Remember the half-million dollars that the Legislature added to its own budget, giving themselves twelve times more money to play with than they could find for each K-12 teacher in South Dakota. The Legislative Research Council never said they needed that money, so what on earth could fiscal conservative Republicans Speaker Brian Gosch and Senate Majority Leader Russell Olson have wanted that money for?

Why, to attend ALEC meetings, of course. Here's Rep. Kathy Tyler's account of the LRC's Executive Board's first meeting on how to spend that new mad money:

Our inaugural meeting saw the election of chair and vice-chair and a discussion of legislative travel. There are three organizations to which South Dakota belongs: National Conference of State Legislators, the Council of State Governments, and the Midwestern Legislative Conference. One trip per year per legislator is the current policy. There are also four national projects or forums that appointed legislators can attend.

The travel policy used to be much broader—go to wherever and you’ll be reimbursed. Of course, without any restrictions, things got a bit ugly, and travel was restricted. After much discussion of increasing the number of trips to three and adding ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, as a destination, time forced the final decisions to be made at the April meeting. The inclusion of ALEC will be an interesting discussion. While the organizations currently approved are run basically by dues and have legislators’ issues in mind, ALEC is funded about 98% by corporations and tends to have its own agenda—HB1234 for example [Rep. Kathy Tyler (D-4/Big Stone City), "Summer Break?" Kathy's Corner, 2013.04.01].

Rep. Gosch and Sen. Olson wouldn't want South Dakota to fall behind the faux-conservative pro-corporate agenda. So they want to use your money to send their minions for marching orders from ALEC. I'm sure you won't mind if your legislators pay less attention to you and more attention to the Koch brothers.