Rounds sounds off on new "airplane law" at Rapid City Journal

I almost missed this - today at the Rapid City Journal, Governor Rounds sounded off on the new "Airplane law." You know - the one that attached civil penalties to state employees on business trips that stop off at Wal Mart to buy a book to pass their evenings, or get a toothbrush because they forgot it at home.
This law goes far beyond restricting the use of a state airplane by a governor because it adds significant new penalties, and those penalties also apply to all state vehicles and all state employees, not just the state airplane and the governor.

and...

Unfortunately, the biggest impact is not on me. It will be on any state employee who uses any kind of state vehicle.

If a state employee does something of a personal nature on a trip, even if it is unintentional, they are in violation of the new law. If they stop at a drug store for aspirin, that is a violation. If they missed lunch and stop at a grocery store for a late snack, that is a violation.

This law is flawed. In many cases, the effect of this law will result in the state paying mileage for the use of a personal vehicle, in addition to the use of a state vehicle. If several employees are attending a meeting or conference, one will drive their own car to avoid any appearance of impropriety and accusations of improper use of a state vehicle. Unfortunately, the taxpayer will be expected to pick up the cost for the additional mileage payment.
Read it all here. Also, catch the chatter over at Mt. Blogmore on this very topic.

Comments

nonnie said…
Well, thank the Argus for this mess! Hope they don't break their arm patting themselves on the back.

The Argus doesn't like Rounds and doesn't pass up any opportunity to smear him, and this is the net result of their attack on his use of the state airplane.
Anonymous said…
Someone really should look at the old law. My recollection is that state employees could not make any diversions previously- the only difference is the penalties attached. It just was never an enforced law.
Anonymous said…
Unfortunately, Rounds is deliberately misleading people about the new law, as he pouts about his own new limitations.

The new law contains no new limitations of any kind on state employees, except for the governor, who was previously exempted. The only thing added for state employees other than the governor is the civil penalty - the criminal penalty was already there.

It was already illegal under the previous law for state employees to make diversions, but Rounds is deceptively trying to pass that off as something new that was added. The fact is that nobody has been prosecuted under the old law.

All that the new law does is make the governor subject to the same limits as other state employees, and added a civil penalty so a prosecutor has the option not to charge a crime if there is a violation.

If the governor were really concerned about state employees he would have repealed the preexisting prohibition for them to make diversions. It didn't bother him until he lost his special exemption.
Anonymous said…
What a crybaby little Marion is.

Great post, 8:39.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the insight 9:26.
Anonymous said…
It is true that the restrictions on state employees have not changed. The difference now is that the addition of strict new civil penalties makes it more likely that rules will be enforced on state employees in a way that is silly.

The real point here is that the Argus Leader and other proponents of this law presented it as applying to the Governor on state aircraft. It is sloppy drafting that results in these strict penalties being extended to all state employees - I heard not one word about that prior to the election and I'll bet most people who voted "yes" didn't know that.

The Governor is willing to leave the restrictions on himself - he just thinks they should not be applied to state employees - because that is what people thought they were voting for.
Anonymous said…
1:20, then why is the governor out there misleading people by saying there are new restrictions on state employees under the new law? He's being dishonest.

Actually, civil penalties as the new law allows are less harsh than charging state employees with a crime. The new law actually allows the prosecutor more leeway in fashioning an appropriate remedy than under the old law. It's just better all the way around. And it applies equally to everybody. That's the governor's real gripe.
Anonymous said…
Even with the new law, the governor still gets special treatment. He can still use his free Chevy Avalance or GMC truck, or whatever the car dealers are loaning him, for any purpose he wants. They're not state vehicles.

Most likely, the Governor will arrange for himself to receive free use of other people's planes to continue his high-flying ways. He's very resourceful when it comes to helping himself and his family (new governor's mansion, distillery, jobs, vietnam memorial product sales).
Anonymous said…
I certainly hope the governor finds a way to continue to use airplanes. The simple fact is that, under the old practice, he was saving time for himself and money for the state. It would be stupid to require him to spend extra time driving or flying - like any governor, he does not have enough hours in the day as it is.
Anonymous said…
Why did the Gov wait until now to complain?
Anonymous said…
#1, there is now a civil penalty for other state employees who use a vehicle personally. i'm sorry, but i'd much rather have a misdemeanor than a $1000 fine. also, personal use was determined by the supervisor. with added penalties, it is easier for a disgruntled person to push for a prosecution.

#2, this entire law is retarded from the get-go. beforehand, the gov would fly to official events, do something personal, and reimburse FOR THE WHOLE TRIP. is it not obvious that reimbursing the state for official use actually saves the state money. there are only two reasons this ever came about:

1. randell beck is a little girl
2. nesiba found out that rounds flew to debate him for the food tax repeal in the state plane.

whoop-di-frickin-doo. oh another thing. nesiba has been telling his students at augie that he came here "to fix south dakota". he's also anti-gun. go figure. liberals.

here's your hero.
http://homepage.mac.com/nesiba/Early_January_2003/PhotoAlbum13.html
Nicholas Nemec said…
This isn't a mess and the only reason it could become one is if Gov. Rounds insists on arresting State employees who stop for minor errands while enroute to their meeting or job site.

Rounds is throwing a big hissy fit because he got his hand caught in the cookie jar. Now like a typical 6 year old he is trying to divert attention by pointing at someone else and screaming that they are doing something bad too.
Anonymous said…
Anon 10:57,
Your use of the word retarded is offensive. It shows your ignorance.
Anonymous said…
The business Rounds conducts on his personal trips is secondary. His priority is to be in the ESD town for a game, then he throws in some BS appearance near that time to try and make it legit. Remember his personal business in Watertown? An appearance at a tailgate prior to the game. Flying from Vermillion to Yankton? Give me a break. Clearly an abuse of power on his part and the voters want to ground him. He waste far too much time and money acting as his own pilot when he should be working in the back of a suburban.
Anonymous said…
Still waiting for someone, anyone, to claim that Rounds is being honest about how he portrays this new bill. It's pretty clear he's lying when he says there's new restrictions on state employees other than himself. Not one person has posted a comment on this thread saying Rounds is telling the truth. So what do we do when the governor gets caught lying? Do we impeach him like Clinton?

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