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 sdlegislature.gov 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: http://sdlegislature.gov/docs/Interim/2017/agendas/ACOD01082018.pdf.

 

Now Thune postponed both events

This just in Monday morning…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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:

WHAT:

Tax Reform Q&A Session

WHEN:

**POSTPONED**

WHERE:

Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce

Betty J. Ordal Conference Center

200 North Phillips Avenue

Sioux Falls, S.D.

WHAT:

Tax Reform Q&A Session

WHEN:

**POSTPONED**

WHERE:

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.

Thune postpones Rapid City event, still plans Sioux Falls event

This from U.S. Sen. John Thune on Sunday evening:

Thune to Host Tax Reform Q&A Session in Sioux Falls Tomorrow

**Rapid City Event POSTPONED**

WASHINGTON — On Monday, January 15, U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee and a leading voice during the tax reform debate, will participate in a Q&A session hosted by the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Thune will give a brief overview of the bill before taking questions from the audience. The previously scheduled event in Rapid City has been postponed.

To learn more about Thune’s work on tax reform, please visit the tax reform section on www.thune.senate.gov.

Monday, January 15:

WHAT:

Tax Reform Q&A Session

WHEN:

10:00 a.m. CST

WHERE:

Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce

Betty J. Ordal Conference Center

200 North Phillips Avenue

Sioux Falls, S.D.

WHAT:

Tax Reform Q&A Session

WHEN:

**POSTPONED**

WHERE:

Western Dakota Technical Institute

Dakota Lecture Hall

800 Mickelson Drive

Rapid City, S.D.

###

Reflections on websites for state government

On Friday, I wasn’t able to find my way through the new version of the website for the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. I was trying to write a story about the commission’s decision to cube preference points and was trying to locate a map for the Elk Mountain unit of the bighorn sheep season.

Eventually I gave up and emailed Tony Venhuizen, the governor’s chief of staff. I did this because the commission was still in its meeting, where I had been Thursday afternoon and the first hour of the morning Friday; I knew various top personnel from the department were still there and perhaps wouldn’t be able to respond.

The redesigned website went live this week. Venhuizen worked his normal magic as chief of staff and in a relatively short time Emily Kiel emailed the link to me for the meeting book.

The department had issued a news release about the new design. I noticed the news release but didn’t open it the email. So I was at fault. Unfortunately that fact didn’t hit me until I began my second cup of coffee this morning.

I read the news release this morning. My summary: It shows the public the door and encourages readers to explore. GFP Secretary Kelly Hepler, communications director Emily Kiel and Calley Worth, a digital content specialist quoted in the news release, deserve a compliment. Like so many state government agencies, GFP is very complex.

But when I look at the front page of the new website, I’m still lost. I have no idea whether people would use what I’m about to suggest (and maybe it’s there but I don’t know where). Would there be a benefit if there was a front page on the website that told people how to find the top one dozen or two dozen topics?

I don’t know.

There’s a wide variety of approaches on state government’s websites. I’m impressed they all have websites. Some work better, for me, than others. Some leave me lost. I don’t know whether the same front-page ‘how to get there’ approach suggested here for GFP could help people navigate the other sites.

And I don’t know whether the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications could get to the work. BIT already strains to get through the backlog of demands from those dozens of state agencies. (One reason is a shortage of employees.)

I ran into a problem using the Legislative Research Council website Wednesday. That afternoon I couldn’t find the budget documents for the offices that presented to the legislators on the Joint Committee on Appropriations that morning. There was a tab but there wasn’t any content.

I was able to find similar documents from 2017. Frustrated, I went through the Secretary of State office to get its presentation. LRC responded later that afternoon and provided the same presentation. I thanked both.

That situation too was my fault. I had assumed the LRC would have the information already posted when I left the appropriations room that morning. My assumption was wrong. LRC recently split its website away from the executive branch, taking it independent and outside BIT’s orbit. I understand the desire for independence. I’ve also watched LRC try to build its digital-content staff.

The same talent shortage affects LRC as BIT. That talent shortage extends throughout state government for many jobs.

So I plan to explore the GFP site in the days ahead. Such is life in the digital age. And I also hope the governor, whether it be Dennis Daugaard this year or his successor next year, can urge departments to make their many websites somewhat consistent and more user-friendly. Likewise for the Legislature’s branch. If taxpayers can’t navigate them, what good are they?