Electrical cooperatives being shut out from sitting down with their legislators over initiated measure 22.

From my mailbox:

From: siouxvalleyenergy.comDate: November 16, 2016 at 12:51:28 PM CST

Subject: Sioux Valley Energy and Southeastern Electric Legislative Forum CANCELLED

Dear Legislator:

Several legislators have expressed concerns regarding the upcoming Sioux Valley Energy and Southeastern Electric legislative forum which was to be held Monday, November 21 at Spezia in Sioux Falls. The concern centers around Initiated Measure 22 and the attendance of legislators at events such as the legislative forum we had planned which included a luncheon.

As a result of the concerns, we have decided to cancel the legislative forum for Monday. We hope in the future we will be able to host events such as this but until we have a better understanding of IM 22, we think it’s best to cancel this year.

We apologize if this causes any inconvenience and we look forward to seeing you in Pierre this year!

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

It would be helpful if you could reply and let us know you received this cancellation notice.

Thanks again,

Carrie Law

31 thoughts on “Electrical cooperatives being shut out from sitting down with their legislators over initiated measure 22.”

  1. Attorney General explanation

    The Attorney General explanation for this measure was as follows:[6]

    This measure extensively revises State campaign finance laws. It requires additional disclosures and increased reporting. It lowers contribution amounts to political action committees; political parties; and candidates for statewide, legislative, or county office. It also imposes limits on contributions from candidate campaign committees, political action committees, and political parties.

    WOW!!! Now we see what has being going on… If they can’t pay, they won’t play? Seriously folks, how goofy y’all gonna get… and I am sure y’all can get even more goofy…..

    1. Yes, IM22 barred groups such as rural electrics from hosting a lunch where they hope to inform legislators of issues that are important to their members. IM22 was billed as a “anti-corruption act”, but I find nothing corrupt about these types of events that are meant to help make sure members of the legislature are aware of the issues.

      1. Nothing is stopping legislators from being informed… except their unwillingness to pay for their own damn lunch. Whatever happened to self-reliance?

        1. You forget that in many cases the legislators maybe have to drive 50-60 miles one way, plus take time from their jobs/family to attend. Do you invite others to dinner and then let them pay for their own? A dinner, $100 donation or even $1000 never bought my vote or those that I knew. And neither did the breakfasts or lunches served in the Capitol.

          1. Did I miss the part where legislators were forced into public service? Golly. Wouldn’t want to inconvenience them by having them drive 50-60 miles and having to buy their own lunch.

          2. This is absurd. So much focus on events that “must” be cancelled because free food can’t be offered? Just meet, take a lunch break, and continue after lunch. It isn’t that hard. Can’t afford it on $6000? Bring a sack lunch. Plenty of non-legislators around the state do that every day. Do the people’s business and stop worrying about having to give up free lunches.

    2. I don’t think you can make that leap based upon what little you most likely know about the internal workings of the Sioux Valley Energy, JD; I know your assumption plays into your socialist narrative about the corruption that you believe permeates all “big business”.

      However, I think most thinking people don’t automatically jump to your conclusion; you must take a page from Obama-spout off before you know all the facts. Ya’ll should quit doing that because it makes you look really dumb when the facts come out, and it tarnishes your already rusty credibility.

  2. The attorney general explanation is one paragraph. That is not the law. The initiated measure is 70 sections and about thirty pages in small single spaced font. Please read the full 30 pages and be informed before you state that this is not accurate, because it is.

  3. Jaa Dee – you’re calling these coops goofy, for following the letter of laws you advocate!!!! Lucky you use the cloak of anonymity, keeps us from assuming the obvious, that you are affiliated with the out of staters that peddled this in our state. Yup, we couldn’t figure that out

  4. Well this is just all insaner than most. I can’t believe how so many idiots read this entire measure and then voted for this kind of swill.

  5. My question: What, if anything, did the rural electrics, the chiropractors, so on and so forth (really any organization) do to stop IM22. Because if they didn’t come out and try to stop this from happening then they should be blaming themselves for the fact that they’re no longer able to host these events.

  6. Not that I’m trying to defend this garbage but just cancel the food and drinks and turn it into a meeting.
    If the legislators want something they can order and pay themselves.
    Raise legislators’s pay a couple thousand and no more free food and drinks. This will have a huge effect during session as the groups come to Pierre and host evening events.
    Hopefully legislators are working hard to repeal and replace this garbage with a couple of things that the people found appealing.

  7. So I agree that this thing is a POS. However, I don’t completely understand why people are all worked up about these little events. The limit is $100 per year. If I’m a Chamber or REA and have an event with say 20 legislators and 20 of my members and spend $1,000 on that lunch or breakfast, I would attribute a $25 ‘gift’ to that legislator. My association could go on and do a dinner during session with the same legislators and spend up to $75 per person.

    So yes, I think the measure is too broadly worded in a number of places — I think of spouses and even employees of Avera for instance who serve in the Legislature. But in terms of hosting actual events and dinners, I’m not sure there’s anything to be afraid of as long as my group doesn’t spend more than $100 on an individual legislator. But I honestly don’t remember that ever happening before. The dinners generally all offer probably a $20 meal and a couple drinks. Maybe the exception would be lobbyists who take the same legislators out to dinner and drinks several times — but I’m not sure that even happens — schedules are just too busy for that type of thing.

    1. Is it $100 per company per legislator, or $100 total to any legislator (from all sources) over a calendar year. I read it as the latter, which would mean a legislator could go to a total of 3 lunches or one supper per year (from all companies/lobbiests combined).

  8. Voters can’t take food for votes (remember 2010 and the Noem SHS race?) Why should legislators be able to take food?

    How about we let everyone have food and realize that a bowl of chili isn’t going to buy a vote but it is a good conversation starter and a way to build relationships.

  9. Anon 9:29:

    I think it two factors:

    Minor: They have to keep track of who actually came and don’t want to make a mistake.

    Major: Because the limit is so small, they don’t want to use up any cushion for something down the road.

    Really Major: What is the cost of the event to be allocated? Does it include the cost of travel for your members to be there? How about an allocation of the time of your paid employees? How about the cost of the invites? How about the allocation of the time of the employees back in the office organizing the event? How about the fair market value of the volunteer time of your members? My guess is that under the broadness of the law (and my reading of the literal words), all of the above should be included and not just the direct cost of the meal. I don’t think any organization can put on a gathering for under the $100 limit. I can tell you if I were leading such a group, I’d read the law this way and err on the side of caution because the consequences of being wrong are too great (and much more than any benefit of the event.

    Really, Really Major: Because of the uncertainty of the law, if I were a legislator, I wouldn’t show. Period. Not all all legislators will take my approach. If only one shows up and the room rental was $200 alone, a case can be made the legislator and the group broke the law by just having the event.

    Any group which holds one of these events and a legislator who attends is basically daring someone to prosecute them. Because it is so visible, the “dare” is like deciding to speed through a speed trap.

    1. Is it not direct benefit to the legislator that counts? The meal he or she benefits from. The room rental, the planning in the office, not so much. I interpreted the measure limiting not what a company could spend on such lobbying, but what the benefit (gift) to the legislator. (No, I didn’t read the whole thing, and yes, I voted against it)

  10. Sidebar; How can a legislator who is a teacher or has a spouse that is a teacher attend the SDEA convention anymore? They can’t.

  11. Sidebar #2: What really irks me is I’ve been around the Legislature for almost 40 years and I’ve never met a single person (Republican or Democrat) who I thought could even remotely be tempted to be affected by a meal or drinks. Not one. Not once. Not ever.

    These group’s events actually benefits the body politic more than even the group themselves because legislators mingle away from work, talk about real things like their kids, and it diffuses what divided them during the day. That is good for all of us to have them start each day anew. Nothing is ever served when today is polluted with the fight of yesterday.

  12. Don’t forget all the snacks and lunches during session. Interns will spend all their time delivering meals instead of doing work.

  13. Fled to Red,

    I presume GAAP accounting standards would apply unless otherwise stated (normal practice) whereby the total cost (per plate + room rental + all other costs to put on the event) would be included and then divided by the number of legislators (or attendees as it again isn’t clear). The law again isn’t clear and without guidance, prudence would dictate assuming the “worst case” (what I describe up above plus all the other things like staff time and other items of value as a part of the event) or at minimum the “most likely case” (what I describe up above). Using the “cost” of the meal and the only component would be an assumption of “best case” because the easiest thing to get around it to put negotiate $1,000 in room rental and $1 per plate.

  14. The problem I have with your theory on this is this… If my assistant spent three hours putting together a lunch and making reservations for me and 5 legislators, your argument would add her three hours of work to the ‘gift’ applicable to those legislators. That just doesn’t make sense – now, the cost of the meal, drink, and tip – absolutely. But I don’t think any rational person would add the value of my time or my assistant as part of that ‘gift’.

    It needs to go away, but this is not the only place in the nation that limits ‘gifts’.

    1. You are exactly right. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t define how to value gifts whereas those other valuation techniques are defined. What standard applies? The one that values the gift at its cheapest or most expensive? IRS standards? What do you divide the cost by attendees or legislators?

      With this uncertainty and the potential consequences, would you go to an event? Would you put one on?

      1. I have to agree with Anon here. Would any rational person really make the leap to people’s pay, paying for a service at their business, getting rewards from HyVee, pay for wives who work, or any of the other alarmist reactions I’ve read here tonight? I think not. In my humble opinion, clearly it’s only the Republicans who have a problem with this because they are the ones taking advantage of the wild west of gifts we’ve had in this state for too long.

        The Minnesota limit for gifts is $5, and they seem to make it work. Lawmakers have to pay for their own food, oh the horror. And they can’t hang out in the drunk rooms that Republican lobbyists host every year. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

  15. Anonymous 1:29:

    They are not taking a leap to someone’s pay. It is right in the bill.

    Section 31. That chapter 12-27 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

    For the purposes of this section, the term “gift” means any COMPENSATION (emphasis added), reward, employment, gift, honorarium, beverage, meal, food, or other thing of value made or given directly or indirectly to any person.

    But, let’s not lose sight of the big picture. Frankly, I don’t give a rip that legislators won’t get free meals. My problem with it is Legislators will be increasingly reluctant to go to ANY free events sponsored by citizens groups (Chamber, SDEA, Knights of Columbus, Nurses Association, Rotary Clubs, etc.). Note the word “any” is in the above section.

    For them to go, they have to keep track of EVERYWHERE they go, pay for it and keep a receipt so they can prove they didn’t take a gift. Additionally, if they choose to forego the free lunch, how can they prove it? Get a receipt for $0?
    This bill has the effect of ISOLATING our legislators from the people.

    This applies to the Governor as well. How many speeches is he asked to give around the state? Now he has to pay cash, get a receipt and keep a log. Yes, he has staff to do that but that has a cost to the taxpayers as well.

    And, don’t forget this applies to legislators who serve in other roles. I’m on a two different private charity boards which are related and they have a lobbyist. Between the two of them, we have probably 30 meetings a year and they always provide a modest lunch. If I were a legislator as well, I’d have to pay for each meal (which nobody else does) and most importantly get a receipt. Yes, my annual donations exceed the value of the meals by a very large multiple and I wouldn’t miss giving them an extra $300 (or reducing my donation $300) but suddenly I have a hassle factor for what good reason?

    And, let’s not forget this all applies to the spouse as well. Suddenly, the spouse has to keep track of every “free meal” the spouse gets or pay for a meal nobody else does to make sure the legislator doesn’t go over the $100 limit. And, if I were a legislator, just to take the edge off being gone all the time, it would be good to give my spouse the option of attending with me. The hassle factor is huge.

    Again, I don’t give a rip that Legislators and their spouses don’t get free meals but the hassle of paying and keeping every receipt to insure they don’t commit a crime is going to have one effect- legitimate citizens groups and citizens will have less opportunity to interact with their elected representatives. Its not good for democracy.

    P.S. I can’t wait until the people who vote for the taxpayer funded campaign credits have to explain why that is a higher priority than the items which get cut from the budget (we have to balance our budget). Remember the total cost of these credits is $12 million which is 15% of the money we just dedicated to teacher salaries. Not going to want to be those legislators voting to put money in their campaign accounts. Hilarious in a way.

    1. $12 million in “Democracy Credits” is just the tip of the iceberg, of the overall cost to fully implement IM22.

    2. Hilarious indeed. The Chicken Little comparisons are the funniest. I voted against this thing, but I think it might accomplish some admirable things. Like legislators answering to the voters who funded their campaigns instead of big money corporations and their lobbyists who have the loudest voices because money talks. I think it could lead to some citizens deciding to run for office because they can get a few bucks from their neighbors instead of sucking up to well-funded PACs and the party bosses for a few scraps. And it’ll shut down the backroom drunk fests that a lot of lawmakers partake in. Wait. Who am I kidding. Of course behind closed doors anything goes. So I’m sure those will continue. It’ll just be the public events that lawmakers hate going to anyway that will be shut down.

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