Some thoughts about Rep. Soli

Rep. Karen Soli was excused from the first two weeks of the 2018 legislative session and there isn’t a sure prediction in general circulation about when she might be back.

Soli, D-Sioux Falls, has been receiving treatment for cancer.

A member of the clergy, she represents District 15. It’s one of the few areas of South Dakota with three Democrats in the Legislature.

Also from District 15 are Rep. Jamie Smith and Sen. Reynold Nesiba.

Soli, now in her sixth year as a House member, has served three times longer than they have. The men are in the second years of their first terms.

Many legislators from both parties greatly respect Soli for her wisdom and experience. She turns 70 on July 15.

She speaks from the perspective of a long-time church leader whose congregations have spanned so many political, and even apolitical, viewpoints.

Her lead contribution during the 2017 session was prime sponsor of the law establishing the State Government Accountability Board. The lead sponsor in the Senate was the chamber’s president pro tem, Brock Greenfield, R-Clark.

The final version created a four-person board of retired judges and justices who screen complaints about conduct of state employees and work with the office of state attorney general.

Soli then served on two interim panels the Legislature’s Executive Board appointed last year. One was on government accountability. The other was on ballot measures.

Both produced proposals now making their way through the 2018 legislating process. It was enjoyable and enlightening to watch her work and think. Many lawmakers who know her will welcome her contributions again upon her return.

Cold war

Charles Herreid, a Republican, was elected governor of South Dakota for two terms (1901-1905). He moved to Dakota Territory from Wisconsin in 1882. His statue is part of the Trail of Governors exhibit throughout the Capitol and downtown areas of Pierre. An unknown wag recently put the cap on him.

Ridgeview man, 20, faces 30 months

A nightlight, a broken jaw, a prison sentence: That’s what has happened to this man, according to a news release Thursday from U.S. Attorney Office for South Dakota.

United States Attorney Ron Parsons, announced that a Ridgeview, South
Dakota, man convicted of Assault Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury was
sentenced on January 2, 2018, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Sterlyn Bartlett, age 20, was sentenced to 30 months in custody,
followed by 2 years of supervised release, restitution in the amount of $405.44,
and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of

Bartlett was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 16, 2017. He pled
guilty on October 5, 2017.

The conviction stemmed from an incident on January 10, 2017, in Eagle
Butte, when Bartlett got into a disagreement with his girlfriend on whether or
not to sleep with a light on, which escalated to Bartlett hitting his girlfriend in
the face and ultimately breaking her jaw.

This case was investigated by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Law
Enforcement Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Miller prosecuted the case.
Bartlett was immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals
# # #

President Trump got a passing grade for first year

A public-opinion survey released Tuesday by Morning Consult and Politico shows the grades registered voters nationally gave President Trump for his first year in the White House.

The results from the Jan. 4-5 survey of 1,988 voters gave Trump:

A from 18 percent

B from 17 percent

C from 14 percent

D from 11 percent and

F from 35 percent.

Overall Trump received passing grades from 49 percent and failing grades 46 percent. The possible margin of error was plus or minus two percentage points.

On the biography Wayward Reporter

Raymond Sokolov who now lives by most recent account in Detroit, Michigan, wrote the 1980 biography of A.J. Liebling titled Wayward Reporter. This morning, knowing I would need to return the book to the man who loaned it to me, I finished re-reading big chunks of it, for the third time, since it came my way last summer

I’d also received that same afternoon a book of articles Liebling wrote for The New Yorker about a federal-tribal fight out in Nevada; one of the villains as portrayed by Liebling was Pat McCarran, a Republican who was one of the state’s U.S. senators.

This is at least the third time I’ve been through Wayward Reporter in the past months. The first time I read it backwards, of sorts, starting with the post-script, then the last chapter, then the penultimate chapter, and so forth. Then I read it again, start to finish. I’ve picked it up a few times since then, catching passages again.

In the past few days, knowing my time to enjoy it would soon close, I read big chunks again, skipping around, and this morning crushed the final chapters in a burst. Today I take it with me to give back, and promise to myself I shall purchase a copy to own.

As for Sokolov, the biography is an achievement.

Legislature returns to work Tuesday

Early committees of the Legislature hearing bills Tuesday are House Health and Human Services 7:45 a.m. room 412; Senate Education 7:45 a.m. room 423; House Agriculture and Natural Resources 8 a.m. room 464; House Taxation 8 a.m. room 414; Joint Committee on Appropriations 8 a.m. room 362; Senate Transportation 8 a.m. room 423 (this is either a scheduling error or Senate Education will need to have its horses already saddled); Senate Judiciary 9 a.m. room 413.

The 10 a.m. committees hearing bills are House Transportation room 413; and Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources room 412. The Joint Select Committee on Joint Rules meets at 11:30 a.m. in room 423 to reconsider adding proposed rule 7-29; it would extend appropriate-behavior requirements to lobbyists, as proposed by Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton of Burke.

The House of Representatives and the Senate go into action at 2 p.m.

Can’t find Code Commission agenda…

The Legislature’s Code Commission holds a meeting Wednesday, Jan. 17, at noon. But as of Monday afternoon, I can’t locate the agenda. The link in the news release just takes the user back to the main page.

UPDATE: I had to innovate but I’ve tracked it down. If you check the 2018 interim listing (I found it through a search), there is a listing for the Code Commission meeting. Unfortunately, it has Jan. 8 as the date on the listing.

But if you click on the word ‘Agenda’ the Jan. 17 agenda comes up. Here’s the direct link:


Now Thune postponed both events

This just in Monday morning…


CONTACT: Ryan Wrasse

January 15, 2018

Katie Lingle

POSTPONED: Sioux Falls and Rapid City Q&A Sessions

WASHINGTON — Today’s previously scheduled events in Sioux Falls and Rapid City have been postponed. Further guidance will be provided when they have been rescheduled.

Monday, January 15:


Tax Reform Q&A Session




Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce

Betty J. Ordal Conference Center

200 North Phillips Avenue

Sioux Falls, S.D.


Tax Reform Q&A Session




Western Dakota Technical Institute

Dakota Lecture Hall

800 Mickelson Drive

Rapid City, S.D.


A new old book about Beverly Sills

Came home with a new old book yesterday from the Pierre public library. The title is Beverly: An Autobiography. Published in 1987, the book from Beverly Sills and co-writer Lawrence Linderman so far – I’ve finished reading the jacket and the forward, and looked through each of the photos — is a delight.

I’ve been rediscovering my photography background this legislative session. So discovering this morning the four sets of photos of Beverly – 32 pages in all, sometimes one photo, most often two, and there’s even a cluster of four per page – came as an extra treat.

I’ve never attended an opera. If I added all the moments I’ve listened to opera music, the minutes might be less than 10. But I thought what the hell when I saw her book: It was time to learn, time to get into something new.

One thing I’m realizing this morning is I’m about to learn about the enormous work that goes into practicing and staging an opera. I’m also about to learn the enormous financial burden for an opera company.

The story that starts the Beverly Sills book is the joyous star-lit celebration of her retirement from the stage and the start of her life as the new general director for the New York City Opera. This promises to be immensely fun.