(Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared my the daily original piece for the SDWC Daily Digest for 1/14/2015. Although I missed last night’s edition due to illness, it’s delivered daily for those who don’t monitor the blogs on a constant basis. If you’re not subscribing, you should be. Original content, a daily review, items of note and more.)
Is this “the better” LRC?
If you hadn’t heard, the South Dakota Legislative Research Council has taken a few hits in the last couple of years.
In recent years it had employees accused of sharing confidential legislative drafts with other legislators. It saw long-time hands & managers retire and be replaced, and had a decade-long veteran executive director resign after a critical review commissioned by the National Conference of State Legislatures which recommended sweeping changes, some of which were implemented.
A new Executive Director, Jason Hancock, was brought in in late summer/early fall from the Idaho Department of Education, where Hancock served as Deputy Director, and many claimed that this would right the ship from the problems that the LRC had in recent years.
However, for a ship that is supposed to be on a corrected course, the LRC seems to be somewhat limping along as it finds it’s way. For the past decade of on-line bill filing, pre-filed measures were available beginning in mid-December on the LRC’s web site. This year? They finally appeared a day or so before session.
In previous years, as measures had been introduced and filed by members, they had been promptly filed and placed on-line for public review. But the new LRC? We’ve ended two days of the legislation session, and nearly no new measures (besides those pre-filed) are yet to appear on the LRC’s web site. One Legislator I spoke with today echoed the lament, and noted that their performance was slower than any other year they’d ever seen. (And that’s saying it in a far nicer manner than they did.)
When it had been brought up by this and other web sites earlier, Capitol news stringer Bob Mercer was quick to rush to their defense, and claimed the LRC was “proceeding with caution.”
The LRC’s cautious speed might work for Bob, but for Legislators and the public, we were told this was going to be a better LRC.
We’re still waiting to see it.