Third-quarter finance reports for U.S. House election

The third-quarter financial reports are online for candidates seeking South Dakota’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 election.

Democratic candidate Tim Bjorkman of Canistota reported contributions of $72,459.20 in the third quarter – and the first for his campaign – and net spending of $26,705.04. Bjorkman also reported that he loaned the campaign $50,000. His campaign balance as of Sept. 30, 2017, was $95,754.16.

Republican candidate Dusty Johnson of Mitchell reported contributions of $117,689.07 in the third quarter and net spending of $55,360.75. For the 2018 election cycle, Johnson reported contributions of $472,267.91 and net spending of $121,606.65. Johnson’s cash balance as of Sept. 30, 2017, was $350,684.50.

Republican candidate Shantel Krebs of Fort Pierre reported contributions of $132,933.21. in the third quarter and net spending of $48,532.64, For the 2018 election cycle, Krebs reported contributions of $404,046.21 and net spending of $89,175.60. Krebs’ cash balance as of Sept. 30, 2017, was $310,870.61.

Their individual reports are available at fec.gov.

Bjorkman is a retired circuit judge and is now in private law practice. Johnson is a former elected member of the state Public Utilities Commission and was chief of staff during the first term of Gov. Dennis Daugaard before returning to the private sector. Krebs is the elected secretary of state for South Dakota and previously was a state legislator who worked in the private sector.

Johnson and Krebs are seeking the Republican nomination in the 2018 June primary election. Bjorkman doesn’t have a competitor at this point for the Democratic nomination. They are running to succeed U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, who is a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor.

Legislature’s campaign-finance panel will consider roles of ballot-measure committees

The Legislature via Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, and Rep. Julie Bartling, D-Gregory, created the Government Accountability Task Force via SB 171 during the 2017 session. Tomorrow (Monday) the panel’s members hold their presumably final meeting of the 2017 interim.

Their discussion of the draft legislation should be interesting. It better defines when ballot-measure committees can be involved in donations and the amounts that can and can’t be contributed. Public testimony is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT.

The meeting will be live-streamed at SD.net by South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

Was there a Transportation Commission meeting? (w/update)

This morning (Thursday) state government’s Transportation Commission planned to meet at 9 a.m. CT by telephone.

I turned on SD.net and heard only music for about 45 minutes, except for a few moments when I thought I heard a snippet of conversation between possibly commission member Ralph Marquardt of Yankton and possibly state official Mike Behm.

Unfortunately the music cut back in. Later the music ended and only silence followed. The link disappeared from the SD.net page on the Internet.

Meanwhile I had called in on the teleconference number. I tried three times, and each time I received a rejection after punching in the code. After the third time, my call into the conference number ended. I re-dialed and eventually got access through the code. But there wasn’t a leader or anyone else on the call. Instead I heard music.

I emailed Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist and DOT spokeswoman but neither replied.

The music on the conference call line was still playing until about 10:28 a.m. CT. Then it went silent too.

Waiting to hear what happened…

UPDATE: Transportation Secretary Darin Bergquist said there was a teleconference that ran from approximately 9:05 a.m. CT until about 9:15 a.m. CT.

Bergquist checked with a representative for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. Bergquist wrote in an email: “SDPB did say after the meeting that they heard some talking right away then it sounded like it dropped so they are looking into that, but they also said they didn’t know the meeting was going to be that short so they may have just spot checked their recording during the wrong timeframes meaning after the meeting ended….”

My initial call to the conference number probably came at about 9:15 a.m. CT. Perhaps that was as the meeting was finishing. As I said, the conference number refused the code three times. When I did eventually get back in, there was only music (and later silence).

I didn’t call the conference number until then because I was relying on SD.net. My observation has been that SD.net is silent until the minute a meeting is scheduled to begin, then plays music until the person running the meeting calls the meeting to order. SD.net is operated by SDPB, which is an arm of the state Bureau of Information and Telecommunications.

There isn’t a state law requiring state boards and commissions to live-stream their meetings on the Internet. The policy under Gov. Dennis Daugaard has been to urge that they use the Internet when possible. Many of the state boards and commissions have done so, but some haven’t.

Lederman was Democrat, according to Hubbel

Dan Lederman, who defeated incumbent Pam Roberts in the election for chair of the South Dakota Republican Party central committee, was registered to vote as a Democrat in Iowa.

Republican former legislator Lora Hubbel provided Lederman’s Iowa registration to South Dakota reporters Wednesday.

The registration record shows Daniel Isaac Lederman last voted in Iowa in 2000.

Lederman later served in the South Dakota Legislature as a Republican from Dakota Dunes.

He was a House of Representatives member for the 2009-2010 term. He was in the Senate for nearly five years, serving from 2011 through the end of the 2015 session.

Lederman won the South Dakota Republican chairmanship this year.

Hubbel is one of four Republicans who have filed paperwork for the 2018 Republican nomination for governor.

As voter registration goes, so goes Trump’s approval — at least in South Dakota

The most recent monthly totals, posted for Oct. 3, showed South Dakota’s registered voters as 247,477 Republicans; 162,482 Democrats; 120,980 independents and no-party affiliation; and 2,935 from various other parties.

By comparison, the monthly totals posted for Sept. 1 showed 249,085 Republicans; 163,830 Democrats; 121,641 independents and no-party affiliation; and 2,919 from various other parties.

Voters registered for the 2008 general election in South Dakota were 241,528 Republicans; 204,413 Democrats; and 83,147 others.

Given the Republicans’ plurality in voters registered, the latest survey results released today (Tuesday) from Morning Consult regarding approval ratings for President Donald Trump in South Dakota seem to follow the same line

The Jan. 20 split for South Dakota was 54.2 percent approval and 33.5 percent disapproval. The Sept. 26 split for South Dakota was 50.7 percent approval and 43.5 percent disapproval.

That indicates Trump lost about 4 percent of his approval during that span in South Dakota while disapproval rose about 10 percent.

Trump, the Republican nominee, defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in South Dakota 227,721 to 117,458 in the Nov. 8, 2016, general election in South Dakota. Libertarian Gary Johnson received 20,850 and Constitution nominee Darrell Castle 4,064.

Nationally, Morning Consult reported voters in all 50 states “have grown bearish on his performance in office.” The survey firm was looking ahead to the possible effects a Trump White House might have on the 2018 elections.

How does he fare among South Dakota’s neighbors?

In Nebraska, Trump dropped from 55.7 approval and 33.1 disapproval in January, to 49.7 approval and 45.5 disapproval in September.

In Iowa, Trump flipped from 48.6 approval and 39.6 disapproval in January, to 41.9 approval and 52.6 disapproval in September.

In Minnesota, Trump flipped as well, from 46.2 approval and 43.0 disapproval in January, to 38.8 approval and 56.1 disapproval in September.

In North Dakota, Trump slipped from 55.8 approval and 33.1 disapproval in January, to 50.9 approval and 43.9 disapproval in September.

In Montana, Trump decreased from 56.5 approval and 32.0 disapproval in January, to 49.8 approval and 45.2 disapproval in September.

In Wyoming, Trump went from 63.3 approval and 23.4 disapproval in January to 60.5 approval and 34.7 disapproval in September. Wyoming was the only state where Trump remained above 60 percent.

Did state’s School Finance Accountability Board members meet 85 percent goals for raising teacher salaries?

Gov. Dennis Daugaard appoints the five members of South Dakota’s School Finance Accountability Board.

Their general role is to determine whether school districts achieved the goals the Legislature set in 2016, when lawmakers raised the state sales tax rate to 4.5 percent from 4 percent, in order to provide additional funding for teachers.

The new state law called for penalties against school districts that didn’t use at least 85 percent of the additional money for teacher salaries. There are two measures:

1) Did the district use at least 85 percent of its new money for teacher salaries and benefits?

2) And did the district meet the minimum percent of increase for teacher salaries and benefits?

State government’s Department of Education released results Friday on whether each district met the fiscal 2017 goals.

Mitchell Daily Republic reporter Caitlynn Peetz found some districts in the newspaper’s coverage area face possible penalties.

By my count there were 36 districts statewide that didn’t meet at least one of the goals. The districts can file appeals to the School Finance Accountability Board.

The state board’s members will look at each appeal and make a recommendation to a special committee of the Legislature for what should happen to the district.

Here is the page that has the link to the list of every district in the state. You want the “by district” link.

So how did the four school districts with members on the state board do? (Patrick Weber, an aide to the governor, is the fifth member.)

Belle Fourche met the 85 percent goals. Its state board member is Susan Proefrock.

Brandon Valley met the 85 percent goals. Its state board member is Jarod Larson.

Huron met the 85 percent goals. Its state board member is Terry Nebelsick.

Mobridge-Pollock met the 85 percent goals. Its state member of Eric Stroeder.

Who didn’t make one of the goals or both goals?Those failing to provide salary and benefit increases of at least 85 percent of new money were Bon Homme, Canistota, Clark, Colome, Doland, Edgemont, Edmunds Central, Faith, Faulkton, Garretson, Gayville-Volin, Gettysburg, Henry, Herreid, Highmore-Harrold, Hitchcock-Tulare, Jones County, Kimball, Lead-Deadwood, Lemmon, Lyman, McLaughlin, New Underwood, Newell, Pierre, Plankinton, Rosholt, Sanborn Central, Sisseton, Summit, Wall and Willow Lake.

Those failing to meet the other accountability were Corsica-Stickney, Herreid, Hoven, Kadoka, New Underwood and White River.

The potential penalty for 2018 is losing one-half of the increase in local need. The potential penalty for the following three years — 2019 through 2021 — is a reduction of $500 per teacher in the district.

State’s ballot-measure task force meets today w/updates

The Legislature’s Initiative and Referendum Task Force meets at 3 p.m. CT today at the Capitol, room 412. This likely will be the panel’s final meeting. The agenda is here.

The purpose is to consider a final proposal, labeled Draft 108, that would ask the Legislature to give state government’s Board of Elections the authority to appoint a citizen review panel.

The draft legislation is at this link.

The panel would issue pro and con statements on each initiated measure that clears the other legal requirements to appear on the statewide ballot.

You can listen via the Internet through sd.net. The meeting is scheduled to conclude at 4:10 p.m. CT.

The panel made a variety of recommendations regarding ballot measures at its previous meeting Aug. 23. Here are the eight pages of minutes from that meeting.

Update 4:20 p.m. CT: The task force is still working. Sections six and seven have been removed. The task force also agreed to require “at least one” meeting be held in Pierre.

Update 4:35 p.m. CT: The task force voted 8-3 to keep sections one, two and three and remove the rest.

Update 5:02 p.m. CT: The task force added a sentence to the draft that the commission’s 300 word objective statement be placed on the Secretary of State office website. Then the task force voted 9-2 for the final version. “This is like the tail. The dog has left the room,” Viken said.

Rep. Tim Reed, R-Brookings, said he would be prime sponsor of the measure in the House of Representatives. The bill will start in the House. Sen. Jim Bolin, R-Canton, said he would defer to Sen. Ernie Otten, R-Tea, if Otten wants to be the lead sponsor in the Senate. Otherwise Bolin would agree to be the Senate lead sponsor.

The final roll call started at 4:55 p.m. CT. The chairwoman, Augustana University faculty member Emily Wanless, remarked after the vote: “Let the record show I’m sticking my tongue out at Senator Nesiba.”

USD School of Law task force meets Friday

This announcement came out Wednesday afternoon from the University of South Dakota public-relations office:

VERMILLION — The Law School Task Force will host its third meeting Friday, Oct. 6, in the Law School Courtroom on the University of South Dakota campus from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The task force will continue to evaluate and discuss testimony delivered in the two previous meetings from students, faculty, law school staff, alumni, community members, lawyers from around the state and outside experts and consultants.

The agenda for the Oct. 6 meeting:

Review Pros and Cons of Moving Law School to Sioux Falls
Executive Session
Consultant Recommendation
Committee Debate
Other Matters
Instruction to consultant for report
Adjourn by 1 p.m.

The task force was formed to consider whether relocating the state’s only law school would be in the best interest of the students, the University, and the State of South Dakota. Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, chairs the task force.

For updates, meeting times and information on the task force visit the USD Law School Task Force page at www.usd.edu/lawschooltaskforce.

Regents get report on tech-institute agreements

State government’s Board of Regents received today a report on nearly 100 articulation agreements in place between state universities and the four public technical institutes throughout South Dakota.

“I think this is important information for us to have,” regent Bob Sutton of Sioux Falls said. He is the board’s president.

The report covers Lake Area Technical Institute at Watertown, Mitchell Technical Institute at Mitchell, Western Dakota Technical Institute at Rapid City and Southeast Technical Institute at Sioux Falls.

The three regental institutions involved are the University of South Dakota at Vermillion, South Dakota State University at Brookings and Black Hills State University at Spearfish.

President Trump’s approval highest since mid-July

The latest Politico / Morning Consult survey of US voters’ opinions finds President Donald Trump recovering a tad of popularity.

Trump is now at his highest approval rating since mid-July, according to the survey results.

The numbers show voters in the online survey split with 45 percent approving his performance and 52 percent disapproving.

The poll surveyed 1,992 registered voters Sept. 29 through Oct. 1.

Here’s the website. Results are here. Toplines are here.