Do former officials remain honorable after their 15 minutes is up? It depends.

A web site comment today (and subsequent retort) pinged my memory, and had me digging for what the proper protocol is.


True, Tim is not a Senator anymore, but it’s not like he’s using it to get anything, and given he just left office it was very likely a slip of habit. But as I did note, it did bring up the issue of what is proper protocol.

Democratic State Senator Doris Miner, who had served in the 90’s was not unknown to refer to herself as Senator when out of office at least for a time. I know of another former State Rep who served a single term back in the 90’s who still refers to himself as “the Honorable.”

But they’re the exception more than the rule. Most are quite content to go back to being Joe Blow.  But, seeing the always pleasant comment section this AM had me scrounging around to look it up.  And I found a great reference in the on-line web site for the book “The Protocol School of Washington’s Honor & Respect – the official guide to names, titles, and forms of address.”

So, what does the protocol guide have to say about the use of former titles? It’s actually easy after you see it laid out:

Referring to Former Officials
By their Former Office in the Third Person?
       One thing I find missing is how one should reference a former United States Official in descriptive text or to a third party.  I notice that former Governor Huckabee is always introduced as Governor Huckabee on his TV show.  Is this correct, incorrect, or optional?  I assume it is correct to use their official titles when describing their actions in office.

Dear MLB:
Addresing Mike Huckabee as “Governor Huckabee” is not correct.
Mike Huckabee would not be referred to as “Governor Huckabee” at the Governor’s Mansion, at the State Capital, in Washington, D.C., or in the U.S. Capital. He’d be Mike Huckabee, former Governor of … or Mr. Huckabee.
Perhaps the producers of the show are concerned everyone won’t know who he is?
Former officials who hold a position of which there is more than one at a time — retired judges, retired ambassadors, retired generals, retired senators, retired bishops etc. — use their “title” in every situation for the rest of their lives.
But officials of which there there is only one at a time (The Governor, The President of the United States, The Speaker of the House, The Secretary of State, The Surgeon General …) don’t continue use of their former title.
They use what they were entitled before taking the one-at-a-time position. E.g., Dwight Eisenhower in retirement went back to General Eisenhower.  He was no longer The President”.
Same with Colin Powell … he’s no longer addresses as “Secretary” … he’s General Powell. 
Bill Clinton is now “Mr. Clinton.” When you hear a TV journalist saying “President Clinton” it’s a short-hand third-person phrase to quickly tell the viewer who is being discussed. It’s not a form of address.  If they are directly addressing him that way it is incorrect.
— Robert Hickey

Read it here.

According to the protocol guide, since they’re all former officials who hold a position of which there is more than one at a time technically, Tim, Doris, and others who have served in the legislature are quite proper in the use of their former title of Senator or Representative.

Now you know. (And knowing is half the battle.)



Here’s what the AG has so far on Ballot Measures

They may change, and at the moment, the pot related measures are yet to be submitted in crayon, but from the Attorney General – here’s the latest on the ballot measures being proposed for 2016 ….

Ballot Measures 2015 by Pat Powers

“Attached are the 4 initiated measures and 1 initiated constitutional amendment for which this Office is currently preparing attorney general statements (titles and explanations) pursuant to SDCL 12-13-25.1. These are in the form as we received them from the sponsors.”

“Keep in mind that it is possible that the wording of these measures is potentially subject to change. It is our experience that on occasion, the sponsors may change some of the wording of their measures after first sending them to us. We do not make any changes to the measures ourselves. The titles drafted by the sponsors are subject to change, as SDCL 12-13-25.1 directs that the attorney general shall prepare the title.”

“For purposes of our obligation under SDCL 12-13-25.1, we will prepare a title and explanation based only upon the final form of the proposed measures. As a matter of practice, we attach that final form to our explanation when we file it with the Secretary of States office, so that everyone will be on notice as to the exact wording of the final version of the measure.

Thank you,

Thune Urges Congress to Pass TPA to Bolster Opportunities for U.S. Agriculture

Thune Urges Congress to Pass TPA to Bolster Opportunities for U.S. Agriculture

“We can’t afford to take these exports for granted, as other nations are actively negotiating new agreements …”

WASHINGTON, D.C.— At a press conference today, U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) urged passage of the bipartisan trade promotion authority legislation, highlighting the importance of opening new markets to America’s farmers and ranchers.


“By failing to reauthorize TPA, which is something we haven’t done since 2007, American producers are missing out on new opportunities to sell to the more than 96 percent of consumers who live outside of the United States. And, nowhere is this more important than when it comes to the area of agriculture. America’s high quality agricultural products are in high demand around the globe, which is why ag exports last year hit a record 152 billion dollars …

“But we can’t afford to take these exports for granted. As other nations are actively negotiating new agreements, our producers are going to be left on the sidelines if we don’t get trade promotion authority put into effect.”


Customs Modernization Bill Contains Several Thune Provisions

Customs Modernization Bill Contains Several Thune Provisions

  “I’m glad we were able to break the logjam in the Senate and move this update of our nation’s customs laws one step closer to the president’s desk.”


John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressWASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax and trade legislation, issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of H.R. 644, the customs modernization bill, which updates customs laws and strengthens enforcement of trade laws:


“I’m glad we were able to break the logjam in the Senate and move this update of our nation’s customs laws one step closer to the president’s desk,” said Thune. “As the Senate moves forward on bipartisan legislation to renew trade promotion authority, we must also ensure that our trading partners play by the rules. This legislation strengthens our laws to make sure that unfair trade practices which have harmed American agriculture producers, such as honey producers, are better identified and eliminated, ensuring that free and fair trade is the norm.”


South Dakota is the third largest honey producing state in the nation, producing 15 million pounds of honey each year. Richard Adee, owner and operator of Adee Honey Farms in Bruce, South Dakota, was encouraged by the Senate’s action on the customs bill and applauded Thune’s effort:


“The honey industry, nationwide, is very grateful for Senator Thune’s action to help save the beekeeping industry from the illegal transshipping of Chinese honey on which duties are owed, through third world countries with no duties,” said Adee. “Also we certainly appreciate his amendment prohibiting CBP from deducting interest on import duties owed to beekeepers. This again, not only helps South Dakota beekeepers who were injured by dumped imports but beekeepers nationwide. Senator Thune’s action is not only appreciated by beekeepers but also by growers of crops dependent on a healthy, viable bee industry for their pollination needs.”


The following Thune provisions were included in H.R. 644:


  1. Provisions to Reduce Trade Barriers for Low-Value Items: This legislation includes two provisions authored by Senator Thune to improve customs procedures for small sellers, such as small business owners using the Internet to sell abroad. Specifically, a Thune provision was included in the bill to reduce current trade barriers and allow for more low-value items to be imported into the United States duty-free with fewer unnecessary administrative requirements. The $200 de minimis exemption for imports has not been updated in over 20 years. Thune’s provision—taken from his legislation, S. 489, with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)—would raise the exemption level to $800.

    The bill also includes a Thune provision, added to the bill during Finance Committee consideration, to express a Sense of Congress encouraging the U.S. trade representative to work with our trading partners to ensure they are also raising their de minimis limits for U.S. goods.

  1. Provisions to Ensure Fair Treatment of Domestic Honey Producers: This legislation also includes two provisions that will benefit South Dakota’s honey producers. The first provision, championed by Thune, will provide additional tools to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to better enforce existing trade laws against Chinese honey that is transshipped through third countries, thus evading applicable duties. The problem of transshipment of Chinese honey, sometimes referred to as “honey laundering,” was discussed in detail at a Finance Trade Subcommittee hearing in the 112th Congress that Senator Thune co-chaired as ranking member of the subcommittee.

Additionally, the bill includes a Thune provision, adopted during Finance Committee consideration, requiring CBP to distribute all interest payments collected under the Byrd Amendment to affected domestic producers, such as honey producers. The law, which applies to products imported before September 30, 2007, requires that certain import duties, including all interest, be distributed to the domestic industries found to have been injured by the imports under existing trade remedy laws. CBP has made a determination, contrary to the plain language of the law, that certain interest payments are not due to the impacted U.S. producers, thus greatly reducing the payments to these producers. The Thune provision will correct this CBP misinterpretation of law, ensuring that South Dakota’s honey producers – and other affected producers – receive the relief to which they are entitled.


Press Release: South Dakota Supreme Court Unanimously Rules the Attorney General Has Followed South Dakota’s Disclosure Law on the Benda Death Investigation

(In a release just issued by the Attorney Generals office, the AG was ruled correct in what was released in the matter of Richard Benda’s death, and reporter Bob Mercer, who sought the records, had the court rule unanimously against him. – Editor PP)

South Dakota Supreme Court Unanimously Rules the Attorney General Has Followed South Dakota’s Disclosure Law on the Benda Death Investigation

Marty JackleyPIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announces that the South Dakota Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Attorney General has followed South Dakota’s disclosure law relating to the Richard Benda death investigation conducted by local, state, and federal authorities.

“The South Dakota Supreme Court, the Trial Judge, and the Chief Hearing Examiner, have all ruled the Attorney General has followed South Dakota’s disclosure law relating to the death investigation of Richard Benda. I am pleased that the Court has applied the rule of law, and recognized the balancing of open transparency with the privacy interests of the family members faced with a tragic situation. Although the Attorney General is allowed to receive court costs as the prevailing party, I have determined to not seek costs from the plaintiff in the interest of avoiding any potential effect it may have on open government transparency under these unique circumstances,” said Jackley.

The Supreme Court concluded that “When the Legislature enacted the South Dakota Public Records Act in 2009, it broadened the presumption of openness in regard to public records”. However, the Court went on to opine that confidential criminal justice information is specifically made confidential by state law, and recognized that “the evidence establishes that the Attorney General took into account the public’s interest in Benda’s death and weighed that against the personal privacy interests of the Benda family.”

“After today’s decision, the final remaining action is for me to publicly address my disappointment in how the federal government has handled this matter. I have expressed my concerns to the Department of Justice regarding its conduct and the appearance of political motivation associated with the handling, timing and publicity regarding the investigation from Washington. The actions of the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section were unfair to local federal investigators who worked in cooperation with state and local authorities to properly investigate this matter. I will certainly work with the new administration at the Department of Justice to assist them in properly addressing these concerns,” said Jackley.

On October 3, 2014, Attorney General Jackley advised US Attorney General Holder regarding his concerns associated with the Department of Justice’s handling of the investigation into the EB-5 Visa Program in South Dakota. The Attorney General specifically requested a review into the investigation that was conducted by the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice and a determination of whether politics had inappropriately driven decisions associated with this matter.   The Attorney General clearly stated that his “concerns neither pertained to nor are they directed toward any actions of the local federal authorities.” Attorney General Jackley provided General Holder with specific information pertaining to his concerns, including:   the Department of Justice’s aggressive tactics including but not

limited to openly serving subpoenas on cooperative witnesses at their place of employment; failing to attend previously arranged joint meetings with the South Dakota US Attorney’s Office, DCI Agents and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development private attorneys; and potential direct violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct governing attorneys practicing in South Dakota.

On February 3, 2015, having received no response, Attorney General Jackley renewed his request that these significant matters be reviewed and addressed in a timely fashion. To date, no response has been forthcoming. Attorney General Jackley’s correspondence to US Attorney General Holder is included as attachments to this release.

Benda Letters



It sounds like an Onida Ethanol Plant’s attempt to build on existing rail spur sparked some lively political theater.

It sounds like an election forum sponsored by the people constructing an ethanol plant got lively in Onida recently:

After a heated exchange between Walt Wendland of Ring-neck Energy and Feed LLC of Mason City, Iowa, and Adam Altman, the persistent Aberdeen attorney going down a list of questions on a yellow legal pad, that drew them within a foot or so of each other, Wendland turned to the crowd: “Anyone want him to continue?”

“NO! NO!,” came loud answers from several in the crowd. Wendland then told Altman he hadn’t been asked to take part in the forum, which was organized by Ring-neck to answer concerns about the plant.

“I didn’t say you could speak,” Wendland told Altman. Applause broke out from half or more of the crowd, it appeared.

Read it all here in the Capital Journal.

Since it was a private forum sponsored by the people building the plant, they didn’t have to let the opponents speak. They didn’t need to let even them in the door.

But it does sound like it made for some great political theater.

Paula Hawks referred to as one of NARAL-SD’s favorite pro-choice candidates

Is abortion going to be a defining issue in the next US House Race?

Anticipated to be announcing a run against South Dakota’s Congresswoman Kristi Noem, Democratic State Rep Paula Hawks was specifically held out in September 2014 as one of NARAL’s favorite pro-choice candidates:

Compare that to Congresswoman Kristi Noem, who has advocated for the pain-capable unborn child act:

…and voted for it yesterday.

First a major difference on a state income tax, now the abortion issue. This could shape up to be a  classic conservative Republican versus an extremist liberal Democrat race when Hawks announces, as is anticipated in June or July.