Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lessons From 2015 Legislature: South Dakota Republicans Are Afraid

One would believe that a party that recently defeated a sitting Senate Majority Leader, swept the 2014 races for constitutional offices, and possessed a supermajority in the 2015 legislature would be emboldened to do something other than cravenly conserve power.

Relatively early in the session, there was the "Let's Let John Do What We Wouldn't Let Tom Do" bill. It's unclear why a party that boasts of its deep bench, mocks the opposition for being unable to field candidates, and believes that no one will challenge its senior senator in 2016 would feel the need to enhance their ability to hold that seat unless they don't believe their own boasts and jeers.

Later in the session the Republican majority passed Senate Bill 69 which makes it harder for independent candidates to get on the ballot. Off the top of my head, I can't think of the last time independents of either conservative or liberal leaning successfully challenged an entrenched South Dakota Republican.

I am old enough to remember Republican leaders at a national level proclaiming their trust in the American voters. Apparently South Dakota Republicans don't have the same trust in the South Dakota electorate. They certainly don't seem to want to allow them any choices but those with an "R" behind their name on the ballot. I suppose if a party has no ideas and harbors a distrust of voters, it ought to be fearful.

Monday, March 9, 2015

I'm Pretty Sure I Told You So

This blog's January 2, 2015 post contained the following:
There will be talk but little action on anything relating to education funding.
Technically my predication might be wrong. The "blue ribbon" commission will likely talk about talking about education rather than actually doing anything about it. As a side note, I'll predict that the final report of the "blue ribbon" (I'm working really hard not to call it a Pabst) commission's findings will mirror Governor Daugaard's voter rejected HB 1234.

That same post contained the following prediction about the budget process:
At some point near the end of the session Republican leaders will bemoan a tight budget and without any sense of chagrin or irony congratulate themseleves on increasing all "rainy day trust funds" to record levels. 
Today's Yankton Press and Dakotan reports the following comment from Republican Representative Jean Hunhoff:
According to Jean Hunhoff, the projection is not going to be as great as everyone has thought.
“You remember when the governor put forth his budget in December?” Rep Hunhoff asked. “We were looking at fiscal year ‘15, which is this current year that we had about $26 million extra. We are seeing ... with some early returns that we will have a soft economy. And right now, we are down to having about $ 12 million (or surplus) instead of that $26 million. So, there are going to have to be some reductions there. As we look in the future for Fiscal Year ‘16, with the outlook right now, things aren’t looking so rosy.”
Of course one doesn't need to be Nostradamus, Cassandra, Tiresias, or Edgar Cayce to predict something that will happen during nearly every legislative session.