page and posts a link to the bill that was just up for a vote. He also adds how he voted and why. Actually he did make one change from 2014 to 2015. In 2014 he waited until session was done each day to post his all of his votes. During the 2015 session he posted most of the directly after doing the vote.

Deutsch is a freshman legislator this year and has also posted each vote taken on the House floor. His public Facebook page can be browsed to find the links to each bill voted on. He also adds how he voted and why he voted a certain way for each vote.

Both legislators should be applauded for this commitment towards communicating with constituents. This communication shows a commitment to legislative transparency. It is rare to find politicians willing to openly communicate so often. Actually such communication also makes my job as a blogger much easier. This constant communication from these legislators lets me understand why they vote yes or no when I feel they should have voted the other way. Sometimes I will find there is a point of view I didn’t take into account when originally reading the bill. And often that point of view was not mentioned on the House floor (that is an issue for another blog post).

On bill I followed with interest this year was HJR 1001 (SoDakLiberty Posts), which called for an Article V convention. Below are the posts from each of these two legislators about their vote. I am using this vote as an example of what can be learned because this happened to be a close vote (39-30) and these two legislators voted differently.

Here is Rep Kaiser’s post about HRJ 1001:

Here is Rep Deutsch’s post about HJR 1001:

For a constituent that is looking to find out the why of certain votes in Pierre these posts are invaluable. In just a couple of sentences each legislator was able to summarize the why of their vote. Additionally these posts can be commented on. If anyone wishes they could ask the legislator to expand upon their reasoning.

Beyond these two I have seen an increase in Facebook usage from other legislators as well. Not every legislator is going to post on Facebook about each of their vote (although I wish they would). But many have stepped up and done more frequent posts than was seen in past years. Typically these are posts about bills a particular legislator is the prime sponsor of. I applaud the legislators that have been doing this as well.

Hopefully in the 2016 session there be even more legislators willing to communicate more often with constituents through Facebook. Even if they don’t post every vote, any increased amount of communication works towards transparency in Pierre. That is a winning scenario for constituents!

PS. If you do try looking through old Facebook posts on pages such as these you have to deal with the silly highlights feature that annoys the heck out of people. Here are the steps you will have to take in order to deal with this problem when on a Facebook page:

  • Scroll down the page until you see the word “highlights” as pictured below:
    fbhighlights
  • Click on “highlights”
  • Click on “all stories”
  • You will now see all posts on that page as you scroll down. Without choosing “all stories” it will omit many posts and cause a lot of frustration.

PPS. I know this is a post about SD legislators. But I should notice I’ve seen this done at the City Council level as well. Recently Aberdeen City Councilwoman Jennifer Slaight-Hansen posting during city council meetings. I applaud her for doing so and I hope she will keep it up.

Senate Local Government committee has 2 bill on Weds Mar 4

March 3, 2015 1 comment
Firetrucks in the Brookings Independence Day Parade. Photo by Ken Santema 07/04/14.

Firetrucks in the Brookings Independence Day Parade. Photo by Ken Santema 07/04/14.

On Wednesday, March 4th, at 7:45 AM the SD Senate Local Government committee will take on 2 bills.

HB 1083 – SoDakLiberty PostsRequire reimbursement to certain entities for fire suppression and extinguishment costs.

Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) and Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed House Judiciary 12-0 after being gutted and simplified. It was then slightly amended on the House floor and passed 56-11. The current bill is actually quite short. Here is the current version:

Each fire department may bill and collect the costs of fire fighting and suppression of a fire not covered by the wildland fire suppression statutes set forth in chapter 34-35.

This will allow rural fire departments to collect for fires that were set negligently. Apparently fire departments in incorporated towns have this right already.

BILLS FOR POSSIBLE ACTION WHICH HAVE HAD PRIOR HEARING.

HB 1194 – SoDakLiberty PostsSet a minimum size for a sign about zoning changes or conditional use permits.

Rep Herman Otten (R, Dist 6) and Sen Ried Holien (R, Dist 5) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed House Local Government 10-3 after an amendment. It then passed the House floor 53-16. I really can’t believe this bill is going this far. Currently local governments can choose whether to have these signs and the requirements for them. Now the state wants to step in and say if a local government has these signs they have to meet certain requirements. This bill appears to be the state government overstepping its bounds.

Senate Judiciary committee has 5 bills on Tues Mar 3

March 2, 2015 1 comment

policemanOn Tuesday, March 3rd, at 8:00 AM the SD Senate Judiciary committee will take on 5 bills.

HB 1142 – SoDakLiberty Posts – Revise certain provisions pertaining to the age requirements for sex offender registry registration.

Rep Peggy Gibson (D, Dist 22) and Sen Angie Buhl O’Donnell (D, Dist 15) are the prime sponsors. It passed through the House with no opposition. This bill adds “at the time of the offense” to someone who is fourteen or older to register as a sex offender (if they meet other requirements).

HB 1173 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions regarding liability of parties involved in frivolous or malicious civil actions.

Rep Lee Qualm (R, Dist 21) and Sen Gary Cammack (R, Dist 29) are the prime sponsors. This bill was amended (and title amended) in House Judiciary and passed that committee 10-3. Originally this bill added new sections of code to deal with frivolous appeals of land zoning decisions. The amended bill just modifies current code to specifically include appeal of a zoning decision. The bill was amended on the House floor and passed 57-11. Originally I thought this bill was a good idea. But after hearing it debated on the floor I’m not so sure. It doesn’t actually seem to be fixing a problem.

HB 1082 – SoDakLiberty PostsAllow a law enforcement officer to issue a citation without a notary.

Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) and Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) are the prime sponsors. This bill was gutted in House Judiciary. The new version of the bill appears to do the same thing, but it modifies current code instead of adding new code. This bill modernizes the citation process and takes into account law enforcement now utilizes technology in regards to citations. After being amended it passed House Judiciary 13-0 and the House floor 64-1.

HB 1225 – SoDakLiberty PostsProhibit the unauthorized commercial use of a personality’s right of publicity and provide a civil remedy therefor.

Rep Elizabeth May (R, Dist 27) and Sen Jim Bradford (D, Dist 27) are the prime sponsors. This bill had a major amendment changing wording around in House Judiciary and passed that committee 12-0. I had apprehensions about this bill due to its ties to the MPAA. However the amended version of the bill doesn’t seem to raise any red flags for me. And it does seem to protect a persons likeness from being used commercially without permission in SD. It is an interesting bill for sure. The bill passed the House floor 66-2.

HB 1205 – SoDakLiberty PostsProvide for the certification by a chief law enforcement officer of the transfer of certain firearms.

Rep Jim Stalzer (R, Dist 11) and Sen Jeff Monroe (R, Dist 24) are the prime sponsors. House Judiciary amended the bill twice and the bill passed that committee 12-0. It then passed the House floor 67-1. This bill appears to make sure that when a law enforcement officer is required by federal law to certify the lawful transfer of a firearms that the certification is done. This would appear to make sure that as long as those involved are not disqualified by law, that law enforcement cannot stop the transfer from happening.

Senate Judiciary committee has 4 bills on Thurs Feb 26

February 25, 2015 1 comment

oldstylejudgeOn Thursday, February 26th, at 8:00 AM the SD Senate Judiciary committee will take on 4 bills.

Also on the agenda:

Attorney General Reappointments:
Myron L. Rau, Minnehaha County, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles

Krista Heeren-Graber, Hutchinson County, Freeman, South Dakota to the South Dakota Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision

HB 1134 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions concerning the expungement of arrest records.

Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) and Sen Arthur Rusch (R, Dist 17) are the prime sponsors. This passed House Judiciary 9-3 and the House floor 64-2. This is a good bill. Guilty until proven innocent is a cornerstone of the legal system in the US. A prosecutor being able to make a determination of expungement without a hearing before a judge goes against the very foundation of the US legal system.

HB 1073 – SoDakLiberty PostsRequire a sex offender to report a change in vehicle status to law enforcement.

Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) and  Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) are the prime sponsors. Originally this bill would have modified a current statute to add this in to where it would be a Class 6 Felony.That version of the bill passed House Judiciary 10-3. It was then hoghoused on the House floor. The new version of the bill adds the same language as a new piece of code and makes this a Class 1 misdemeanor. I think that was a good change dropping the charge down to a misdemeanor. The bill passed the House floor 68-1 after being amended.

HB 1129 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise the property exempt from process in bankruptcy cases.

Rep Steve Hickey (R, Dist 9) and Sen Arthur Rusch (R, Dist 17) are the prime sponsors of this bill. This adds motor vehicles used for normal activity valued at less than $5,000 to the list of exempt property. It specifically says recreation vehicles like ATV’s and jet-skis don’t count. The bill originally included the earned income tax credit (EITC) of a federal tax refund as also protected. The EITC provision was amended out in committee. It then passed the Judiciary committee 12-0. The bill made it through the House floor 40-27.

HB 1128 – SoDakLiberty PostsProtect certain homestead exemption interests during sale of homestead or separation of owners.

Rep Steve Hickey (R, Dist 9) and Sen Arthur Rusch (R, Dist 17) are the prime sponsors of this bill. This bill passed House Commerce 10-2. It was then substantially amended on the House floor. I’ll have to listen to the testimony on this bill again, I can’t seem to recall the details of it. After being amended it passed the House floor 61-6.

The battle against Common Core in South Dakota regains life with #StandWithDan

February 21, 2015 8 comments

Just a couple of days ago it looked as if the battle against Common Core had been lost in the 2015 SD legislative session. Thanks to a current #StandWithDan movement new life is being gained in the battle against Common Core. I will speak more about #StandWithDan at the end of this post.

Common Core is an issue I have been following for a couple of years now. It is an issue that has really snuck up on a lot of parents around the country. The battle against Common Core has also brought together a diverse section of the population that are hard to classify as one identifiable group. There are traditional conservative groups opposed to Common Core due to overreach by the federal government. There are more liberal-oriented groups opposed to Common Core because it takes power away from teachers. There are parents opposed to Common Core because the new curriculum and teaching methods being implemented alongside Common Core are wreaking havoc on their children’s education. There are also groups opposed to Common Core because it is the ultimate implementation of Outcome Based Education (I fall into this group). Finally there are many opponents to common core I’ve met that don’t even fit into any of the categories of people mentioned above.

Battling Common Core in South Dakota has been quite difficult. The establishment politicians in Pierre have signed onto Common Core. I understand why some of them believe Common Core is good. They believe standards such as Common Core are necessary for a quality public education. I would disagree. Actually, I believe Common Core removes diversity from public education and holds back our children from reaching their full potential. This is the debate that needs to happen by the South Dakota legislature. This is also the debate that is not happening.

To be fair there has been a legislator in Pierre, Rep Jim Bolin (R, Dist 16), that has been leading the battle against Common Core before anyone even heard of it. Luckily he is still on the floor continuing the battle.

Throughout this session the House Education committee and Senate Education committee had multiple hearings where the Department of Education blue badges have bombarded the committees with single-sided presentations and testimony promoting Common Core (blue badges are employees or hired lobbyist that work for a State agency, they get paid to lobby against constituents quite often). Attempts to get alternative viewpoints heard have been squelched by these committees. These committees are not allowing any bills to come to the floor that would allow a true debate to happen between legislators about Common Core.

This legislative session there was in fact one bill that I believe was created as a means to force that debate upon the House floor. HB 1223 (SoDakLiberty Posts) was the only bill on the agenda for Weds, Feb 18, House Education committee meeting. This bill would end SD involvement in Common Core. The meeting lasted around two hours and included testimony from both sides of the issue. Both sides had good and bad points. There was discussion among the committee members. The process was working. Then the discussion was stopped by a motion to table the bill. Tabling a bill in situations like this is done purely to stop the discussion. Once a motion to table the bill is moved, no more debate on the bill is allowed. The tabling motion passed 8-7. The tabling of this bill ended the debate in House Education, and prevented the House floor from having to debate a hot political topic.

Rep Kaiser speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 01/24/15.

Rep Kaiser speaking in Aberdeen. Photo by Ken Santema 01/24/15.

At that point it appeared the battle against Common Core for the 2015 SD legislative session had ended. Fortunately appearances are not always the same as reality. On Thursday, Feb 19, Rep Dan Kaiser stood in the House floor during session and moved Joint Rule 7-7 for HB 1223. Joint Rule 7-7 is more commonly called a smokeout. It is a tool that any legislator can utilize to force a bill out of a committee. In this case Rep Kaiser was asking the House floor to support him in forcing the House Education committee to send HB 1223 out to the House floor.

To watch the video of the actual smokeout click on this Post by Daniel Kaiser for District 3 House.

To be successful, at least one-third of the House body had to stand with Dan Kaiser. There were enough legislators standing for there to be a successful smoke-out. That means the SD House floor still has a possibility to debate about Common Core before the public; and without Department of Education blue badges lobbying against the bill as they do in committee meetings. This will provide constituents information as to where their legislators stand on this issue. I would think all constituents that care about Common Core would want to know how their legislator falls on the issue and why. That opportunity may now happen.

It should be noted that the House Ed committee had to have a quick impromptu meeting directly after session when the smoke-out occurred. The committee passed the bill onto the floor with a Do Not Pass recommendation by a vote of 9-6.

The next step will happen on Tuesday. The floor will have to vote by a simple majority (36 votes) on whether to bring the bill to the floor calendar for a debate. This is the vote I will be watching. Obviously legislators that are pushing to end Common Core will vote to debate the bill on the floor. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the House votes. There are some that will vote no to the motion because they don’t believe in smokeouts. Plus some will vote against the motion because they do not want Common Core discussed on the House floor; that is the group of legislators I have little respect for, they will vote against debating the bill to keep from having to debate a politically hot topic in public. The most important group of legislators to watch during this vote will be the ones that are on the fence and wish to hear the debate or the legislators that support Common Core and feel it is important for their constituents to see the issue debated in public. If enough of the last mentioned group of legislators exist it is possible for this motion to succeed on Tuesday.

If the motion does succeed I would expect the debate to take a lot of floor time. That is good. Not all bills should move through the House floor quickly. Since all House bills have to be voted on before the Wednesday session ends I almost expect some legislators to vote against allowing the debate on Common Core simply because they do not wish to spend so much time on the House floor. I think those legislators need to be reminded why they are in Pierre. They are not in Pierre so they can attend the special interest events hosted in Pierre each evening. Legislators are sent to Pierre to act on behalf of South Dakota citizens. Sometimes that involves long debates on politically hot topics. And yes, sometimes that means working late hours and missing the events hosted by special interest groups.

At this time I believe every SD citizen should contact their legislator and let them know a SD House public debate about Common Core is necessary. It doesn’t matter what side of the Common Core debate any particular person falls in. Everyone should want and request a public debate about Common Core and its role in South Dakota public education. To deny this public debate would also deny the public the opportunity to understand what their legislators feel the best direction for public education in South Dakota should be.

Another way to bring attention to this upcoming vote is to view and spread the #StandWithDan video Post by Daniel Kaiser for District 3 House. This video has gone viral on Facebook. As I write this post the #StandWithDan video has been on Facebook almost 16 hours. In that time the video has had 3,314 views and 144 shares. That is purely amazing that so many people have seen this video in just under half a day! I would urge people to keep spreading the video and getting people to contact their legislators. It is time to allow this debate to happen in public so all legislators can show where they believe the future of public education in South Dakota should go.

House Education committee has 2 bills on Fri Feb 20

February 19, 2015 2 comments

Online-Survey-Icon-or-logoOn Friday, February 20th, at 7:45 AM the SD House Education committee will take on 2 bills.

** This meeting is important. Next Tuesday is the last opportunity for committees to get the bills from their chamber moved on to the floor. This committee does not have a scheduled committee meeting until next Wednesday.

*** It should also be noted that House Ed had to have a special meeting on Feb 19 after Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) successfully smoked HB 1223 (SoDakLiberty Posts) out of Secretary Schopp’s House Education Committee. The bill was removed from it’s tabled status and sent to the floor with a Do No Pass recommendation.

HB 1184 – SoDakLiberty PostsRegulate the use of digital-learning platforms in schools accredited by the state.

Rep Lynne DiSanto (R, Dist 35) and Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) are the prime sponsors of this bill. This is one to watch. Looking at this bill I agree with part of what it is trying to do. This is a bill being proposed in the battle against Common Core. I support that battle and support part of what this bill is trying to do. But there are two parts of this bill I believe need to be amended out.

The biggest problem I have is with section 4, which states: “a student who has reached the age of eighteen, or the parent or guardian of a minor student, may opt out of the use of any digital-learning platform.” That goes against where education is going, with or without Common Core. To deny the use of digital-learning platforms would remove an important tool from teachers. As an IT consultant I’ve actually helped private schools implement Moodle. I won’t go into all of what Moodle can do at this time. But I will say that the use of Moodle went far beyond improving education for students (which it did). It also provided a way to increase participation and communication with student and parents alike. To remove students from being able to take advantage of technology like Moodle would be a step backwards.

Section 3 also has a problem. Here is part of section 3: “No digital-learning platform may be used in any school accredited by the state unless the platform includes a portal or other mechanism allowing parents access to the platform and to all the content available to the students using the platform.” That most likely is an impossible requirement. The platform may have access to modules that are only accessible within the school’s network. In implementing Moodle (and other ed related software) in schools I was purposely asked to prevent certain modules from being accessed outside of the schools firewall. Sometimes it was due to sensitive data being available that the school did not want getting out of the firewall. Also some modules were licensed only for a local network (those were bad licensing agreements, but that is a different issue).

If sections 4 and 3 are taken away I think it would be a good bill. That would leave the following left in the bill:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to regulate the use of digital-learning platforms in schools accredited by the state.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. For the purposes of this Act, a digital-learning platform is an interactive digital platform that collects and records any personally identifiable student information, whether it is maintained by a school or by a third-party provider, and including any video-gaming platform.
Section 2. Before implementing any digital-learning platform, any school accredited by the state shall provide to any student who is eighteen years of age or older, or to the parent or guardian of any minor student, a formal written explanation of the goals and capabilities of the platform, including of any software, whether the software is loaded onto the platform or hosted externally by a third party. The formal written explanation shall include an understandable description of:
            (1)    How the platform works and the platform’s principal purpose or purposes;

            (2)    The title and business address of the school official who is responsible for theplatform, and the name and business address of any contractor or outside party maintaining the platform for or on behalf of the school;

            (3)    The information the software is designed to collect from any student or capture and record about any student, including any data matches with other personally identifiable student information;
            (4)    Every element of data that the platform or software will collect or record about any student, including personal psychological characteristics; noncognitive attributes or skills such as collaboration, resilience, and perseverance; and physiological measurements;
            (5)    The purpose of collecting and recording the data;
            (6)    Every contemplated use or disclosure of the data, the categories of recipients, and the purpose of any use or disclosure;
            (7)    A full explanation of the privacy policy maintained by the digital-learning provider; and
            (8)    The policies and practices of the school regarding storage, retrievability, access controls, retention, and disposal of the records collected and recorded by the platform.

Having said all of that I still think this bill is passable and should be supported. I just believe that sections 3 and 4 need to be removed. Section 2 is something the schools should already be doing, but probably aren’t’.

HB 1198 – SoDakLiberty PostsRequire legislative approval for certain academic assessments.

Rep Lynne DiSanto (R, Dist 35) and Sen Phil Jensen (R, Dist 33) are the prime sponsors. This is another bill in the battle against Common Core. Actually this one is against the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Here is the language being added to the end of the codified law about Academic achievement tests (§ 13-3-55)

Beginning on July 1, 2016, no assessment may be administered in any public school as provided in this section unless the Legislature enacts a bill approving the assessment.

I do believe this being in statute would have stopped the misguided and over-priced Smarter Balanced Assessment from being implemented. I don’t think House Ed will pass this bill. But it should be interesting hearing the testimony.

Senate Local Government committee has 3 bills on Weds Feb 18

February 17, 2015 1 comment
Classic firetruck in the Brookings Independence Day Parade. Photo by Ken Santema 07/04/14.

Classic firetruck in the Brookings Independence Day Parade. Photo by Ken Santema 07/04/14.

On Wednesday, February 18th, at 7:45 AM the SD Senate Local Government committee will take on 3 bills.

HB 1081 – SoDakLiberty PostsRepeal certain provisions regarding county officials and the board of county commissioners.

Rep Alex Jensen (R, Dist 12) and Sen Betty Olson (R, Dist 28) are the prime sponsors. This bill was amended in House Local government, where it passed without opposition. It only had three no votes on the house floor. This bill would allow counties to reimburse travel expenses at rates higher than the State sets. I understand this was an issue here in Brown County when gas prices kept going up. This bill also removes the requirement that county commissioners must visit county jails at least once a year.

HB 1083 – SoDakLiberty PostsRequire reimbursement to certain entities for fire suppression and extinguishment costs.

Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) and Sen Brock Greenfield  (R, Dist 2) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed House Judiciary 12-0 after being gutted and simplified. It was then slightly amended on the House floor and passed there 56-11. The current bill is actually quite short. Here is the current version:

Each fire department may bill and collect the costs of fire fighting and suppression of a fire not covered by the wildland fire suppression statutes set forth in chapter 34-35.

This will allow rural fire departments to collect for fires that were set negligently. Apparently fire departments in incorporated towns have this right already.

HB 1136 – SoDakLiberty PostsRevise certain provisions concerning the administration of unlocatable mineral, leasehold, or royalty interests.

Rep Sam Marty (R, Dist 28B) and Sen Betty Olson (R, Dist 28) are the prime sponsors. This bill passed House Local Gov and the House floor with no opposition. The bill changes giving money for administrative costs to the county where the minerals are located; current law says where the trustee is located.

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