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Prepper Statecraft: Hickey Proposes Study of South Dakota Response to National Collapse

Rep. Steve Hickey brings us the Statesman-Prepper bill of 2015. House Bill 1086 would create the Economic Contingencies Work Group to study how the state would respond to what Rep. Hickey has called the "Long Economic Winter." Gently revising a summer-study proposal he pitched last year, Rep. Hickey asks the state to consider how it would confront an extended national economic crisis severe enough to cripple the federal government, disrupt the food and energy distribution networks, and drive us to local self-sufficiency and bartering.

Appropriately, the work group would have thirteen members.

The bill doesn't mention plague or war (O, Jericho, sweet Jericho!), but you know the millennialists who were disappointed at the Y2K non-event are thinking what fun it will be to write the discussion of any of the Four Horsemen onto the Legislature's agenda. I'll admit, the discussion could be a profound exercise in political and economic science. How well could South Dakota survive on its own? Would we be willing to nationalize (wait: what is the word for when a state government takes over private property and economic activity? state-alize?) farm land and farm equipment to ensure that enough beef, grain, and vegetables are grown to feed every citizen? Would we order our Guard troops to raid North Dakota and Wyoming for oil and coal, or would we take a safer defensive posture, convert all of our vehicles to run on electricity and ethanol, commandeer the dams on the Missouri River, and draft engineers and linemen to reconfigure the grid to provide electricity to sustain our state?

Thirteen Legislators of the Apocalypse could have a riotous summer thinking up disaster scenarios and plans for maintaining law, order, and tolerably good wine in the worst of times. Heck, I support governmental action to prepare for asteroid collisions (whew! survived another one—wait, two, Skipper and Little Buddy, Monday night!), and the last five thousand years have brought us more collapses of economies and empires than asteroid collisions. So go ahead, South Dakota Legislature, let's spend the summer talking about Rep. Hickey's Long Economic Winter... and amend the bill to include fewer legislators and more writers, futurists, and other creative types who can really probe the possibilities!

Related Reading: Maybe reading some alternative history would be useful bedtime reading for students of the Long Economic Winter. 1983: Doomsday is an alternate-history wiki-narrative created by multiple users imagining world history spun off from a nuclear war in 1983. In that timeline, the Lakota take West River; East River unites with the eastern part of North Dakota to form one state and moves the capital to Aberdeen.


  1. Tim 2015.01.28

    Well, I'm glad those idiots have every other problem this state has all worked out, nothing left to do but write fiction. The only thing left for us people to do but go buy a gun and a lifetime supply of ammo so we can all defend the great state of SD from the hoards that will undoubtedly come spilling over our boarders to rape and pillage.

  2. Tim 2015.01.28

    Ooops, borders, need more coffee.

  3. larry kurtz 2015.01.28

    hordes, tim.

  4. Tim 2015.01.28

    Well yeah Larry, Hickey isn't the only one that can write fiction, all though I can't think of a reason for anybody to invade SD we have nothing to offer.

  5. Steve Hickey 2015.01.28

    Aw Cory, You shouldn't scoff at this one. Here's your chance to have a bunch a Republicans figure out things are going just fine and we don't need so much in Reserves and we can expand Medicaid with the full faith and assurance the Fed Govt is solvent.

    I'm happy to post my 8 minutes of committee presentation text here but I don't want to turd up your blog with a long passage. Figured it'd save someone from trying to listen to it online. Let me know and I will so you guys can pick it apart. Feedback is very welcome.

    BTW, I voted yesterday for your ebola fear-based pandemic bill so we can lock people down without any means of getting to a lawyer or judge to challenge the order.

  6. larry kurtz 2015.01.28

    the only one 'who' can write fiction, 'although' I can't think....

  7. Jenny 2015.01.28

    This is kind of like fear-mongering. I want to see reputable information that the Nation is on verge of an economic collapse. I want real economists telling us the truth if this is real, not some partisan GOP anti-Obama SD legislators in Pierre.

  8. Lynn 2015.01.28

    Rep Hickey,

    I'd be curious to see your 8 minutes of committee presentation text. I'm sure everyone on this panel realizes that there could be numerous variables and scenarios that could play out and how it would affect those who live in South Dakota.

    Would some time be saved in research by checking with Civil Defense and FEMA? The military and think tanks such as the possibly the Brookings Institute that play out various scenarios and try to prepare for them?

    Long Economic Winter would you mean just the US or global since global would be more likely due to our economies being so intertwined? If so, wouldn't there be a higher risk of wars depending on the severity as people and government struggle for resources?

  9. JeniW 2015.01.28

    Actually, a better, at least IMO, is for SD to develop a plan for when the federal government shuts down so that Mt. Rushmore does not necessarily have to completely close, for services to continue for vital needs such as SNAP, housing, (public assistance in general,) and etc. that rely on federal dollars to function.

  10. mike from iowa 2015.01.28

    Hickey-start with Dr Bosworth,for her own good.

  11. mike from iowa 2015.01.28

    My bad,you said lock them down,not up. Shoot!

  12. Jenny 2015.01.28

    Pastor, I would like to see your presentation also (8 min is sure not very long when you're talking survival). Can you put your slides up on MVT? We would all love to see them.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.28

    Scoff? Rep. Hickey, I want you to amend the bill to put me on the work group as representative/advocate for education and civil liberties in crisis.

    And by all means, submit your committee testimony here! We welcome your explanations.

  14. Bill Fleming 2015.01.28

    Fun post, Cory. Good writing, brother. 'Skipper and Little Buddy'... Perfect name, perfect symbolic tangent. We need to send Stacy up there and take those boys out. Put Hickey on it. LOL

  15. Steve Hickey 2015.01.28

    It was quickly shot down by the committee 12-1. Actually, it was decided in the meeting before the meeting. Here is the long text - it's quickly typed script so spare me the comments about grammar:

    HB1086: Economic Contingencies Work Group

    We are asking for a work group to be formed to ascertain the effects of a significant and extended national economic crisis on South Dakota.

    Twice this year in Governing magazine (which we all get), there were articles on this topic. One was the cover story: "Ready? Resiliency efforts are shaping the way cities prepare for the worst." The month before that in the same publication there was this article: "Wild Ride: Some states are looking for ways to prepare for an increasingly volatile economy."

    SD is not among those states and we should be.

    The origin of the bill is a conversation I had a few years ago with the CEO of Avera Hospital Systems. He said they have a contingency plan, a fiscal contingency plan. They have a plan in place in case federal reimbursements are reduced 20%, or 40% or more. They plan to still serve patients, not all but many. If Avera is thinking along these lines, so should we.

    For everyone who scoffs at this bill as a product of the doomsday crowd, I’d just say what we are asking for here is no more nutso than what they are talking about over at Avera.

    In fact, many of those we represent are on high alert about the state of the economy. Many economists agree it’s only a matter of time before America faces the consequences of decades of the devaluation of the Dollar, unsustainable spending, irresponsible consumption and lending and unbridled debt accumulation. There is neither the will nor the wisdom nationally to avert a crisis. Not only is the crisis likely, some think bankrupting the states is planned.

    Many South Dakotans think we are on the brink of a significant fiscal reset, a day of reckoning, and it’s our job as state leaders to assess the risk and make recommendations for the state and general population on how best to prepare for, and manage an economic shake up. There are no bailouts for the middle and lower class in our state and they’d appreciate honesty as they take it upon themselves to navigate hard financial times. The middle class in our state aren’t looking for a bailout, but they do deserve a forthright heads up.

    It’s been seven years since the last shaking and those who watch the market refer to this seven year cycle that is discernible in past crashes.

    2008 - Lehman brothers, stock market crash, worst recession since Depression
    9/11 - the greatest one day stock market crash in U.S. history
    1994 - investors experienced the worst bond market massacre of their lifetimes (bankrupted Orange County
    1987 - Black Monday
    1980 - stagflation and the S&L crisis
    1973 - Arab oil embargo, long lines at gas stations

    This goes back to 1931 which is considered the worst year of the Great Depression.

    Lots of talk here this Session about a Balanced budget amendment. Do we have any concept of what types of cuts and taxes a balanced budget would mean to SD? Is anyone talking about how to wean ourselves off of this volatile and unsustainable federal dependency? We always brag that SD balances their budget. That’s only because we get two dollars back for every dollar we send to Washington.

    Three years ago I asked someone in BFM what would a 20% reduction in Federal Funds mean to SD? They shook their head and said “it’d put us back into the Stone Age.”

    When I asked one of them yesterday about an economic reset the answer I got was it wouldn’t happen overnight and we’d have a few months to react. Fixing things on the fly is poor leadership. Imagine telling our law enforcement agencies to quit with the civl unrest preparation scenarios, we’ll deal with it when it comes. Wouldn’t it be better to partner with our communities and talk openly about the real possibility that tough times lie ahead. People only panic when there is no plan in place. It is very possible things could change overnight. Billions in digital money can disappear in a jittery Wall Street afternoon.

    I’m a person who looks at the bright side even of this dark looming fiscal storm on the horizon. Hard times are the best times for Americans. I believe we need to champion SD neighborliness. As leaders in state government we need to be really honest with our citizens and say, these are things we recommend for communities to talk about and brace for. We do it with a rising river and a pending winter storm. Isn’t more at stake here?

    I spoke with a regional Dept of Homeland Security person three years ago who told me they got an email from up the food chain to all the regional directors that the dept recommends 90 days personal food storage. If that hit the news that the dept was telling their brass that, people would wonder why they aren’t being told the same. They aren’t afraid of another 9/11, there are preparing for something like a regional trucking strike that shuts down food to Memphis and Chicago. A few years ago we closed I-90 and I-29 down for 3 days and our HyVee had 3 gallons of milk. There is no food storage in America, it’s on trucks.

    The questions for this work group to consider are sevenfold and you can read them in section 3.

    20% reduction in Fed funds means what?
    What would that collapse of the dollar mean?
    Considering our level of dependency, is SD worse off or better off? What are the recommendations to wean us off these funds?
    How to we buy and sell when ATMS don’t work for a season?
    What statutes would make it hard for people to take care of each other?
    What about disruptions in food, power, government assistance and civil unrest. Civil unrest is inseparable from financial collapse.
    How much should we have in reserve funds?

    That question alone is worth forming a work group. We get hammered back in our district Cracker Barrel’s for not dipping into reserves to fund education. This workgroup needs to recommend what we need in reserves.

    The Governor puts forth cautionary budgets because, as he says in his state of the state, there is uncertainty beyond our borders - national and global. In his State of the State a couple years ago he referenced the fiscal cliff… “we have no idea what will happen in two months.” We had sequestration cuts looming and in all aspects of the economy the only uncertainty is that things remain very uncertain. If this work group isn’t necessary and we are good to go, then why am I defending not spending reserves and not expanding Medicaid?

    The pressure from all directions is to expand medicaid. This work group can give a basis for saying the Federal govt may not make good on their end of the deal in a few years.

    A legitimate criticism of this bill is that this is an alternative and less preferred way to establish a work group. Best to go through the executive board. I first proposed this to the Long Range Planning Committee and they had other things to focus on. I’ve proposed it for a summer study. Instead this year we spend $21,000 studying wine distribution in SD.

    There is no procedure for me to smoke out of the executive committee something a number of us want. So I bring it via a bill. There are a number of precedents for this, like the teen driving one a few years ago.

    I don’t like spending $21,000 for a work group, especially one that study’s wine distribution. But in light of our 4 billion dollar budget this is money well spent.

    “The prudent foresee danger and takes precautions. But the simple keep going and pay dearly.” Proverbs 22:3

    This work group would go a long way toward preventing an array of piecemeal legislation these next couple years; bills about alternative currencies, resolutions about glass steagall, etc.

    I could go on.

    A number of us in the legislature and around the state would love to hear some serious answers to the questions raised here.

  16. Nick Nemec 2015.01.28

    Rep. Hickey while we've never really met I must say I'm glad your proposal was shot down. There are much bigger issues out there and better places to spend the few dollars this study would take.

    I am concerned about the "meeting before the meeting" and am pleased that you, as a member of the Republican caucus, admit those meetings happen. Do you or others feel they violate open meeting laws? And if not violate the law at least violate the spirit of the law?

  17. Steve Hickey 2015.01.28

    Nick - we we have time and money to study wine distribution in SD, we have time and money to talk about the economy. It's like the days of Noah, eating and drinking and a storm is coming! ;-) I couldn't help myself with that comment.

    Again, if things are fine we Republicans have nothing to base our resistance on for Medicaid funding and more in reserves.

  18. Bill Fleming 2015.01.28

    Hickey, be proactive, not reactive. Read Diamond's 'Collapse' and 'The World Until Yesterday.'

    I'll buy the books for you. :-)


  19. Steve Hickey 2015.01.28

    Bill - this is proactive. Why can't we talk about what happens when some hacker shuts down government assistance checks for 3-4 weeks? The state can spend $108,000 to tell us the dangers of jerking and driving but it's not okay to spend $21,000 to put up some warning signs about potential fiscal cliffs. We are fools to think what happens in other countries can't happen here. I've been in places where my ATM suddenly doesn't work for five days. The state should tell people these are realities in these days and having small denomination bills ($500-$1000) will keep things running smoothly during a period of time we can't use our debit cards.

  20. Bill Fleming 2015.01.28

    Write a "survival kit" and publish it via social media. Think of your rejection from the committee as your first personal government shutdown. ;-)

  21. Bill Fleming 2015.01.28

    p.s. Pastor, reacting to a collapse of our economic system with defensive, survivalist strategies and tactics isn't what I would call being proactive. I'd call that being reactive. Just sayin'.

  22. Bill Fleming 2015.01.28

    ...not that there's anything wrong with that. LOL

  23. Nick Nemec 2015.01.28

    I'm starting to feel like the little kid who pointed out the king had no clothes on. The real issue here is the violation, or possible violation of open meeting laws. How often does this happen? Do other boards and commissions in SD have meetings before the meetings to decide the disposition of agenda items prior to citizen input or even the opportunity of citizen input? Is the legislature exempt from open meeting laws, or is this just the common practice that we've allowed the legislature to fall into because we've become lackadaisical. Is this an issue that needs to be discussed or am I tilting at windmills? (That's the second Cervantes reference I've made here on MVT this week. The frustration is real)

  24. Lynn 2015.01.28

    Nick meetings before meetings like for example GOAC?

  25. Bill Fleming 2015.01.28

    Who meets whom in a meeting before a meeting, Nick? Is there a pre-committee meeting committee that meets? Are people other than committee meeters meeting in the pre-committee meeting?

  26. Bob Newland 2015.01.28

    I had to laugh out loud at Sen. Hickey's eight minutes (before midnight?). The part that was funny was the supposition that there was any possibility of any group of SoDak legislators being capable of comprehending any part of the proposal.

    I had the experience Monday of talking to several legislators whose response to my plea for their help for SoDakians who need and use cannabis for their medical conditions was, "We can't have anything like what they have in Colorado."

    When I asked what offended them about Colorado, the answer was a variation on, "Just anybody can buy marijuana in a store! (gasp!)"

    When I asked if they preferred the market situation in SoDak, where "just anybody can buy marijuana from a street dealer," the response was some variation of walking away shaking their head at my inability to be reasonable with them.

  27. Bob Newland 2015.01.28

    Nick, I have some experience with Sen. Hickey. He's awfully adept at taking quick stabs with rhetoric, then retreating when one asks for in-depth exploration of a subject.

  28. Steve Hickey 2015.01.28

    It's REP Hickey, Bob.

  29. Bob Newland 2015.01.28

    Details, details. I AM embarassed, though.

  30. JeniW 2015.01.28

    Steve H., your comment about the SD balanced budget reminds me of when Gov. Rounds used the federal stimulus monies to balance the SD budget.

    I have wondered if SD would have had a balanced budget if it were not for the stimulus money, or if the money had been used as it was intended, namely for education.

  31. Bill Dithmer 2015.01.28

    Just when I thought I could latch on to the SD government tit the bill got killed, damn.

    For $21,000 I would have volunteered my services as an out of state cunsoltant, get one friend from each reservation, a civic leader from Mitchell, one from Rapid, and one from the Dunes, Sioux Falls is just a fad.

    We would load up in a state van, drive to Colorado and back, then meet at Cedar Shores once a month for three days and two nights of intensive sequestered committee round table discussion. There wouldnt be any press allowed but whenever we made an important decision we would send out a plume of white smoke. This looks like at least a three year study so it would be best to set aside that money in advance to assure quality controls are in place.

    Rev Hickey, please restart your bill because I know the right people to get er done.

    From your fellow preacher, and church owner
    The Blindman

  32. Roger Cornelius 2015.01.28

    HB1086 sounds a lot like his last year's inquiry about gay anal sex and demanding answers from the medical community when all he would have to have done is google anal sex.
    Like Lynn stated, the Brookings Institute and other think tanks have probably exhausted this subject and their research is readily available. I'm not going to research it since this is simply grandstanding by Hickey.
    Hickey seems to be following the typical Republican mantra of fear mongering, create a problem that doesn't or isn't likely to exist.
    In 2008 this country came as close to full economic collapse as it ever has and although I didn't agree with everything that was done to refuel our economy, President Obama led the charge to a nearly complete economic recovery.
    If Hickey still has his fears, let take a page or two out of President Obama recovery play book.

  33. Anne Beal 2015.01.28

    I've read Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, "the Long Winter." I've seen the documentary "Black Blizzard."
    I've had conversations with elderly people about how entire towns were abandoned, or completely relocated, during the Depression. I remember a woman telling me how all they had to eat was home baked bread spread with lard "but we didn't know we were poor, because everybody was."
    I met a woman who told me the reason she never had children was because she'd been sterilized at 16. "It was during the Depression,so The county paid for it, because there were so many vagrant men crossing the country looking for work."

    Shit happens.

  34. Nick Nemec 2015.01.28

    Lynn, I suspect GOAC is guilty.

    Bill, the people invited to the meeting before the meeting would be enough like minded Republican legislators to control the disposition of any bill, and also interestingly also to decide which Republican legislators to let vote the opposite way in order to appease a particularly vocal or troublesome constituent.

  35. Bill Fleming 2015.01.28

    Aha, Nick. Like a secret mini-caucus maybe?

  36. Jenny 2015.01.28

    Isn't the 'meeting before the meeting' just a given when it comes to (corrupt) politics? I'm sure this is quite routine everywhere, but more so in places like SD, b/c of the One Party System. I'm not saying it's right, but let's not be naive here.

  37. Jenny 2015.01.28

    Are there lobbyists preying on those 'pubs in Pierre like they do to the dems and 'pubs in Washington?

  38. Jenny 2015.01.28

    Oh Blindman - you need to write a book! So hilarious!

  39. Bill Fleming 2015.01.28

    Jenny, it's just such a strange process. Supposedly, the reason to have committees is to have a small group review something before bringing it to the larger group, so as not to waste the time of the larger group on things the smaller group feels might be a waste of time.

    But when the larger group meets so they can tell the smaller group which things they want them to bring them, what then is the real purpose of the committee?

  40. Jenny 2015.01.28

    I actually thought that's where Pastor got the name for his survival thesis - The Long Winter from the Little House Books.

  41. Roger Cornelius 2015.01.28

    Hickey complains about the national debt and yet concedes that South Dakota gets $2 back from D.C. for every dollar they send in. It seems to me that D.C. would be paying a significant part of this $21,000 futuristic study.

    The thing is, that there are so many politicians that want to spend taxpayer money to study, study, study. The cumulative amount of all these studies, regardless if they are real or imaginary, all add to the debt. Do they not, Rep Hickey?

  42. Roger Cornelius 2015.01.28

    I'm still trying to decide who is funnier, Pastor Dithmer or Pastor Hickey.

  43. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.01.28

    South Dakotans have a Constitutional right to open legislative sessions. I notice Rep. Hickey avoided that topic like the plague after some pointed questions were made. I recall several bills in the past making news by Republicans taking on the corruption of the closed door meetings with a mixed bag of support from Democrats.

    While the "Republicans" that do this are to blame, the press is equally responsible for not laying into them for this corruption and for not putting a bright spotlight on bills that have taken the issue head-on in the past.

  44. Donald Pay 2015.01.28

    Thinking about possible economic Black Swans is not a problem for me. I think the thinking behind this bill is bass ackwards, though. Common sense also says we need to take prudent actions to avoid or reduce the impact of Black Swans.

    Are we doing everything we can to avoid Black Swans? Doing away with financial regulations, denying climate change, and purposely making a part of your population poor and unhealthy seems to me a rather sure way to get to a Black Swan quicker. So, encouraging decentralized alternative energy, tough financial regulation and accountability, accepting Medicaid funding and avoiding hazardous and complex technology, like uranium mining nuclear power and nuclear waste dumps, seems prudent.

    The first duty of government ought to be to do no harm. Yet we have Republicans who seem determined to create Black Swans and have a weakened population, so that the impact of any Black Swan is far, far worse than it would be otherwise.

    If your concerned about economic calamity, it night make sense to decouple the functions of big financial institutions to reduce the threat of risky transactions affecting the less risky function---break them up. But try to find a Republican who would want to

  45. Bill Dithmer 2015.01.28

    Thankyou Jenny. I've had two books done for a long time now but needed help getting them published. I now have that help from a very nice neighbor lady.

    We have been so busy first selling the ranch, and now building Carson House, there hasnt been much time to write. You can look for "Diary Of A Food Whore," and "The Church Of Bill," this fall. Then in the spring "Pass Creek Memories."

    The Blindman

  46. Steve Hickey 2015.01.28

    DD- what topic did I avoid? The meeting before the meeting? I tweeted the fact to the world.

  47. Bill Dithmer 2015.01.28

    Roger, I did the mirror mirror on the wall and the damn thing said, "You were once so funny and cool but Pastor Steve is now much more funny then you."

    If your confused, here is a way to tell us apart.

    I, am a sheep in wolves clothing

    Pastor Steve, is a wolf in sheeps clothing

    The Blindman

  48. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.01.28

    Rep. Hickey,
    Nick Nemec asked you pointedly: "Do you or others feel they violate open meeting laws? And if not violate the law at least violate the spirit of the law?" Right here and you blew off the question.

    Are you aware of the SD Constitutional article that provides South Dakotans' legislative sessions are required to be open to the public? If so, what have you done to address the illegal closed door meetings? If not, shouldn't you have read the SD Constitution by now?

  49. larry kurtz 2015.01.28

    Rep Hickey is on the record, DD: back off.

    @stevehickey · 9 hours ago
    It should be illegal for committees to have closed meetings before the public meeting to decide a bill's fate.

  50. mike from iowa 2015.01.28

    Bill D-if you get one friend from each reservation,wouldn't you become a crony capitalist? Do your friends volunteer for free or do they get pay similar to yours?

    Love to be a fly on the wall when you get cranked up cussing and discussing gubmint.

  51. larry kurtz 2015.01.28

    Mike Verchio is a crook, people: you know that, right?

  52. larry kurtz 2015.01.28

    Rep. Hickey has called out West River legislators for stonewalling on racism and they are pushing back: let's back Steve on this.

  53. mike from iowa 2015.01.28

    $500-$1000-small denomination bills. What,pray tell, do you consider large denomination bills?

  54. grudznick 2015.01.28

    Mr. Verchio looks like a fine fellow to me. So does Mr. Hickey. I don't think people should be trying to push them both into some ultimate fighting octagon.

  55. larry kurtz 2015.01.28

    consider self-immolating in protest, grud.

  56. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.01.28

    @Larry Kurtz Rep. Hickey has been in the legislature for 4 years now. He has to have been well aware that the closed caucus meetings and precommittee meetings were occurring. Now he throws a temper tantrum when his bill falls victim? What about the hundreds of other bills South Dakotans deserved an open process for their issues? What has he done as a legislator to fix what he says should be illegal. The fact he doesn't know it is already illegal by South Dakota's Constitution makes his comment even worse.

  57. Lynn 2015.01.28

    Rep Hickey,

    Since this was killed in committee by your colleagues do you feel your efforts could still be accomplished by a volunteer group with this focus to see what preparations, planning and recommendations that have been made?

    It may not be just an economic crash but it could be a combination of things. Our electrical grid is so vulnerable to an electro magnetic pulse which could be knocked out by a solar flare or a nuclear tipped rocket launched by terrorists and/or a rogue government from a freighter off the US coast and detonated at high altitude over the US causing EMP. We would be back to the 1800's for quite a while which would be at the very least an economic crash.

    I understand everyone's urgency of dealing with issues our state's citizens are dealing with today being our crises in Education, roads, healthcare and especially low wages but it's hard for many South Dakotans to prepare and be somewhat self sufficient when they are living paycheck to paycheck working multiple jobs basically being the working poor.

    Even though this may take a little longer without the funding for a study do you feel this could be accomplished by organizing a volunteer group with this focus?

  58. larry kurtz 2015.01.28

    Steve Hickey is being marginalized because he has dared to challenge racism and the SDGOP culture of corruption in Pierre: we should support his actions.

  59. larry kurtz 2015.01.28

    As usual, PP has been attacking Rep. Hickey anonymously in the comment section of DWC: a sure sign that SDGOP hackles are being raised. Pierre is a hole, people: even the mayor is on the take. Unless we back patriots like Stace Nelson and Steve Hickey ALEC will eat our young.

  60. Jenny 2015.01.28

    Hickey does make some good points like the foolishness of the Don't Jerk and Drive study. That was just ridiculous and another national joke on SD. Remember Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy where major cities weren't prepared for natural catastrophes and the West River Blizzard a couple years ago that the state was ill-prepared for. I don't know how prepared a city or state can ever really be in any kind of catastrophe, but I think Hickey is at least being sincere in his Long Economic Winter prediction.

  61. Bob Newland 2015.01.28

    Larry, just because Hickey converges with you on a couple of points, that does not mean he is your friend generally. Trust me, I have considerable experience with him. Sure, support him on that with which he converges (e.g., death penalty), but I have concluded that his convergence on some issues is pure accident, not the result of some overriding philosophy on which you can place him in a category of being friendly to your (our?) general view of government. Ah hell, don't "trust me." Just look at what he's proposed overall.

  62. larry kurtz 2015.01.28

    Bob, work with me here, bro: trust me.

  63. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.01.28

    "Thirteen Legislators of the Apocalypse."

    Very funny Cory. Your wit was working overtime on this one.

  64. Bob Newland 2015.01.28

    I have seen Hickey in action, and it is not pretty.

  65. Lynn 2015.01.28


    Based on my personal experience with Rep Hickey my advice would be to proceed cautiously. I took a chance and drove to Sioux Falls last year with the intention of being a peacemaker and help educate Rep Hickey on a number of issues he was catching flack for and also try to eliminate these unfounded fear driven bills proposed in the legislature.

    The 1 hour meeting though brief I felt went very well in helping to break down barriers and I emphasized that I was available as a resource if questions arose in the future. No promises were made or expected. The meeting went so well that Steve and his wife talked about having me over for dinner and even talked about me being like a
    liaison to a segment of the LGBT community for their church.

    Later a public tweet was made that was basically a slap in the face to the efforts I had made. It would be the equivalent of working with Steve Hildebrand on Payday loans and then tweeting about a new discovery that medical staff at John Hopkins have been successful in gay conversion therapy, sometimes called reparative therapy or reorientation therapy. Can you imagine how Steve Hildebrand would feel besides knowing this study is total crap? So I'm sitting there a little perplexed, hurt and pretty ticked wondering if I was just used to advance or confirm an opinion already formed with only a fraction of information. Hey! That was my mistake! Live and Learn!

    There may be a few issues that Rep Hickey and I may be on the same side on but I'd really rather see someone else I personally can trust move it forward. Otherwise I'm always questioning the motives and who wins in the end. Will there be real follow thru with making a stand that could be politically costly or is it just to get publicity and make the appearance to what may be political opposition to help move your own personal agenda forward?

  66. larry kurtz 2015.01.28

    Patience, Lynn: thank you for your perspective.

  67. Lynn 2015.01.28

    Let's just say I'm a little concerned about empowering someone that will later use this to stab me in the back or make life more difficult for someone less fortunate than I.

  68. Roger Cornelius 2015.01.28

    What is the greatest economic threat to South Dakota?

    Is it the Doomsday hopefulness of Rev. Hickey or is it the real possibility of the 1%, in-state and out-of-state, ending up owning the entirety of our state and federal representatives?

  69. Steve Hickey 2015.01.28

    Wild to read you all trying to figure out if I'm true. Bob, I've been straight up since we first started interacting . I'm not among those who write you off. Lynn, our meeting with you was sincere and remains so. I tweet lots of things and didn't leave our meeting promising to run everything by you. You offered to be a resource, I said thanks I appreciate it. Larry, I'm trying to trust you too and you are correct that Ive marginalized myself because of some of my stances; Indians, death penalty, etc.

  70. leslie 2015.01.28

    michal-levin writes for limbaugh and hannity, right!? read what said of his alarmist book "ameritopia" aimed at fueling angry readers, quoting himself!

  71. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.28

    Levin engages in the usual right-wing hyperbole used to sell talk radio: we can't just talk about policy problems and solutions; every topic has to be blown up into "the greatest threat" to America, liberty, apple pie, motherhood, etc.

  72. JeniW 2015.01.28

    Limbaugh is an actor. I believe I read somewhere that he acknowledged being an actor.

  73. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.01.28

    @Rep. Hickey you've been in the legislature for 4 years now. You have to have been well aware that the closed caucus meetings and precommittee meetings were occurring. You weakly protest now when your bill falls victim? What about the hundreds of other bills of South Dakotans who deserved an open process for their issues? What are you doing as a legislator to fix what you say should be illegal. Are you not aware that these closed door meetings are already illegal by South Dakota's Constitution?

  74. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.29

    Rep. Hickey, I'm sorry the caucus killed your bill. Rep. Verchio's assertion that the Legislature has much bigger issues to deal with is belied (belaid? belain? :-) ) by several other bills with which the Legislature is wasting its time. Your bill actually invited a discussion about the issue of South Dakota's dependence on the federal government. Evidently, legislators don't want to have that discussion.

  75. Bob Newland 2015.01.29

    Rep. Hickey, I have tried, and shall try again, to give you the benefit of the doubt. It's hard, because your reasoning on the medical cannabis issue is not based on ANY foundation whatsoever, and it flies in the face of overwhelming evidence. You volunteered to enter the discussion of that issue, then abandoned it, using empty (and almost non-existent) reasoning. Your vote in committee in 2013 denied cannabis patients valuable time to lobby legislators with further arguments. Given that, I find it hard to trust your judgment on ANY issue whose cause you adopt.

  76. Steve Hickey 2015.01.29

    Bob - go listen to the testimony on the Right to Try bill and the controlled substances bill after it from the House Health and Human Services committee this morning. Let me know what you think of my comments.

  77. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.01.29

    @Rep. Hickey In case you intentionally missed my comment/question to you:

    you've been in the legislature for 4 years now. You have to have been well aware that the closed caucus meetings and precommittee meetings were occurring. You weakly protest now when your bill falls victim? What about the hundreds of other bills of South Dakotans who deserved an open process for their issues? What are you doing as a legislator to fix what you say should be illegal. Are you not aware that these closed door meetings are already illegal by South Dakota's Constitution?

  78. Bill Dithmer 2015.01.29

    Bob, your dog is barking at the moon. Any thought that SDs legislators have started climbing out of the time warp that was the 1940s is delusional.

    Its amazing that the ancients knew more about cannabis then does the legislature in South Dakota.

    Its amazing that an elected person cant process simple information.

    Its amazing that Governor and now senator Rounds, and now SDs latest contribution to "crooks without borders," was able to get his relitives still legalized.

    What alcahol does in terms of health and safety is well known and yet cannabis, with thousands of years of use, with minimal risk compared to hooch, remains illegal. Yet nobody seems to be concerned about the known risk of this intoxicant. Money talks.

    There are a lot of great people that live in my old state. Unfortunately they continue to elect social predators, religious bigots, and egomaniacs to do more important work then their IQs will allow.

    Its amazing that it took me 60 years before the moralistic stick shoved up my ass became so uncomfortable I was forced to leave a place I truly loved.

    The Blindman

  79. Steve Hickey 2015.01.29

    DD- Closed caucus meetings are not illegal. Closed committee meetings are. A caucus does not "exercise sovereign power derived from state statute."

    Don't be so certain I haven't voiced my complaints in years past or walked out or not participated when invited.

  80. Bill Fleming 2015.01.29

    Bill D. and Bob. Good ideas taking a long time to catch on include the invention of zero and the decimal numbering system which happened in India around 500 C.E. (A.D. for Hickey). Fibonacci brought it to the West circa 1200, and Europe thought it was such a great idea it only took them 400 years to adopt it after that. So it goes, huh? Roll us up a number boyz.

  81. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.01.29

    Rep. Hickey,
    "§ 15. Open legislative sessions--Exception. The sessions of each house and of the committee of the whole shall be open, unless when the business is such as ought to be kept secret."

    Call it what you want (caucus, House Republican committee, etc.) but a closed door official meeting of a quorum of legislators discussing and deciding on legislative matters violates both the intent and letter of the SD Constitution.

    You admit the pre-committee (mini-caucus) closed door meetings are illegal, and have done nothing about them (whining on Facebook to Rep Verchio is not an action). You have known about this for 4 years. Of all the tools a legislator has, the only thing you have to show for your identification of an actual illegal act, is a FB tiff?

  82. Bill Dithmer 2015.01.29

    " What about disruptions in food, power, government assistance and civil unrest. Civil unrest is inseparable from financial collapse.
    How much should we have in reserve funds?"

    "That question alone is worth forming a work group."

    If the economy implodes it wont mater how much is in the reserve. That money will be worthless to.

    SD had the opertunity to at least move in the direction of self ditermination through the promotion of green energy. At a time when they could have led the nation in private wind and solar production, they picked fossil fuel to bet their future on. Even if that fuel remains in a quantity that could be used, there would be no money to pay for it or transport it.

    Without power to run the pumps to keep drinking water flowing to taps people would have to make do with the water they have.

    No money, no roads, no fuel driven vehicles, and no food, even for a relitivly small population like SD.

    95% of the structures in the state are not energy efficient, only energy sufishent using fossil fuels. And yet the legislature cant seem to suck their collective hrmoroides up enough to go against the Koch machine.

    Oh well I'm just pissy today. I'll get over it.

    The one thing that would happen in an economical collapse that some might like. There wouldnt be anymore social classes, everyone would be in the same boat.

    I have to tell you that right now, I would have more trust in twenty heads on the third day of a three day bongathong, then the people in Pierre.

    While a study group would be a great idea, if you pick stupid people to lead, those leading now, you would just be spending $21,000.

    Cory, keep your bike greased up.

    The Blindman

  83. Bill Fleming 2015.01.29

    Hickey, read Dithmer for the distinction between being "proactive" vs "reactive." Thanks Bill D.

    (...damn autocorrect wants to change Dither to Dither every ^%*&# time.)

  84. Lynn 2015.01.29

    Rev Dithmer Is that ok? :) Believe me it's not an insult.

    I was thinking the same thing yesterday if the economy collapsed like what happened to Germany after WW1 all those reserves won't help that much.

    If people were in a position to be more self sufficient as you mentioned with efficiencies and with more green non fossil fuel energy sources that are non centralized wouldn't it help soften the blow of the collapse? It would give the state government more time and flexibility to help those more vulnerable and prevent a social breakdown and looting?

    I didn't get a response from Rep Hickey if he felt a volunteer group could pick this up without the approval for funding from the legislature.

  85. Lynn 2015.01.29

    Ok I forgot was this long nuclear winter or long economic winter?

  86. Bill Dithmer 2015.01.29

    BF, "Ahh, ya doesn't has to call me Johnson! You can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay, or you can call me Johnny or you can call me Sonny, or you can call me RayJay, or you can call me RJ... but ya doesn't hafta call me Johnson."

    The Blindman

  87. Lynn 2015.01.29

    lol :)

  88. Bob Newland 2015.01.29

    How's your Johnson, Bill?

  89. Bill Fleming 2015.01.29

    Killer, Bill! I saw Ace Trucking Company at Springfield (college not prison). Must have been circa 1970. Hilarious. They did the Ray Jay bit. Much later, I worked for many years with Mr. Ray J. Hillenbrand on his Prairie Edge project, and couldn't help saying that speech in my head about every 3rd time I saw him. Terrible, I know, but the mind does what it pleases. Especially mine.

  90. Bill Dithmer 2015.01.29

    Bob, its not loose and full of juice, but it tight and still works right.

    BF, yes I am my own trigger, like shit through a goose.

    The Blindman

  91. Moses 2015.01.29

    how about that trillion dollar bank bail out our Senior senator slickJohhny voted for ,as he said thosewho did this would be accountable right.

  92. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.01.29

    Rep. Hickey,
    Sooooo! Let me get this straight.. You acknowledge legislators are violating SD's Constitutional article
    "§ 15. Open legislative sessions--Exception. The sessions of each house and of the committee of the whole shall be open, unless when the business is such as ought to be kept secret." when they have pre-committee (mini-caucus) closed door meetings to discuss/decide actions on bills pending before their committee's? But the only thing you have done about it in 4 years is to "re illegal, and have done nothing about them except

    "Don't be so certain I haven't voiced my complaints in years past or walked out or not participated when invited." and having a tiff on Facebook with Rep Verchio is not an action we would expect of a legislator.

    You have known about this for 4 years. Of all the tools a legislator has, the only thing you have to show for your purported opposition to ongoing acts in the legislature you described as illegal, is a FB tiff!

    Well, I certainly hope you didn't strain yourself making a principled stand! Or running away from doing so!

  93. leslie 2015.01.29

    "3 day bongathons". wow. i know seth rogan et al. are down for that. of course we just about had a nuclear war over it!!

  94. Disgusted Dakotan 2015.01.30

    There.. For any Republican or Democrat that had any doubts Rep Hickey was all talk.

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