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“There Ought to Be a Law…”: Submit Your Ideas for New South Dakota Bills!

You've unwrapped your presents, the ham is about to go under the knife, but don't let the Christmas giving end. Give your legislators the gift that keeps on giving: legislation!

Madville Times readers are full of good ideas (and some stinkers!) about how South Dakota could run better. Let's put those ideas into legislative format! From now until January 1, submit your ideas here in the comment section for laws you would like to see enacted by the 2014 South Dakota Legislature. We'll discuss those proposals here; then I will send the best suggestions to the top Senate and House leadership and my own legislators back home in District 8.

You don't have to submit your bills in full legislative format, though including specifics for our legislators is as thoughtful as including batteries with Christmas toys. You can find examples of bill format in the legislative hopper.

The possibilities for legislation are endless. Yesterday I offered a small proposal to cap the fees the state can charge for open requests. You may want to create a new tax, raise or lower and existing tax, or get rid of your least favorite tax. You may want to consolidate our schools, withdraw from Common Core, or change the school start date. Any policy idea is fair game. Just try to focus your bills on one policy area (because we know how Rep. Stace Nelson feels about omnibus bills).

One important note: The Madville Times is all about practical problem-solving, so we're taking bills only, not resolutions! If you want to repeal the Affordable Care Act, impeach Obama, or end trade with China, you're out of luck. Let's give our legislators practical legislation dealing with South Dakota issues.

So let's have it, committee of the blog! Propose your legislation, hash it out in the comment section, propose amendments, and we'll give our legislators our best ideas. The floor is open!


  1. interested party 2013.12.25

    The Rapid City Journal just finished a poll asking readers to vote on whether cannabis should be legal in the state: the pro side won overwhelmingly.

    Democrats could court the youth vote by getting legalization done in the legislature.

  2. grudznick 2013.12.25

    Larry, Bob, Bill and my other friend Bob are all much younger than I, but trying to get their votes could hardly be called "courting the youth vote".

  3. grudznick 2013.12.25

    Mr. H, can you still vote in District 8?

    Also, how many bills will the Madville Times Bloggers be allowed to have submitted to the legislatures to actually be bills?

  4. interested party 2013.12.25

    The legislature should pass a resolution urging DD to pardon Patriot Bob Newland.

  5. Jerry 2013.12.25

    Larry, there was a pot bill that was voted on and it was killed by the electorate a couple of years back. To me, it was amazing that for a state where there are many many people who smoke, there seem to be few who want to support it. There was even a We Grow (?) store that was ready to start telling folks how to grow and maintain their crop, that was how sure many thought it pass. Also, there should be a law the pardons Bob Newland. I second both of those recommendations. Motion passed and motion carried.

  6. Tara Volesky 2013.12.25

    Legalize agricultural hemp. I think I sent you the bill Cory. Let's see if we have any legislators willing to stand against big corporate interests and sponsor the bill. Just contact me. This is one of Mike Myers top 4 for the Governors race. Hemp, Health care, Education, Corruption.

  7. Jerry 2013.12.25

    I think that there should be a bill to encourage more renewable energy development here in our state. There should be more tax breaks for investors and there should be a revisiting of the ideas that others have put on the table. This would not only bring needed tax dollars to our state, but also provide more employment and more possibilities for business to locate here.

  8. Union Co 2013.12.25

    I would like to see a bill written (and passed) that when an elected state representative or senator resigns the vacancy will be filled by having an election and not by an appointment from the Governor.

  9. owen reitzel 2013.12.25

    A bill to repeal the school sentinal bill from last year.

  10. Union Co 2013.12.25

    I would like to see bills written (and actually get out of committee) that protect our soil, air, and water from the pollution of an oil pipeline, fracking, and uranium mining.

  11. Vincent Gormley 2013.12.25

    Legalize hemp. Repeal the death penalty. Rescind the deal with TransCanada. Increase the minimum wage. Fund education rather than corporations. Make college education free. Rescind the mandatory retirement for physicians to allow doctors to serve the reservations and rural communities.

  12. interested party 2013.12.25

    Pass laws forbidding the cultivation of genetically engineered cannabis and increasing the penalties for trafficking in synthetics.

  13. WR Old Guy 2013.12.25

    Change the open meeting law to put some teeth into it. I had a local district board convicted of violating the open meetings law twice in two years. The penalty is a public reprimand. The Rapid City Journal never published the violation despite my inquiry.

  14. Jeff Barth 2013.12.25

    I'd like to end the subsidy given to the booze business and increase the tax on drinkers to cover their share of the cost of criminal justice. That burden is currently carried by property tax in the counties with some excise and sales tax on the State level.

    In Minnehaha county the stupid drunk people cost us between $12m and $18m a year. They should pay not property tax payers. My house does not drink and drive.
    I propose a 10% additional sales tax on liquor, beer and wine and a dollar for dollar reduction in property tax and the sales tax on food.
    I recognize that I may have to pry the whisky bottle our of your cold dead hands but that is how it happens so often already.

  15. Jessie 2013.12.25

    I'd like the legislature to try one more time to ban texting and driving.

  16. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.12.25

    Detailed minutes and audio recordings of all meetings involving more than one member of the judicial, legislative, or executive branches of state, county, or local governments; whether elected, appointed, paid or volunteer; will be available to the public in each of these ways:
    1. Official website
    2. Telephone recording
    3. Public posting in a city hall, post office and other public gathering place.

    State and county governments must comply with all aspects of this law within 24 hours. Lower level governments are allowed 36 hours.

    First Offense - Each individual attending a meeting which violates this law will be fined a minimum of $100.00.
    Second Offense - Each individual attending a meeting which violates this law will be fined a minimum of $150.00 and seven days in jail, plus being served a written probation stating that one more offense results in expulsion from any position within that level of government.
    Third Offense - As stated above plus $500.00 fine and 30 days in jail.

    Failure to comply with the penalties at any level automatically moves the offender down to the next level.


    Something like that. What do you think? Suggestions? Changes? Amendments? Loop holes big enough for Rounds/Daugaard/Bollen/to tromp right through? Good government gets better and better as it becomes brighter and brighter.

    And Cory, thanks for the opportunity.

  17. Donald Pay 2013.12.25

    A bill to re-enact in an even tougher form the Nuclear Waste Initiative passed by voters in 1984, and subsequently stealthily repealed in a 100+ page bill later in 1987, I believe. The focus should be to find way that would preclude state government and its agencies, employees and institutions from participating in any studies that would provide for the siting of a low-level or high-level radioactive waste storage facility or repository, and to require anyone proposing such a facility to seek a vote of the state electorate through the initiative process.

  18. Cody Raterman 2013.12.25

    Repeal the contractors excise tax.

    Income tax vs. sales tax.

    And unicameral legislature.

  19. grudznick 2013.12.25

    Ms. Geelsdottir, you have an interesting concept. I question the growth in government that would cause. Would a discussion in the restroom between two individuals need to have a third present to record and take minutes?

    Would this mean citizen Joe talking to his legislatures in the halls would have to have his meeting recorded too if he were speaking to two or more of them?

  20. grudznick 2013.12.25

    Unicameral legislature is a good idea but that might be in the constitution and not under the control of the legislatures themselves with a bill. But cutting down the number of counties and legislative districts might be. We should drastically cut the number of counties and legislative districts. Mid twenties, maximum. And if we can reduce how often they meet even better.

  21. rollin potter 2013.12.25

    JERRY, If you would check it out you would find that there are already plenty of tax breaks for investors in wind energy!!! Take a look at the South Dakota wind partners north of white lake!! It is nothing more than a tax break for the high income investors!!!!!! Financed by a combination of equity,debt, and grant financing!!!! That grant financing comes from your pocket!!!!!! think about it!!!

  22. rollin potter 2013.12.25

    Jeff Barth,what is the subsidy given to the Booze industry? I am just a dakota hillbillie and have never heard of it!!!!

  23. Douglas Wiken 2013.12.25

    The "subsidy" given the liquor and beer and wine industries is that the tax on alcoholic drinks doesn't cover even a small part of the totally needless expense the booze industry generates. The huge "untax" shifts burden as Barth has indicated to property tax payers. It also generates about double charges for vehicle insurance. The tax should also pay about half the car insurance costs for all licensed SD drivers until the DUI and DWI rates and alcohol-related crash drop to a small percentage of current totals. SD should amend our constitution to make dram shop acts possible. Judges in the lap of the liquor industry and alcoholics themselves have decided that dram shop acts in SD are unconstitutional even if working in other states.

  24. rollin potter 2013.12.25

    Hey wiken, THe new word now is not a tax!!!!! It is a fee!!!!!

  25. Joan Brown 2013.12.25

    Tax on food and clothing repealed. Luxury tax(nation wide) on furs, jewelry, make-up, recreational equipment(boats, ATVs, guns, golf equipment, etc.) Until I was something like 19-22 there was a luxury tax on make-up and jewelry, and I don't know what else. The make-up and jewelry is what I was interested in at that age. This would apply to the items bought in discount stores, and dollar stores too. During that time span I was working in an old fashioned dime store and I can remember having to remark items when the tax was removed. This would have happened sometime between 1959 and 1962. I don't remember hearing anybody complain about having to pay that tax.

  26. rollin potter 2013.12.25

    MR. BARTH, How about the person who has to walk to work in the morning to earn $7.25 per hour!! Why should they have to pay tax on there house to pay for the streets that you drive on to cruise down to the city hall, court house,grocery store etc. so these commissioners can get there annual salary which is way too much?

  27. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.25

    There ought to be a law changing the States Capitol to Sioux Falls and the session to the summer to allow much more citizen participation. Oh come on stop booing.

  28. Jerry 2013.12.25

    ROLLIN POTTER, you are correcto mundo. I am sorry that I put that the way I did. This would be more appropriate. I think that there should be a law that actually forces utility companies into purchasing renewable energy. In the Tri-State Neighbor, I could not find this on there website, there is a story about a wind farm project in northeastern Nebraska that was shelved due to the developer not being able to get a power company to commit to purchasing their end product. As you note, there are tax incentives to the developer to do the building of farms, but if there is not an outlet for the finished electricity, then you have nothing. The name of the company that was not able to find a commitment was Trade Wind Energy, a Lenexa, Kansas based company and the size of this was 200 megawatt, enough to power 60,000 homes. The Black Hills Corp was going to do a wind farm by Belle Fourche as part of its commitment to do a percentage of renewable energy, but canceled the project in the end and has not done anything regarding renewable in the last few years that I am aware of.

  29. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.25

    Joan Brown, you wrote, " Until I was something like 19-22 " and "This would have happened sometime between 1959 and 1962."

    Doggone, you and I are in the same age bracket. Must be why we think alike. While removing the tax on food and clothes and adding to cosmetics and jewelry, how about we add 1 cent more state and the option for 1 cent more municipal on new automobile sales. They already are added by the surrounding states if they buy the car here. And those who move to another state have to pay the difference between our low 3% and the 5% all of our neighboring states charge.

  30. Charlie Johnson 2013.12.25

    BEEF---Better Education Expects to be Funded. Replace a funding(state and local) with a levy on gross revenue of all sources not to exceed 1%. No longer would local property taxes or funding from the state through the general fund be used to finance k-12 education. The levy on gross revenue would have no exceptions, no deduction, and no exemptions. The levy is applied the same whether a teenager earning a minimum wage flipping hamburgers, an investor making millions off of mutual funds or dividends, or a farmer selling thousand of dollars worth of cattle and grain. Property taxes would still fund capital outlay, special education, bond redemption, and if voted in by local taxpayers--an op out to further funding in local schools beyond the SAF. The levy would be 1% of 3 years until it fully fund a trust account to handle 2 years of SAF. After that the levy would be less than 1% just generating the amount needed to finance the SAF.

  31. grudznick 2013.12.25

    Mr. Johnson's BEEF might be a good idea, especially if coupled with some teacher evaluations and incentives. No more should the slackards get the same as the really good teachers. We do this BEEF with some bonuses for the really good teachers, and we set some evaluation criteria. This will really allow us to reward the good teachers and get rid of the fat cat administrators.

  32. Charlie Johnson 2013.12.25

    The BEEF plan is both a working plan for the state of South Dakota to fully fund the SAF per it's constitutional responsibility while at the same time allowing local districts to implement property taxes above that SAF baseline if the voters so choose. School districts can implement their own incentives with local dollars if they so wish. Local taxpayers would still be responsible for infrastructure in terms of capital outlay and bond redemption. Local districts decide if they want to have a "Chevy" or Cadi-like" campus.

  33. Stan Gibilisco 2013.12.25

    Decriminalize pot use, and decriminalize possession of pot in amounts of one ounce or less.

    Exempt groceries from the sales tax, and raise the rate just enough to remain revenue neutral.

  34. Stan Gibilisco 2013.12.26

    Repeal the death penalty.

  35. Aachen 2013.12.26

    Probably need to start working on the marriage laws currently in effect in the state. It's an ugly state of affairs that is contrary to the founding principles of our nation.

  36. Aachen 2013.12.26

    Stan Gibilisco: Seconded enthusiastically!

  37. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.26

    I will third Stan Gibilisco on all three ideas. Way to go Stan.

  38. Lynn G. 2013.12.26

    Why repeal the death penalty? I'm thinking of these two prime examples. James Holmes who researched how to plea insanity on his computer in planning for his shooting spree.

    Then this serial rapist who not only destroyed and severely scarred the lives of his victims but then smirks at the judge at sentencing.

  39. Lynn G. 2013.12.26

    Legalize agricultural hemp at the very least since it has many historic and current applications. I never understood the fixation with making it illegal in the first place.

    There are many good ideas for legislation above and this probably falls under the South Dakota PUC but have it where the utilities consumer can have the option to voluntarily add on to their monthly bill in different amounts options to support and fund renewable energy production with their public utility. Minnesota has a great example with this and I had a portion of my Excel Energy bill set up to support renewable/green energy.

    The other option regarding energy is to have the utility to purchase excess green energy produced from solar or wind from it's consumers. Again this is done in other states.

    Regarding pot. I'm leaning towards just making it legal. It always seemed like my friends and I were always a minority in that we never smoked pot nor ever will being that our past was health and athletically oriented but it's almost like prohibition and that failed. Might as well make it legal and tax it.

  40. Les 2013.12.26

    I find it interesting how so many think of death as the ultimate punishment. When I go to sleep at night, there is no guarantee I'll wake and it is, a very comfortable process. Our death penalty is little different in the punishment you wish for when you speak of the crime and the punishment due..
    The one thing it does, it keeps that perp from committing another crime but so do four concrete walls with no exit privileges.
    The other one thing it does is to hand over life and death to a government who can then decide all the other good reasons of picking winners and losers as they do in many segments of their duties today..
    Interesting list of suggestions above. We have legalized gambling in SD. The social costs have outweighed the gains though few will admit. The marijuana legalization continues to be a fight. Consumers can buy pot almost anywhere without difficulty but risk the meth laced pot commonly found now days which would not be an issue if it was regulated and taxed. I've had customers that used for 40 years and have not seen anything comparable to the damages I see from the gambling addictions.

  41. Lynn G. 2013.12.26

    Les it seemed like the video lottery was unleashed like a disease and I've seen the addictive destruction to people's lives here in the state. Aberdeen for example looked like there was a casino every few blocks practically besides the convenience stores and preys on those who would be most vulnerable income wise though I've seen a family with a very good income live in poverty while feeding their addiction.

    Legalized pot could be a good source of revenue and it could be regulated to protect consumers.

  42. rollin potter 2013.12.26

    Hey LYNN G, I contacted SEN. LUCAS,district 26 in january,2012 to take people like the Lennox teacher who was SCR--ing that young girl from the school all summer long and and they did nothing to him!!! I suggested they CASTRATE these stallions first and then proceed with there silly assed laws!!!!!! MR. Lucas said faith and forgiveness on the part of the girl would be better in his opinion!!!!! Request what you want but take what you get!!!!!!!!!

  43. Lynn G. 2013.12.26

    Rollin if I committed a crime I would be willing to accept full responsibility for my actions. That's just me. If those who feel the current state's death penalty is not much a deterrent for being too humane via lethal injection than I'd be open to other methods. Firing squad? Hanging? How about putting them on the rack like medieval times? Ok the rack maybe that is too far. lol Otherwise what is proper punishment for a crime so horrible here on Earth?

    Rather than lethal injection have them make a positive contribution to society by having them assigned to crews for cleanup of Superfund sites and areas of Western South Dakota that have radio-active and heavy metal contamination from past mining?

  44. Jerry 2013.12.26

    I think that Denny and the misfits should take yet another windfall of 19 million and use it to fund the Medicaid expansion. There is no excuse for denying this life saving coverage to our working poor.

  45. Liberty Dick 2013.12.26

    Constitutional carry! The concealed carry permit is a joke, you can always still openly carry. All we are doing is throwing a little cash at the local sheriff's office for doing a worse background check than what the Feds do when you purchase the gun you plan on carrying. Cut the middle man and get back to the constitution.

  46. interested party 2013.12.26

    Every white English-speaking foetus over 20 weeks must be fitted with a sidearm regardless of the health of the mother.

  47. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.26

    Grudz: yes, I am a registered District 8 voter, as I have been for several years. Number of bills depends on quality of submissions and how fast I can type.

  48. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.26

    Larry, I said no resolutions. Bills, bills, bills!

  49. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.26

    Hemp and cannabis: Do we want separate bills for industrial hemp (making and selling rope, plywood, hemp oil, etc.) and personal marijuana use? Or do we tie those issues together in one package?

  50. Lynn G. 2013.12.26

    I'd say keep Hemp and cannabis separate and focus on their differences since there are so many misconceptions as it is.

  51. interested party 2013.12.26

    Misconceptions like hemp and cannabis are two separate species? Get a grip, people: none of these ideas will ever see the light of day.

  52. Lynn G. 2013.12.26

    What would you suggest IP?

  53. interested party 2013.12.26

    Lynn, very soon my daughters will flee South Dakota for blue states then I will be done with caring. My suggestion? Cory would ban me then the FBI will visit my home.

  54. Lynn G. 2013.12.26

    All I'm asking is help educate me and I'm being sincere.

  55. interested party 2013.12.26

    I can't support the introduction of one more engineered organism like the one that a South Dakota legislature would allow, Lynn. Hemp is an annual cannabis: tillage, diesel fuel, water intensive. Growing for personal use is the only cultivation that makes economic sense for the state that is already clearing habitat so that a ring-necked pheasant imported from China can prop up an unsustainable hunting industry.

  56. owen reitzel 2013.12.26

    "Every white English-speaking foetus over 20 weeks must be fitted with a sidearm regardless of the health of the mother."

    Larry I agree and the firearm can be hidden in the diaper

  57. interested party 2013.12.26

    I would support funding for distilleries for plastics and pine timber to be turned into diesel fuel.

  58. Lynn G. 2013.12.26

    IP thank you! I didn't know growing Hemp required so much care. I just figured it was like a common weed in being pretty hardy and could survive with minimal input.

  59. Les 2013.12.26

    Lynn, rather than concentrating on what you think is sympathy for the perp on death row, how about looking at it this way. Say I just don't like you and saw you at the sight of a heinous crime, anyway it looked like you. I am a reputable witness and tomorrow you are going to be hanged or stretched? How many unjustified cases like that are worth the rest who don't deserve mercy? I agree if we are going to use capital punishment, at least our children should see it so it burns deeply. "Government Kills, Hate Government". Feel better now?

  60. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.26

    Renewable energy: We have some tax incentives for investors and homeowners, Jerry... would you like to simply increase the existing incentives, or are there some new incentives you'd like to create

    Lynn mentions buying back green power from consumers. Dakota Rural Action floated that idea last session with its net metering bill and is pushing for similar legislation this year. We should help them, as they are going to face ginned-up opposition from ALEC, which is promoting anti-solar legislation across the country to fight exactly that sort of payback for forward-thinking customers who produce extra power.

    Are there other planks to add to a renewable energy bill?

  61. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.26

    UnionCo: the legislative special election proposal seems straightforward. Should we make special election a requirement in all cases? What if the vacancy occurs within 60 days of the beginning of the session, or during the session? Should we keep any sort of emergency appointment provision?

  62. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.26

    On UnionCo's environmental protection proposal... what's the right way to tackle those issues? Should we do separate bills address oil pipelines, fracking, and uranium mining? What specific protections should we ask for in each case? Higher bond requirements for cleanup funds? Taxes on operations? Outright ban of all such activities?

  63. Jerry 2013.12.26

    Clearly the tax incentives are not enough for homeowners. Even if you do get a tax credit, try selling the overages to the utility company. In South Dakota, one of 4 states, you get what they pay you. In the other states, you get back the same amount as you are charged.

    Also, the Federal tax return is still not enough to make the purchase of personal use a reasonable return of investment. In my personal home, my cost to put in solar would be 30,000.00 dollars with the tax credit. Figuring about half of what my overage would be to return the unused power, it does not make sense to make the investment.

    When I first mentioned this, I was mainly thinking about utility companies like the one I mentioned in north eastern Nebraska and their not being able to find a contract holder for their product. I think the state of South Dakota should invest more into grid systems that could deliver power and also enforce utility companies like Black Hills Corp into going with renewable energy on a more robust scale. Right now, I do not believe they do anything, so something is better than nata.

    Renewable energy would encourage business to stay and expand or to have others come here. We could market the product around the country if we had the smart grid systems that we need today.

  64. Douglas Wiken 2013.12.26

    Individuals wishing to purchase alcohol or pot should be required to buy a license to purchase and good open records of purchases should be required. Containers should be stamped with the name and number of both buyer and seller and actual date and time of purchase.

  65. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.26

    Vincent! You give us quite the list!

    Repeal the death penalty: Rep. Hickey should have us covered on that one.

    Rescind the deal with TransCanada: by "the deal", do you mean the PUC's permits? Do you want to take firmer action to reverse eminent domain takings? Can we retroactively cancel TransCanada contracts with landowners?

    Increase the minimum wage: the Dems have placed that on the Novemeber ballot. Do you want a legislative action that would take effect sooner and render the initiative moot?

    Fund education rather than corporations: Can do! Can we expand that into a specific legislative proposal, like defund GOED and transfer all funds to the K-12 formula?

    Make college education free: holy cow! We could write that one pretty easily. Funding will be scary, but we'll let appropriations figure that one out. :-)

    Rescind the mandatory retirement for physicians to allow doctors to serve the reservations and rural communities: we have that? What age is their mandatory retirement? Which statute sets that?

  66. Jeff Barth 2013.12.26

    Douglas, I like your idea requiring a license to drink. The license could be pulled after a DWI or after stabbing your friend while drunk.
    Right now you can have 5 DWIs and walk into a bar and get served.

  67. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.26

    Deb, thanks for giving WROG's open-meeting proposal some teeth! I'd hesitate on the "more than one" line, for just the restroom reason grudz gives. Would you proposal still work if we stuck with the quorum requirement of current law?

    As for the fine and jail time... when you say "each individual attending a meeting," do you mean audience members, too? Or just board members? Even focusing on board members could be unfair: they hold the meeting, sign the minutes, but it's the secretary's or auditor's or city finance officer's duty to get those minutes on the website and/or to the newspaper. Should we target the official responsible and/or the board secretary (whoever is directly responsible for carrying out the duty) for the punishment?

  68. Dick Kelly 2013.12.26

    County budgets are getting clobbered by public safety costs with no way other than property tax to pay for them. Giving the counties the 2% excise tax on alcohol (it all goes to the state now) or 12.5 % of the alcohol tax (25 % goes to city and 75 % to state) to the counties is the right thing to do. The counties end up with costs of booking, jailing, prosecuting and in most cases defense. 75% of our inmates are in for crimes related to alcohol. 5% of the drinkers consume 49% of all the alcohol. All taxpayers are paying for the problem. Or maybe it's time for a total rewrite of alcoholic beverage laws.

  69. Rorschach 2013.12.26

    Dick Kelly is right. But will it happen in an election year? Doubtful. Would Sen. Kelly have supported such a proposal when he was in Pierre? As a former legislator he would be a good person to go to Pierre during the legislative session to convince those there now.

  70. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.26

    Please, please, please listen to Misters Barth and Kelly. In addition to the jailing and other costs involved for the county as regards alcohol consumption, I will bet that there is some alcohol in the past involved in the homeless whom Minnehaha county has taken the responsibility of housing and got no help from Sioux Falls, when they asked.

  71. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.26

    rollin potter and Lynn G, when you are looking for the ultimate penalty, please consider life in prison without parole. Please realize that when the State executes someone for their crime, their suffering ends. In some cases as in one of the guards who killed Mr Johnson, he self-admittedly did it realizing that he would be executed as he could not face having to do the time for which he was sentenced. In other words the State of South Dakota assisted in his suicide to end his suffering. At the same time the State of South Dakota will not even talk about an assisted suicide law for those who are suffering, such as Washington, Oregon and Montana have. Let's see if I understand that. If I am not terminal but have another possible ten or more years to suffer with my ailment, I should kill someone so that South Dakota will execute me and end my suffering.

  72. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.26

    Corey and Union County, elections for all positions no matter how close to the previous election. Case in point, Duty Johnson running for PUC, getting elected, resigning to become DD's Chief of Staff, DD appointing Chris Nelson, who was beaten in the primary by Noem for US House, after being term limited as Sec of State, even though he had no qualifications for the PUC. Then Nelson having the audacity to run for the seat in 2012 as the candidate with experience.

    South Dakota State Government seems almost incestuous.

  73. interested party 2013.12.26

    Interesting proposal going to the New Mexico legislature.

  74. Joan Brown 2013.12.26

    A former cop and I were discussing the death penalty several years ago, probably the 1970s and he really gave me a lot to think about. I was married to another cop and he was very pro death penalty. This other cop felt that life in prison with no parole would be the worst punishment. He said imaging never being able to hug your wife, kids, see the kids graduate and get married and never hugging your grand kids. Then he added in never being able to go hunting or fishing again. Then there is the fact that it costs more to execute somebody than to house them for life.

  75. Lynn G. 2013.12.26

    Les and Lanny do you think Ariel Castro somehow came to terms with what he had done and realized the rest of his life would be in prison and then committed suicide?

    Is life in prison more of a deterrent than having the death penalty for the worst and most terrible crimes? I'm torn for religious reasons and my faith yet outraged and shocked at how a human being could treat others to justify the ultimate penalty whatever that may be. What is justice and Deterrence. Les I remember reading stories of a few on death row who were found to be innocent due to discovering evidence to clear them or other things going on that tainted their trials being an injustice sadly.

  76. Lynn G. 2013.12.26

    Sorry Joan I was composing my post while you posted yours. Good point!

  77. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.26

    Lynn G, I cannot say whether or not he came to terms with his actions, I only know that if the state executes, it does the same thing that it does when it goes to war. It kills in my name and I am not willing to give it that right. We are allowed to kill in self defense, with no moral conundrum, but with imprisonment with no chance of parole, that should have solved that conflict. The problem that arises in the case of Mr Johnson's murder, is that whoever gave the prisoners trustee status, was probably not qualified to make that assessment. But the prison staff is probably like our teachers in South Dakota, paid at the bottom of the list for their type of work, and that has to be one of the most thankless jobs there is.

  78. rollin potter 2013.12.26

    Hey Doug Barth,you never answered my question!! dated 12-25-2013. Why should the person who has no car and walks to his $7.25 per hour job have to pay taxes on his house to pay for all those nice roads you drive on to the commissioners meeting to get your $26,000 per year check!!!!!!

  79. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.12.26

    In regard to my government transparency law:

    I want to be sure that certain people cannot claim exemption because they were not elected or paid or some other ruse. Therefore, perhaps there is a better way to describe who would be eligible for penalties. 'Contributors', 'participants', to the meeting?

    My thinking is that if all those people are accountable for the proper public disclosure, there will be that many more people to make damn sure it happens. The point is to remove easy excuses like, "The tape recorder didn't work." If that means that they check the recording device every 10 minutes, I don't have a problem with that.

    What number of people constitutes a meeting? There are too many governments that have already worked all the business out via communications prior to the public meeting. The meeting is simply to make official the decisions reached at earlier secret meetings.

    I want to put the burden on those who work to circumvent current open meeting laws. No excuses, no mechanical/electronic failures. And penalties with teeth.

  80. Jeff Barth 2013.12.26

    No property taxes are used for roads in Minnehaha County. We have revenue from wheel tax, vehicle registration and a share of gas tax to cover those expenses.

    The cost of prosecuting, defending and incarceration people who break the law is covered by your property tax. 80% of folk in prison have a drug or alcohol problem with 59% having primarily an alcohol problem. Why should you pay property tax to solve their drinking problem?

    I'm glad you can afford a house on $7.25 and hour but I hope you are looking for a better job.

  81. rollin potter 2013.12.26

    Mr. Barth, Maybe run for county commissioner!!!! Do very little and get paid very much!!!!

  82. Nick Nemec 2013.12.26

    rollin potter, roads are a necessity, crimes committed by drunks are not.

  83. Jim hock 2013.12.26

    I didn't read any of the other comments but this should especially appeal to small government fans; a moratorium for five years on all new laws. During this time there would be a review of all laws on the books to make sure they are still valid. The only thing the legislature can has to worry about are the budget and voting on whether the law on the books are still worth it.
    How often are the current laws reviewed if ever? Why do we have to make new laws every year? I read something on SDWC about how a legislator was a failure for never introducing any laws or bills during his tenure. As long he was representing his constituents in how he voted on what was brought up how is that a failure?
    To paraphrase Bush the first " NO NEW LAWS."

  84. supertreat 2013.12.26

    Let's get a gov't transparency law with some teeth in SD. Way too much corruption going on.

  85. rollin potter 2013.12.27

    MR.NEMEC, THEN let us be fair in our taxation or "fees", we have a new word for taxation now!!! Let us tax or "fee" these over loaded 18 or more wheelers for all there wheels rather than the $16 that we tax or"fee" that little 4 wheel volks wagon!!!!!! Sorry, i don't have one but feel they are getting ripped off on this one!!!! Hold off you plow jockeys,i already know what you are going say about this!!!

  86. Nick Nemec 2013.12.27

    I'm a farmer and would have no problem allowing the wheel tax to be applied to all the wheels. The license fees for my two semi trucks are chump change compared to the other expenses on my farm.

  87. rollin potter 2013.12.27

    Hey Nick, I am too, but i like to hear the remarks from some of these people!!!!!! You are usually quite fair minded!!

  88. barry freed 2013.12.27

    Are there other planks to add to a renewable energy bill?

    Saw a program on TV about Brazil's energy policy and a car built by Chevrolet (not offered in the US) that runs on 100% ethanol, or 100% Gas, or any blend of the two, analyzed in real time.
    I thought: Yeah, they have all that sugar cane.
    So off to Wiki. Turns out Sugar Beets and Sugar Cane produce roughly the same amount of sugar per acre, per year. South Dakota used to produce Sugar Beets in great quantities, and could do so again. If the South Dakota Government is going to operate as a business incubator rather than a system to govern ourselves, who not go into businesses that work?

    Interesting reading:

  89. Nick Nemec 2013.12.27

    rollin, the reason I have no problem supporting an increased drink tax is because drunk people cause so many expenses to the system. I doubt a drink tax would stop those expenses from being incurred but it would help pay for them.

    To me a fee is a charge assessed for a specific service, like filing a form. Sometimes political types like to use terminology, fee vs. tax, to skewer their opponents.

  90. Jenny 2013.12.27

    I am in support of legalizing cannabis and taxing it. There are way too many people in prisons for minor cannabis offenses that really shouldn't be. Hopefully MN will follow Colorado in this aspect.

  91. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.27

    Jerry: could South Dakota do anything to promote building of the smart grid to support renewables? Or does that advantage depend on interstate action, beyond our borders?

  92. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.27

    Barry, can we pass legislation promoting a specific industry? Could the Legislature eminent-domain Northern Beef Packers and turn it into a beet-processing plant? Can we create some state subsidy to encourage farmers to plant sugar beets? And which part of the state is best for beet cultivation?

  93. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.12.27

    Jeff, I'm intrigued by the alcohol tax. Tell me how the dollar-for-dollar reduction in property and food taxes works. Do we split those reductions 50-50 between the two taxes? We have the property tax reduction fund, so that part seems straightforward, but how do we reduce the food tax dollar-for-dollar? Do we count up the alcohol tax revenue from FY2015, then reduce the sales tax on food by an appropriate percentage in FY2016? Do we simply send rebates out to every South Dakota household based on estimated food expenses?

  94. Nick Nemec 2013.12.27

    Rather than use the failed Aberdeen packing plant to slaughter cattle, a mature industry with little margin for profit, it should be used to slaughter horses. There is a need for horse slaughter plants in this country but because of the optics of slaughtering horses no one wants to get in the industry.

  95. Les 2013.12.27

    Black Hills Corp has wind power in Colorado Jerry. A smart grid in SD Cory? We need a grid that will haul a load out before we get smart. Mostly likely wind is only econ viable in the corners of our state.
    I am 100% for putting the cost of alcohol infractions on the backs of the industry. That would quickly bring about the changes necessary to help correct the abuses.
    Food tax is extremely regressive. Get it from any other source, mainly the sources costing us all the social problems such as alchy and gambling.

  96. Jerry 2013.12.27

    True in Colorado, but none here in South Dakota where it could provide jobs and needed income. Colorado seems to have a lot of things that would be a good thing for our state

  97. grudznick 2013.12.27

    A law forbidding state departments from sending holiday greeting cards and buying give-away promotional trinkets.

  98. grudznick 2013.12.27

    Schools too. Any fatcat administrator that sends a holiday card loses 50% of the tax dollars going to that school for the year. If it was a religious card, 75%, and their reserved parking space.

  99. Les 2013.12.27

    BH Corp putting wind power in SD is about like putting a 1500 head kill plant in Aberdeen.
    Go get em Chiang Kai Shek.

  100. Jerry 2013.12.27

    Probably right Les and that is why there should be a law against that very thing.

  101. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.27

    Les and Jerry, I am pretty sure that the only one authorized on building the transmission lines is WAPA the Western Area Power Association.

  102. Jerry 2013.12.27

    Well then, there ought to be a law that the WAPA does what it is supposed to do, build lines. We grow in numbers each day, it is not hard to figure out that we need more power and that it should not come from coal or unsafe nukes.

  103. Lanny V Stricherz 2013.12.27

    I don't disagree with you on that Jerry, especially on the nukes and coal. I am sure that what they are looking at is that at a million dollars a mile to build the transmission lines, it is better to have the power coming from a source closer to the use. South Dakota has always been a net exporter of energy, partially because of the Mo River dams, but also because we have not had the growth that other areas have. The population of the US is 4 times as much as it was in 1900 and in South Dakota only double in that same period.

  104. Les 2013.12.28

    If you have noticed my previous comments on green power in areas like our state, I'm in the, "we need small units whether wind or sun on every roof", Jerry. No transport necessary and net metering becomes non issue.
    Net metering will only affect a few anyway as most will never afford a system which would put back substantial power.

  105. interested party 2013.12.28

    Transmission lines are just more ways corporations steal land from private owners: get off the grid, South Dakota and let the utilities die.

  106. Jerry 2013.12.28

    Les and Larry, I agree with you about getting off the grid. As I said, at a cost of 30,000.00 for me to do it, just does not dollar out. I am looking for ways to do that and hope that the cost of purchasing panels and the cost of the set up itself, will go down drastically before it makes sense to do it.

  107. Lynn G. 2013.12.28

    Do we have any laws in South Dakota requiring oil companies to disclose what chemicals they are using in the fracking solutions? I realize it's doubtful we do and that the oil companies will fight this like they have in other states and the Federal Government. My concern is that our access to clean water is obviously extremely valuable and will gain more value in the future but we would not be able to test for certain chemicals if we don't know what to look for if contamination occurs.

  108. interested party 2013.12.28

    Lynn: the state shirked its clean water responsibilities long ago, that's why Powertech could pump whatever it wants to into the Inyan Kara formation to extract a few pounds of yellowcake.

  109. bret clanton 2013.12.28

    The state currently has dozens of abandoned natural gas wells in Harding County that are potentially damaging aquifers as I type. These wells were abandoned by a company (Spyglass Cedar Creek) that claimed bankruptcy although it appears to me that its officers were not held to any accounting. Most of these wells reside on state land. DENR has issued several requests to pressure test or plug the wells but I don't know who they think will do it. I find it idiotic that candidates running for office (Mr. Brunner) claim we need more oil and gas exploration even though they have no answer for how to resolve all the current problems within the existing fields.

  110. Lynn G. 2013.12.28

    Great to know Bret! I realize the need for jobs and economic development especially in that part of the state but at what cost? Everything is for short term gain and it seems to occur again and again that we as taxpayers end up cleaning up at great expense what was gained by a small minority. Sometimes these subsidized sites or water resources simply can't be restored from what I've read.

    It's beautiful up there and would love to go exploring with my mountain bike but thought it might be best to bring a Geiger counter with me from past mining activity that still needs to be cleaned up again at taxpayer expense.

  111. Jake 2014.01.03

    Can we please, please, please make a law to defund, completely rid SD and protect our children from Common Core (standards, aligned curriculum, high stakes testing, data mining and any future proposed nationalized standards)?!? South Dakota children are so much more than human capita,l and education is more than workforce development for the big corporations.

  112. Paladn 2014.01.04

    Charlie Johnson's BEEF program appears to be a great idea. It is about time for everyone to pay their fair share.

    In regards to school funding, public schools should receive an increase and more than what our governor refers to as a "substantial increase" of 3%. Let's have the Dept of Finance go research back to the mid 1970's and design a funding program for our public schools which not only provides an increase for our employees in the classrooms bit all inflation as well. Now, how to spend same, such funding will be spent on the classroom --not on administrative salaries, travel, and board of education, travel and "treats". Teacher, classroom assistants, school personnel such as secretaries and custodians should receive massive salary and benefit increases to make compensation packages competitive boy only with surrounding states but with the median states. (We are already there with Supertendents and other administrators.)

    Significantly increase taxes on booze, cigs and gambling. If you use, you pay.

    Death penalty -- what difference? The state is afraid to use it. After all, the attorney gets paid by the hour & the more appeals, the more hours.

    Drunk driving -- 1st time - major fine with 1 week incarceration; 2nd offense - major fine & 30 day incarceration; 3rd offense - loss of driving privilege. Mandatory and no judge discression.

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