UPDATED: During the last couple of weeks, the SD Tea Party group in Sioux Falls has asked me to be the moderator for their lunches with Legislators. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions and the panel of legislators answer. This was the third panel for which I served as moderator and I’ll admit I got a little cocky and thought I could live blog at the same time…..I was way wrong. What I was trying to do was type a quick summary of the questions and answers. Maybe some time I’ll try it again when I’m not trying to do something else at the same time.
Anyway — I’m going to boil down the remarks, hit the highlights and give a recap of the event —
The legislators on the panel were Manny Steele, Lora Hubbel, Steve Hickey, Brian Liss and Hal Wick.
Health care, illegal immigration and sharia law and the failure of these bills to get out of committee is the first question from the audience. Manny Steele said he was frustrated that the bills didn’t get further as he was a sponsor on all three issues. He suggested that “the powers that be didn’t feel it was time” for these measures. He did try a legislative procedure called a “smoke out” — which allows bills that didn’t pass out of committee to still be considered by the full legislative body. But his efforts to smoke out the bill failed.
Hal Wick said he felt that it was too early for the healthcare nullification measure and that the court case should be allowed to proceed before taking legislative action.
The second question concerned the bill on co-parenting. All of the legislators said they supported the effort to establish an “equal” footing in court on custody matters.
The next question asked the legislators what their priorities were for the legislative session and what would they tell their constituents about what they accomplished. The most concise answer came from Brian Liss. His answer — To protect your liberty. This was received with applause. Hal Wick told the audience he felt his main priority during his service in the legislature was to keep taxes low and fair. This session Wick said his other priority was to see that the budget would get balanced without using trust funds or the device of a structural deficit. Again this was well received. Manny Steele said he felt it was important to have a passion for what you believe in and for him particularly the issue of states’ rights and the 10th amendment were his passion — this received applause as well.
Health care came up again in the form of the question — what happens if the court challenge fails. Hal Wick said — “If we lose in court, then we nullify.”
HB 1217, a pro-life measure that would require a doctor to have had a consultation with the patient before an abortion procedure is scheduled by the doctor….it would also implement a 72 hour waiting period after the first consultation before an abortion could be performed. The five legislators all said they support this measure. Steve Hickey noted that the U.S. House defunded planned parenthood — raucous applause followed.
Also — taxes, taxes, taxes were also on the mind of the audience today. Increased taxes, excise taxes and property tax assessments were also on the minds of the audience. Hal Wick and Brian Liss took the lead on most of those questions because of their experience. The answers boiled down to having to continually examine tax policies and trying to ensure they accomplish raising revenue but keeping taxes as fair and as low as possible.
Okay — that’s what I have in my notes. KCPO taped the legislative panel and will be broadcasting the panel discussion on Sunday. Check your local cable channel line up to catch the show.