The Legislature has no bills in the hopper yet (Session doesn't open until January 13—ugh! I can't wait!), but Attorney General Marty Jackley has posted his legislative package for the new year. South Dakota's most popular Republican is riding his massive mandate to proposing eight new laws (because Republicans... like... more laws...?) to make us all safer:

  1. Put child sex traffickers on the sex offender registry: perfectly sensible—selling child porn puts crooks on the sex offender list, so why not selling children?—but techincally necessary? SDCL 22-24B-1 already lists sexual exploitation of a minor and promotion of prostitution of a minor as registrable offenses. I look forward to hearing AG Jackley's committee testimony to explain the necessity of specific trafficking language.
  2. Make raffle scams illegal: Hey! The Madville Times makes a difference! This blog broke the story in November 2013 of Chad Haber and Annette Bosworth conducting phony raffles. The Attorney General managed to force Haber and Bosworth to refund some ticketholders, but incredibly was unable to prosecute the raffle scammers because state law doesn't actually require that folks selling raffle tickets actually draw for the prize they promise. (I still think Haber and Bosworth may have violated some other prosecutable raffle statutes.) Crazily, Haber ran against Jackley for the AG spot this year, perhaps to stop exactly this kind of legislation. Expect swift and unanimous passage.
  3. Let cops and first responders administer overdose treatment: AG Jackley wants to train and equip police and first responders to give the drug Naxolone, also known as Narcan, to opioid drug overdose victims. Narcan can save lives, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder promoted its use by federal agents, but expect some serious discussion of the precautions necessary to turn cops into medics.
  4. Let soldier's spouses get concealed weapons permits: SDCL 23-7-7.1(6) requires an applicant for a concealed weapons permit to have lived in the county of application for at least thirty days. Apparently thirty days is too long for a soldiers's spouse to wait to carry a concealed weapon. (But wait: there still isn't any rule stopping the wife of a new transfer to Ellsworth or anyone else from openly carrying a pistol from the day of arrival in South Dakota, is there?)
  5. Legalize police scanners! Technically, all the fun South Dakota reporters and citizens have listening to their local cops on police scanners is illegal. In a small nod to transparency, AG Jackley wants to revise that law to make monitoring police communications illegal only while committing a felony.
  6. Protect DCI and HP bosses from political backlash: AG Jackley wants a law that gives the DCI director and the Highway Patrol superintendent their old jobs back if their appointments are revoked without cause. The Governor appoints the HP chief; the AG appoints the DCI boss. Curious: when's the last time either official was dismissed without cause?
  7. Make bigger lemons! AG Jackley wants to update South Dakota's consumer protection laws to raise the vehicle weight limit for our lemon law from 10,000 pounds to 15,000 pounds. (Hmm... will we have to change the name to "grapefruit law"?)
  8. Allow Supreme Court to correct illegal sentences: The AG says he is responding here to federal Supreme Court decisions; I'll have to see the bill and hear the testimony to make sense of the impact, but it sounds like minor bookkeeping.

Stay tuned for the real bills, coming sometime in the next couple weeks!

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Because Rebecca Leas is an outspoken critic of Powertech/Azarga's plan to pollute the Black Hills and use up our water to help the Chinese get rich off our uranium, Pat Powers portrays her as an out-of-touch feminist. Don't ask for logic; for Pat, it's just personal.

Leas spoke to the Rapid City Council last night to speak up against the objectification of women inherent in a comment made by Rapid City economic development honcho Benjamin Snow two weeks ago at an energy conference explaining an advantage the Black Hills could leverage to draw residents and business from the Bakken oil fields:

But Ben Snow, president of Rapid City Economic Development Center, said at an energy conference Thursday that the region has another, less obvious but hugely important enticement for oil and gas companies: the fact half the city's population is female.

"Here's another advantage I love to give these guys (in North Dakota) a hard time about: We have a one-to-one ratio of male to females here," Snow said to a chorus of laughter at the ninth annual New Horizons Oil and Gas Conference, which was held Thursday afternoon at the Black Hills Learning Center. "We think that's a good thing."

It was intended as a joke, but it was also a part of Snow's overall argument that the quality of life in Rapid City is superior to northwestern North Dakota and Montana, where much of the oil and gas resources are located. And having more women may be a big deal for workers who live in so-called man camps and get lonely for female companionship [Scott Feldman, "Rapid City Courts Energy Industry by Touting Female Demographic," AP via Casper Star Tribune, 2014.04.27].

Rebecca Leas finds the objectification of women as an economic development resource and the laughter greeting it "disturbing."

So does Karen Pettigrew of Rapid City:

It was really mindless and offensive of Ben Snow to offer an adequate supply of women for energy-industry workers in his bid to lure energy-related business to the "Rushmore Region." While he may consider a 1:1 ratio of women to men provides a high quality of life inducement, many will find that an influx of male workers in search of female companionship is a concerning situation that can lead to exploitation of vulnerable women in a community.

Mr. Snow is obviously ignorant of the efforts of Rep. Kristi Noem, U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, Family Heritage Alliance and law enforcement officials to raise public awareness of the existence of human/sex trafficking that already occurs in South Dakota.

Using women as bait does nothing to enhance the image of our region, and insults our women [Karen Pettigrew, letter to the editor, Rapid City Journal, 2014.05.01].

So does Karen Goulet of Hot Springs:

Women of the Black Hills, rise up in protest! Do you want to be looked upon as “female companionship” for workers who live in man camps? Do you want your daughters used for “economic development” in the area? According to Ben Snow in the front-page article of the April 25 Journal, you are welcome as one of the lures to get the oil and gas workers to open industry in Rapid City.

...It is time for hard choices. We may have economic development, but at what price?

Women and men who care about your wives, daughters and sisters and our beautiful Black Hills, it is time to be heard. If not now, it may be too late [Mary Goulet, letter to the editor, Rapid City Journal, 2014.04.30].

So does Jim Kent of Hot Springs, who puts Snow's brutish comment in proper historical and social context:

I have to admit to being pretty stunned when I read the story. I mean, it’s hard to believe in this day and age... that anyone—especially in a leadership role—would present the women of their community as an enticement to bring in male workers, regardless of the industry they’re a part of.

Of course, I realize there are many fans of the “Deadwood” TV series who see a certain charm in Ian McShane’s portrayal of Al Swearengen. But the reality is that Al’s Gem Saloon was a brothel, and he treated the women who worked there like dirt—behavior no community should aspire to.

...Saddest of all is Snow’s apparent unawareness of, or insensitivity to, the female population in a town that’s already been cited as the nation’s “Rape Capital.” You’re right, that was “years ago.” So, let’s move forward a bit to the February 2014 CNN report listing South Dakota as No. 2 in the country for incidents of rape [links mine; Jim Kent, "Come for Women Joke Falls Flat," Rapid City Journal, 2014.05.01].

Sex trafficking is a major problem in the Bakken oil fields. To joke about marketing South Dakota as a place where Bakken oil men can find females demonstrates ignorance of or insensitivity toward a culture of misogyny bred by the Bakken oil rush. To protest such misogynist thickheadedness, as Leas, Pettigrew, Goulet, and Kent do, is not, as Powers tries to characterize it, making it a crime for men to like women. It's actually a call for men to like and respect women much more than Snow's comment suggests he does.

Related: Leas's protest came in the midst of a Rapid City Council meeting in which many church-going citizens advocated stricter rules against Rapid City's only remaining strip club. Ben Snow was not there, but would he say such regulation will hinder local economic development?

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Uh oh, District 8: you may need a new Democratic candidate for state House:

(screen cap from WDAY TV, 2014.04.03)

(screen cap from WDAY TV, 2014.04.03)

Police have arrested two men accused of soliciting sex for money, after a prostitution sting in Moorhead.

58-year-old Mark Hayes of Harwood and 61-year-old David Skoglund of Canova South Dakota are each facing one count of solicitation of prostitution - A misdemeanor.

Police arrested them last week after an undercover sting for johns at a hotel in the 600 block of 30th avenue south in Moorhead ["Prostitution Sting Leads to Two Men Being Arrested," WDAY TV, 2014.04.03].

I don't know how many David Skoglunds there are in the greater Canova area, but David Skoglund of 24352 248th Ave, Canova, is one of District 8's Democratic candidates for House.

Update 11:17 CDT: Skoglund is keeping state Dems chair Deb Knecht up late. A press release from party central popped into my inbox 13 minutes ago with this confirmation that candidate Skoglund and accused sex-trafficking customer Skoglund are the same dude, plus a pretty clear statement that he should knock off activities:

South Dakota Democratic Party chair Deb Knecht released the following statement after David Skoglund, a Democrat running for District 8 state house, was arrested in a prostitution sting:

"The South Dakota Democratic Party did not know of Mr. Skoglund's illegal activity, and we unequivocally condemn his deplorable actions. We demand he remove his name from the ballot immediately" [SDDP press release, 2014.04.04].

To comply with Knecht's demand, Skoglund must submit a written, notarized withdrawal request to the Secretary of State. Skoglund could do so right away Saturday morning; I hear the Secretary's team will be at work Saturday. (Sorry, that's my bad.)

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Now there's something you don't see every day: a bill to require convicted hookers and johns to get tested for AIDS.

Such is the nature of House Bill 1263, pitched by Rep. Bob Deelstra (R-9/Hartford). Rep. Deelstra would require anyone convicted of prostitution or solicitation of prostitution to undergo at their own expense an HIV test. The results of the test remain confidential except to individuals who petition the court and demonstrate probable cause to believe that they have engaged in infection-sharing behavior with the convict.

Rep. Deelstra's bill avoids charges of sexual discrimination by testing convicted hookers and johns alike. It avoids a Fifth Amendment challenge by excluding the test results from use as evidence in any criminal prosecution.

But is it necessary? Early AIDS research showed that female sex workers were highly likely to use safe sex practices and were not more likely to spread HIV/AIDS to men than were women not working in the sex trade. Paid sex is not a major factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS in North America and Western Europe. South Dakota is experiencing a surge in gonorrhea cases, but prostitution is not mentioned as one of the major contributing factors.

South Dakota currently mandates HIV testing for no one, not even rapists. We examine every prisoner for venereal diseases, but that's syphilis, gonorrhea, and canchroid, not HIV. We do have statutes by which victims of sexual assualt and officers or emergency medical responders can petition the court to test defendants for HIV.

It would seem that if there is a compelling risk to public health that warrants such an intrusion on anyone's bodily privacy and autonomy, we perhaps ought to start with rapists and perhaps other sex offenders who have violated others against their will rather than participants in a nominally consensual albeit illegal act.

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Father Tim sighs with dismay at the shrug his local state senators offer to his suggestion that South Dakota should rein in the excessive interest charged by our payday lenders and other financial institutions:

Only Sen. Shantel Krebs attempted to answer, and she wound up saying that efforts to restrict interest would be "starting to mess with an industry that employs a lot of people in South Dakota" [Fr. Timothy Logan Fountain, "Yikes! Usury Is Good to Go in South Dakota," Northern Plains Anglican, 2011.01.05].

Meanwhile, on the other side of the state, Jeramy Caron of Summerset is busted for employing a lot of people in prostitution:

Pennington County State's Attorney Glenn Brenner says Caron was bringing women from as Las Vegas and Minnesota to work in Rapid City hotels. He says Caron and some of the prostitutes were making as much as $65,000 per month ["SD Man Accused in Prostitution Ring," AP via KELOLand.com, 2011.01.07].

Ah, so South Dakota does lure industry away from Minnesota. But $65K a month? Holy cow! How can the state mess with an industry that has high-paying jobs like that?

Update: Thad was right: $1500 to $2000 per "encounter."

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