Senate Bill 69 being pushed back even more because of delays in amendments.

If you recall, Senate Bill 69, the measure which proposed to move the date to start candidate petitioning back to December 1, as well as remove the registered mail ability for candidates to mail petitions in, had it’s hearing in Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, January 21st.

During that hearing, the South Dakota Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, claimed they had an amendment for the measure….. but, oops. They didn’t bring it with them, because they didn’t have it prepared. So, they planned on getting it to legislators later that day.

Later that day came and went. And no amendment. So, it was delayed until Friday, January 23rd.

December 23rd came. And, wasn’t there supposed to be an amendment to be dealt with?  Apparently the ACLU (See 2:30 here) JUST had the amendment for the legislators at the start of that meeting, giving them no time to review the proposed change to legislation. Which makes you wonder if the ACLU in South Dakota is as utterly disorganized as it appears to be.

This morning, it sounds as if that we have more amendments to the measure. Which was pushed back once again.

It’s possible that by the end of this legislative session we could see a bill cleaning up some messiness in State Election Law. But at this rate, that date may not too far from the mark.

Are we going to tell them how to vote too? House Bill 1069 is just bad legislation.

A legislative measure has been presented to the state legislature with regards to the conduct of legislators acting as delegates to a national constitutional convention. It says in part:

Section 2. No delegate from South Dakota to an Article V convention has the authority to vote to allow consideration of or vote to approve an unauthorized amendment for ratification to the United States of America Constitution. Any delegate casting a vote to allow consideration or approval of an unauthorized amendment shall be immediately recalled by the secretary of state and replaced by an alternate chosen by the Executive Board of the Legislative Research Council.
Section 3. Every candidate for delegate or alternate from South Dakota to the Article V convention shall take the following oath:
“I do solemnly swear or affirm that to the best of my abilities, I will, as a delegate or alternate to an Article V convention, uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States of America and the State of South Dakota. I will not vote to allow consideration of or to approve any unauthorized amendment proposed for ratification to the United States of America Constitution.”

Read it here.

This legislation is coming on the heels of proposals for the states to call a constitutional convention for the purpose of amending the US Constitution in a non-traditional manner, which is allowed by law. Instead of the state’s ratifying amendments directly, they’d send delegates to a convention.

Not a bad thought at all, but as more time goes by between the time when this was first brought up, and a time when states are going to be able to pull it off, paranoia is apparently setting in.

“I do solemnly swear or affirm that to the best of my abilities….. I will not vote to allow consideration of or to approve any unauthorized amendment proposed for ratification to the United States of America Constitution.”

Um. Yeah. Is it just me, or is that kind of a dumb thing to put in an oath? If they’re going to put that type of proviso onto what the delegate is going to vote for, why don’t they tell him how he’s going to cast his ballot? And if they’re going to do that, why hold a convention of this type, as opposed to amending the constitution in the traditional manner?

The best part?

Section 5. Any delegate who violates the oath contained in section 3 of this Act is subject to a civil fine of not more than five thousand dollars to be levied by the secretary of state and deposited in the state general fund.

What!?! And we’re going to attach a weird civil/criminal penalty to it as well?

First off, The obvious way around it is to simply attach unrelated acts to the main amendment (just like Congress does), leaving the original title and intent. It would allow participants for such a convention to cast their ballot in compliance with.

Secondly, you have to consider who we’re sending to this type of convention.

The people elected to the legislature have been elected by the people of their respective legislative districts to represent their voice in the state Capitol. So, they’re entrusted with doing the right thing by taxpayers to start. The people selected to go to this type of constitutional convention would be chosen by this august group, the South Dakota State Legislature, by those people we chose to send to Pierre.

So allegedly, the ones going to this type of convention are not our best. They’re ‘the best of the best.’

Shouldn’t we be able to entrust them to discuss, debate and amend amongst their peers from other states in this incubator of Democracy? Shouldn’t we be able to entrust them to conduct the types of discussions and formulate policies, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Bill of Rights?

Putting this kind of limitation on delegates seems…. small. And in direct opposition to the reasons we’d conduct a grand experiment in Democracy such as a constitutional convention.

Release: AFP South Dakota Responds to the State of the Union Address

AFP South Dakota Responds to the State of the Union Address
President’s “Robin Hood Plan” An Unserious Fairy Tale

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Americans for Prosperity South Dakota Director Ben Lee issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address:

“In tonight’s speech, the President made it clear he isn’t serious about addressing the biggest problems our nation is facing. The President’s tax-the-rich “Robin Hood” plan ignores a clear mandate from voters that rejected Obama’s big-government fairy tale in favor of real reforms that create jobs and opportunity for everyone.

His plan would raise taxes on job creators and hurt economic growth. If the economy is recovering as the President says it is, then why is the country’s workforce the smallest it’s been in 37 years? The President’s proposals are more of the same tax-and-spend policies that, over the last 6 years, have failed to create wealth and opportunity for everyday Americans.

AFP South Dakota will be focusing on real efforts to create prosperity for all Americans which includes restoring the 40 hour work week, ending the gas tax, approving the Keystone Pipeline, preventing Medicaid expansion and cutting government spending.”



Governor holding firm against expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults.

In the Argus Leader this morning, Governor Dennis Daugaard’s opposition to the expansion of Medicaid is discussed.

Governor Daugaard says things are stuck at the moment, with taxpayers aren’t ready to expand Medicaid to all 48,000 uncovered at this time with many of them being able-bodied adults, and the federal government unwilling to compromise to allow South Dakota to cover a portion of them:

Expanding Medicaid as prescribed under the Affordable Care Act would eventually cost the state an extra $36 million a year. In contrast, he said, the state this year is only seeing an increase in revenues of $49 million, which is money the state needs to increase funding to education and other programs.

Still, Daugaard said he understands there is need among the poorest adults for expanded medical coverage under Medicaid.

“I’m open to considering their lot,” he said. “But the president has said it’s all or nothing. And 48,000 people is too big of a bite, in my estimation.”

Read it all here in the Argus Leader.

Release: AFP South Dakota Announces 2015 Legislative Priorities

From my mailbox:

AFP South Dakota Announces 2015 Legislative Priorities

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.— Today, Americans for Prosperity South Dakota unveiled its 2015 state and federal legislative priorities.  In 2015, AFP will continue expanding its field operations in order to hold lawmakers accountable and promote policies that further economic freedom and encourage fiscal responsibility.

“In 2014, we launched the South Dakota chapter of AFP to make sure our state maintains its commitment to free-market principles,” said AFP South Dakota State Director Ben Lee.  “We have had great success thus far and our 2015 priorities demonstrate our continued commitment to ensuring lawmakers enact pro-growth policy that will improve the lives of their constituents. Less government and more freedom is a great recipe for advancing the well-being of all South Dakotans.”

AFP South Dakota’s 2015 federal priorities include free-market reforms in the areas of taxes, and spending, healthcare, and energy. To view the complete federal agenda, visit

In South Dakota, AFP will be engaging on the Highway Funding Bill, opposing the expansion of Medicaid and fighting burdensome EPA regulations.

In the coming weeks, Americans for Prosperity South Dakota will be mobilizing its network of grassroots activists through letters, phone calls, and door-to-door canvassing to promote it’s Reform America 2015 legislative priorities.


Sen. Vehle claiming Governor ‘a little too frugal’ on roads. Is he kidding?

Apparently yesterday’s quote of the day belongs to State Senator Mike Vehle:

“I’m grateful we have a governor who recognizes the need,” Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell, said.  Vehle paused, then presented the other side of his opinion.

“(The governor) likes to be frugal. Maybe he’s a little too frugal.”


Vehle said Daugaard left out the committee’s proposals to expand the wheel tax from a maximum of four wheels to 12 and didn’t address any additional revenue from hybrid and electric vehicles.

The governor also didn’t endorse a tax on dyed-diesel fuel used in agriculture implements. The committee had proposed a new tax of 7 cents per gallon that had many farmers and ranchers on edge.

Read it here.

Part of politics is having the ability to recognize what you can achieve might be better than nothing at all. So I’m a little puzzled at Vehle’s statement.  Senator Vehle was backing the largest package of tax increases in state history – over $100 Million in new taxes. In talking with legislators and lobbyists, I heard only one thing in reference to it, and it was consistent:  D.O.A. 

The previous package proposed was Dead On Arrival. There was no way that frugal (yes, frugal) South Dakotans would support that kind of massive tax increase. I’ve even heard some question whether just voting for the package as part of the interim committee could be used as a future campaign issue.

Enter Governor Daugaard who – recognizing the proposal’s inability to move forward – chose not to publicly strip the bark off of the committee. And he politely noted that some elements of it might move forward, which they did as he proposed his own plan, one that might stand a chance at passage.

So, color me confused over Vehle’s complaining that the Governor is bringing an alternative that actually has a chance of passing as being “too frugal.”

Or maybe I’m wrong. What do you think?

Family Heritage Alliance issues response to Judge Schreier’s South Dakota Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

The Family Heritage Alliance, led by Executive Director Dale Bartscher, issued a statement contained in their e-mail newsletter today in which they note their opposition to the ruling handed down yesterday by Federal Judge Karen Schreier:

Dale BartscherThe South Dakota Family Heritage Alliance sincerely believes that marriage has always been – and will always be – between a man and a woman. Ultimately, no court can change that truth.  So regardless of legal outcomes, we’ll continue to address the importance of one-man, one-woman marriage.  It is important to families, society and especially for children who have a right to both a mother and a father.

Over the last 15 years, more than 40 million Americans in more than 30 states have voted at the ballot box to define marriage as one man and one woman – the same definition of marriage used worldwide and throughout history.  In the last 12 months, some U.S. judges have attempted to erase those votes much like what has happened recently here in South Dakota.

Marriage is about more than who you love; it’s about bringing together the two halves of humanity which are male and female.

Also it’s important to recognize that legalizing same-sex marriage comes at a high cost.  It costs kids either a mom or a dad (who are not interchangeable).   Furthermore it costs people of faith their First Amendment rights as government imposes the new definition across all aspects of society. We need to carefully count these costs before we run headlong into this latest social experiment with marriage.

What is before us today in the courts is a process and we pray for the sake of society that ultimately marriage as traditionally and naturally defined will win the day.

Dale Bartscher
Executive Director
Family Heritage Alliance / FHA Action

Follow the Family Heritage Alliance here.

Press Release: Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’ 2015 legislative proposals

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’ 2015 legislative proposals

Pierre, SD – Today Secretary of State Shantel Krebs has announced that she will be pushing an aggressive legislative package and asking the legislature to consider supporting changes to election law, corporate filing law and streamlining current laws.

To ensure greater fairness in the petition process for citizens of South Dakota, Secretary Krebs asks the legislature to consider the following:

Random Sampling of Statewide Candidate Petition Signatures:

This proposal, approved by the bipartisan State Board of Elections, would require the Secretary of State to conduct a 5-percent random sample of statewide candidate petitions. The proposed changes would mirror current state law pertaining to statewide initiated measures and referendums.

The proposal is designed to increase the integrity of the petition process and quell concerns pertaining to current law which does not allow the office of the Secretary of State to review the signatures that come from registered voters on statewide candidate petitions but does allow for the review of authentic signatures for statewide initiated measures and referendums.

“South Dakotans expect the Secretary of State’s office to hold the election process to the highest level of integrity. It’s crucial that our office and the Legislature work together to strengthen our election laws regarding the circulation of statewide candidate petitions so citizens can be confident that the chief elections officer has the authority to ensure statewide candidate petitions are valid,” said Secretary Krebs.

Current law puts the burden of challenging petitions on the citizens of South Dakota first, and then the matter must be decided in circuit court.  The Secretary of State’s office is currently authorized to ensure that those signatures are complete on each line, but not determine whether or not they are signed by registered voters.

Timeframe for Petition Circulation and Timeframe for Petitions to be Challenged:

This measure would give greater authority to the people of South Dakota and the Secretary of State to evaluate and dispute a candidate’s nominating petitions. Moving the petition circulation time frame ahead one month from January 1st of the election year to December 1st of the previous year and moving the petition filing deadline ahead one month from the last Tuesday in March to the last Tuesday of February and  allow challenges to be made until the second Tuesday in March.

Of further benefit to a concerned party is that a challenge to a candidate’s petitions will take precedence over other cases currently in circuit court.

Fictitious Business Name Legislative proposal:

Currently non profit organizations are not required to file Fictitious Business Names under current statute.  This proposal would require them to file so the public can search the database with greater transparency and more easily identify persons with interest in any for profit or non profit entity operating within the state of South Dakota.

“We are opening records that we feel should be available to the public, improving customer service, and making the search process more user-friendly,” said Secretary Krebs.


(Editor’s Note – Bills mentioned are SB64, SB67, SB68, & SB69)