Showing posts from November 12, 2006

Step aside Pennington, there's a new liquor tax advocate in town

The Argus Leader is reporting today that after an early term abortive attempt by Pennington Coutny at putting a liquor tax on the ballot, the Minnehaha County Commission is giving up on Delores Coffing getting it done.

After a successful attempt at keeping the cell phone tax this election, they're going to bring it to the legislature in the hopes of getting even more revenue for County Government:
It is past time, some Minnehaha County commissioners think, for county government to benefit from a liquor tax.
That might be something the county board asks lawmakers from Minnehaha County to bring before the state Legislature when it goes into session next year.

The county board is considering several priorities for the 2007 Legislative Session, but they all focus on one concept: money. Besides the liquor tax, their concerns include: Changing the statutes that govern sheriff's fees, which administrative assistant Ken McFarland says "are no longer remotely reflective of what it cos…

Beat the Argus by several hours on this one... (I wonder where they heard?)

The Argus was reporting at 5:25 what I had for you at noon - Randy's not coming back:
Frederick, a Hayti farmer, said today his term ends in February. He won’t seek another term, and it will be up to the state party central committee to choose a new chair at that time, he said.

“When I ran for the position four years ago, I promised (Republican Gov.) Mike Rounds four years,’’ Frederick said. “I can’t promise him another four years as state party chair and it doesn’t make any sense to promise him two, to sign on for another two. And the next two years, coming up to ’08, I can probably be of more service to him outside the chairmanship rather than inside.’’

Rounds, who easily won re-election last week, has been mentioned as a possible opponent to Democrat Sen. Tim Johnson, whose term ends in 2008. Rounds has downplayed that talk, but Frederick said he intends to be available to the governor “for any purpose that he might need me for in ’08.’’Read it all here.

Breaking News: Frederick not in SDGOP Chair Race

I've had it confirmed from at least two independent sources that State GOP Chair Randy Frederick is calling and telling people that he does not intend to seek the South Dakota GOP Chairmanship when it's up again this next February.

This opens up a huge void, as it comes as an unexpected move, and there's no one out there currently looking at it.

So let the chairman race begin.

The Democrats really don't know how much they don't want this session in January

The Rapid City Journal is reporting today that the Special Session has officially been canceled:
Gov. Mike Rounds did the expected on Wednesday, canceling a special session of the South Dakota Senate that he had previously called to investigate allegations of improper sexual contact by Sen. Dan Sutton of Flandreau.

But the newly elected Senate could still investigate the allegations during the 2007 legislative session that opens in January. And regardless of whether senators decide the Sutton issue, the newly-elected Democratic leader in the Senate said Wednesday that he will press for a code of ethics for that body.

“My main concern right now is that I don’t know that the Senate has in place a real code of ethics,” Sen.-elect Scott Heidepriem of Sioux Falls said. “And I think it’s very important to address that, regardless of what happens with any other individual matter.”Read it all here.

And I can't tell you how much that the Democrats commenting in this matter have no idea how muc…

Professor Aguiar strikes again.

Remember Back in April when I was heaping righteous indignation on SDSU Professor Gary Aguiar for using his students as his personal campaign slaves? If you don't recall the tale, I posted on how he had a class where they came up with campaign plans, and he used the ideas the students came up with to form the basis for his own campaign:
According to the Brookings Register, Professor Aguiar brought his mayoral nominating petitions into class for his students to sign. And it gets worse. From the Brookings Register:
Last fall as part of his class, he assigned class members to come up with a local candidate's campaign plan. During a forum for mayoral candidates held at the University Student Union, he freely admitted that he had students designing plans and "the campaign should focus on electing a particular, actual candidate to an actual publicly elective office. The candidate must possess a viable chance of being elected."

Aguiar has not used any one campaign plan in his …

Campaign Finance Reform - What form should it take?

Bill Fleming who is usually commenting over at Mt. Blogmore asked me about tightening campaign finance law under my most recent attempt at following campaign money trails. After I typed my response, I'm thinking it's a good top level discussion.

What form should campaign finance reform take this next session?

Secretary of State Chris Nelson weighed in recently at the Argus Leader. Here's what he thought would be good:
"Over the years, a number of legislators and others have tried to change our campaign finance laws, but none of that has gone anywhere," Nelson said. "I had the feeling by early summer that there was enough concern across the state that the time was right to look at the issue."

He said he hasn't finished the details of the bill. It generally will deal with:
Greater clarity in who and what groups must file financial reports.
Whether contribution limits for individuals or groups should be set or changed. Currently, contributions to candidate…

A new twist on the campaign finance shuffle. This one is clever, but I think I've ferreted it out.

Dang, this one is clever… Here’s a twist in campaign finance that I haven’t run across before.

Focus South Dakota, a Democratic oriented political organization has been active for a few election cycles now.

Not familiar with them? In 2002, they sent out postcards, and conducted polling, printing the results as they saw fit in huge full color full page ads. In 2004 they ran ads for Daschle, and against Thune. At one point Daschle publicized a letter to them asking them to stop the negative ads in his race.

This year? They’ve once again been in the thick of the Democratic Campaign apparatus.

Getting back to the twist in campaign finance I mentioned, it looks like Focus South Dakota did something I hadn’t contemplated as possible, given the taboo (and legality) of corporate money in legislative races. But through dividing their organization into two separate entities, they managed to leverage the use of corporate donations for a huge benefit to three state legislative candidates.

And it looks…

Should we take him at his word?

Ever since reading a recent post over at SD Straight Talk, I've been pondering a post of my own regarding the lecture that USD Professor Bill Richardson gave on the election results.

According to the site's author, former state GOP chair Joel Rosenthal, a good part of the lecture was on what happened in South Dakota this past election and how it affected the political scene.

Now, I've been kicking around the South Dakota Political arena in one capacity or another since 1988. And as far as I'm aware, I've never noted Professor Richardson, chair of the USD Poly Sci Department, to have ever been involved in South Dakota politics.

I mean, Dr. Clem, Dr. Farber, and several others of that department in the past had been involved in state and local politics, and I certainly wouldn't question what younger people might term their "street cred." But being lectured on South Dakota politics by Dr. Richardson? Isn't that like receiving a lecture on sexual educat…

Can what was done be undone?

Apparently there's a little bit of a debate as to whether or not a special session can be "uncalled." At least according to the Rapid City Journal this morning:
“Yes, it’s not going to happen,” Schoenbeck said Tuesday when asked about the special session. “It doesn’t change the fact that we’ll still be looking at the page program to make sure we protect future pages. It doesn’t change the fact that the 2007 session has to decide what they’re going to do about Dan Sutton.”

But Rounds spokesman Mark Johnston said Tuesday evening that Rounds hadn’t yet agreed to cancel the session and wasn’t certain that he could.

“There’s no provision in the constitution that allows us to undo a special session,” Johnston said.

The governor wants to be sure he has the authority before he acts, Johnston said. He also must wait for the official letter of request from Senate leaders, which is expected today, Johnston said.

Contacted later Tuesday evening, Schoenbeck said he still expects the gove…

CCK - 3 candidates for SDDP chair. And Judy isn't among them.

Chad over at CCK notes that he's aware of three candidates for SDDP Chair. And I don't note that Judy Olson-Duhamel is among them:
I know of three announced candidates:Glenn Rice
Deb Knecht
Bill WalshRead it all here.

Is this true? I'm kind of surprised that she's leaving at a time when the Dems have finally made a few gains. Because previously she's presided over loss after loss.

I'd think she'd be pumping her arm telling her fellow dems "Yeah - that's how we do it."

Instead, it seems that she could be quietly going into the sunset.


I had a call where an elected official was chewing on my backside.

Did I write and ridicule his personal foibles? No. Did I expose the receipt of campaign funds from a questionable source? No. Did I sharpen my keyboard and just let fly with a harsh dose of personal indignation? Again, no.

What was the transgression that supposedly earned me this officeholder's wrath?

As I understand it, it wasn't any of those. Apparently, I authored something recently where this person was mentioned among a laundry list of others, and in writing something which I thought was complimentary, the crime I’m apparently guilty of was failing to show him sufficient respect equal to those he considers his peers.

What? Was he kidding?

It reminds me of a story when I was working in the State Republican office these many years ago. It was summer, and the party's Executive Director who has since gone on to much bigger and better things was speaking casually to a legislator of some rank over the telephone. …

A strategic move by Sutton. Good for him, bad for Dems.

Embattled and accused State Senator Dan Sutton has resigned. Except it's just for this current legislative term, according to KELO news:
In a letter dated today, Democratic state Senator Dan Sutton of Flandreau
says he is resigning from his current term, but not from the new term that
starts in January.

Sutton was re-elected with 57 percent of the vote last week, and his
lawyers say the issue should be handled by the next Senate and not by the
current lame-duck Senate.Read it all here.

Well, if I were him, I'd rather be judged by a 20-15 split Senate than a 25-10 split. But will his new caucus mates? No way. This puts his fellow Democrats in a tough position.

Right now, the flame on the oven isn't turned up. But come this next session, it will be.

If the evidence and testimony are damning enough along with explicit and descriptive testimony on the alleged groping, his pals in the Democratic Caucus may be very, very quick to abandon him. As opposed to this happening at the end of S…

What if the vote for expulsion is 23?

This is interesting information coming out on the rules being proposed for the special session. It will take a supermajority for expulsion, but just a simple majority for exoneration. Check this out from today's Argus Leader:
It will take a two-thirds vote if South Dakota senators decide a Flandreau Democrat should be expelled for inappropriate behavior, under rules released Monday.

The rules, proposed for the special session scheduled Nov. 27 to investigate allegations against state Sen. Dan Sutton, say it would take 60 percent support of senators to discipline or censure the lawmaker and a simple majority to exonerate him.

and...The rules also state that if a written resignation by the senator being investigated is received before the investigation has ended, the head of the committee may terminate the meetings.As chairman of the Legislative Research Council Executive Board, Olson is the official responsible for signing any subpoenas the committee might issue. He said he has never …

Leslee Unruh for Congress?

Theron McChesney over at SD Progressive has a youtube clip I hadn't noticed before. In it, Leslee Unruh talks about how she was thinking of running for congress.

Now of course, he also noted that he thinks she may have violated rules by registering her name as a website, which I don't think is the case.

Heck, I registered my own once. And I wasn't running for anything. I think she likely did it to prevent others from using it.

Theron's article follows up on Dave Kranz's column in the Argus Leader speculating the same:
This might surprise you, but influential Republicans say they are enamored with Leslee Unruh, leader of the Vote Yes For Life campaign. They consider her knowledgeable and lacking in fear of anyone - qualities that make her ready for the prime time in the political arena and the right person to challenge Herseth.Read that all here. Which influential Republicans is Dave talking to? I haven't heard that one once (and they truly influential Republic…

KSFY reporting on Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion

KSFY is reporting that a special committee is going to be set up as part of the rules set forth for the special session being convened this month for the purpose of determining whether or not State Senator Dan Sutton is guilty or innocent of violating joint rules:
When 35 South Dakota state senators meet in Pierre in two weeks, it will be a first. Never in anyone's memory has the body meet for the purpose of investigating, and possibly expelling one of their own. Senator Ed Olson of Mitchell is the chairman of the Executive Board. "Certainly the seriousness of what we're about the do will weigh heavily on all the members of the South Dakota Senate." A nine-member Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion will be created to hear testimony against, and in defense of Sutton. The committee can subpoena evidence and witnesses, force them to testify under oath and punish anyone who refuses to testify or lies to the committee. After hearing the evidence, the select commi…

SD Watch notes that as expected, Heidepreim is the new Senate Minority Leader

My friend Todd Epp noted today over at SD Watch that according to the Argus Blog, Scott Heidepreim is the new Senate Minority Leader:
The Argus Voices blog notes (Heidepriem takes over) that my fellow Democrats finally did something excellent and elected State Senator-elect Scott Heidepriem as Senate Minority Leader.The Argus thinks this is odd and a poor reflection on the depth of Democratic talent. On the contrary.What do I think this session holds from this new minority leader? Expect a minority who's main goal will be to trip up the majority. Whether it's through legislative maneuvering, or by playing a game of divide and conquer, their energies will be directed at coming out on top.

This means that if the Senator Majority wants to stifle their attempts, they're going to need to hold together.

The Senate of 2007 is going to be a vastly different atmosphere from the Senate of 2006. As opposed to an opposition caucus that worked with the administration on issues, I think a…

I'm back.

I'm back from the State Quarter dedication with a brand spanking new roll of South Dakota State Quarters, and I'm beat. Although, I do see the Rapid City Journal is one of the members of the media already covering it:
South Dakota became the 40th state immortalized on a U.S. Mint quarter during a ceremony at Mount Rushmore's amphitheater.

Edmund Moy, director of the U.S. Mint, joined Gov. Mike Rounds and first lady Jean Rounds at the celebration to pass out free quarters to all children who dropped by.

The design, picked by residents last year, features a Chinese ring-necked pheasant flying over the carved faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. It's bordered by two heads of wheat and the inscriptions "South Dakota" and "1889," the year South Dakota was admitted into the Union.Read that here. The Rapid City Journal and others were out taking pictures of the event. So... if you see a pictures of some…

Da Rules... And I'm nowhere to be found.

It figures. I'm out of town with work on the day that they anticipate releasing the proposed rules of the special session... At least that's what the Argus is saying:
Rules and procedures for a special session of the state Senate looking into allegations of inappropriate behavior by Sen. Dan Sutton should be released Monday, a Senate leader says.

“As far as I know, they’re pretty much agreed to,” Sen. Ed Olson, R-Mitchell, said Friday.

But because state and federal offices were closed for the Veterans Day holiday Friday, he believed they wouldn’t be available until Monday.Read it here.

Actually, I'm going to be out in the hills for the South Dakota State Quarter release. And that's ok, because this will be prtty darn neat. It's not every day you get to see something like this in SD.

I don't want to go so far as to imply it's going to be tres' cool because, lets face it. It's a coin. It's a stamped circular piece of semi-precious metals. It's not…