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South Dakota Legislature: Not as Dumb as America Thinks!

Never mind January Jones's vacuous comments to Jon Stewart. South Dakota is catching grief from all quarters on the Web for the uninformed, xenophobic, deadly, and dumb legislation its lawmakers are proposing (Update: We still have no budget!). I hear numerous Facebook and Tweet-pals say things like "That's why I'm glad I moved away."

It pains me to hear my fair prairie paradise so maligned. Of course, it pains me to hear such malignment motivated by certain legislators. So permit me to try to fight that anti-South Dakota sentiment by pointing out some of the bad bills our Legislature has had the good sense to kill:

  1. HB 1198: Rep. Manny Steele's (R-12/Sioux Falls) retread of Arizona's mostly unconstitutional immigration bill was so bad we had to kill it twice... and we did! First House State Affairs killed it on Valentine's Day. Then Rep. Steele called "Smoke-out!" to bring the bill back to life on the House floor Tuesday. The smokeout was extinguished quickly by a large margin, 19--48 (Good call, Patty!).
  2. SB 201 and SB 170: Both of Senator Dan Lederman's (R-16/Dakota Dunes) Sharia-hysteria bills got killed in committee yesterday, thanks in part to testimony by Winfred native and fellow Bulldog alum Erin McIntyre Menkhaus (Erin's folks Linda and Neal listened proudly to her testimony on the Web yesterday---thanks, SDPB!). Even Senate Majority Leader Russell Olson (R-8/Wentworth) found the brain power to vote these bad bills down. (Alas, he still hasn't figured out how to unblock me from his official Twitter feed.)
  3. HB 1165: Our legislators also had the good sense to kill Rep. Lora Hubbel's (R-11/Sioux Falls) effort to start the next Civil War by criminalizing the enforcement of federal law in South Dakota. This ill-advised health-reform nullification bill was unanimously rejected by House State Affairs.
  4. HB 1158: House Local Government killed this bill that would have made it even harder for Independents to run for office by moving their filing deadline back six weeks.
  5. HB 1197: Rep. Brian C. Liss (R-13/Sioux Falls) wanted to insert partisan politics into your local town council and school board elections. House Local Government wisely said "No, thanks."
  6. SB 138: House State Affairs tabled the proposal to replace the Electoral College with a national popular vote, a proposal that gives folks a chance to pretend they are political science professors (just another day at the office for us bloggers!) but doesn't get us any closer to solving real policy problems. The bill fizzled in part due to snarky partisan testimony by some guy from Michigan (more on that later!).
  7. HB 1218: House Judiciary killed this proposal to outlaw surrogate motherhood. Now if we can just get them to walk back their vote on coercing women to get non-medical consultations before abortions, we'll be set!

See? South Dakota's not so bad! Come back! See Mount Rushmore! Enjoy the lakes!

Update 22:39 CST: Bonus Good Gosh Darn Sense! House Judiciary today tabled HJR 1004, the third jewel of anti-Islamic hysteria in our legislative hopper. Alas, I was sort of looking forward to seeing jduges banned from considering those darned "foreign religious codes," like Judaism, Christianity....


  1. Wayne B. 2011.02.17

    Perhaps we could also take a moment to give Kudos for potentially good bills / demonstrations that we're not insensitive, ignorant hicks?

    HB 1255 aims to help with parental custody rights.

    HB 1012 aims to update terminology for the mentally handicapped (even if I wince a little bit at the PC overtones, it's good to match language with DSM IV)

    HB 1055 would protect volunteer Firefighters & EMTs, allowing them to better serve our communities in our time of need.

  2. Barry G. Wick 2011.02.17

    Your generosity towards the legislature is only exceeded by your outline of the ills of this particular legislature. Yes, moving away does no good...although for those who move away, starvation and nearness to poverty appears averted for a short time.
    The new America is beginning to look like a giant wasteland of the underemployed or unemployed. Business, it seems, will only hire when the wages in America equal the wages of the average Chinese laborer. We have nothing to look forward to....really....nothing. Good-bye American-dream house...good-bye American-dream car....good-bye American-dream diet...good-bye American-dream freedom...good-bye American-dream freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom from hunger, and with all the anti-sharia laws and proposals popping up like wild daisies....good-bye freedom of religion. America's new religion is good ol' fashioned Christian greed. Hmmm, something doesn't sound right in that. Oh well, much doesn't sound right these days. I'm beginning to hope that the underemployed and unemployed are setting those garages and small spaces to humming creating new industry and new jobs and new thought....because the old is beginning the smell a bit....okay it smells a whole bunch. America, it's a terrible thing to waste...but someone has to go to the dump in the new world. And speaking of South Dakota at the bottom of the any list...what's up with our legislature trying to make laws to control every thing we do from the time we get up to the time we go to bed. I thought the folks in charge wanted smaller government...less control...more freedom. Well, a word to anybody who cares, I'm available for arrest between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm. I must have broken a law someplace...even just free-thinking in this state seems to have become illegal. Oh, and I prefer just a little torture...I'll tell you whatever you want to hear....just like the people in Guantanamo Bay or those sent to Egypt, Syria, Jordan and wherever our Republican leaders and controllers want people to be tortured. Oh, this was about the South Dakota legislature wasn't it....the disease of power in the hands of the small-minded who think people are like their cattle. Well, I can only say: moo. Prod me, daddy, eight to the bar.

  3. larry kurtz 2011.02.17

    Right on, Barry; Rapid City=Tehran. Expect blowback and expect it soon.

  4. Montana Cowgirl 2011.02.17

    Hey South Dakota! You all have some nutty bills like legalizing the murder of abortion providers and outlawing surrogate motherhood. But we still might "win" this one if it came right down to it. I enjoyed reading this excellent post.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.02.18

    Wow, Montana: that must have been a serious booger. :-)

    MC, Barry, John, all fellow patriots: keep hope alive! Our democracy is ours to fix!

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