...but not without more GOP monkeyshines!
Governor Dennis Daugaard appears to have applied the appropriate pressure to his good soldiers in the Legislature. Last Friday, Rep. Brock Greenfield (R-6/Clark) moved to turn SB 170 into a blatant attempt to subvert the people's right to referendum. Rep. Greenfield's motion would have repealed the Governor's Large Project Investment Fund, a corporate welfare slush fund passed by the 2011 Legislature and referred to this year's statewide ballot by nearly 23,000 petition signers statewide. The amendment would then have re-enacted very similar to what the Governor wanted in the first place. Sneaky.
On this issue, at least, Governor Daugaard doesn't play sneaky. He could have let his legislative lieutenants annul the referendum that disgusts him so. But apparently even he choked on the baloney Sen. Tom Nelson had to dish out to justify this blast against democracy. Instead, the governor sent the GOP caucus some pretty stern signals that SB 170 was to be sent back down the hole it crawled out of Friday.
When SB 170 came to the House floor Tuesday afternoon, Majority Leader Rep. David Lust (R-34/Rapid City) moved to table the bill. Of the ten lunkheads who approved the hoghouse in committee Friday, only one, mover Rep. Greenfield, tried to keep the bill alive on the House floor. The motion to table passed 65-1.
Worth noting: on reaching SB 170, Rep. Lust moved to recess for an hour, and the House Republicans called a caucus meeting. When they came back, Rep. Cronin moved another one-hour recess, with another Republican caucus meeting. They were waiting to see if the Senate could get its poop in a group to pass HB 1228, which included the tax rebates for wind energy projects and power plant environmental upgrades that had been sugared onto SB 170.
The Senate narrowly passed HB 1228, and seconds later, the House sprang into action.
When the House reconvened at 5:30 p.m. and heard the second reading of SB 170, Rep. Stace Nelson (R-25/Fulton) sought the floor, with an amendment ready to wreak more monkeyshines. But the real monkeyshines came from Speaker Val Rausch (R-4/Big Stone City), who ignored Rep. Nelson and recognized Rep. Lust. Rep. Nelson called point of order and pointed out a House rule requiring the Speaker to recognize the first member to rise. The Speaker replied thus:
...The policy of this house for many years to address... the prime sponsor of the bill first. That is what I have done. Representative Lust [Speaker Val Rausch, ruling on point of order, South Dakota House of Representatives, 2012.02.28].
Hold on: rewind that. Who were the sponsors of SB 170?
Rep. Tom Brunner (R-29/Nisland) was the prime House sponsor. He did not seek the floor. Rep. Nelson was a co-sponsor of the original carcass bill, though certainly not a supporter of subverting referendum by hoghouse. He sought the floor. Rep. Lust was not on the original sponsor list nor even on the committee that wrought its Friday shenanigans. He sought the floor. The Speaker recognized Rep. Lust, who quickly shut down debate and any chance for further damage to the party or the people's will.
So even in this effort at damage control, the GOP leadership manages to show its seamy undergarments. Either Speaker Rausch continues to rule by fiat and stifle the voice of the voters of District 25, or Speaker Rausch slipped and forgot that he wasn't supposed to mention whose idea it really was to try quashing the voice of all South Dakotans on Referred Law 14.
Update 2012.02.29 05:09 MST: Lest all credit for protecting the democratic process from crony capitalism go to the Governor, Chairman Nesselhuf thinks some thanks go to you and me and the rest of the great unwashed for calling out the real stinkers:
South Dakotans have successfully beaten back Republican attempts to circumvent the referendum process. Voters wanted to decide the outcome of Governor Daugaard's program for big business giveaways, and now they will have their say in November. This is a big win for South Dakota [Ben Nesselhuf, chairman, South Dakota Democratic Party, press release, 2012.02.28].