Representative Stace Nelson dropped by the blog yesterday and commented that he'd had "a rotten day."
What the... oh, that:
Representative Stace Nelson, who lives just outside of Mitchell in Hanson County, says he is being moved off the House Agriculture Committee because he opposes a large dairy operation proposed in his county.
The Speaker of the South Dakota House of Representatives says that claim is false.
Speaker Val Rausch says he hasn't moved anybody on any committee yet but he needs to make room for Dave Scott, a new legislator who was just appointed by Governor Dennis Daugaard to fill a vacant seat.
But Nelson says he was informed Tuesday that he is being moved off the Agriculture Committee because of his opposition to a 7,000 head dairy operation, and he's calling it "˜Chicago-style politics.'
"The action itself I think is rank corruption at its worst," Nelson, a Republican from Fulton, said [Ben Dunsmoor, "Lawmaker Calls Committee Assignment 'Corrupt'," KELOLand.com, 2011.11.29].
Rep. Nelson must have really made the leadership mad when he grilled clueless Ag Secretary Walt Bones at a formal hearing last summer over pollution and immigration issues at South Dakota dairies.
Speaker Rausch, who comes from big dairy territory in Grant County, says he's just looking for reasonable committee assignments for Mr. Scott, who has a strong agriculture background. Ah, so now the GOP is a meritocracy? Funny we didn't consider experience and background issues in appointing not one but two Public Utilities Commissioners in the past year who have no strong background in the utilities industry.
Dakota War College hasn't gotten directions yet from GOP headquarters on how to spin this story for the party establishment. It seems clear, though, that replacing a sitting legislator, elected by the people, with a new legislator appointed by the governor bucks legislative protocol. For better or for worse, our Legislature is usually all about seniority. Rep. Nelson has seniority over Dave Scott. It's hard to read a decision to kick Nelson off his committee assignment as anything other than transparent punishment for his refusal to toe the party line on Big Ag.