Showing posts from January 15, 2006

And the hot tips just keep on coming...

I have it on good authority that former State Legislator Carol Pitts is looking seriously at running for the State House in District 7. And about the Editorial from this week's Grant County Review rumoring that former State Senator Larry Diedrich is interested in his old seat? I'm told that it's most likely accurate, and we'll probably see him announce.

Has anyone seen a petition being circulated for Ron Volesky for Governor? Me neither. But since I'm an "R," it's not like they'd ask me to sign it. The rumor running around the Capitol today is no one has seen one. I'm not buying it, but it's what's haunting through the halls today.

An even better rumor that was percolating yesterday was that State Auditor Rich Sattgast was going to run for Congress. It must have been a popular one, because I'd heard it twice. But, let me assure you - straight from the horse's mouth - it's not true. In fact, Rich is in the process of getti…

They've got to be pretty close to crying "Uncle"

From the Belle Fourche Post and Bee:
Enforcing city resolution may be illegal
Veto, memo, are on Tuesday's city council agenda

By Milo Dailey

A city council resolution forbidding city officials and employees to spread rumors may be unconstitutional, according to a six-page memo from the Belle Fourche city attorney's office.

The memo and a veto of the resolution were on the agenda for Tuesday night's city council meeting.

The resolution passed at the last regular council meeting but was attacked by city hall employees at last week's legal-finance committee meeting, then was vetoed by acting mayor Bes Burckhard.

After the veto was filed, Assistant City Attorney Wade Nyberg forwarded a memo Friday to city hall for council's study packets.

The city attorney's opinion on the legality of the resolution had been requested by the council.

Nyberg's opinion noted, "The United States Supreme Court has decided a number of cases dealing with the First Amendment free s…

I'm just staying out of this one.

I was having dinner with State Senator Brock Greenfield tonight while he had a free hour, and we ended up at Guadalajaras in Pierre. And yes, consider that a plug for thier excellent food.

By coincidence, Senator's Apa, Napoli and "Soon to be Senator" Klaudt were just finishing up a meal there as well. We chatted for a while, with Ted asking about how I got started on this blogging thing. It's like every time I run into a legislator they say "Oh, YOU'RE the one who writes that." I'm not sure if I should get nervous about that or not.

About the time I got my dinner, the conversation turned to my list of political personalities for 2005.

In the conversation, they brought up the fact that they were on another website's list, except it wasn't a good list. They pointed out that outdoor media personality and sportsman Tony Dean had them on an anti-sportsman list because of thier introduction of Senate Bill 86.

I did explain that Tony and his wife are …

I'll beat you like vocational education...

"Once again we're treating vocational education as the red-haired stepchild."
- Bob Faehn, Watertown (on House Bill 1026) Mitchell Daily Republic 1/19/06

(As the parent of two red haired girls, I'm not sure if I should take offense, or confirm the rumors about red heads as evidenced by nasty Irish tempers.)

When teachers plagiarize.
A legislator not giving credit where it is due.

I was reading some of the weekly legislative reports from various legislators when I came across one that just struck me as a little funny. Not funny ha ha, but funny as in strange. Strange because I had read it all somewhere before.

Senator Jim Hundstad had filed a report included in the January 18 edition of the Britton Journal (among other newspapers) with a first paragraph that didn't give me any reason to pause. But as I started reading it, it just seemed peculiar, in that I'd read it all somewhere before. And not the general ideas laid out in his article. I had read the content word for word.

This clipping above isn't quite the complete article. But it makes my point. specifically, take this passage in the article:

Well, literally a few days ago, I got an article from the Great Plains Public Policy Institute as part of thier daily update. It came into my e-mail box as follows:
Good Morning Taxpayer - The Tax and Spending (TAS) Report

The Great Plains Public Policy Instit…

Another update to the candidate list... already

Good gosh - I noticed I left one off, and in that time a couple more popped up.
Samantha Stormo Republican for the District 6 House Race
(In several papers a couple weeks back)
Jim Holbeck Republican for the District 6 House Race
(today's Clark Co. paper)
Manny Steele Republican for the District 12 House Race
Brian A. Roth Republican for the District 12 House Race
Gregory R. Allis Republican for the District 15 House Race
Kent Juhnke Republican for the NEW District 21 House Race
Ted Klaudt Republican for the District 28 Senate Race
(Unofficially announced today in his Legislative Column.)
Maurice LaRue Republican for the District 29 House Race
Rick Hanson Democrat for District 30 House Race
(Just got it in the e-mail)
Karen Ballert Independent for the District 31 Senate Race
Dennis Schmidt Republican for District 33 Senate Race
Mark Kirkeby Republican for the District 35 House Race
Lyle Hendrickson Republican for the District 35 House RaceAdd to that list speculation in today's editori…

Went fishing for new candidates,and came back with a pretty good haul.

I sent a mass e-mail out to the county auditors last night in an attempt to scout out some intelligence on who is circulating nominating petitions for the state legislative races. And I have to say, the responses I've received so far speak very highly of the openness and competency of our County Auditors.

Almost without exception, they were great. Quick response, and they told me what I needed. No wonder no one ever wants to run against them. They do their jobs well.

Only one so far - Lake County - told me "I do not wish to pass these names on." And I guess that's ok. They aren't required to record it in the first place. That, and I already know one of the R's who is running for the House there.

So, who have I managed to scout out so far?

There's a Karen Ballert who has petitions out for the District 31 Senate race as an independent. And in District 29, Maurice LaRue who was knocked out by by Thomas Brunner is going to make an attempt to get back in the saddl…

Bob on Bill
A perennial loser takes a swing at a winner who stumbled

I noticed that Robert Hockett of Pierre had a letter to the editor in the Argus Leader a few days ago.

Don't remember Bob? He's pretty obscure for even us political hacks. Sometimes labeled as a LaRouche supporter (He has been a presidential elector for him a couple of times), this is the same Robert Hockett of Pierre who ran for the legislature in 1998

Robert Hockett-D246725.07%Mike Rounds-R737474.93%And in 2000.HOUSE DISTRICT #24Jeff Monroe-R712339.48%Cooper Garnos-R774442.92%Robert Hockett-D317517.60%And he made a little run for Governor in 2002

Jim AbbottRobert HockettRon VoleskyJim HutmacherTOTALS6803746794915114818847PERCENTAGE

I'm a political hack, and I know puffery. NOW THAT'S PUFFERY

You have got to go read this.

The South Dakota Gun Owners organization recently posted an 18 year retrospective of their accomplishments. It's good that it doesn't instead go back a few billion years, or else they would have likely taken credit for the creation of the sun and the moon (about 6000 years for you creationists).

According to the article-
Gun owners are some of the finest folks in South Dakota. United, they are also one of the most powerful forces in politics today. Over the past 18 years, they have formed the backbone of SDGO's work to defend the right to arms.

The organization began in 1988 as a small group of concerned citizens in the Rapid City area. Since then, it has grown to more than 3500 gun owners state-wide who have achieved many significant victories.


During the 2004 session, SDGO's continuing work against "emergency" firearms confiscation paid off when a bill was passed which repealed the governor's power to take legal weapons.No…

Don't you wish you could make cool campaign signs like me?

Todd Epp has a comment under one of the previous posts that he really enjoys my "How to" postings. And I'm really tempted to divulge one of my favorite secrets - How I make my 4x8's signs.

Basically the only way they'd come out better would be if they were screen printed. And since I know how to do that as well, I know how elusive and difficult that process can be. Do you know how much emulsion it would take to do a 4x8 screen? Not to mention the difficulty in simply exposing and washing out the screen?

I do my own t-shirts and you can screw up a screen without even trying. Now multiply that times 10. 1 quart of emulsion down the drain at a time - at about $20 a crack. That's why I do my signs this way.

I started creating this process long ago when I was helping a young upstart State Senate candidate who had never run before, and he was taking on a Democratic House member who wanted to move up to the Senate. Little Brock Greenfield wanted to do some road signs,…

Update on Abortion Task Force Report

In PDF form, the 2005 SD Abortion Task Force Report with Exhibits are available for viewing, courtesy of the South Dakota Right to Life website.

With the post I did linking to the minority report earlier, I had linked to a copy of the majority report out there which apparently was not accurate. This one is the official final version.

So far, no good.
Do I need to liven things up?

So far I've gotten three responses out of 105 from legislators. This survey thing isn't going so hot right out of the gate.

That, and one of my close friends was nice enough to send me an e-mail groaning that my little political weblog is boring lately. Boring? Me? I haven't been accused of being boring in years. So it has me wondering if I need to spice things up a bit.

The thing is, I don't lack for stories. I've been party to as many wacky scenarios as Lucy Ricardo. The problem with telling some of these tales is that I really don't want to consult an attorney every time I write something. Or I don't want to alienate readers in the process.

I could tell the story about a former legislator who I'm quite sure was a college roommate of mine. Aside from the fact he stiffed me for $100 rent, he didn't exactly go to school that semester. Instead, he was committed. Really. Two days after registration passed, and I couldn't figure out why he hadn't…

My survey has been sent.

As I had mentioned I'd do, Ive sent out a survey to the legislators in an attempt to find out a bit more than the usual mundane things. I'm looking to find out more about attitudes, leadership, and how they relate with the party system.
For those who were wondering what I was going to hit them with - here it is:
What is the role of the legislature?

Do you feel you are free to do the best job you can for your district?

Do you think your caucus does a good job promoting a unified agenda?

Do you believe your caucus has strong leadership?

Do you think your caucus is well served, adequately handled, or somewhat ignored by your state political party organization?

Do you closely follow or ignore your party's political platform when considering legislation. Or is it somewhere in the middle?

Do you think your state party does enough for legislative candidates at election time, or do you find yourself looking for more help?

Do you believe your political experiences have adequately prepared y…

Nooooo! He's back. Tom Daschle attempts to rise from the political grave!

Just like one of those movie monsters, Tom Daschle is apparently back. And this time, he's going after bigger game. From the Argus Leader:
Former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle is weighing the possibility of running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

"I have received a lot of encouragement," Daschle said in an email today to the Argus Leader.

Daschle didn't rule out the possibility of an official announcement in the near future. But for now, he said, he has no plans to run for national office.

In his email, Daschle said the primary factors in his decision "would be my family and our mutual decision to consider the rigors of a campaign and reentry into public life."Read it all here. Oh for god's sake. Nobody's buying the "no plans to run for national office" routine. Why doesn't he just say he's running and get it over with.

Tuesday is apparently podcast day

Not one, but two new political podcasts are freshly out on the Internet right now.

The South Dakota Democratic Party has a new "South Dakota Blues Podcast" with Tim Johnson (listen here) and Denise Ross with the Rapid City Journal interviews Gil Koetzle on the Rapid City Journal's Mt. Blogmore in the latest edition of her "Talking Smack" podcast (click here).

I haven't had a chance to listen to it myself to give you the 5 second summary. I'm supposed to meet with a new legislative candidate this evening, so I'll have to give it a viewing later.

January 17 roundup follow up.
A clarification from the field
And an upcoming project

Now from the right side of the state (If you're looking down from North Dakota)

More unannounced candidates. According to the Pennington County Auditor, 3 new souls have petitions out in Rapid City. Dennis Schmidt picked up a petition as a Republican for District 33 Senate. (Does J.P. Duniphan know this?)

Also - 2 Republican petitions are out for the District 35 House race for the seat vacated by Alice McCoy who is leaving because of term limits to take on Senator Napoli. Mark Kirkeby and Lyle Hendrickson are both circulating a petition for the House. With Kirkeby's name ID, he might just be an early favorite.

Welcome to the game, guys.

Clarifications from the home office

Amanda Dodson from the South Dakota GOP staff writes in with a clarification to a couple of the comments I had made in my earlier post.
Just wanted to let you know the SDGOP has not had a legislative director/liaison for over 5 years. The state Party has however had a full time political director for the past 5 yea…

News Roundup for January 17th, 2006

Lots of bits, but not very many kibbles yet today. So, a quick roundup of what's happening around the state.

Where's the party?

From a quick check of a couple of legislators, it's been noticed that the South Dakota GOP doesn't have a Legislative Director/Liason working the legislature this year, although GOP Director Max Wetz has been observed in the hallways.

Last session, Joe Alick was the man haunting the halls of the Capitol for the GOP, while there was an interim director. Now that Max is in permanently, I'm sure he's directly handling things as far as legislative liason duties go.

Going into the election year, I suspect the State Party will be bringing more staff on in the near future. I'm told there's a Southeast Director/Party Worker position that is planned for, as well as other additional staff.

And speaking of election stuff......

I know something you don't know. (At least, I called and found out.)

Unannounced candidates are out there waiting in…

Now that's a tall order. Fourthought group announces South Dakota Department of Social Services MMIS contract

From PRWEB News Release Service:
South Dakota awarded FourThought Group (4TG) a contract to do the essential planning required to replace the Department of Social Services (DSS) 24-year-old Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) with an MMIS that is versatile enough to support the evolving business needs of the South Dakota's Medicaid program.

"To meet South Dakota's needs, we unveiled VisionStep, our latest innovation for planning, designing and managing healthcare system implementations," said 4TG Executive Consultant Robin Mathias.

VisionStep is the result of 16 years of experience as the leading authority of joint application design in the Medicaid market, two years of working with our think tank of Medicaid leaders, intense involvement with the development of Medicaid Information Technology Architecture (MITA), and the combined expertise of our consulting and project management staff.

VisionStep includes specialized tools to support every step of an MMIS repl…

What's been going on over the last 14 months in the search for a Herseth Challenger?

In one of the latest issues of the Mitchell Daily Republic (registration required and hat tip to SDP for pointing it out) Seth Tupper, who is really emerging as one of the better political reporters out there, took some time recently to probe the South Dakota GOP on who our candidate against Herseth might be:
Entries in political Web logs last year said Partridge had decided to run, and he has a political Web site that looks like a candidate's. But his aspirations apparently faded as he talked to Republican leaders in 2005.

Friday, Frederick said Partridge will probably not run this year.

At this point in time, it doesn't look like he's ready to engage in a political race, Frederick said. But from my point of view, it's just a matter of time.

Frederick confirmed that he has talked to numerous other potential candidates. They include state Rep. Matt Michels, of Yankton; Butte County State's Attorney Jim Seward; Matt Zabel, from the staff of U.S. Sen. John Thune; state P…

Should we take this as a No? Senator Garry Moore on the Governor's Proposal for USDSU

Senate Democratic Leader Garry Moore made his weekly report in today's Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan. And he spent most of the article getting out a big club to beat on part of Governor Rounds' legislative package:
The Legislature several years ago gave each of the universities a direction to follow in education, rather than to duplicate one another's course offerings and major fields of study. This was done in an effort to cut costs and still provide needed post-secondary opportunities for our students. Now an already under-funded regents system is looking to build another campus on 263 acres of land. Anyone that says this is only an outreach program is only attempting to fool themselves and the public. If it were only an outreach program, there would not be a need for more than 260 acres of land and a sketch already laying out future buildings on the new campus. The revenue, of course, is of no consequence; it is always easy to find $8.5 million for a new building on…

A double shot at the pro-choice minority on the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion

The Dakota Voice newspaper's on-line edition had not one but two articles blasting away at the pro-choice minority who got up and left the proceedings of the final South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion committee meeting.

The first was from Dr. Allen Unruh, who served on the task force:
There is much confusion regarding the South Dakota Legislative Task Force on Abortion. I would like to clarify the misinformation that has been disseminated by the media and the opposition. First, there was only ONE Task Force. Four people out of seventeen decided to appoint themselves to be the task force after they stormed out of the room when they lost the vote. They prepared their own report after the fact, and submitted it to the governor, all the South Dakota legislators, the state and local media, and the national media and probably most of all their friends and relatives on their e-mail list. Four people out of seventeen does not a task force make! There was only ONE rep…

Trying a few things. A preview of what might be coming.

I'm making an attempt to go back to a 3-column design, as well as integrating a new masthead that I hope to combine with my rotating pictures. The rotating pics have to stay. Aside from being my personal favorite, I want to integrate ads into them to help me pay for some of the things I've had to shell out some money for with the blog.

Right now, you'll notice that if you click on them, a few will send you to a homepage (for a few of the elected statewide officials).

I've also added an area at the top for immediate featured links (where people can contact me at the moment) and a link can be provided at the top of the page to help drive traffic to specific websites.

If you can't tell, I'm trying to do some new things and beef up the blog in preparation for the election to come. It's going to be a BIG election year with lots of competitive races. And I'm looking forward to covering it in depth.

I'm not sure if I should tease them on this one. It might hit too close to home..
Breaking news from the Treasurer's Office

From the state treasurer's office by way of breaking news alert from
State Treasurer Vern Larson says someone is trying to scam senior citizens by offering to help them collect unclaimed property for ten dollars when the information is free through his office.

Larson says senior citizens around the state have received a post card telling them the state has millions of dollars in unclaimed property. It offers to sell instructions and a collection form. Larson says sometimes all they get for ten dollars is the phone number to the state's unclaimed property division.Read all of this hot news story here!

Vern's a great guy, and I know he has a sense of humor, so he shouldn't be offended when I yank his chain a little by 'a little puffery' in reporting this story.

Actually the State Treasurer is an office where if you don't hear from them, it's smooth sailing. So on the rare occasion when something comes up, we have to help raise their profile. I…

A sneak peek on the Educational Alliance's plan to increase educational funding. With examples.

It may not be the golden ticket, but an anonymous reader has sent me - what I'm told is - a copy of the Educational Alliance's draft proposal that they will be presenting to the legislature to attempt to get more money for education from state government.

Just click on the image for the full image view.

(And if it still looks small, your browswer is re-sizing it to fit. Click in the lower right hand corner to expand it once it's done loading)

As you'll see below, this is some of the projections from their scheme and how they hope to attempt to boost state aid to education.

Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves.

Does he have his own key to the cell?

From the Rapid City Journal/AP:
Potter County's sheriff, Marlin "Rich" Miner, has been accused of embezzlement. On Thursday, a grand jury indicted Miner, 31, on one count of embezzling property received in trust, a felony with a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Read it all here.

Just a few notes on upcoming events

From the South Dakota Republican Party website...
February 17
Aurora County Lincoln Day Dinner
Featured Speaker: Secretary of State Chris Nelson

February 18
State Central Committee Meeting
Details coming soon

February 20
Charles Mix County Lincoln Day Dinner
Featured speaker: Gov. Mike Rounds
6:30 p.m. - Doors open
7 p.m. - Dinner
Platte Community Center
For tickets, contact Jr. or Cherry Van Dusseldorp at 605-337-3052 or e-mail to

February 23
District 24 Lincoln Day Dinner
Featured Speaker: Governor Mike Rounds
5:30pm - Social
6:30pm - Dinner

March 24
Deuel County Lincoln Day Dinner
Details coming soon

March 24-25 TAR Days
Mock Legislative Session
State Capitol, Pierre
For more information contact
Dusty Johnson at 605-280-5511 or e-mail to
www.sdtars.comJune 22-23
South Dakota Republican Party State Convention
Watertown Ramkota Hotel

July 23-28
TAR Camp Teen Leadership Camp
Camp Rimrock near Rapid City
For more information contact Dusty Johnson at 605-280…

A sneak peek on the Educational Alliance's plan to increase educational funding

Just a quick note on the Educational Alliance's plan to increase educational funding - I don't have a lot of details just yet - but I'm told it involves dipping into the educational enhancement trust fund principal and increasing in sales tax.

More as it comes..

Rewriting history. Crazy or Crazy Horse

Caught this item from Web Commentary:
South Dakotans and people around the world are calling on the South Dakota government to rename Custer State Park to Chief Crazy Horse State Park. United Native America founder Mike Graham and wife, Sharon, will be at the state capital this January 17th & 18th meeting with state representatives about the park's name change and other issues of concern to the state's Indian community.

State Senator Stanford M. Adelstein defiantly denied Graham a meeting with him concerning changing the name of Custer park. He did offer his time to hear Graham's concerns about Indian health and education issues. Senator Theresa B. Two Bulls and Representative Thomas J. Van Norman are aware of the Custer park name issue and agreed to meet with Graham on all issues. On Wednesday, January 18th, 2005, Graham will meet with Roger Campbell, Director of the South Dakota Office of Tribal Government Relations:
Read it all here as autho…

Majority and Minority Reports
And Contraception

We've been hearing so much about the Final Report of the Task Force to Study Abortion and the group of people who left the meeting, I thought I'd hunt down the reports that they are presenting to the legislature. Just in case you were wondering, click here for the minority report from those who bailed on the committee, and click here for a copy of the official report. (At least I think this is the report. There's not a lot of references to it on the net at the moment).

What brings this on? There's an AP article in the Rapid City Journal about how those who bailed out on the committee were complaining that there were amendments to the document after they walked out.

I don't think we've heard the end of all this by a long shot.

Speaking of solving problem pregnancies, there was an another article on the topic in the Rapid City Journal this AM:
The snickers and jokes are getting a little old for Mike Forrette.

Forrette, a member of Rapid City’s deer task force, is a st…

A preview of Bill Napoli's Amendment D Pitch to the Stockgrowers

From my e-mail in-box:
This is the article I (Senator Bill Napoli) sent into the Stock Growers Association Magazine.


As the start of a new year begins, so begins the debate on Amendment D, the Constitution Amendment you will vote on November 7th, 2006. This ballot measure will change how property is assessed.

As you all know, property at the current time is assessed at market value. Which means, when a sale occurs in your area, the county assessor can raise your property values to match the new buyer's purchase.

However, there are different avenues an assessor can use to assess property besides just the market value. An assessor can use sales price, income, cash rents, soil surveys, etc. But, they all have one basic underlying requirement. Assessments are based on someone else's pocket book, or cash flow. The goal is of course to reflect the market price of property, then assess that property at 85% of full and true value as determined …