Showing posts from December 31, 2006

More pre-inaugural photos

Nothing too exciting - just a couple of photos I snapped today between point A and point B.

Powerful thoughts as we approach the upcoming legislative session

I ran across this, and they're powerful thoughts as we get ready to start another legislative session:
"For in a Republic, who is 'the country?'

Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle?

Why, the Government is merely a servant -- merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong,and decide who is a patriot and who isn't.

Its function is to obey orders, not originate them."

- Mark Twain

Inaugural preparations

As you can see, the State Capitol complex is getting all "gussied up" for the Inauguration, and accompanying Inaugural ball tomorrow evening.

I'm taking 5 at the moment, grabbing a quick PBJ, answering e-mail, plotting, posting, and doing all of those little things that help make this one of the best darned political websites in the state! I even took a minute to think about future media I could expand things into. (But they probably won't let me wear my jammies).

More to come. So, keep an eye out here for more political news and inaugural photos!

Sibby Online: Mitchell paper quotes Olson as saying MAINstream Coalition won't survive

Steve over at Sibby on-line has a story this morning from the Mitchell Republic noting how fellow founder, and Republican State Senator Ed Olson doubts that the MAINstream coalition organization will survive:
State Sen. Ed Olson R-Mitchell, said a recent membership drive produced fewer than the desired number."It’s probably not going to make it," Olson said.Olson said that Rapid City Businessman Stan Adelstein, another founder who originally underwrote the organization financially, "mailed out 40,000 mailers and got 75 new members." It likely isn’t enough, Olson said, for the organization to remain in operation.Read it all here.

Maybe South Dakotans are actually more conservative then they thought....

Bob Mercer: Jeff Vonk new GFP Secretary

Bob Mercer (sorry, not available on-line) is reporting this AM in the Pierre Capitol Journal that Governor Mike Rounds has picked Jeff Vonk of Iowa for the post of South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Secretary.

Watch for more on this as the official announcement comes out today.

Heidepreim and his code of ethics

KELOland news is reporting that Democratic Senator and Minority leader Scott Heidepreim is going to propose "a legislative code of ethics..." Seriously. And that's not just an oxymoron:
South Dakota lawmakers are looking at ways to make themselves more accountable following allegations that Flandreau Senator Dan Sutton groped a page during last year's session. One plan being considered is drawing up a "code of ethics" that legislators would have to follow. It borrows a page from Arizona.


The South Dakota legislature currently does not have a code of ethics. Instead, lawmakers must abide by a series of separate rules concerning areas like bribery and conflict of interest. But Senator-elect Scott Heidepriem says the current system governing legislative conduct is too much of a hodge-podge. "We really don't have a code of ethics that goes to how one behaves toward one another or toward employees."

There are sexual harassment rules in place fo…

The bible never found it's way into the state legislature

Mary Garrigan at the Rapid City Journal has an interesting story about how the use of the Bible for the swearing in of legislators never really came into practice. Maybe THAT explains why..... (insert favorite joke about Democrats here). Sorry. I couldn't resist.

Seriously, go catch the story. It's a tale worth reading:
When Rep. Gordon Pederson, R-Wall, takes the oath of office as a state legislator for the 29th time Saturday, he will swear to uphold the constitutions of the United States and South Dakota and faithfully discharge his duties as a representative.But Pederson and the other 104 members of the South Dakota Legislature will not swear on a Bible as they stand, raise their right hand and repeat the oath after state Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson.

“No, the body as a whole does not use the Bible,” Pederson said. “Nobody does, that I know of.”

The tradition of using the Bible to affirm an oath never developed in the state legislative bodies, accordin…

Photos coming this weekend...

Here's an unusual thing for me - no Brookings trip today. Although, I'll make up for it next weekend with a late PM trip home, and then an early AM trip to Sioux Falls the next day for a medical appointment for my youngest.

So this weekend? I'm going to be volunteering on and off for the Inaugural Ball, and I'm planning to have at least one, if not 2 cameras on hand to snap photos. There should be dignitaries galore, so hopefully I can catch a few in the act.

And, as time allows, I'll try to do some posting.

Cry Havok! And let slip the dogs of the legislature

The Argus is reporting on the Sutton affair tonight, as the subpoenas will be made available on Tuesday. At the same time one of Sutton's attorneys gets a little overly dramatic:
Subpoenas connected to allegations of misconduct involving Sen. Dan Sutton are expected to be made public on Tuesday as lawmakers forge ahead with plans to conduct a hearing on the matter.


Duffy said a hearing would harm the legislative chamber by leading to more investigations of lawmakers.

“The dogs of war are about to be unleashed,” Duffy said. “The long-term effect of what we’re going to do is that the Senate is never going to be the same after we’re done.”Woof it all down here as attorney Duffy threatens them with the dogs of war.


I Forgot about this one..... Pennington County GOP elects new chair

A user reminded me about this - I'd lost it in the shuffle over the past couple of days - but the Pennington County GOP elected a new chairman, which kind of threw me a curve ball, but not an unwelcome one. Instead of going with a readily identifiable insider, they went with Kevin Thom, a Pierre transplant:
The Pennington County Republican Central Committee elected six members to serve on their Executive Board for the next two-year term.

Kevin Thom was elected as the new Chairman for the County Republican Party. Thom earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Minot State University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of South Dakota. He spent twenty-eight years in the Law Enforcement field with varying responsibilities including working as Press Secretary to the Attorney General and Special Agent for the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation among other positions. Thom most recently served as DCI’s Director before retiring in July of 200…

MSM is on one of the tales I just told.. So, here's something they don't have yet.

I see Dave Kranz rushed to get a teaser of his column on-line after the GOP press release came out. So, the news about Karl Adam is starting to spread. Dave was working on it today, so I didn't think I could sit on it any longer. That, and the GOP release coming out meant that it was the right time to drop it in the hopper.

So that's old news and I barely got in on the crest of the wave.

Since that's not so exclusive anymore, I've got another one for you I've been trying to get it confirmed through legal channels, but I have not gotten a reply as of 5pm tonight from an inquiry I made over the noon hour.

So, at this point, it is no more than rumor. But that being said, I'm told I should watch for news to be coming on one of the parties involved in the Wiese/Sutton matter allegedly having a run-in with the law this past New Years' weekend.

Before you start getting whipped up into a frenzy of speculation, sorry. I'm shutting down comments on this post until I…

KSFY This Week: Rep Russ Olson, Rep. Manny Steele. and Sen. Scott Heidepreim

I just got a note on KSFY this week's lineup.

Featured will be 3 incoming legislators. Republican Representative Russell Olson, Republican Representative Manny Steele, and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Scott Heidepreim.

I'm not sure when it's airing (possibly tomorrow?) but be sure to catch it.

Breaking GOP News - Karl Adam of Pierre is going to run for State GOP chair

I've been holding off on this one for a while now because there's been some back and forth and will he or won't he. But, I can make it official as his name is out, and he's got the endorsement of the Governor and Senator Thune, making it practically a done deal.

Karl Adam is for all practical purposes, the front runner for the State GOP Chair position. In a release just coming out from the GOP ...
South Dakota Republican Party Chairman Randy Frederick today joined Governor Mike Rounds and U.S. Senator John Thune in voicing support for Karl Adam of Pierre for State Party Chairman.

Governor Rounds touted Adam’s nomination. “I think Karl Adam is the right person at the right time as we build our base for the 2008 election cycle,” he said. “His skills and principles make him the right person to chair the Republican Party in South Dakota . I fully support his candidacy for party chair.”

“Karl has been a long-time, hard-working member of the South Dakota Republican Party and I …

Americans for Prosperity Pierre Meeting announced

I just got a note that the Pierre grassroots meeting of the Americans for Prosperity will be held as follows:
Our Pierre event will be at the St. Charles Restaurant in the meeting room on Monday, January 8th. The meeting will begin at 12:00 p.m. After the tour wraps up on Monday we will be preparing to give the recommendations gathered from the different stops to each legislator and Governor Rounds. The meeting is open to the public and I want to personally invite you to attend.I'll have it on my schedule to attend, and I hope you will too.

Bil Napoli: Time to go to bat for DM&E

In today's Rapid City Journal, Bill Napoli is taking up the crusade for the DM&E Railroad's expansion and the hundreds, if not thousands of jobs it's going to bring to Western South Dakota, saying we need to organize as we did for the Ellsworth Air Force Base:
State Sen. Bill Napoli, a Republican who represents parts of Rapid City and Rapid Valley, said that the $6 billion railroad expansion would create 5,000 jobs during construction and 1,200 permanent jobs.

"The mine is a wonderful thing, but these are my kind of people," Napoli said. "These are blue-collar jobs."

The expansion would allow DM&E to carry coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming across South Dakota to power plants in eastern states.

Napoli said he will ask fellow legislators to create a "blue-ribbon" task force to find ways that the state can help the railroad. It would be similar to the Ellsworth Task Force that helped save the air base from closing.

The DM&E proje…

As we fight about whether or not schools are underfunded, here's the statistic we should be most concerned about...

The Argus Leader is reporting this AM that a national study shows that at the same time people are saying we're last in education as far as teacher salaries are concerned, we're near the top as far as educational achievement:
....the state was fourth in the nation in achievement indicators. A greater percentage of South Dakota students scored at or above a proficient level in standardized math and reading tests.and...
"This report seems to take a broader look at our educational program," he said.

As for the state's low rank in aligning statewide programs to help students transition through school, Melmer cited South Dakota's governing structure."We tend to have fewer statewide policies and more local policies," he said of why South Dakota has few of the policies the study looked for, such as "college prep required to earn a high school diploma" - which only nine states had.Read it all here. Why the disparity? And how do those who say we'r…

Katus still pushing for a tax that's not sales or property.... I wonder which one that is...

The Rapid City Journal has an article in today's paper where Tom Katus is invited to talk about his tax views. And not only does he continue to try to abdicate his responsibility as a legislator to make a decision... not only is his plan still a thinly veiled attempt to get an income tax on the books... But he also makes a great case as to why he's a democrat.

Why? Because he thinks things should be different for different people:
Two major sources: sales (45 percent) and property tax (44 percent) comprise 89 percent of state and local tax revenues (SD LRC; FY 2006). Sales tax is known to be the most regressive of taxes; i.e. the poorest of the poor and the middle class pay the same 6 percent of state/city sales tax as do the wealthy. Schools levy 59 percent of local governments' property taxes. The Governor's Advisory Commission on Taxation (1988) concluded, "Property taxes are high and...assessments unequal and unfair (and) current tax sources are inequitable.&quo…

"Go after the politicians and their sources of revenue."
- Rep. Gary Jerke

I was reading the Freeman Courier today, when out jumps this article with Republican Representative Gary Jerke discussing the upcoming legislative session. Pretty mundane, until you get to the part where you can almost imagine Gary getting a little wild-eyed as he starts in on what the legislature needs to tax next:
There will be a big push in this legislature to tax advertising, said Jerke. One idea, he said, was to tax political advertising one to two percent. PAC's seem to have unlimited resources, he said. Another idea expressed, he said, has been that for every $2 spent on advertising, an additional $1 should be assessed for education.

"Go after the politicians and their sources of revenue," said Jerke.Read it all here (registration required).

What? Is he freaking kidding me with this pablum?

*Sigh* It looks like this is one of those times I need to get out my spanking stick for someone of my own party.

First off, given that he just got past his first campaign after he…

Lots of Rounds in the blogosphere lately, mainly in reference to Tim Johnson

Governor Mike Rounds' name is making a bit of traffic in the national blogosphere lately. I didn't realize how much until I was searching for something and came across a list.

From Politics One Blog:
Rounds Takes Early Lead

Governor Mike Rounds of South Dakota has taken an early lead in the Republican Poll for President here on Politics One. The Poll has been up for 24 hours now and Rounds has already struck huge momentum with viewers across the nation. This is a month long poll so results will change. The Question is can The Mike Rounds Supporters keep the lead or will supporters of John Cox and Mike Huckabee take the lead. Cox and Huckabee were the first and second place winners in the December Poll.But from there, it goes straight to the Tim Johnson issue as the national blogs on either side of the aisle sink their teeth into speculation. For example...

From Cyclone Conservative:
If you have been following the news, you might have heard and seen that Senator Tim Johnson, the t…

The Sutton committee has been formed

KCCR News had the story early this AM (at least, earlier than the Argus) that the committee formed to hear the Sutton matter has now been formed:
The select committee will be chaired by Senate Republican Majority Leader Dave Knudson. Other Republicans on the committee are Gray, Gene Abdallah, Ed Olson and Kenneth McNenny. Democrats on the committee are Minority Leader Scott Heidepriem, Nancy Turbak, Ben Nesselhuff and Gary Hanson. Gray says a Democrat will be appointed to serve as vice chair. Gray says if there is a disciplinary hearing, it would start probably in the second week of the session. He says details such as when, when and how many times the committee would meet haven’t been set. Gray says the select committee would serve as any other legislative committee. It could recommend some type of action against Sutton, such as expulsion, censure or nothing at all, that would then have to be approved by the entire Senate.Read it all here.

Here we go again....

Dave Kranz at the Argus is reporting that Representative Shantel Krebs is trying to bring back the early presidential primary. Despite the fact legislators keep trying it, and it keeps getting killed:
The state's 1988 presidential test came just behind the prestigious Iowa caucuses and the traditional first primary in New Hampshire.

Early presidential primaries were held here again in 1992 and 1996.All were in February.

Then money got in the way. Concerns by state legislators and county commissioners focused on the estimated $400,000 bill for having an early primary season - thinking it was a bit steep and outweighed benefits of the early process.Decisions on whom voters wanted to run for president were shifted from February back to June, where they were again combined with primaries for other federal, state and local offices.

The state's presidential primary voting is often among the final primary tests in the country.

Now, state Rep. Shantel Krebs, R-Sioux Falls, wants the early …

GFP candidates down to 4

The Rapid City Journal is reporting this morning that the list of potential candidates for the Departmental Secretary for Game Fish and Parks has been whittled down to 4:
Rounds, his staff and a number of GF&P officials, including Cooper, have declined to identify candidates for the secretary’s job. But a number of sources speaking off the record have confirmed that one of the finalists is Kevin Forsch, a member of the governor’s staff who previously worked as a division director in the state Health Department. Another finalist is Jeffrey Vonk, director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, sources said.

Forsch and Vonk were among four candidates interviewed last month by members of the Game, Fish & Parks Commission and Cooper. The other two candidates were Emmett Keyser, an assistant director in GF&P’s Wildlife Division in Pierre, and Steve Riley, a former GF&P biologist now working in a management position with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The commissi…

Are there any Republicans who didn't give Scott Heidepreim money?

Yup... Campaign finance reports are coming out.

And in reviewing the first few, I'm not sure why the SDGOP blew 40k on Dick Kelly's race, given the Republican pedigree of many of Scott Heidepreim's donors. Click on any of the images to enlarge if you want to read the whole painful story...

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The only one that stands out on page 2 of the report is Scott Abdallah. Given that they're law partners, that's almost to be expected. But from here on out, it gets more interesting...

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I count at least 3 or 4 former GOP Legislators, 3 former GOP county party officials, and 2 former GOP attorney generals.

Tom Katus' report isn't terribly different, with a former GOP legislator (besides Stan, who gave through his PAC) as well as a few known GOP names.

Should politica…

"Promising Future" might have a couple of bumps in it's path

KELO is reporting tonight that a civil complaint has been filed against Roger Hunt's corporation "Promising Future" has had a civil complaint filed against it in order to determine the controversy over whether or not it has to disclose the source of it's funds:
According to state law, a "ballot question committee" consists of two or more people who raise money to influence a ballot issue. Now a judge will decide whether that definition includes Roger Hunt's corporation Promising Future.

Hunt sees the definition one way.

"A corporation basically, in many cases in our state laws and case law, is held to be one person. It's not divisible by all of its shareholders," he says.

But, Secretary of State Chris Nelson believes the corporation is one "person." The shareholder who donated all the money is another person, and the corporation's attorney Roger Hunt potentially is a third person.

Hunt points out he isn't being prosecuted for …

It has been a while, but time for another reminder..

I haven’t had to do one of these posts for a while, but I’m dealing with a rather insistent commenter today under one of my recent posts who was hell bent to get her point across. Despite my admonishments, she kept posting her allegations against a lawmaker. And I kept having to delete them.

Why? No, not because they were trash talking a Republican… I don't do that, despite what some of you might believe.

I get enough crap from friends who say "You deleted that stuff on Herseth,or etcetera... but you're letting them trash me. Take that comment off." And then get mad at me because I won't. Sometimes, I swear I can't win.

Today, I had to play deletion overlord because the comments were beyond the pale of what I could allow. First off, they accused the person of an act which could be construed as improper or illegal (and also called the person a pervert). It was an anonymous accusation, as well as one that couldn’t be documented.

Frankly, I think my little website…

In Fredericksburg, Virginia, the local sport must be butting into another state's business

Check out this letter to the editor in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star:
Sen. Jim Jeffords was elected as a Republican in 1988 by the people of Vermont. He left the Republican Party in 2001 and became an Independent.This one man's decision changed the power within the U.S. Senate from Sen. Trent Lott to Sen. Tom Daschle.Now, the country may face another tragedy because of a South Dakota law if Sen. Tim Johnson, elected as a Democrat, dies or does not make a full recovery. Under that law, one man--Gov. Mike Rounds--can fill the vacancy with a temporary appointment, and that person would serve until the next general election.Our country was founded on the premise of "we the people," and being misrepresented is just another example of why the U.S. Constitution needs to be amended to stop irregularities performed by state laws that adversely affect the federal government infrastructure. The people voted but are not being heard. Why is common sense not common? Paul Waldowsk…

Americans for Prosperity launching Taxpayer Trust Tour

According to the Pierre Capitol Journal, on Wednesday, Americans for Prosperity will be launching a six city Taxpayer Trust Tour across South Dakota to garner recommendations for the 2007 legislature.
Stops include:

Sioux Falls (Noon, Wed at old courthouse museum)
Mitchell (5pm, Wed at Public Library)
Aberdeen (Noon, Thursday at Pizza Ranch)
Watertown (5pm, Thursday at 2nd Street Station)
Rapid City (Noon, Friday at Public Library)
Pierre (Noon, Monday location TBA)I'll have a further report if I can make the Pierre event. Stay tuned.

KELO expert predicting "significant and lenghty" recovery for Senator Johnson

KELOland news has a Sioux Falls neurologist commenting on Senator Johnson's condition. And it doesn't sound like good news:
A Sioux Falls neurologist says US Senator Tim Johnson may be in for a long recovery period from brain surgery.


Rossing says recovery for someone who's been sedated as long as Johnson is likely to be "significant and lengthy." That could mean the 60-year-old politician will be in recovery for months instead of weeks.Read it all here.

And the next ban will really have exceptions

KELO is reporting tonight that the next attempt to ban abortion in South Dakota will really contain exceptions for rape and incest.

Despite the fact that whether it did or not in 2006 was the major point of debate in the campaign.
Republican state Senator Brock Greenfield of Clark says failure to get South Dakota voters to ratify last year's ban, which contained no exceptions for rape or incest victims, means abortion opponents need to look at political reality. He says exceptions likely will be included when the time is right to bring back anti-abortion legislation.

Retiring state Senator Lee Schoenbeck, a Watertown Republican, says abortion opponents need to respect the fatigue caused by battles such as the fight over the abortion ban last year.Read it all here.

It should be noted that as the State Director for South Dakota Right to Life, Brock represents an organization that traditionally has preferred a chipping away of abortion law incrementally. And given the vote this year, it…

southdakotamac's other 4 people to watch

Take a minute to read southdakotamac's other 4 people to watch in South Dakota politics:
2.) State Senator Michael Jackson

Following the Senate's ouster of Senator Sutton, Governor Mike Rounds shall appoint former King of Pop Michael Jackson to his seat (This is clearly prior to the Monkeybot uprising). Senator Jackson will prove to be a shrewd Senator and will rise to the top of the South Dakota totem pole. Senator Jackson takes over the Senate page program, as they are all too old for him. Senator Jackson repeals the tax on plastic surgery, and becomes a key ally to Governor Zippo.Read it all here.

I can't top that one. Just beware the "monkeybot overlords."

4 People to watch in South Dakota politics in 2007

Just to give you a little insight into my thinking, here’s a brief list of people who I’m keeping an eye on in 2007 because of how they might (and I expect will) affect South Dakota’s political scene during the new year:

1. Representative Elect Russ Olson

Many Republicans (including myself) wondered if Russ going solo against Gerry Lange and Dave Gassman was such a good idea. Every time people exercised both of their votes, they could cast one vote for him, and one against him. It just didn’t matter. Russ took the legislative seat away from Gerry Lange.

But don’t keep an eye on Russ for that reason. Keep an eye on Russ because he’s the favored candidate to replace Dan Sutton in the State Senate.

As I’ve noted previously, after Sutton resigns or is expelled, Russ will likely be the favorite to fill that seat. And that will put him in the unique position of serving as the defacto leader in a renewed “republicanizing” of the Madison legislative district, going from zero GOP legislators last …

The Legislature might consider a little vetting for their employees' sake

I've been so restless this early morning. Up at 3:30, haven't been able to sleep since.

It could be the boneless buffalo wings I ate last night, as my wife and I went out for a couple of hours. Or it could be the fact as I got up, I couldn't come up with a decent topic to blog on to put my mind at ease.

Got a couple of irons in the fire, but nothing that's ripe yet. GOP Chair has progress, but still isn't set in stone. Waiting on a few campaign finance reports to be filed before I can confirm whether or not someone fudged a report. There isn't anything in the papers that's worth an early morning effort. I need something that's good.

I tried to go back to sleep, as I tossed and turned. And then it hit me. Something I don't think I'd commented much before on. And it's somewhat timely, given the Sutton hearing coming up the second week of session.

Anyway... Here's a good one for you.

We've heard much ado about the Senate revisiting rules reg…