Press "Enter" to skip to content

SD Legislature Rejects All Democrat Amendments, Passes GOP Redistricting Plan

The South Dakota Legislature exerted more one-party rule yesterday, passing the Republicans' redistricting plan without amendment. Democratic Reps. Kloucek, Elliot, Wismer, Blake, Lucas, and Gibson all moved to amend the plan; all were roundly defeated on mostly party-line votes.

Mea Culpa! I utterly screwed up in my characterization of the Kloucek amendment. I thought it would pit Reps. Stace Nelson and Ed Van Gerpen against Kloucek in District 19. I mistakenly placed Nelson in McCook County. He is quite definitely in Hanson County, which the Kloucek Amendment would have placed in District 20. I regret the error and have revised this article to reflect the proper scope of the Kloucek Amendment.

Mostly. Rep. Frank Kloucek's amendment to keep Bon Homme County whole created the most cracks in the Republican monolith, drawing four Republicans over to vote aye. The two Republicans who would have been directly affected by the Kloucek amendment, Reps. Ed Van Gerpen and Stace Nelson, both supported it. So did unaffected Reps. Lance Russell and Rep. Lora Hubbel. One neighbor, one environmental raider, and two right wingnuts: that's quite the coalition!

Perhaps Rep. Nelson was just feeling cantankerous: he and Rep. Gene Abdallah each broke ranks with the party on two Democratic amendments. Nelson was the only House member to vote against the Supreme Court redistricting plan.

Rep. Peggy Gibson offered a remarkable amendment: she would have split Districts 1, 2, 8, 21, 23, and 30 each into two single-member districts. I'm guessing that the plan was to create more districts where our Native American neighbors would have a little more consolidated voting power. Her plan for District 8 would have split split Lake County, placing most of the county's land in District 8B with Moody County, but sending a majority of the people, those living in the Madison-Herman-Winfred metroplex, to District 8A with Miner and Sanborn. Reps. Patty Stricherz and Mitch Fargen would thus each of landed in their own sub-districts. Reps. Nelson and Abdallah again joined the Dems in voting aye, but the rest of the Republcians said nay.

I haven't gotten to review all of the amendments, but I can say that Kloucek's made certainly made sense. He offered a plan to more evenly distribute population among three districts. His plan had no apparent downside except perhaps for his own electroal chances. Yet the one-party machine rejected it. Tom Katus is right: one-party rule is keeping the South Dakota Legislature from recognizing and passing good policy.


  1. Steve Sibson 2011.10.25

    "Nelson was the only House member to vote against the Supreme Court redistricting plan.

    Cory should that say: Nelson was the only "GOP" House member to vote against the Supreme Court redistricting plan?

  2. Stace Nelson 2011.10.25

    @Steve He is correct, it was on this:

    @Cory Seems you didn't listen to the debate yesterday and you didn't understand the idea that Rep. Kloucek was proposing. The only one that voted against their self interest was the big ugly overweight representative in Hanson County who lobbied several others to join him in supporting the request of the good folk in Bon Homme County. With Rep. Kloucek's amendment to make Bon Homme whole, McCook County would be retained in the new District 19 with Rep. Kloucek, Rep. Van Gerpen, & Sen. Putnam and Hanson County (Rep. Nelson) would have been put in with Davison County with Rep. Rozum, Rep. Carson, & Sen. Vehle.

    The actual adopted map moves Rep. Van Gerpen into the new Dist 21 and puts Rep. Kloucek, Sen Putnam, and myself into the new District 19. District 19 consists of 2/3rds majorioty of the original Dist 19 with Hutchinson, Bon Homme, & Douglas Counties with Hanson & McCook Counties being 1/3rd of the former District 25.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.25

    You're right, Stace: while you guys were enjoying one-party rule, I was hip-deep in French food words and study hall.

    And dang: You're right! I keep thinking you're in McCook, not Hanson County. That does indeed make your vote to throw yourself in with District 20 all the more remarkable. I apologize for the error.

    So if you don't mind sharing, what were your motivations for your votes, yesterday, Rep. Nelson?

  4. Ellen Van Burskirk 2011.10.25

    Stace, "The only one that voted against their self interest was the big ugly overweight representative in Hanson County who lobbied several others to join him in supporting the request of the good folk in Bon Homme County."

    Stace, you aren't exactly in good shape. Now I can see why the repub's on the redistricting committee redistricted your area just to get you out.

  5. Stace Nelson 2011.10.25

    Mr. "H," Very simple. The folks in Bon Homme County deserved the same consideration as the committee showed so many others. Additionally, many folks in Hanson County would be pleased to be back in a Davison County configuration as they were years ago. Single Rep. Districts are in the best interests of rural SD and SD as a whole. All one has to do is take a look at the Supreme Court map and the liberties taken in appointing from outside that map to understand the red vote.

    I spent the first 8 years of my life in Salem. It will always be one of my favorite places on earth, so you were not too far off the mark.

    @Ellen beauty is skin deep and is in the eye of the beholder; however, an honest soul can be found even in the harshest looking persons.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.10.26

    Hanson with Davison: am I correctng guessing that Hanson County residents see themselves more closely economically and socially tied to the Mitchell metroplex than to the counties to the south?

  7. Stace Nelson 2011.10.26

    Mr "H,"
    Some do. I was asked to fight for both Hanson with Davison, and Hanson/McCook with rural farming community Hutchinson, Douglas, & Bon Homme. Bottom line, what could preserve my politicial future was the least concern, as well it should be. I was happy serving the people who elected me and would have rather kept District 25 whole, as it was. Dist 25 was also one of the few districts that was already fine in the population #s.

    I believe that SD should have had a geographic senate seat configuration like our US Congress so that rural SD would be able to maintain a say in our state government, with the House being single seats based off of population. Good luck with either of those now, too many folks more concerned about change affecting their election chances.

  8. Bill Fleming 2011.10.26

    Do I hear implicit rumblings for a unicameral legislature? What really is the difference between a State house member and a State senator anyway (other than the fact that there are twice as many of one than the other)? Is it just a process thingy?

  9. LK 2011.10.26

    Rep. Nelson,

    My memory may be faulty, but I believe there was a SCOTUS case a few decades back that precludes state legislatures from having a senate that has regional representation. The US Senate is obviously constitutional for the simple reason it's in the Constitution.


    I agree that South Dakota should explore a unicam. We have one party rule so it's not as if one house will check the excesses of another

Comments are closed.