Having been more involved on a couple of issues that I had been in a few years, I joked to a few as I darkened out halls of government that “Every time I spend time in Pierre, I tend to get my butt kicked, so I want to get out of here as soon as possible.” Basically, I was more interested in winning on my issue than going to war with anyone, as I might have been tempted from time to time. So I was glad to be successful, and on my way out the door late last week.
And that might sum up much of session. People were more interested in getting work done than posturing. On the surface this session seemed pretty low key. Not a lot of conflict between individual legislators. And there wasn’t any open warfare I noticed between political parties.
But there was the fact that we had more conference committees than ever before. Where what little conflict came up was more between the House and Senate than anyone else.
That’s my 2 cents worth. As a broad open topic – What did YOU think of the 2015 State Legislative session?
Senate Bill 69, the package of election reforms from the Secretary of State’s office has been amended, spindled, folded and pressed multiple times – and it has finally passed both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature.
But what changes in South Dakota’s election laws does this bill offer as a result of passage should the Governor sign it as expected? Well, that’s why we’re here. To offer the practical guide to election changes in 2016 that party activists and candidates can expect as a result of Senate Bill 69.
The SDWC practical guide to the Big Changes in South Dakota election laws for 2016.
#1 – Petition circulation will now begin December 1, 2015 for the 2016 election. According to changes in state law..
…no candidate for any office to be filled, or nomination to be made, at the primary election, other than a presidential election, may have that person’s name printed upon the official primary election ballot of that person’s party, unless a petition has been received in the office of the person in charge of that election on that person’s behalf not prior to December first of the year preceding the election, and not later than the first Tuesday of March at five p.m. prior to the date of the primary election.
This means that you have from December 1, 2015 through The first Tuesday in March 2016, in this case March 1, 2016 at 5 P.M. to have your petitions into the Secretary of State’s office.
** Special note for precinct people. This also counts on your candidacies for precinct committeeman and precinct committeewoman.
#2 – THERE IS NO MORE REGISTERED MAIL TO MEET THE DEADLINE. Noticeable by it’s omission is arguably the worst, and most unfair change to the new law. Those in outlying areas may no longer mail by 5pm of the deadline day. They have to be in the Secretary of State’s office by 5pm 3/1/16, or you are out of luck.
What this means is that if you live in Pierre, you can circulate until about 4:30 that day. If you’re in Harding county? You’d better be mailing it a week beforehand. In a state as geographically large as South Dakota, it’s a real sin of omission.
#3 – Independents are now on a level playing field with party candidates for filing nominating petitions. This was long overdue. Under the law in front of the Governor for his signature, Independent candidates start circulating December 1, and have to have their petitions in by March 1, 2016. According to the enrolled measure:
If the election is conducted with a primary election, each party nomination and independent petition shall be received by the first Tuesday in March. Each nomination shall be certified in a like manner as any other nomination for the purpose of a general election. The election shall be conducted, canvassed, and the results certified as in a general election. If the election is conducted with a general election, each party nomination and independent petition shall be received by the second Tuesday in August.
So, if the office is subject to a primary such as for US Senate, Congress, or state legislature, Indy’s have to have petitions in by March 1, 2016. If it isn’t subject to a primary, such as for Public Utilities Commission this next year, they have until August 9, 2016.
#4 – Petition signature requirements are going to change somewhat. So pay attention. The impending law says….
The petition for party office or political public office shall be signed by not less than one percent of the voters registered for the candidate’s political party at the last general election in the county, part of the county, district, or state electing a candidate to fill the office.
Notwithstanding the provisions of § 12-6-7 a nominating petition for a candidate for office in the State Legislature, county political public office, and county party office shall be signed by not less than fifty voters or not less than one percent of the voters registered for the candidate’s political party at the last general election, whichever is less. The petition shall clearly designate the senatorial or representative district for which the person is a candidate.
and for Indy’s…
The number of signatures required may not be less than one percent of the number of registered voters having no party affiliation or voters registered as other, at the last general election within the district or political subdivision.
So, what are the numbers that candidates will have to work with? I have a chart!
As noted, it’s a minimum of 50 or 1% for each legislative or other district. Statewide, here are rough guesstimations based on the immediate pre-general election numbers. For Statewide candidates, my Republicans will need a minimum of 2405 signatures. Dems will need 1762, and Independents 1023 to qualify for the ballot.
I believe Libertarians and Constitutional candidates may have to get recertified as parties first, but that’s a post for a different day.
#5 – Independent candidates for Governor can now have their Lt’s withdraw without going to court. I’m not sure I really care, but whatever.
#6 – Presidential Primary candidates must be certified by March 1, 2016.
#7 – New political parties also have until March 1 2016 to certify. According to Senate Bill 69:
A new political party may be organized and participate in the primary election by submitting to the secretary of state not later than the first Tuesday of March at five p.m. prior to the date of the primary election, a written declaration signed by at least two and one-half percent of the voters of the state as shown by the total vote cast for Governor at the last preceding gubernatorial election
If I’m reading that correctly, (2.5% of the voters of the state as shown by the total vote cast for Governor) with 277,403 total votes cast for governor, that means new political parties need would need 6935 people to sign on to certify as a political party, which is defined in state law as:
“Political party,” a party whose candidate for Governor at the last preceding general election at which a Governor was elected received at least two and one-half percent of the total votes cast for Governor;
So, according to the vote and the chart above, since I believe Libertarians may have been de-certified as an organized political party since they didn’t have a Gubernatorial candidate, that would mean they need to add about 5558 more people to sign on to become a political party again. Constitutionalists have even farther to go.
Ouch. Better get moving boys.
#8 – Everyone else’s deadlines move up.See the proposed law, but everyone’s deadlines are changing as well for school board, county races, etc.
#9 – NO MORE PLACEHOLDERS TO GAME THE DEADLINE. Read it and weep Dems. You can’t game the deadline on purpose anymore:
If a party candidate for public office withdraws after filing petitions with the secretary of state, the appropriate party central committee may make a replacement nominee only if:
(1) The party candidate: (a) Withdraws because of personal illness or illness of an immediate family member and the illness prevents the candidate from performing the duties of the office sought; and (b) Submits with the withdrawal request a form signed by a licensed physician verifying that the provisions of subsection (a) apply to the candidate;
(2) There is no other nominee for the office sought by the withdrawing candidate as of the time of the withdrawal;
(3) The party candidate has been elected or appointed to fill a vacancy in another elective office which duties conflict by law with the duties of the office sought, has become the nominee for another elective office, it has been determined that the party candidate’s employment conflicts by law with the duties of the office sought, or is deceased; or
(4) The party candidate permanently moves from his or her physical address stated in the nominating petition filed with the secretary of state, and requests in writing, subscribed and sworn to by the candidate before any officer qualified to administer oaths and take acknowledgments that the candidate has not resided in the district for a period of thirty consecutive calendar days and has no intention of resuming residency in the district.
So, no more running just to fill a slot with the intention of being replaced later. If you’re in, you’re in.
#10 – New political parties need a minimum of 250 signatories for statewide candidates. If the libertarians can meet their new quota of 6935 people, they only need 250 of them to sign a petition to run a candidate for statewide office, or 50 for a legislative office.
This morning, Gordon Howie slobbers over Representative DiSanto, and prints a missive allegedly from her about her first legislative session.
Unfortunately, the missive’s purpose is to go all ‘Stace Nelson’ on her colleagues in the House Republican caucus:
I often get told that it is so unfair for the Democrats in our state government, since they are such a minority. But I can honestly say, it doesn’t matter. Many of these republicans vote more like democrats anyway. So, to my democrat friends, you are not in as much of a minority here as you think.
Rounds Questions Pentagon Officials on BRAC Process
Continues Commitment to Protect Ellsworth Air Force Base
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Wednesday questioned Department of Defense (DoD) officials about the Administration’s proposal for another Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round. When Rounds was working as governor during the last BRAC round (2005), Ellsworth Air Force Base was removed from DoD’s proposed closure list as a result of extensive information that South Dakota presented to the BRAC Commission. The BRAC Commission was created by Congress to conduct an independent and impartial review of DoD’s closure recommendations.
“Ellsworth Air Force Base is an important part of a long-term defense strategy,” said Rounds. “Because of the critical role it plays in protecting our nation, I want to make sure the Pentagon is using the best possible information should there be another BRAC round. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will continue to seek ways to protect Ellsworth and the vital mission it performs for America.”
Thune Leads Call for USDA, HHS to Include Lean Red Meat in 2015 Dietary Guidelines
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today led 29 of his colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell calling on the secretaries to stay within statutory guidelines, consider the most relevant nutrition scientific literature, and reject the committee’s inconsistent conclusions and recommendations regarding the role of lean red meat in a healthy diet. The letter also requests an extension of the 45-day comment period to ensure stakeholders have enough time to review and comment on the lengthy report.
Every five years, USDA and HHS review the dietary guidelines for American food consumption. A recent advisory committee report recommends to the agencies what foods should be included in the new dietary guidelines. The nearly 600-page report leaves lean red meat out of what it considers to be a healthy diet, which greatly concerns dietitians who support consumption of lean red meat and is alarming to the livestock, pork, and poultry industries.
The senators write in their letter, “We are concerned about this committee’s suggestion to decrease consumption of red and processed meats … this statement ignores the peer-reviewed and published scientific evidence that shows the role of lean red meats as part of a healthy diet … we have strong concerns with the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee going beyond its purview of nutrition and health research to include topics such as sustainability … We encourage you to carefully consider the most relevant nutrition scientific literature and reject the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s inconsistent conclusions regarding the role of meat in Americans’ diets as you finalize the Dietary Guidelines.”
Joining Thune in his letter are Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Angus King (I-Maine), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Rand Paul (R-Ken.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
The full text of the senators’ letter is available here:
We are concerned with the scientific integrity of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s recommendation to remove “lean meat” from the statement of a healthy dietary pattern, and we seek an extension of the 45-day comment period for stakeholders to comment on the “Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.”
We are concerned about this committee’s suggestion to decrease consumption of red and processed meats. The report suggests that dietary patterns with positive health benefits are described as high in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nuts and moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products. Dietary patterns with positive health benefits are also described as lower in red and processed meat.
Unfortunately, this statement ignores the peer-reviewed and published scientific evidence that shows the role of lean red meats as part of a healthy diet. Furthermore, the statement is misleading as it suggests current American diets include too much meat. Government data shows the protein food category is the only food group being consumed within the 2010 daily recommended values. It is misleading for the report to suggest eating less meat when lean meat is not being overconsumed based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendations.
Additionally, we have strong concerns with the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee going beyond its purview of nutrition and health research to include topics such as sustainability. The 14-member advisory committee does not have the background or expertise required to make these suggestions in this report. We strongly encourage you to stay within the statutory authority of your respective departments when finalizing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.
Not only do we represent farmers and ranchers who raise animals to provide healthy meat products, but we also represent consumers who enjoy lean meat as an important food in their diet. The inconsistencies brought forward in the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report are significant. We encourage you to carefully consider the most relevant nutrition scientific literature and reject the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s inconsistent conclusions regarding the role of meat in Americans’ diets as you finalize the Dietary Guidelines.
We request that you grant an extension of the comment period beyond the allotted 45 days, which expires on April 8, 2015. It is important to allow enough time for interested stakeholders to carefully review the 571-page report.
There are complaints and accusations on the house floor over HB 1228 that the measure is designed for the company, CGI, from the Obamacare website debacle, is working to get the SD Bill collector project being organized by the 1228.
One legislator commented that they’re concerned that the RFP is specifically designed for CGI and that they have 5 lobbyists roaming the halls. (Although, I’m told it was actually 2 who lobbied).
And there was grumbling that the bill is definitely not going to allow local companies to bid on the project.
SDHSAA passed a policy demanding that, if religiously affiliated schools wished to deny a high school student the opportunity to play sports as a gender other than what is on their birth certificate, the activities association was to he held completely harmless.
So, what about secular schools who wanted the same choice?