West River Legislators detail legislative plans for 2015, including to help legislators make ends meet.

KOTA TV was interviewing legislators recently, and caught up with them on their legislative plans, which include fighting the pine beetle, education, and making sure legislators are paid enough to make ends meet.

Wait, what?:

Verchio plans to work $1.5 to $2 million dollars into the budget to continue fighting the mountain pine beetle fight.

He says it is important to focus on privately-owned land. “We’re the money would go to small private-property owner to help subsidize their fight,” said Verchio. “Beetles will just keep growing and growing if we don’t fight them on the private property, it doesn’t do any good to fight them in the surroundings properties because then they spread on out to private properties.”

Senator Craig Tieszen (R-District 34) says he will again be proposing an increase in salary pay for legislators.


Tieszen says people are asked to leave their normal jobs in January, February, and March and that makes it hard for some people to make ends meet financially. “I think it’s so low we exclude people from serving in the legislature and that has a detrimental effect,” said Tieszen.

Lastly, Representative Jacqueline Sly (R-District 33) says teacher pay and school funding are issues that will be talked about during this legislative session.

Read it here.

Seriously, I’m not trying to pick on Craig TIeszen, but this is twice in a week he’s in the news offering legislation that seems… well, seems destined to go down in flames. First it was going backwards on felon voting, and today it’s increasing legislative pay.

It’s not like the legislative pay issue hasn’t gone to the ballot before. It comes up about every 2-3 years, and someone who is term limited out makes the proposal. And then it goes down in flames, either in the legislature, or at the ballot box.  Noting that Tieszen is termed out after this session, we can put this attempt into that pattern.

I’ll be the first to agree that legislators are underpaid, and we need broad representation, and it’s one way to attract good people to run for office. But, it’s traditionally been a really, really tough sell to taxpayers. And in some cases, it’s been used against those voting for it in elections.

I’ll put it to you dear readers – What’s your opinion?

Only 10 No Votes for Boehner for Speaker. What do you think?

According to the newspaper “The Hill,” currently, only 10 Republicans have specifically noted that they’re going to vote against John Boehner to be Speaker of the House, with Louie Gohmert of Texas announcing a run against the Speaker, as well as Ted Yoho.

One candidate below notes they’re supporting Daniel Webster. Like Yoho, both coming from Florida..

A small but growing number of Republicans say they will vote Tuesday to deny John Boehner a third term as Speaker of the House.

But ousting a sitting Speaker is a difficult feat, and a group of a dozen defectors failed two years ago to depose Boehner, the powerful Ohio Republican.

Because the House GOP expanded its majority in the midterm elections, 29 Republicans would need to vote against Boehner to force a second ballot. Even then, it’s improbable that Boehner would relinquish the gavel and step aside without a drawn-out fight.

The Hill is keeping a running list on Republicans who are opposing Boehner. Here is where the count stands. Please send updates/feedback to [email protected]


Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) — Freshman who knocked off House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had said he’d support Boehner, but flipped this week.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.)* — Disapproved of how the $1.1 trillion spending bill was handled last month.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)* — Outspoken Boehner critic says he’ll run for Speaker. Gohmert is friends with Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has called for Boehner’s ouster.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

Rep.-elect Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) — Stated on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t back Boehner for Speaker. However, Palmer later said he regretted that pledge “to a certain extent” because it might threaten his ability to secure preferred committee assignments. Still, Palmer said he told Boehner he would need to keep his word.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.)* — Maverick lawmaker says he’ll back Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) for Speaker.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) — Hard-line opponent of immigration reform backed Boehner two years ago. Since then, Boehner reportedly called King an “asshole” behind closed doors. Boehner ripped his GOP colleague after King made his controversial “canteloupe” remarks regarding DREAMers.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.)*

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) — Stutzman lost whip race to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.). Bridenstine says he’s been told Stutzman will oppose Boehner.

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.)* — Challenging Boehner for Speaker.

Read this, and who is saying yes all here.

Not a very big list of “No votes.”  Certainly not enough to oust Boehner.

My opinion is that he was pretty good ally to South Dakota in terms of actively supporting the farm bill.   So, what do you think? Has Boehner done a good job? Or does he need to be replaced?

First Legislative Bills posted online by LRC. About a month after every other year they’ve done it.

The first legislative measures have finally been posted on-line by the legislative Research Council this evening, as they weren’t there this morning when I checked. This represents nearly thirty days longer to post the initial measures than in the recent past.

But better late then never.

House Bills

Bill Title
HB 1001 establish a wine direct shipment license and wine carrier license to enable the direct shipments of certain wine in South Dakota.
HB 1002 make an appropriation to the Department of Revenue to provide for the electronic submission of reports and taxes related to alcoholic beverages and to declare an emergency.
HB 1003 repeal the alcohol wholesaler tax and to increase the occupational tax on certain alcoholic beverages.
HB 1004 authorize the direct sale of distilled spirits from artisan distillers to retailers and wholesalers.
HB 1005 repeal the foundation program fund and references thereto.
HB 1006 allow bullheads to be used as bait.

Senate Bills

Bill Title
SB 1 finance improvements on the public highways and bridges by establishing or increasing the motor vehicle excise tax, taxes on fuel, motor vehicle registration fees, and wheel taxes, to provide for the distribution of certain revenue, and to establish certain state and local planning and reporting requirements concerning the condition of public highways and bridges.
SB 2 provide for the establishment of river basin natural resource districts and to repeal certain provisions regarding county drainage management.
SB 3 provide for mediation of certain drainage disputes.

Anything we’re not seeing yet?

Congresswoman Noem should take note – She got the bad guys’ attention.

The Mitchell newspaper had an interesting story on prostitution in the Bakken Oil Fields today, and specifically noted how many of these people were finding their short term companionship on backpage.com, an on-line website similar to craigslist, where people buy and sell things, and apparently each other.

In doing a google search about backpage, One of the first links was a web site devoted to ways to beat the law while using backpage.com, and it specifically cited the work that Congresswoman Noem is doing to combat “websites that knowingly run ads for sex with minors or coerced subjects to be charged with a federal crime.”

This info is to help you beat the police, not to scare you from using Backpage or escorts. Beating a police sting is easy, don’t believe the hype. I’ve added this update to show you how easy it is. Number 1 rule: once you find the girl that interest you, simply scroll back a few days… If she has an ad up for more than three days, she’s a real escort.


A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives which the Senate still must approve — allows websites that knowingly run ads for sex with minors or coerced subjects to be charged with a federal crime punishable by a fine and/or 5 years in prison.

The legislation is specifically intended to target the major classifieds website Backpage.com, a press release from South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem, a co-sponsor, said.

Read it here (Warning: It’s not something you want to open at work, and there’s a lot here you don’t want your kids reading. I did remove most of the links in the story excerpt.)

Congresswoman Noem’s legislation holding the websites hosting prostitution activity responsible for the ads certainly got the attention of the web site devoted to ‘beating backpage.com prostitution police stings.’

And that’s a good thing.

Because when you’re getting the bad guys’ attention, you must be doing something right.

Rounds to be Sworn into United States Senate Tomorrow at 11am CT

From my e-mail box:

Rounds to be Sworn into United States Senate Tomorrow at 11am CT

Senator-elect Mike Rounds (R-SD) will be sworn into the United States Senate tomorrow, January 6th, 2015, at 11 a.m. CT/10:00 a.m. MT. The ceremony will be broadcast live on C-SPAN2, and a video link and hi-resolution photographs will be sent to media following the ceremony.

A swearing-in reception, hosted by the Rounds family, will be held tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. CT in the Capitol Visitor Center, room SVC 214. The media is invited to attend.


Yeah, you’re going to have to pay that back….

From the Washinton Examiner:

H&R Block is estimating that as many as half of the 6.8 million people who received insurance premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act benefited from subsidies that were too large, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

“The ACA is going to result in more confusion for existing clients, and many taxpayers may well be very disappointed by getting less money and possibly even owing money,” the president of a tax preparation and education school told the Journal.


But the subsidies are based on past tax returns, so many people may be receiving too much, according to Vanderbilt University assistant professor John Graves, who projects the average subsidy is $208 too high, the Journal reports.

Read it here.



Rounds new West River Director coming into job with strong education, military experience.

From the Rapid City Journal, Senator-Elect Mike Rounds is bringing in a long time educator and military man to run his West River office:

Jeff Marlette will begin a job as West River Director for incoming U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, who will be sworn in Tuesday. Sandy has spent more than a decade working in Sen. John Thune’s Rapid City office and will continue in that job.

If there’s something important to the people of this region, their offices are probably working on it. Jeff Marlette said that’s a big part of his new job: Keeping Sen. Rounds connected to the people and issues in the West River region, so that the new senator “never loses touch with what’s going on out here.”

“He believes in government from this end up and not from the top end down, and I like that about his approach,” Marlette said.

The 53-year-old Marlette, of Rapid City, is not a stereotypical political operative. Working for Rounds will be a new chapter in a career that was previously spent in the military and education.

Marlette served 32 years in the National Guard, in both part- and full-time roles, before retiring in 2012 as a brigadier general. He also worked 15 years in education, including stints as a superintendent in Gettysburg and most recently as superintendent and elementary principal for the New Underwood School District. He’s leaving that job to work for Rounds, who will be sworn in for a six-year term this week.

Read it here.

New legislator Josh Klumb profiled in Mitchell Republic

From the Mitchell Daily Republic, newly elected Republican legislator Josh Klumb is profiled as he prepares to go to Pierre:

Joshua Klumb, of Mount Vernon, will enter the Capitol as one of two House representatives for Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties. He said agricultural issues will be his main concerns as he is a farmer and was named vice-chair of the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee.

He said water mitigation issues in the state will likely be points of discussion. He’ll also keep his eyes on pheasant habitat, and work between farmers and the state to keep the popular birds at healthy numbers.

“I haven’t heard a lot that’s coming down the pipeline,” Klumb said. “I’ll wait and see what people drop in the hopper when I get there. I know people have ideas, but I haven’t heard a whole lot yet.”

Read it all here.


Howie trying to convince people that Bosworth should be let off.

Gordon Howie, who abandoned the Republican party to run for US Senate as an Independent and received 3% of the vote, penned a missive today trying to convince the Attorney General to dismiss the felony charges against Annette Bosworth.  And in doing so, Howie underlines a shocking belief that rules should not apply to him and his friends:

She allegedly was not “in the room” when the actual signatures were affixed to the petitions. On the dates in question, she was actually on a missions trip in the Philippines (perhaps also a crime in the minds of some).

If she WASN”T in the room… is that REALLY worthy of twelve felony charges, or is it legal (or political) over-reach?


At Lincoln Day dinners across the state, Republicans routinely send their petitions around the room. They do not personally witness each signature, but sign the “oath” that they did. I would venture to say that even our Attorney General may be guilty of this practice. PLEASE, Marty, say it isn’t so… not even ONE?


You can make up your own mind, but I think the Attorney General, the people of South Dakota and the “integrity of our elections” would be well served by dismissing the charges. At the very least, offering a generous plea bargain that does not include a felony.

It’s time to move on, and give Annette her life back!

Read it here.

“It’s time to move on, and give Annette her life back?” Gordon may sympathize with Annette because they shared the same former S&M porn photographer who acted as consultant for both, but it shows a lack of knowledge when it comes to elections, as well as some questionable ethics.

Gordon seems to be operating under a theme of “But, everyone does it,” trying to claim that “even our Attorney General may be guilty of this practice,” referring to randomly circulating petitions for office at GOP dinners.What happened to the rule of law, and why is Gordon arguing it should be suspended?

(Also, the problem with Howie’s claim?  Candidates for Attorney General don’t circulate petitions. They’re nominated at their respective convention.)

In the past, Gordon has written about oaths and the importance of keeping them. The candidate swears an oath on the petition attesting to the fact that they were the person who circulating it. Why does this oath not matter to Gordon? We can only speculate.

But in the same breath as we point out he’s demanded adherence to oaths, Gordon’s request for leniency in Annette Bosworth’s case seems reminiscent of his same pleas when his friend Stephanie Strong lost a court case against Brian Gosch. Which again seems to ignore the rule of law:

The State leadership team and the Pennington County Republican leadership team should join together and make a clear, formal, written request to Speaker Gosh and his attorney to withdraw their motion against Stephanie Strong. That might make their cries for unity a bit more believable.

If State and County Republican leaders are serious about unity, they need to end the harrassment and disenfranchisement of conservatives. The dismissal of the action against Strong is where they need to start.

Read that here.

In case you’re wondering about the Strong case, Stephanie Strong lost her court case back in April, was ordered to pay over $30,000 in attorney fees, and as recently as this last week I’m told she has yet to pay anything to clear her debt.

I guess I’m troubled by Gordon (who keeps running for office) touting himself as a constitutional conservative. Because most of the conservatives I know follow the law, but here’s yet another example of Gordon arguing for it’s non-application.

What do you think?  Should constitutional conservatives be arguing for laws to be followed, instead of being ignored?