An eager reader urges Trail King CEO Bruce Yakley and every other corporate welfare king to "relocate to an authoritarian regime where the middle class has no chance of survival and rich jerks get stinkingly richer and don't have to explain their sociopathic behavior."
But dear reader, that's why Yakley is moving to South Dakota.
Governor Dennis Daugaard signed Senate Bill 70, this year's attempt at signature legislation, into law today, complete with big Rotunda crowd and persistent hashtag slogan. #SmartOnCrime! #SmartOnCrime! No one can vote against that!
Well, nine legislators did, for varying and not insubstantial reasons. A handful of legislators tried to dig into this bill, offer criticism, even offer suggestions for improvement. There was some tinkering with numbers in Senate State Affairs, but aside from that, a legislator I spoke with got the clear sense that this bill was to move and move fast, straight to the Governor's eager pen.
My friend in Pierre sees other instances of the GOP leadership taking the deliberation out of deliberative democracy. They take House Bill 1060, the revisions to the FY2013 state appropriations that add up to $26.6 million in new emergency spending, and defer it until the day all bills must pass committee or die. That delay keeps discussions of big-ticket items like the Governor's five-million-dollar French cheese subsidy off the table, out of sight, until the last minute, when no one will really have time to publicly question all the goodies tucked away in the thousand-plus lines of HB 1060.
Meanwhile, chairmen ignore speakers seeking the floor. Leaders tell your elected representatives not to worry about making your voices heard with speeches; legislators, say the leaders, should let their votes be your voice. My friend looks around the chamber and sees a sizable fraction of Legislative colleagues giving in to that stifling of debate, not posting even one floor speech by today's halfway-point of this Session, just punching the button the leaders tell them to punch.
My friend worries that the GOP bosses have let supermajority status go to their heads. They mistake two-thirds majorities as a mandate to do whatever they want, without having to explain themselves. They actively disdain and marginalize anyone of either party who try to place objections to their preferred policies on the record.
My friend in Pierre should step out each day into the brisk Pierre sunset air thinking, "Wow! I'm doing democracy! I'm the instrument of the popular will! What an honor!" Instead, my friend comes "home"—to a crappy, empty rented room—to muse alone on the authoritarianism of South Dakota government.
Well, you're not really musing alone.