Rep. Jim Bolin (R-16/Canton) took the House floor last Tuesday and argued against the proposal from "our fine Governor" to create captive insurance companies—i.e., state-run, state-funded pools to insure a variety of state facilities. House Bills 1185, 1186, and 1187 appropriate a total of six million dollars for this purpose. All three passed the House last week with their funding intact, unlike a host of other bills that have limped out of the House with their appropriations dropped to a placeholder buck pending the resolution of economic forecasts and budget priorities.

Rep. Bolin doesn't need to wait; he already has his budget priorities in order. In a stemwinder against HB 1185, the incandescent Cantonian made a brilliant and specific case against funding a state insurance pool over other more pressing fiscal needs. He listed several of the Governor's requests for one-time money that he supports: funding Ross Shaft upgrades at the Lead science facilities, replenishing emergency funds spent in this fiscal year, helping low-income seniors make their tax payments, and recruiting medical students for rural areas. But he said the Governor's captive insurance company doesn't make his cut:

But on this program, I must draw the line. In a year when revenue increases appear to be minimal, and in age of fiscal uncertainty, we're planning to spend four million dollars on a very questionable and unneeded program that we have not deemed necesary for the last 125 years. Now I want to emphasize again, this state has survived the Great Depression of the 1930s, repeated forest fires in the Black Hills, grasshopper plagues, the farm crisis of the 1980s, and the recent Missouri River floods without captive insurance companies.

Furthermore, we're making this financial decision at the same time that we as a state, we're proposing to change our financial responsibilities by pushing the sparsity programs for rural schools, among other items, onto the local taxpayers [Rep. Jim Bolin, remarks on House Bill 1185, South Dakota House, 2015.02.24, timestamp 49:25].

Rep. Bolin refers here to a budget trick the Governor is using to inflate the state's increase in K-12 school funding from 1.5% to 2%. The state is "saving" $2.6 million by making a portion of funding for the sparsity adjustment, technology, and assessment programs to local school districts. Expect to hear more about this issue as the Legislature finally rushes toward discussion and passage of the state budget.

Showing he's not just a naysayer, Rep. Bolin lists a number of other programs that are more worth the six-millio-dollar investment:

People, this is not so much about captive insurance companies or even if I may say emancipated insurance companies so much as about our financial priorities as a state and as an elected Legislature.

There is no need to go down the captive insurance road. The four million dollars mentioned in this bill and the two million in the companion pieces of legislation can be better spent in a wide variety of areas or... in terms of our current financial situation, maybe we should just let it fall to the bottom line.

The choices we might make with this money might include fighting the pine beetle plague in the Black Hills with extra funds, buying down tuition for in-state students in our Regental universities, funding needed programs at tech schools, or helping community support providers who do much for those less fortunate in our state for a pittance. Community support providers face tremendous problems because of high turnover in their workforce because of low wages.

The bottom line is this: that this expenditure of one-time money for this purpose should not be a priority for this Legislature [Bolin, 2015.02.24, 50:23].

Pine beetle, tuition relief, tech schools, social services—those are all areas where various advocates have identified real, current harms that increased funding would immediately ameliorate. Self-insuring state buildings responds to potential, future harms that have not happened; HBs 1185, 1186, and 1187 spend money that does no immediate, tangible good for the state.

Rep. Bolin didn't win the day—the House voted 50–20 for HB 1185 and by bigger margins for the other two bills—probably because he again reminded his fellow Republicans that low wages lead to high turnover and difficulty filling jobs, something legislators don't want to think about as they take no serious steps to address South Dakota's rock-bottom teacher pay and the resultant teacher shortage.

Or maybe Rep. Bolin lost because he cited the Steve Miller Band and his colleagues are all Lynyrd Skynyrd fans. Rep. Bolin crescendoed to this impassioned plea: "In the name of Billy Joe and Bobby Sue, don't let 'em take the money and run, vote red!"

Some Republican legislators challenge the party line by saying outlandish things. Rep. Jim Bolin challenges the Governor with passion, fun, and grown-up budget priorities. I've got to respect that.

9 comments

The South Dakota Legislature holds deep respect for the committee process... until it gets a chance to disrespect public education.

While the South Dakota House yesterday insisted on respecting the committee process and refused to resurrect House Bill 1223, the Common Core ban, from its committee failure, the South Dakota Senate said Committee, Schmommittee! dragged Senate Bill 189 back from its committee failure and passed it 23–12.

HB 1223 might at least have improved public education by getting Common Core off teachers' backs. SB 189 harms public education and the state budget by diverting tax dollars to private schools. The convoluted mechanics of the bill allow the state to say it's not writing a check to any religious school (which would be a problem): under SB 189, insurance companies give money to non-profits; those non-profits give money to lower-income families; those families give their money to private schools; the state says to the insurers, "How nice!" and knocks up to 90% of the insurers' private school scholarship contributions off their premium and annuity tax.

As educator/blogger Michael Larson says, SB 189 is a voucher sneak attack. He notes that SB 189 hurts public school districts by removing kids from their rosters money from their state funding without proportionately reducing those public schools' costs... which of course is what Governor Dennis Daugaard*, the GOP majority in Pierre, and the Christian crusaders who testified for SB 189 want to see happen.

SB 189 as several additional problems:

  1. SB 189 starts with scholarships for families who make 150% or less of the income threshold for free or reduced lunch the year before they enter the program. But it allows families to keep claiming that credit if their income exceeds that threshold. Consider: my family could easily have qualified for such a credit based on our low grad school/part-time income last year. Now that my wife has full-time professional employment, and if I gain similar full-time employment in the coming school year, we'll be far above that 150% threshold. We'll have no need of financial assistance to send our child to private school, but SB 189 would require the state to keep handing out that subsidy for three years.
  2. SB 189 caps creditable scholarships at four million dollars. "However," reads SB 189, "if in any fiscal year the total amount of tax credits claimed is equal to or greater than ninety percent of the maximum amount of tax credits allowed for that fiscal year, the maximum amount allowed for the following fiscal year shall increase by twenty-five percent." Wow! Pierre never increases school funding by 25% just because the schools claim more expenses. If we applied SB 189's funding mechanism to determining the per-student allocation, public schools could spend just 95% of the per-student allocation and trigger a 25% for the coming year. SB 189 is giving private schools a funding advantage that public schools never get.
  3. If insurance companies and the private schools play their cards right, that 25% growth rate would lead to SB 189 handing out $133 million in its first ten years and $1.24 billion in its next ten years.
  4. The insurance tax is projected to put $83.4 million in state coffers in FY2016. Those receipts have grown 5% over the last two years. Extrapolate that growth rate, and the insurance tax alone could support SB 189's private school subsidy's explosive through FY2034—seventeen years to wreak havoc on public school finance and the state budget.

If you believe in strong public schools, you vote Senate Bill 189 down. If you believe in separation of church an state, you vote this sneaky voucher plan down. If you believe in a sound state budget, you vote this plan down.

*Update 16:24 CST: To be clear, the Daugaard Administration did not testify in favor of SB 189. Other actions by the Daugaard Administration (Exhibit #1: 2012's HB 1234; Exhibit #2, ongoing neglect of K-12 funding...) demonstrate a lack of respect for public education, but last week, the Governor sent the Department of Education and the Department of Labor and Regulation to testify against SB 189. The proper read of that testimony is less likely a desire to defend public education and more likely a desire to oppose blasting a four-million-dollar hole in the budget.

26 comments

Big Ag crowds out pheasants. To restore pheasant numbers and protect South Dakota's shotgun tourism season, Governor Dennis Daugaard proposes more Big Ag, backed with more big government subsidies:

"Winter wheat is probably one of the best habitats for pheasants, and right now 24 counties in eastern South Dakota cannot get federal crop insurance on winter wheat crops," work group chair Pam Roberts said.

It's one of the first priorities Governor Daugaard plans to address.

"If all of Montana can qualify for crop insurance, why should eastern South Dakota, no more susceptible to freeze-outs than Montana, surely, why can't we?" Daugaard said [Jared Ransom, "Conserve Pheasant Habitat, Increase Pheasant Population," KELOLand.com, 2014.09.09].

I can hardly stifle the giggles. Governor Daugaard has as much trouble with his vaunted "South Dakota self-reliance" and his buddy Mike Rounds has with "South Dakota common sense." We need more pheasants, so we need Uncle Sam to hand out more free money for growing crops that may not grow.

By the way, Pam Roberts, SDSU research says pheasants are 2.5 times more likely to nest in grasslands than in winter wheat. If you're going to throw ideological consistency overboard and seek more government handouts, why not ditch subsidies for Kristi Noem's husband and instead get Rep. Noem to undo her cuts to the Conservation Reserve Program to promote more pheasant-fostering grasslands?

14 comments
Rochelle Hagel (left), Democratic candidate for District 33 House, and Pam Stillman-Rokusek, campaign volunteer, at Rickstock, Piedmont, South Dakota, 2014.08.16

Rochelle Hagel (left), Democratic candidate for District 33 House, and Pam Stillman-Rokusek, campaign media wrangler (funny, I didn't feel wrangled!), at Rickstock, Piedmont, South Dakota, 2014.08.16

Democrat Rochelle Hagel is running for District 33 House. Really running: the reporter turned salesperson very smartly showed up at Rickstock in Piedmont yesterday with a team of her yellow-shirted campaign volunteers to show support for U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland and to work the crowd herself for some coattails.

Hagel is working to light a fire under a local electorate that has very low turnout. She asks voters what issues matter to them and is surprised by how many say that aren't really sure. Among those who do have some issues at the top of mind, many talk in terms laid out by national partisan pundits. Hagel says she tries to lead conversations that lead people to think of themselves first as South Dakotans with shared needs specific to South Dakota. "We all hold the same things dear," says Hagel, things like our children, peace of mind, and doing our duties as citizens and workers. She says she gets positive if sometimes surprised responses to that effort to identify and mobilize around common ground.

Hagel resists telling voters which issues to prioritize, but she says legislators must focus on education. (She'd better say that: her husband teaches at Rapid City Central, and her sister, Rep. Paula Hawks, used to teach at West Central in Hartford.) Even if there is no extra money available for the state budget—and Hagel isn't convinced there is no extra money—Hagel says we need to get creative and compensate teachers better.

For example, Hagel notes that her family's health insurance through her husband's coverage at school has increased premiums every year. She says South Dakota families face an average premium of $10,000 a year. (We didn't have the Web with us during our conversation, but this morning I find this Kaiser Family Foundation chart indicating that the average total cost for family health insurance in South Dakota, combining employer and employee contributions, is $14,999.) Hagel suggests we could save as much as $4,000 per policy by insuring every teacher in the state through a single, non-profit health policy. (Hey—could this be a vote for the Mike Myers CO-OP plan?)

We could then plunge those savings right back into teachers' paychecks. "It's our money!" says Hagel says of the tax dollars going into school insurance plans and teacher salaries. Shifting our money from insurance payments to teachers' pockets would pour a larger chunk of that cash right back into local businesses. Hagel would like to reframe our political discussions to rouse more respect for teachers and education in themselves, but if Republicans can't shed their economic development blinders, she's ready to justify better pay for teachers on economic grounds as well.

Hagel also says South Dakota needs more pork—no, not more handouts from Washington (that's Mike Rounds's gig). Hagel grew up on a farm. She fed little pigs by hand. She recalls how her family called pigs "mortgage lifters": a sow would produce a couple litters a year, the pigs would put on meat fast, and with just a couple sows in the barn, a farmer could sell that pork faster than corn to boost the family income.

Hagel says the change in the past generation of corporate packer ownership of livestock turns farmers restrains that "mortgage-lifting" potential from keeping a few animals on the side of a mostly-crop operation, reducing livestock growers to corporate employees instead of independent entrepreneurs. Hagel doesn't jump to regulate corporations, but she'd like to find ways to support a return to small livestock side operations, such as marketing assistance through our Extension Service. Help farmers sell their product on the small, local scale, disentangled from the big global packers, and we'd improve local farm revenues and selection in our local meat shops.

Hagel lights up on environmental issues. She says our key industries of agriculture and tourism depend on a healthy environment. Wreck the land and the water, and we won't be able to raise food or entice travelers to come camp and boat and take pictures. Hagel says we cannot take risks with our aquifers, including the Madison and the Ogallala. That's why she cannot support the Keystone XL pipeline. "We're smarter than that," says Hagel. She says we can think of a better way to meet our energy needs without imperiling our water.

Hagel and her campaign team will be working to get District 33 voters to rally around those issues and other common interests. Hagel faces incumbent Republican Reps. Jacqueline Sly and Scott Craig and Independent challenger Susan Hixson in the November 4 election.

7 comments

Bob Mercer will back away from this point as soon as I mention it, but hey: reporter Bob Mercer and Representative Stace Nelson seem to agree that Mike Rounds has no intention of repealing the Affordable Care Act:

But tell me this: Why don’t you want to increase the number of people covered by health insurance?

Obamacare should be a godsend to South Dakota insurance businesses.

Our Legislature passed a state law last year requiring that Obamacare policies purchased by South Dakotans must be obtained through a South Dakota insurance producer.

Two of the key lobbyists in that 2013 effort are working on the U.S. Senate campaign of former Gov. Mike Rounds, who runs an insurance and real estate business [Bob Mercer, "Republicans Feel Safe Battering Obamacare," Rapid City Journal, 2014.05.18].

The lobbyists-cum-Rounds campaigners to whom Mercer refers are Rob Skjonsberg and Jason Glodt. The law in question was enacted via 2013 SB 139. And remember, just to complicate things, Rounds opponents Stace Nelson and Larry Rhoden both voted for 2013 SB 139. Nelson and Rhoden helped create a rule that protects Rounds's profit margins under the ACA. The implication from Mercer is that Rounds, a good businessman, would want the ACA to stay in effect as long as possible so he doesn't have to change his business model or the state statutes that favor it.

Mercer also seems to agree with Independent Senate candidate Larry Pressler that we won't repeal the Affordable Care Act no matter whom we elect Senator:

It seems mathematically unlikely that Congress would repeal Obamacare during the next two years while President Obama is still in office.

Opponents of Obamacare would need two-thirds majorities in both the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to override a presidential veto [Mercer, 2014.05.18].

As Mercer notes, all this talk of repealing ObamaCare is just vote-getting rhetoric. Rounds won't want to repeal it. Nelson and Rhoden won't be able to repeal it. They're just trying to score fear points.

5 comments

Republican candidate for Governor Lora Hubbel sends out an e-mail that reiterates her standard charge that her primary opponent, Governor Dennis Daugaard, has facilitated the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in South Dakota. Hubbel says that if you'll make her Governor, she will implement a health care reform plan that will kill the ACA in months:

We can make ObamaCare dry up and blow away. Doctors and patients will love the plan I've found. But the uber-rich politicians and big healthcare business in South Dakota won't because they will lose money.

Imagine going to a Doctor and being able to pay for the visit and treatment without breaking the bank. Imagine no insurance claims and codes...doctors can treat you without looking at a computer.

Imagine no government paper work for the doctor and none of your personal information going in government data banks like it does now. Instead computers would be used by the patient to look up the prices of all doctors and treatment available... no limits on which doctor you can see.

This is the brainchild of Dr Merlin Brown, Cardiologist in Minnesota. He has developed a health delivery system that is truly patient/doctor controlled and big government and big hospitals/Big managed care hate it. However doctors, patients and private Insurance companies love it. If we get it going it can be up and running in 6 months...it's already developed [Lora Hubbel, campaign e-mail, 2014.05.11].

Instead of telling me what her plan is, Hubbel then veers off into bashing Daugaard, Mike Rounds, and "blog-dogs" who call her crazy because they "can not refute my research...." I'm thus left with a campaign pitch that sounds more like an Amway recruitment pitch than a serious policy proposal.

But that's what the Googles are for. Melvin Brown, cardiologist, health delivery system... ah ha! Concierge care. Dr. Brown and his colleagues at Southdale Internal Medicine in Edina don't accept private insurance. Southdale posts its prices online. Patients can pay fees for specific services, or they can buy into a "Total Care" plan: $118 per month for the first family member and $68 per month for each additional family member covers all in-clinic services. $1,416 for an individual is well below the $3,300 limit for tax-deductible individual Health Savings Accounts. A worker could get full service for herself and up to seven family members under the $6,550 limit for a multi-user HSA.

Dr. Brown is doing what we discussed here in a follow-up to my conversation with Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers: price transparency and direct-to-consumer pricing.

Of course, concierge care doesn't de-implement the Affordable Care Act. Concierge care simplifies business for primary care providers. Concierge care could save patients money, but they'll have to do some figuring:

  1. If I pay up front for concierge care, will my insurance company reimburse me?
  2. If not, can I cover the cost of the concierge care plan with the savings from choosing a higher-deductible insurance plan?
  3. Do I qualify for an hardship exemption from the ACA insurance mandate so I can just buy a catastrophic health insurance plan to cover the really big procedures that concierge care doesn't provide?
  4. Is it cheaper for me to pay for concierge care to get my check-ups and other primary care, go without insurance, pay the ACA penalty, and hope to heck cancer or a dump truck doesn't get me? (You should really try not to get to #4.)

As far as I can tell, there is nothing stopping South Dakota clinics from adopting concierge care. One of Annette Bosworth's employees developed a concierge care plan for Bosworth's clinic last fall. Successful implementation of the plan at Meaningful Medicine was stopped not by state law or the "entrenched powers" but by the distraction of a fake Senate campaign, Bosworth's general inability to organize, and Bosworth's failure to pay her employee to implement the plan.

Lora Hubbel leaves me wondering just what role there is for a Governor to implement concierge care beyond bully-pulpitism. Hubbel would have the chance to present that role in her debate with Governor Daugaard and for us to hear the Governor weigh on alternatives to private insurance... but oh, that's right, the Governor declined SDPB's invitation to a May 22 debate, and SDPB declined to seek an alternative date. (Boo on DD and SDPB!)

Luckily, Lora Hubbel will have an opportunity to elaborate on concierge care and other policy issues right here on the Madville Times. Hubbel has agreed to appear in a live online interview on this blog on Wednesday, May 14, at 9 p.m. Central, 8 p.m. Mountain. Stay tuned for more details, and send your questions about health care and other issues!

44 comments

Jana and I are quite happy to see the Affordable Care Act working just the way we expected to end job lock. We are dismayed to see the media working as we have come to expect, getting the story wrong in the urge to spin the ACA as killing jobs.

The Congressional Budget Office released its 2014–2024 Budget and Economic Outlook Tuesday. The CBO's analysis includes an estimate that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the number of hours people work by 2.0 million full-time equivalent positions by 2017 and 2.5 million FTE by 2024.

My conservative friends are quick to conclude that Obamacare is putting people out of work. My conservative friends are wrong. The Affordable Care Act is making possible what almost every one of you working stiffs will be wishing today around 3:30 p.m. (or tomorrow when you get up for the early shift at 3:30 a.m.): that you didn't have to spend so much time working.

The Affordable Care Act is not taking jobs away from people. It is reducing Americans' need to do crappy jobs:

CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the total number of hours worked, on net, by about 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent during the period from 2017 to 2024, almost entirely because workers will choose to supply less labor—given the new taxes and other incentives they will face and the financial benefits some will receive. Because the largest declines in labor supply will probably occur among lower-wage workers, the reduction in aggregate compensation (wages, salaries, and fringe benefits) and the impact on the overall economy will be proportionally smaller than the reduction in hours worked [Congressional Budget Office, "The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024," February 2014, p. 117].

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans won't have to take that second part-time job to cover their health insurance premiums. Americans hoping to start their own businesses will feel a little freer to let go of a job they do for someone else just to hang onto a health insurance policy. Folks approaching retirement won't be quite as stuck doing unsatisfying jobs just for the sake of keeping health coverage until they qualify for Medicare.

Yes, yes, work is noble. Work builds character. Work gives us purpose. But work also wears us down. Work makes us miss our kids' dance recitals and track meets. Work subjects us to the will of other people and corporate policy manuals. Work makes us say and do things that we would not do if we did have to take orders from the boss.

By allowing millions of people to choose to work less without risking their families' physical and fiscal health, the Affordable Care Act expands liberty. By reducing the labor supply without equal reductions in labor demand, the Affordable Care Act creates more opportunities for folks who do want to work extra hours.

Think about when you feel the greatest liberty. It's probably not when you're in the office, hurrying to finish the report the boss wants by the end of the day. It's probably Friday night when you don't have to set the alarm, or maybe Saturday when you wake up to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with your kids, or that one day a week when neither job calls you in and you can walk around town in your jeans, knowing you've paid your bills for the month and can afford to buy a book or a new toolbox. Or maybe it's that one blessed day when you can finally show your pain-in-the-neck boss your backside and leave for a job you really want.

The Affordable Care Act makes more days like that possible. The ACA doesn't kill jobs. It doesn't promote laziness. It promotes liberty—daily, practical liberty.

78 comments

This blog has remained mostly ambivalent toward the "any willing provider" initiative that supporters hope to put on next fall's ballot. Up until last week, I hadn't heard anything about it outside of this little chunk of the blogosphere, either.

But supporters of the measure, which would prohibit insurers from placing network-style restrictions on their customers' choices of providers, have spent most of the last five business days staked out just outside my office. I've had a couple of conversations with the petitioners, and yet I'm still not that much clearer on what exactly should compel me to place my signature on the petition, let alone vote for the initiative in November 2014.

The petitioners' two-second tagline (well, one of them, at least ...) works alright: "Do you want the freedom to choose your own health care provider?" It talks about freedom ... that's a good thing; hard to say "No" to freedom. It asks me a question, which gets me at least a little closer to feeling compelled to respond and getting hooked into the hard sell on the petition. Yeah, not bad.

However, partway through their multi-day petition drive, the tagline changed to: "Are you a registered South Dakota voter?" This is less compelling; it doesn't give me any idea what these people are talking about, and doesn't encourage me or my fellow men-and-women-about-campus to engage on any bigger level than, "Yeah, I'm a registered South Dakota voter. What's it to ya?!"

Now, I can understand what might have inspired this change in tactic. The petitioner's spot outside my office is on the campus of South Dakota's largest institution of higher learning (but remember, Dear Readers, that everything I write on this blog is merely my own opinion, not affiliated in any way with my employer), so they're likely to run into a bunch of out-of-state students and perhaps even more 18- and 19-year-olds who haven't yet had a big national election to get them eager to register to vote. Still, it seems like leading off with the technical question loses the petitioners momentum on any case they'd like to make.

Based on my personal interaction, they also need a little more momentum if they're going to make the case and get my signature. To the "Are you a registered South Dakota voter?" question, I have to currently answer "No," as my change of registration paperwork still needs to get processed from my move home to South Dakota from Ohio this summer (and I really don't want to be a petition signer who gives anyone room to challenge the work of signature collectors down the line). When I explained my situation and asked for more information to help me make a decision once I am good to go, voter-registration-wise, however, all I got was the half-sheet of basic explanation crafted by the Attorney General. No offense to Marty Jackley, but that's not exactly the kind of writing that's going to get me jazzed up to come back and find a petition to sign once Brookings County gets me entered on the voter rolls.

Now, if these petition gatherers weren't interested in telling me why I should care as much about "any willing provider" as they do, they certainly weren't interested in hearing my feedback on running a signature drive. So, instead, I throw out these quick tips in case they—or primary sponsors Drs. Peter Looby, Stephen Eckrich, and Paul Cink—happen to be Madville Times readers:

  1. Choose the right audience — I'm not sure that college students are the best folks to be turning to when it comes to complex health insurance policy. Few of them are giving much thought to health crises, and with the Affordable Care Act, most of them can still be on their parents' plans anyway. I know the concentration of over 10,000 engaged young people in one geographic location is tempting, but what good is it if nobody's prone to hear or care about your message? (Now, if the minimum wage petition folks are reading this, college kids might be EXACTLY the audience you want to talk to ... why haven't I seen YOU on campus yet?!?)
  2. Let's get ready to register!! — If you simply must begin by asking about registration status, at least be ready to excitedly get folks registered on the spot. I can't say for certain that the petitioners didn't have voter registration cards with them because I made it clear pretty quickly that I didn't need one, but I also didn't see much other than petitions on their handy-dandy clipboards. If you don't have voter registration cards now, get some before you go out again!
  3. Have three sizes of speeches ready Petitioners should be ready to spout the small (2-5 seconds), medium (10-15 seconds), and large (30 seconds-1 minute) versions of their stump speech without hesitation. Small gets people's attention, medium makes them stop to think, and large gets them the information once they're listening; those three pieces should be as quick and natural as the gait of the people (mostly) walking past. This group of petitioners seemed to be ready with just the one size. Once I stopped, I needed moreand needed it to catch me right when my attention was caughtto be convinced.

Now, to be fair, these folks still have 11 calendar days between now and the November 4 deadline for initiative petitions (which must be submitted one year in advance of the November 4, 2014, general election). Who knows? They might even have all the signatures they need.

Based on their efforts in the last week, however, my signature isn't likely to be one of them.

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