Showing posts from January 28, 2007

Gordo's ok, and I got kind of a compliment....

Yes, it was Representative Gordon Pederson who took a good tumble down most of the cast iron stairs from the 4th to third floors on the House side behind the speaker's lobby in the House. At the time I wrote, I didn't know his condition. So in case it was serious as I feared, I really didn't want to say anything before they could contact his wife, Betty.

In fact, I did hear from a legislator about their disgust about the Argus' initial report which named him, and left things open ended. The legislator used a term for the Argus blabbing everything before anyone knew if his wife was contacted- what was it - "something?"-holes... I forget what the first part was. And I notice that report was taken down shortly thereafter.

While I was out today, Rick Hauffe - the new man in charge over at the SDDP, was nice enough to note that Gordon seemed responsive and his usual self immediately after the fall. Thanks Rick, and I'd also offer kudos to Representative Betty O…

Hoping for the best.

My wife was up at the Capitol for a hearing today, and as she was milling around afterwards, an ambulance was called for a legislator that I've known ever since I've been involved in politics.

I'm trying to find out more what's going on, and I'll provide details as soon as I have them confirmed. I think it's best to make sure family is informed first, but I can tell you I'm intensely concerned about him, and I'll keep you apprised if I can.

Just a small oops...

From the Rapid City Journal:
Every Fourth of July fireworks display in Rapid City for the past 15 years has been illegal - including backyard pyrotechnics - but a glitch in state law, undiscovered until now, could be fixed by next summer. "It's kind of embarrassing," state Agriculture Secretary Larry Gabriel said Thursday.

Gabriel raised the issue at a hearing in Pierre before the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.


But Gabriel added that if the Legislature were going to change the law establishing the Black Hills Fire Protection District, would they please add a correction to the current law.

Incorporated towns and cities, like Rapid City, are supposed to be exempt from the fire-district rules, but the 1992 law exempts only "third class municipalities" - or very small towns.

Technically, first- and second-class municipalities are not exempt from the fire-district rules, including the fireworks ban.

"That was never the intention of t…

Instead of calling me a blogger, call me "a person with a blog"

I can't tell you all how glad I am that the legislature voted to extend the period to introduce bills.

Why, with out it, we'd have probably missed out on this wonderful measure:
SB 208 - An Act to provide for the regulation of tanning devices.My God! The masses are crying out for the regulation of tanning devices.

Howls of "Ow, I stayed under the lamp too long" fill the streets with a cacophony of agonized and sunburnt pleas for justice.

Between "hand on weiner," banning smoking in video lottery parlors to protect children, and now this, I'm starting to wonder why we're holding session this year.

And then there's the latest bit of legislation to be introduced causing me to scratch my head - Although my wife might disagree, I'm referring to the terminology of the overly politically correct codified into law in the form of HB 1312.

Apparently, now we're codifying that:
"Terminology that references persons with disabilities should not imply …

Quotes of the week

"This Republican Governor is doing all he can to control the growth in Government bureaucracy..."
- Mark Roby, Watertown Public Opinion (Message from publisher 1/31, WPO)
(A compliment for a Republican from the press. It was worth documenting.)

"The message from the Senate is - Send us your children, and we'll only molest them enough to get censured. What a terrible message for us to send to the people of South Dakota. It's awful."
- Senator Bill Napoli, Rapid City Journal 2/1
(Bill Napoli strikes in the press again. For the record, Bill was a yes on expulsion and a "protest" no on censure.)

"Censure means nothing. It's just a slap on the wrist - That's it"
- Senator Gene Abdallah, Brandon Valley Challenger 1/31
(Just for the record, Senator Abdallah was a no vote on expulsion, and a yes on censure.)

"Please don't ask us anything about it because we honestly don't know anything, which is just the way we'd l…

Strike three?

Yesterday, the Aberdeen American News reported on the story of Brown County Republicans having to take a second vote for their new GOP chair (a story you read here first):
Brown County Republicans are meeting for a second time to elect county party officials.An election was earlier this month, but state party officials have requested another election. Dana Randall, chairman of the Brown County Republicans, said state party bylaws require that five days' notice be given before a vote. That didn't happen earlier this month.and..Max Wetz, executive director of the South Dakota Republican Party, also said that some people voted in the first election who shouldn't have. He said all of the people who attended were allowed to vote. State party bylaws indicate that should not have happened. Precinct men and precinct women, county party officials, Republican legislators from the county and elected county officials (such as sheriff, auditor, etc.) are the only people who should be al…

Today we set the bar a little lower.

From today's journals.

Sen. Heidepriem moved that the report of the Senate Select Committee Relative to Discipline and Expulsion as found on page 290 of the Senate Journal be adopted.

Sen. Knudson moved as a substitute motion that the substitute report of the Senate Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion, as printed below, be adopted.



Your Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion respectfully reports that it has completed its investigation of the conduct of Senator Dan Sutton; and, after due deliberation, recommends that the Senate do now endorse the finding of the Select Committee that Senator Dan Sutton should, and by the approval of a two-thirds vote of the Senate shall be, expelled for conduct by a senator highly unbecoming the Senate. Specifically, the Select Committee finds, and requests the Senate to concur in its finding, that …

Separated at birth?

From today's print edition of "The Hill"

It's time... to protect the children hanging out in bars and playing video lottery?

According to the Argus and other sources this AM, Jennifer Stalley of the South Dakota Tobacco-Free Kids network issued the following statement in reference to Senate Bill 196, an act which revised where smoking is prohibited. The act eliminates smoking in bars, restaurants with a liquor license, and video lottery establishments:
"We need to create a healthier, cleaner, safer environment for all of our children, our visitors, our workers and ourselves... It's time."Read that here.

Since she's talking about "a healthier, cleaner, safer environment for all of our children" and since she represents the Tobacco-Free Kids network, my thought is this - If there are kids hanging out in bars and video lottery establishments, they have much bigger problems than having a a smoke free environment to drink and gamble in. (hint: it involves law enforcement and/or social services).

For god's sake, let adults be adults. If they choose to drink, gamble and smoke, and to p…

Where's Wald... Jerstad. Where's Jerstad?

Senate State Affairs had a few awkward pauses this morning as Senator Sandy Jerstad was nowhere to be found as they were hearing her first bill ever - Senate Bill 161, a bill to repeal the Death Penalty.

Listen to the testimony here (or lack thereof):

My favorite quote comes from Senator Bob Gray:
"We still haven't found Senator Jerstad, correct? The Chair will defer Senate Bill 161... until another day."
Catch all the details on the bill here.

Do you think she missed it because she didn't want to watch the slaughter of her death penalty bill?

Hey - why aren't my guys doing this? Senate Democrats have a blog.

I think I've been remiss in mentioning that the South Dakota Senate Democrats have a website/blog strictly devoted to their agenda and legislation. You can find it at, and it comes complete with an RSS feed.

Which leads me to a question - Why aren't my guys doing this? I mean, I'm looking at it, and it seems to simply be a blog style template. A piece of cake.

(Call me Republicans, I can help you with this).

Regardless of whether I agree or disagree with the agenda (and I'd lean towards the latter), just for the sake of being complete I'm adding the RSS feed to the collection on the right.

SDP reporting that Gannet (the Argus Leader's parent co) wants to buy some tv stations?

SDP has an interesting article on print media companies trying to buy TV stations. Who knows, it might even include one in this state:
Regarding the issue of media monopoly and the Argus Leader, I read this USA Today story with great interest. Gannett Corporation, the owner of the Argus Leader, is lobbying to change federal rules so it can buy TV stations:When members of the Federal Communications Commission look at TV stations these days, they aren't just kicking back to watch American Idol or Heroes.Regulators are about to reassess their rules on who can own stations and how many — a review they are legally bound to do every four years. And to rule on the most controversial proposals, they must determine how much damage — if any — the Internet and other new media are inflicting on local stations, which collectively had an estimated $26 billion in ad sales last year. If officials conclude that competition from the digital world threatens local TV, they might decide it'…

30,000 !!!

YEAH! Another milestone. I just hit 30,000 visitors this month - about 5x what it was a year ago. And along with that you can count about 70,000 hits for those 30k visitors.


EXCLUSIVE: The Politics of Abortion - 2007. An hour with 4 proponents of the measure


I just got out of a marathon chat session with Representative Al Novstrup, Representative Dave Novstrup, Representative Keri Weems, and Representative Gordon Howie. The past hour and a half was strictly devoted to the topic of the upcoming abortion measure which should have a number assigned to it tomorrow.

Or, you can read it here right now. (and please note that I'm probably the first in the blogosphere to have it) (.pdf warning.)

Yes, I'm one of the fortunate few who has managed to get an early copy, which I'm pleased to share, and this should be the final form.

This group of legislators had cordially invited me up to the Capitol earlier this evening so they might have an opportunity to tell their story on why they believe the time is right for making another run at a ban on abortion. So what did they have to say?

I asked them if they thought they had the votes in the House to pass the bill. Representative (Al) Novstrup noted that they had an expectation of success, an…

Don't forget..... Please support the SDWC, and advertising is available

Just this past week, I passed my 2000th post, and we're getting ready for the 2 year anniversary of the South Dakota War College, and I hope to continue to be strong for some time to come!

Want to be a part of it? There is prime advertising space available at the SDWC both at the top of the page in the rotating banner, and at the sides. I'm on track this month to break my record of 27,000 visitors (just shy of 70,000 hits) and in anticipation, I'm watching as I inch towards a huge 30,000 visitors this month.

That's my best ever, and it's coming AFTER the election, a time when most politically based weblogs drop off.

Use the SDWC as a way to drive traffic to your own website from your advertising banner on this page. Please feel free to contact me for details.

And for those of you who aren't interested in an ad, but would like to support the website, the ever faithful pay pal beg button is at the top of the right column. Just click on it, and follow the directions…

Is the ban back in 2007?

Everyone is reporting this AM on the abortion measure being proposed. Just as a quick one off, here's what was said in the Argus:
"The facts remain that abortion harms women and kills 800 innocent babies per year in South Dakota in my district," said Rep. Keri Weems, R-Sioux Falls, who is a sponsor of the bill.

Kate Looby, state director of Planned Parenthood, said the organization's officials were disappointed that lawmakers are bringing back abortion legislation after last year's ban was overturned.

"The people of this state told the government that they shouldn't be involved in these intensely personal and very difficult private family issues," Looby said.Supporters of the ban disagreed and said the new measure would have broad appeal.

"It's very well-drafted," said Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon, who was the main House sponsor of the 2006 abortion ban.Last year's abortion debate was contentious, and some think this session is too soon …

That's what the people get for imposing a tax, I guess.

Senate Joint Resolution 15 has just been introduced by several legislators - I suspect in response to this last years' tobacco tax - to force the citizenry to mave to meet a 2/3rds threshold of support to pass a new tax, just like the legislature is required to.
A JOINT RESOLUTION, Proposing and submitting to the electors at the next general election amendments to Article XI of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, relating to the vote required to impose or increase taxes.
Section 1. That at the next general election held in the state, the following amendment to Article XI, section 14 of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, as set forth in section 2 of this Joint Resolution, which is hereby agreed to, shall be submitted to the electors of the state for approval.
Section 2. That Article XI, section 14 of the Constitution of the …

I don't think Dennis Wiese was going for subtlety on this one

The KELO Land website post tonight was entitled "Dennis Wiese Says Sutton Lied," so I didn't expect him to mince any words regarding the hearings this week. But in reading the article, the father of the boy making the allegations against Senator Sutton, Dennis Wiese, seems conciliatory:
He doesn't call it a regret. But Dennis Wiese says if he could go back, he might take a different approach in dealing with Sutton after learning Sutton might have groped his son.

"I've pursued a strategy of forgiveness early on. And maybe it was the wrong thing to do. It certainly was when I watched (lawyers Patrick) Duffy, (Mike) Butler, and Sutton use that and a number of other things to twist the truth, to benefit their client," Wiese says.

Wiese reported the incident to Attorney General Larry Long two nights after the alleged groping, but still appeared cordial with him in public.


"I asked for his vote, I'll admit to that. I don't think there's a s…

KELO files the hardest hitting news story of the year

From KELO:
Unhealthy Handbags

Most women carry them everywhere they go and they can't live without what's inside. But what about what's on the outside? Could your favorite purse be harboring bacteria?

In tonight's Eye on KELOLAND, Angela Kennecke may make you think twice about where you put your purse.

Women have long carried a love affair with the purse. And that handbag goes everywhere, from the store, to the counter, to the car floor, even the restroom floor.Read it all here. And take care where you put that dirty purse. Because Angela Kennecke might be watching for this emerging scourge threatening public health.

Can a healthy purse campaign be far behind....?

Censure holds the penalty of public embarassment. And that's it.

The Select committee on discipline is meeting again today to finalize it's reports on what they should do about Senator Sutton's transgressions - both alleged and agreed upon. And the Argus is reporting on what forms those punishments could take:
The committee is scheduled to meet today after the Senate finishes business to discuss and adopt the majority report, which was to be written over the weekend.

Committee chairman Sen. Dave Knudson, R-Sioux Falls, said Friday that he would write the committee's minority report recommending the Senate expel Sutton.


Under the censure, Sutton still could vote, introduce legislation and serve on committees, but censuring him would serve as a form of public embarrassment.Read it here. They're kidding, right? As if the formality of censure could be any worse formalized embarrassment than the several days of hearings?

KSFY: Advance copy of abortion measure in hand

KSFY is announcing that they have an advance copy of the abortion measure in hand and are giving details on what it contains:
The new bill says if a woman's life is in danger, or she is a victim of rape or incest, an abortion can be performed upon certain conditions. Specifically, the bill says if a doctor determines the pregnancy has put a woman's life in danger and another doctor agrees with the assessment, an abortion can be performed. In a case of rape or incest, the crime must be reported within 50 days of the event. An abortion could then be performed no later than 17 weeks into the pregnancy in both cases.and...

A source tells KSFY there are 25 sponsors of the bill, but there is no prime sponsor, it's a group effort.You can read that all here, but that last line is complete BS. SOMEONE is going to have to put their name on the line as the prime sponsor of the measure.

Despite Gordon Howie being the likely person whose name is going to be on the line, I'm told that …

Panel votes for censure 6-3. Wednesday looks to be the day.

I kind of slacked off yesterday because I had a daughter with a birthday, and it was more important to spend time with the kids than to debate whether or not censure is sufficient for the offense of a State Senator sharing a bed with a young male employee.

But now that I'm back, here are the statements that the Argus had from Senators involved in the procedure:
Sens. Dave Knudson, R-Sioux Falls, Bob Gray, R-Fort Pierre, and Kenneth McNenny, R-Sturgis, voted against the motion to censure Sutton. The three said they were convinced by the evidence that Sutton's actions with the page merited expulsion.

"I cannot personally find censure an adequate remedy," said Knudson, chairman of the committee.


"I am willing to say that ought not to have been done," said Sen. Nancy Turbak, D-Watertown. "So I would agree that Sen. Sutton should be censured for inappropriate conduct, or the appearance of impropriety."Turbak argued that expulsion should only occur i…

More abortion legislation. Is it better to chip away?

At the same time a group of legislators are opposing Gordon Howie's effort to outlaw abortion except for rape, incest, and the health of the mother (an exception I'm told you could drive a truck through), several of the same people opposing it are proposing an abortion measure of their own.

Jay Duenwald and Brock Greenfield are among the sponsors of a measure designed to provide notice to those receiving services in abortion clinics that they can't be coerced into having one, and that if they feel that they were, they can seek a civil remedy:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to require the posting of certain legal notices in abortion facilities and to provide for enforcement through civil suit and the imposition of liquidated damages.

Section 1. That chapter 34-23A be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

Any facility in which abortions are performed that is a private office or freestan…

Vern Larson and Rich Sattgast - Watch out! Frank Kloucek is out to get you.

I see that Senator Frank Kloucek has introduced a measure, SJR 14, To propose a constitutional amendment to combine the offices of state treasurer and state auditor into the single office of state comptroller.

Considering a couple of things, this one is doomed to go down in flames.

First off, look at the sponsors - Senators Kloucek, Jerstad, Katus, Koetzle, and Maher and Representatives Lucas, Miles, and Sigdestad. The Kloucek name on the bill might be reason enough to kill it, but the exclusively Democratic makeup of the measure spells even greater doom.

And the second? If history tells us anything, South Dakota voters don't want to rock the boat in the type and number of constitutional offices that we have. Back during the Janklow days - a Republican backed effort from the popular Governor tried to combine the offices of Treasurer and the Commissioner of School and Lands. And guess what - the voters rejected that one too.

Look at the recent constitutional measures. Most all propo…

Hey, didn't we just change that a couple of years ago?

As of the changes back and forth in this law weren't confusing enough in 2004 when several GOP activists got stung on the confusing requirements, Democratic legislators are attempting to change the law once again to drop the law that absentee ballot applications need to be notarized.

HB 1224, An Act to eliminate the requirement that an application or request for an absentee ballot be notarized has been introduced by several Democrats.

I anxiously await their testimony that the requirement for notarization has been confusing and burdensome ever since the law changed, because just the introduction of the act seems to be exoneration for those - Republican and Democrat - who have gotten stung by the changes on an election to election basis.