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Senator Rave Forgets His Audience: Voters Should Hear Lobbyists, Too

As I listen to the audio of today's marathon Senate State Affairs Committee hearing, I hear Chairman Tim Rave (R-25/Baltic) open discussion of the big transportation bill with this injunction:

Every member of this committee is well aware of the bill. We've heard several presentations. We've been lobbied by several folks. So we don't need to cover a lot of old ground [Senator Tim Rave, opening remarks, Senate State Affairs Committee hearing, Pierre, South Dakota, 2015.02.06, timestamp 02:05].

Hold on: Legislators have been lobbied—meaning spoken to out in the lobby, off the record—so we don't need to hear certain arguments for and against the transportation bill?

I know legislators are busy and have lots of bills to tackle. Hearing the same arguments multiple times surely gets tiring, and hearing them repeated in committee hearings surely seems a waste of time when so much else remains to be done.

But do committee hearings exist solely for legislators' convenience? We hold committee meetings in open session to edify not just legislators but the public. These hearings are our only chance to hear the arguments that interested parties are using to shape legislation. If the Chamber of Commerce or Americans for Prosperity or Dakota Rural Action has won the votes of a majority of committee members with some brilliant ploy out in the hall, I'd like them to repeat that argument on the record, so we can all understand what made or broke that bill.


  1. Owen 2015.02.06

    Hasn't been a good week for Republicans. Now if only the people of South Dakota could understand.

  2. Roger Elgersma 2015.02.06

    This is a result of no ethics standards. For a major new direction that Daugaard is taking, if he was proud of his move and thought that common sense South Dakotans would understand, he would want all the reasons and advantages made totally public. But Republicans do not trust the common man to have the brains to understand the situation even though they drive on those same roads every day. This is not like changing the prison system which most of us have not experienced the day to day situation. This is the roads we drive on and the bridges that we hold our breath as we cross them.

  3. Roger Cornelius 2015.02.06

    Rest of the story,

    What assurance can you provide that the "probably" will actually happen and will it be the exact same testimony?

  4. CLCJM 2015.02.07

    It isn't that they don't think we have the brains to understand what is being presented. It's that we WILL understand and they are afraid of the reaction if we know the truth! I'd bet there's some deals worked out with contractors that are cronies of theirs, who get preference by putting their companies in their wives' names to qualify for contracts as a minority!

  5. mike from iowa 2015.02.07

    Maybe Hickey rilly is right,outcomes are pre-determined.

  6. barry freed 2015.02.07

    Lawmakers in Pierre should be required to wear internet streaming cameras with audio whenever they speak to anyone, lobbyist or voter, so we too, can hear what the lobbyist$ have to offer.

  7. Les 2015.02.07

    No different than when they were lobbied by lies(their later words on why they did it) and handed off DENR authority on uranium mining to the Feds.

  8. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.02.07

    I think Barry's idea is outstanding! Let's ask a legislator to bring a bill.

    Oops. That was really silly. Initiative - Here we come!

  9. CLCJM 2015.02.07

    Well, Deb, at least an initiative is still an option. Cory Brown had to pull 166!

  10. leslie 2015.02.07

    why les, am becoming more enchanted all the time

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