Senator Larry Tidemann (R-7/Tidemann) acts like he's afraid of his own shadow. He chairs the Legislature's Government Operations an Audit Committee. His committee has the power to subpoena witnesses to investigate crimes, corruption, and just plain sloppy work in state government.

Yet, as was the case in June, Senator Tidemann keeps looking for excuses not to use that subpoena power. Heading into today's GOAC meeting, during which the committee is supposed to discuss financial misconduct in the Governor's Office of Economic Development and the EB-5 visa investment program, Senator Tidemann tells David Montgomery that he doesn't think he can subpoena EB-5 chief Joop Bollen:

Tidemann said his committee has a limited scope in terms of investigating a complex scandal that combines government and private business.

“We are not the court system,” Tidemann said. “We can bring in things that deal with state government. I can’t bring you in to talk about your private funds. I don’t think that’s in the authority of GOAC” [David Montgomery, "," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.07.29].

Even though Kurt Evans has taken the weight off my shoulders, permit me to do the attorney general's job for a moment.

GOAC, the Legislature, and all sorts of other public agencies have subpoena power:

1-26-19.1.   Administration of oaths--Subpoena powers--Witness fees--Disobedience of subpoena. Each agency and the officers thereof charged with the duty to administer the laws of this state and rules of the agency shall have power to administer oaths as provided by chapter 18-3 and to subpoena witnesses to appear and give testimony and to produce records, books, papers and documents relating to any matters in contested cases and likewise issue subpoenas for such purposes for persons interested therein as provided by § 15-6-45. Unless otherwise provided by law fees for witnesses shall be as set forth in chapter 19-5 and be paid by the agency or party for whom the witness is subpoenaed.

Failure of a person to obey the subpoena issued pursuant to this chapter may be punished as a contempt of court in the manner provided by chapter 21-34 [South Dakota Codified Law 1-26-19.1].

The Legislature itself acknowledged GOAC's subpoena power in HCR 1010, the resolution the Legislature passed last February to assure us that the Legisalture would do something about the GOED/EB-5 scandal and to forestall pressure for immediate and firmer action against GOED and SDRC Inc.:

...the South Dakota Legislature requests the Joint Committee on Government Operations and Audit to conduct hearings on issues related to the Governor's Office of Economic Development, beginning this 89th Legislative Session upon receipt of three independent audits. Hearings may include a review of all available audits and other information, ordering of additional audits, questioning of persons involved in related economic development projects, and opportunities for public testimony. The committee's powers to summon witnesses and issue subpoenas may be exercised as necessary... [2014 HCR 1010].

Review the rules of procedure for subpoenas in Chapter 15-6, and you find no language exempting private parties or private funds from subpoena. Senator Tidemann may defend his subpoenal reticence with SDCL 2-6-4, which defines the scope of GOAC's investigative power:

2-6-4. Investigative powers of Government Operations and Audit Committee. The Government Operations and Audit Committee may examine all records and vouchers, summon witnesses, and thoroughly examine all expenditures and the general management of each department [SDCL 2-6-4].

That statute refers to government departments. But remember, everything Bollen did in managing EB-5, even after he and Richard Benda finagled EB-5 authority into a private entity to better shield their get-rich-quick schemes from public oversight, he did under authority granted solely by a state contract with the Department of Tourism and State Development (now GOED). The funds Bollen managed were authorized by the state. The $989,946 indemnification fund that Bollen's SDRC Inc. is still holding belongs to the state.

Senator Tidemann, this isn't hard. Governors Rounds and Daugaard allowed the privatization of a state program. Under Bollen, SDRC Inc. was carrying out the functions of a state department. To suggest that state functions are rendered immune from state oversight by handing them to private contractors creates a perverse incentive and escape for corrupt state officials.

Subpoena Bollen. Find out how he used his state authority.

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Leading the fight against abuses of South Dakota's foster care system is the American Civil Liberties Union, which is helping the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux tribes fight state officials who have been removing children from American Indian homes without sufficient due process and in violation of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

The ACLU had to fight South Dakota judges to gain access to transcripts from initial custody hearings involving Oglala and Rosebud parents and children. ACLU attorney Stephen Pevar says the 120 transcripts they've been able to review so far show regular disregard for parental and child rights under ICWA:

Nearly 100 percent of the time, Indian children were removed from their homes in those hearings. The average length of time those hearings took was less than 4 minutes. Within that time, of the six different judges that oversaw the hearings, not one judge ever told one Indian parent that they have a right to contest the state's petition for temporary custody of their children in the hearing on the petition.

During those hearings, the parents were not told the reasons for the removal, not provided with an attorney, not allowed to submit any evidence, and not allowed to cross-examine the Social Services worker who had submitted an affidavit against them. In most cases, the parents were not even allowed to see the affidavit [Stephen Pevar, "Why Are These Indian Children Being Torn Away From Their Homes?" ACLU: Blog of Rights, 2014.07.23].

Department of Social Services data show that South Dakota Indian children are eleven times more likely to be taken from their parents and placed in foster care than non-Indian children.

In a motion for summary judgment filed July 11, the ACLU and plaintiffs contend that the defendants (Department of Social Services Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Department of Social Services employee LuAnn Van Hunnik, Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo and 7th Judicial Circuit Court Presiding Judge Jeff Davis) have failed to dispute any material facts in the case, including the clear obligation imposed on the state by this clause in the Indian Child Welfare Act:

Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to prevent the emergency removal of an Indian child who is a resident of or is domiciled on a reservation, but temporarily located off the reservation, from his parent or Indian custodian or the emergency placement of such child in a foster home or institution, under applicable State law, in order to prevent imminent physical damage or harm to the child. The State authority, official or agency involved shall insure that the emergency removal or placement terminates immediately when such removal or placement is no longer necessary to prevent imminent physical damage or harm to the child and shall expeditiously initiate a child custody proceeding subject to the provisions of this subchapter, transfer the child to the jurisdiction of the appropriate Indian tribe, or restore the child to the parent or Indian custodian, as may be appropriate [ICWA, Section 1922, emphasis added in plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, Oglala et al. v. Hunnik et al., 2014.07.11].

Pevar offers these examples from the 48-hour hearing transcripts of the state failing to terminate emergency removal or placement of Indian children when the threat of imminent harm has passed:

  • A mother abused by her boyfriend lost custody of her child even though the abuser was not being allowed to return to the home. Before the judge's decision, the mother pleaded with the judge not to punish her for what the abuser had done.
  • A father going through divorce was denied custody of his children solely because his estranged wife got into trouble with the police, even though no evidence was introduced suggesting that the children would be at risk staying with the father.
  • A mother lost custody of her daughter merely because the daughter's babysitter had become intoxicated, without any showing that the mother knew that such a thing might occur.
  • A father who tried to discuss the merits of his case was interrupted by the judge and told that the details of child custody removals were not to be discussed in 48-hour hearings, and then the judge signed an order removing the child from the father's custody [Pevar, 2014.07.23].

The plaintiffs had to get federal Judge Jeffrey Viken to order the release of the transcripts that support their case. Defendant Judge Davis had released some of those transcripts of his own accord but now is apparently trying to withhold additional information. In a motion to unseal filed Monday, the plaintiffs allege that Judge Davis is "concealing information prejudicial to his case" by asserting that a motion for sanctions filed by the plaintiffs should remain sealed because "it subjects the Defendant Judge Davis to unnecessary and unjustified embarrassment and public scandal." The plaintiffs find that justification for sealing a public document wanting:

The ground asserted by Judge Davis in support of keeping the Motion sealed is invalid in this context. Specifically, if subjecting a party to “unnecessary and unjustified embarrassment and public scandal” could justify the sealing of pleadings in federal litigation in the manner asserted here, every defendant in every civil case would have the power to seal each plaintiff’s complaint and other court filings.

...The sole ground tendered by Judge Davis for keeping Plaintiffs’ Motion for Sanctions sealed is invalid. This is a case of major public importance, involving the fundamental liberty interests and federal statutory rights of every Indian family with children in Pennington County, South Dakota. Judge Davis may not control the public’s access to documents filed in federal court merely to protect his sensibilities or his reputation [Plaintiff's Motion to Unseal, Oglala et al. v Hunnik et al., 2014.07.21].

This is a case of major public importance. A victory in this lawsuit would be a firm step toward addressing the systemic abuses of Indian family rights in South Dakota's foster care system revealed by NPR's Laura Sullivan and Amy Walters in 2011. That victory requires the persistence of the tribes and the continued conscientious service of the ACLU.

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We now present Halbig v. Burwell, the court challenge by which two D.C. Court of Appeals judges would destroy the Affordable Care Act, thanks to one selfish dolt.

First, let's understand the grounds for the ruling. The plaintiffs don't like the ACA's health insurance mandate. They don't want to have to buy health insurance. They also don't want to pay the ACA penalty for not buying insurance. They face this penalty because, thanks to the tax subsidies offered by the ACA, they could buy health insurance on the ACA exchange for less than 8% of their income (that's the standard for "affordability" used by the ACA to determine whom to exempt from the insurance mandate).

But wait: if those subsidies weren't available, the cost of those cheapest qualifying policies would be more than 8% of their income. The ACA doesn't penalize people who can't afford insurance. So get rid of the subsidy, make health insurance unaffordable, and the plaintiffs get out of the penalty and the health insurance mandate!

So the plaintiffs get the D.C. Court of Appeals to rule that the language in the ACA authorizes the federal health insurance premium subsidy only in states that set up their own health insurance exchanges, leaving folks in 36 states (like South Dakota) forced onto the federal exchange by circumstance or Republican governors unable to access the premium subsidy that Congress intended via the ACA to make available to every American.

This thrilling political adventure is brought to you by one West Virginia man who would rather flip the bird at Uncle Sam and cause millions of his fellow Americans to pay hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars more on their health insurance than pay $21 a year for health insurance for himself. From today's ruling:

The district court determined that at least one of the appellants, David Klemencic, has standing. Klemencic resides in West Virginia, a state that did not establish its own Exchange, and expects to earn approximately $20,000 this year.1 He avers that he does not wish to purchase health insurance and that, but for federal credits, he would be exempt from the individual mandate because the unsubsidized cost of coverage would exceed eight percent of his income. The availability of credits on West Virginia’s federal Exchange therefore confronts Klemencic with a choice he’d rather avoid: purchase health insurance at a subsidized cost of less than $21 per year or pay a somewhat greater tax penalty [Judge Thomas B. Griffith, Halbig v. Burwell, D.C. Court of Appeals, 2014.07.22].

For the record: if there's a health insurance policy sitting on your plate for $21 a year, and you don't want it, I'll buy it. Heck, I'll buy it and another one for you. I can find twenty people in ten minutes who would each chip in a buck to buy you your $21 a year policy just so you'll shut up and let everyone else enjoy affordable health insurance.

Mr. Klemencic's crass selfishness did not become law of the land today. Down the road in Richmond, the federal 4th Circuit Court, hearing the similar King v. Burwell lawsuit, ruled the opposite way. The 4th Circuit doesn't dunk the ball for the ACA, saying that the federal government offers a slightly better but not conclusive argument of legislative intent. Faced with plausible alternative interpretations, the court chooses not to usurp the  IRS's regulatory authority to interpret legislative intent by applying the premium subsidy to federal exchange customers.

Read that again, Republican readers: the IRS is using its discretion to lower more Americans' taxes, and the 4th Circuit is eschewing judicial activism. Who's your friend?

The two D.C. Court of Appeals judges who supported Klemencic's argument are Republican appointees; the dissenting judge is a Democratic appointee. The three 4th Circuit judges who ruled in favor of the ACA and IRS are all Democratic appointees. Whatever the proper interpretation of the law (and heck, even mine may be colored by partisanship!), Black Hills  big-thinker Stan Gibilisco wishes the courts could assure us they are reading the law, not the political scorecards:

Much to Gibilisco's chagrin, the press is playing that baseball, counting seven Democratic heads and four Republican on the full D.C. Court of Appeals, from which the Obama Department of Justice has already promised to request an en banc review of Halbig.

Meanwhile, over four million taxpayers who purchased insurance on the federal exchange and qualified for premium subsidies will live in uncertainty as to whether their insurer or the IRS will take that money back. But if those taxpayers lose, they can at least be happy for Citizen Klemencic's pyrrhic $21 savings.

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Secretary of State Jason Gant has refused to place Lora Hubbel on the November ballot. Yesterday Hubbel received a letter from Secretary Gant, dated July 18, stating that there is no statutory mechanism by which his office can accept Hubbel's certification of her status as Myers's running mate nor recognize the withdrawal from the ticket of the candidate Hubbel would replace, Caitlin Collier.

The procedures for the nomination of independent candidates for Governor and their running mates are covered in South Dakota Law (SDCL) Chapter 12-7. SDCL 12-7-1 provides in part "An independent candidate for Governor shall certify the candidate's selection for lieutenant governor to the secretary of state prior to the circulation of the candidate's nominating petition. The candidate and the candidate's selection for lieutenant governor shall sign the certification before it is filed." In this case, Ms. Collier was properly certified before the circulation of the petition.  Because the time for petition circulation and the filing deadline have passed, there is no statute allowing certification of another independent candidate for lieutenant governor. Additionally, an independent candidate for lieutenant governor cannot simply drop off the ballot. Article IV section 2 of the South Dakota Constitution requires that the governor and lieutenant governor be jointly elected.

If Michael Myers is elected as Governor he may appoint a new lieutenant governor subject to confirmation by majority members [sic] of each house of the legislature pursuant the South Dakota Constitution Article IV section 6 [Secretary of State Jason Gant, letter to Lora Hubbel, 2014.07.18].

I recognize the need for the secretary of state to be a stickler for rules, and Secretary Gant has demonstrated that he can be a stickler when he wants to be. But in this case, Secretary Gant is needlessly punishing Hubbel (a known bête noire among Gant's Republican friends), Myers, and the voters. No votes have been cast. No ballots have been printed. No dispute exists over the practical facts of Collier's withdrawal or Myers's selection of Hubbel. No fraud has been committed by anyone in seeking to place Hubbel's name on the ballot next to Myers's, and no harm will be done to anyone by the stroke of the pen that would align the November ballot with reality.

Quite the opposite: by refusing to place Myers's running mate on the ballot, Secretary Gant is disenfranchising the thousands of citizens who will hear Myers and Hubbel campaign and wish to vote for Myers and Hubbel in November. While citizens voting Republican or Democrat get to choose their lieutenant governor by direct vote, Secretary Gant is pre-empting the will of Hubbel voters and subjecting their choice to the will of a partisan Legislature.

As with many other electoral laws, the statute Secretary Gant discriminates against candidates who are not members of recognized political parties. Independent Myers had to get Collier to file her status as his running mate last winter, before he could circulate his petitions. Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard and his Democratic challenger, Rep. Susan Wismer, did not have to name their running mates until June. Independent running mates apparently have no right to withdraw, and Independent gubernatorial candidates have no right to replace. If either Republican running mate Matt Michels or Democratic running mate Susy Blake decided to withdraw today or during the next two weeks, statute would clearly permit Daugaard and Wismer to name replacements through August 12.

Keeping Lora Hubbel off the ballot serves no compelling state interest. The question now is whether the Myers-Hubbel campaign will take that argument to court. Challenging statutory discrimination and disenfranchisement could win Myers more support among Independents who are sick of the big-money parties rigging the system. Myers is a law professor, so he could argue his own case and minimize the impact on his cash-strapped campaign. And not that anyone should use the courts for publicity, but one could argue that fighting a high-profile court battle against the Secretary of State could bring the Myers-Hubbel campaign more positive publicity for the dollar than any other investment of their sparse campaign resources.

But time is tight: Myers has three weeks to make these arguments in court. After that, the chances of a judge raising a stop sign to printed ballots (even false ballots) diminish greatly, and we would have to wait for a legislative fix.

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My latest column for South Dakota Magazine discusses the disadvantages Independents face in getting on the ballot in South Dakota. I propose a modest package of reforms to our electoral laws to treat Independents more fairly:

  1. Establish a uniform filing deadline for all Independent candidates for statewide and legislative offices: the last Tuesday in July.
  2. Require political parties to submit their convention nominees by the last Tuesday in June.
  3. Reduce the Independent nominating signature requirement to the either the lower or the average of the major party signature requirements.
  4. For offices like attorney general, for which partisan candidates are nominated by convention rather than petition, set the Independent nominating signature requirement equal to the number of voting delegates attending the largest party convention in the state [Cory Allen Heidelberger, "Jonesing for Indies," South Dakota Magazine, 2014.07.09].

The odd events of this year's petition season already have legislators, the press, and pundits talking about shaking up our election laws during the 2015 Legislative session. Do we need to include measures to give Indies a fairer shake at ballot access as well?

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I see Chad Haber has taken my advice. No, not my advice that he stop scheming and take care of his family. According to his wife Annette Bosworth's paid spokesman, Haber has announced his intent to run for South Dakota Attorney General.

Of course, running against Attorney General Marty Jackley, the man he and his wife claim has been persecuting her for years, is impossible. Let us turn quickly to SDCL 12-7-1 to see what the law says (the ability to do which is a reasonable primary expectation of someone running for Attorney General):

Any candidate for nonjudicial public office, except as provided in § 12-7-7, who is not nominated by a primary election may be nominated by filing with the secretary of state or county auditor as prescribed by § 12-6-4, not prior to January first at 8:00 a.m. and not later than the last Tuesday of April at 5:00 p.m. prior to the election, a certificate of nomination which shall be executed as provided in chapter 12-6... [South Dakota Codified Law 12-7-1].

If Chad wanted to run for Attorney General this year as an Independent, he needed to file by April 29. If he wanted to run as a Republican, he needed to go to convention with Marty Jackley and submit his name for nomination three weekends ago. If he wanted to run as a Democrat, he'd have needed to change his registration and submit his name at the Dem convention two weekend ago. Chad did none of those things—perhaps he was too busy planning his post-primary vacation to Alaska (from which he has finally returned, perhaps to tell Lee Stranahan to stop hanging around his wife).

Haber is taking my advice and running for office to obtain automatic immunity from criminal prosecution. As AG Jackley made clear in May, if your name is on a ballot, he won't arrest or prosecute you, for fear of interfering with the electoral process. AG Jackley kept his word, refraining from filing felony charges and an arrest warrant against Chad's wife Annette a full thirteen hours after her defeat in the GOP Senate primary. Recognizing AG Jackley's precedent, Haber apparently wants to get his name on the next AG ballot for which his name will be eligible, the 2018 ballot. He won't get to run against Jackley, but as long as he's a candidate, he'll be immune from any sort of prosecution.

Why Chad would desire such immunity is a mystery locked in Chad's murky, magnetized brain. But once he reads the law and realizes he can't run this year, it will be fun to hear the man behind Annette's fake Senate campaign finally step forward and speak for himself.

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...and becomes a state legislator?

Aberdeen attorney Brandon Taliaferro did a good job of keeping his compulsively vocal new client Annette Bosworth quiet at her arraignment last Monday. Now if Taliaferro could just get that memo to the spokesman to whom Bosworth has paid at least $5,000, a spokesman who spent an inordinate amount of time in the comment section here trying to get folks to talk about anything other than the fact that Bosworth is guilty of swearing a false oath on her nominating petition and committing felony perjury, a fact that no one, Bosworth herself included, has denied.

Amidst the dense smokescreen belched by the Bosworth media machine, Taliaferro may find one wisp of an argument that may have even the faintest relevance in the courtroom. Team Bosworth has asked for some legal precedent for a person being "charged for signature violations where they got legitimate signatures, i.e. real people who signed?"

Such a request is based on a false reading of what Bosworth did: she did not get legitimate signatures; someone else did, and she subsequently swore a false oath that she got those signatures. You won't find a precedent for the state charging a petition circulator who properly witnessed and verified signatures, because that's not a crime.

But even if we accept that the absence of precedent somehow calls into question the validity of the charges against Bosworth, an eager reader fills the gap with the Schlekeway precedent.

Todd Schlekeway -- Tim Calhoun

Todd Schlekeway and Tim Calhoun agree: Annette Bosworth is toast.

In 2004, Todd Schelekway was an eager young organizer working for the South Dakota Republican Party. He got a notary seal and helped process absentee voter applications on campus as part of an SDGOP push to get student votes. Unfortunately, Schlekeway notarized some absentee voter applications that he did not personally witness. That's a misdemeanor. Attorney General Larry Long and Secretary of State Chris Nelson quickly investigated and brought charges against Schlekeway and five other GOP workers. Schlekeway pled guilty, paid $245, got a 30-day suspended sentence, and gave up his notary seal.

Notice: the voters requesting the absentee ballots were real voters. Their signatures were real. Schlekeway just didn't witness those signatures. Schlekeway 2004 sounds a lot like Bosworth 2014, right?

When the charges were filed in October 2004, barely two weeks before the election, Minnehaha County state's attorney Dave Nelson offered this observation about charges that some electoral observers could have rightly called unusual:

Dave Nelson said the six are charged with improper use of a notary commission, a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to a month in jail and a $200 fine. They can also lose their notary licenses.

"Notary violations are very, very common" in government and business, he said.

But unlike most cases that aren't prosecuted, the six were charged because they made it possible for someone's vote not to count, Dave Nelson said.

"The potential consequences of these acts are significant and far-reaching," he said [Carson Walker, "Six Charged in Ballot Probe,"AP via Rapid City Journal, 2004.10.24].

Yet our state officials were not trying to disenfranchise any voters. Remember: Larry Long and Chris Nelson were Republicans. The absentee ballots in the solicitation of which Schlekeway and friends were misdemeanoring were meant to boost Republicans. Screwing up the notarization opened the door for Democrats to challenge those ballots. Long and Nelson did not want the courts throw out the ballots that Schlekeway's sloppiness spoiled:

Long said he hopes that if any ballots are challenged in court, the judge sides with the voter's right to be counted and agrees that the solution was a valid way to fix problems caused by wayward notaries [Walker, 2004.10.24].

In the Schlekeway case, Long recognized that the state could simultaneously and consistently seek a liberal interpretation of the law to protect the will of innocent voters and strictly enforce notary law to punish wayward notaries who put innocent voters' will at risk. Again, Schlekeway 2004 sounds a lot like Bosworth 2014. Long's successor, AG Marty Jackley, went out of his way to protect voters' (or in this case, nominators') intent from a wayward petition circulator. But in consistency with that desire to protect those innocent citizens, he is prosecuting a petition circulator who could well have thwarted their intent with her flagrant disregard for the requirements of the circulator's oath.

Now Annette, before, you poo-poo the precedent, look at where Schlekeway's election crime got him. The George W. Bush campaign was nice enough to give Schlekeway and others involved in the voting fraud campaign jobs right away in Ohio (where Bush won! well done, Todd!). Four years later, the South Dakota GOP invited Schlekeway back to become the first and so far only Todd to serve in the South Dakota Legislature, for one term in the House and one term in the Senate.

So follow the Schlekeway precedent to its logical conclusion, and a quick, contrite guilty plea could land Annette a job campaigning for some Republican favorite in a big Senate campaign. Perhaps the party would send you to join your husband Chad in Alaska, where you could help one of the establishment Republicans beat back Joe Miller's repeat Tea Party challenge. Then, having served the party well, they'd bring you back to South Dakota in 2018, when your District 13 Senator, Phyllis Heineman, will be term-limited out. What better precedent could you ask for?

Of course, the vital difference between Schlekeway 2004 and Bosworth 2014 is that Schlekeway committed a misdemeanor in the service of the party favorite John Thune, while Bosworth committed a felony to get on the ballot and compete with party favorite Marion Michael Rounds (and you were competing with Rounds, right, Annette?).

The Schlekeway precedent sinks the only remotely legal argument Team Bosworth has offered in defense of her perjury charges. If Bosworth were smart, she'd find a way to turn that precedent to humbler success in a future election... but I think she's shot holes in the bottom of that boat as well.

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It had to be a grim Fourth of July for Pat Powers and his friends. He lost his Bosworth-boosting freedom, his texting-while-driving freedom, and his animal-beating freedom.

Among the new laws enacted on Tuesday was South Dakota's overdue animal cruelty law. Animal cruelty, defined as "to intentionally, willfully, and maliciously inflict gross physical abuse on an animal that causes prolonged pain, that causes serious physical injury, or that results in the death of the animal," is now a felony, as it was in every other state before South Dakota finally got over its amnesiac paranoia and lies about animal activists.

But to keep Powers and his paranoid friends on their toes, South Dakotans Fighting Animal Cruelty Together, the group that led the fight for South Dakota to bring up the rear on animal cruelty, has reorganized as a political action committee. Noting that local shelters and other animal groups can't endorse or financially support candidates due to their non-profit status, SD FACT plans to help critters and their friends in Pierre by...

  • Tracking the issues that affect animals
  • Surveying South Dakota candidates for elected office
  • Prioritizing and developing positions on proposed legislation
  • Meeting with South Dakota elected officials
  • Organizing grassroots legislative networks through a network of volunteer Community Coordinators
  • Mobilizing SD FACT members to communicate with legislators
  • Publishing an annual SD Humane Scorecard on incumbents’ voting records
  • Keeping our members informed through periodic updates
  • Educating South Dakota citizens and their elected representatives on how the choices we make through our the legislature impact the humane treatment of animals
  • Utilizing news and social media to promote animal welfare issues in South Dakota

[SD FACT, mission statement, downloaded 2014.07.05]

At the very least, SD FACT will help keep the Legislature honest and fight efforts to water down the hard-won protections of this year's Senate Bill 46. But they'll also be watching for gaps in current law and new protections South Dakota should offer to its furred and feathered friends.

p.s.—Ironic Dessert: SD FACT's secretary and media relations coordinator is named Heidi Hunter.

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