Let’s rewind a bit…..
In July I posted
Here is the shorten version:
during the last legislative session an immigration bill was submitted
The immigration bill failed in committee
A Smoke-out was attempted and failed.
Representative Nelson was getting calls/e-mails from people asking how their representatives voted
Representative Nelson requested the smoke out vote results be posted on-line with the bill, through Mr. Fry of the LRC.
Initially, the LRC complied with the request
A few days later, it results were removed. Mr. Fry citing the LRC Standard Operating Procedures said the only the bill final disposition was to be posted.
Representative Nelson requested information about what it would take to add the smoke out vote to the bill and how to post a legislator voting record online from the LRC.
Mr. Fry deferred the request to the Executive Board .
Mr. Fry, the LRC, or the Executive Board has not exactly been forthcoming with the research requested by Representative Nelson.
The comments that were left are truly enlightening.
Yesterday, I get this in an E-mail from Representative Nelson:
Early during last year’s session, it is reported that Republican Majority Leader Rep. David Lust, Speaker of the House Rep. Val Rausch, and Asst. Majority Leader Justin Cronin had a closed door meeting with the Director of LRC Jim Fry. It is reported that Mr. Fry was berated for the LRC staff’s helping legislator’s file numerous bills that leadership disagreed with and were in opposition to. In the context of this conversation, comments were purportedly made that House GOP leadership were in fact Mr. Fry’s bosses or to the effect that they held considerable sway in his continued employment. Leadership personnel allegedly instructed Mr. Fry to have LRC staff members provide these leadership members information and access to bills that other legislators were working on with LRC staff members.
In part I can understand
senior seasoned legislators wanting to keep an eye on the newbies freshmen. We wouldn’t want them to passing laws ordering all South Dakotans to bow to the speaker of the house or kiss the scepter of the Governor. From what I can gather, this was not a friendly meeting, or just seasoned legislators trying to help the freshmen get up to speed. This was, ?Do what we say, or else.?
If this meeting did indeed take place, it would be a violation of house rules, not to mention a tad unethical. However this little greet and meet session, could easily led to bill tampering among other bad things. Representative Nelson brought the issue to the attention of the Executive Board. The Chairman of the Executive Board Representative Turbiville, stated he needed more evidence before he investigates the issue, that brings us to this story from KELO.
PIERRE, SD – Six South Dakota lawmakers are claiming that leadership in the House of Representatives tampered with bills before they were finalized and public.
A letter sent to the Legislative Research Council this week is asking that they turn over all of the communication with Republican leaders in the House of Representatives from the last legislative session.
A couple of days later KELO reports that their request was denied.
SIOUX FALLS, SD – The executive board of the South Dakota legislature has responded to allegations that House leadership wanted to be tipped off about bills before they were finalized.
Last week, six legislators sent a letter claiming that the Speaker of the House and the House Majority Leader asked the Legislative Research Council to give them confidential information about bills before they were public.
The chair of the legislature?s executive board has now sent those six legislators a letter back saying the information they are requesting to prove these claims is confidential.
We have that letter!
It may seem that Representative Nelson making waves, I have to wonder is he really causing the problems, or just trying to bring to light the problems that are already there. Representative Nelson is not a politician. He has no political ambitions. His family and himself does not want him to run for reelection. The people of his district want Stace Nelson to represent them in the Statehouse, because he is not a politician. The people of District 25 are tired of politics as usual, so we elected a non-politician, someone with integrity, someone with the gonads to stand up for what is right, regardless how unpopular it may be. Considering all the press he has been getting, it would appear he is getting the job done.
With regards to the misconduct; There maybe nothing here, just a bunch of bad decisions, mis-communications, mis-understandings, some selective amnesia, a healthy dose of coincidence then sprinkled with a good dash of paranoia; or there might be some real, willful misconduct. Either way, I believe a Special Committee should be formed and charged with the task to fully investigate the matter. If there is nothing, apologies can be made and everyone goes on their way, a tad wiser; If there is misconduct, let the facts be known, misconduct should never be confidential, the legislature already has rules for dealing with misconduct of its members. This has been brewing for close to a year, we should get to the bottom of it, then get on governing the state.