Several things have popped up through various news feeds over the past few weeks - things that on the surface are undoubtedly important in the big, wide, scheme of things - but at the time, and even after a wee bit more research, are just…..not.
Maybe it’s just me.
I have been accused of having a highly developed sense of humor. Okay, maybe that’s stretching it a bit, but still, sometimes you just gotta laugh, right?
Our state legislature has pushed forward a proposal for a constitutional amendment that would be placed on the next primary election ballot, in June of 2022.
OK granted, there is nothing in that sentence that is funny.
But the purpose and reasoning are sure to send you chortling. First, the purpose of the proposed amendment is to make sure that there must be a 60% approval if there is an initiated measure by voters to (A) raise taxes or (B) have any expenditure in excess of $10 million. Nothing yet?
What struck me as funny is that the next time any measure to raise taxes that is initiated by voters will be the first time.
Hey legislators - raising taxes is something that YOU do. None of us regular folks is going to seek to raise taxes.
Lee Schoenbeck, a Republican State Senator from Watertown, pushed to have the measure put on the primary ballot, where turnout is lower, and admitted that he was motivated by the possibility that the voters in the state may be asked to increase availability to Medicaid health insurance, which would cost in excess of $10 million. Passage of the measure would mean that approving the increase would require 60% of the voters to cast ballots in favor of it.
It’s kind of a double-whammy. Vote early on a measure that will make it more difficult to pass a possible ballot initiative later.
Sadly, however, it seems to me that even if it moves to the ballot and passes, it would be deemed unconstitutional. I mean, the recreational marijuana amendment passed in November, but according to a circuit court judge, that amendment was unconstitutional, as it addressed more than one thing - as it covered taxes, business licensing and hemp cultivation. All marijuana related, but certainly if someone wanted to pick a few nits, they certainly could.
So how does a proposed ballot initiative that deals with taxation and spending - which should be polar opposites - not be seen as addressing more than one thing?
Are you chuckling yet?
The next thing is another legislative issue. After the House passed the legislation on transgendered girls not being allowed to compete in girls’ sports, a Senate committee killed it. The full Senate, however, managed to revive the bill this week and it has now narrowly passed and will be signed into law. Again, sadly, this would create a solution in search of a problem. According to the S.D. High School Activities Association - the folks to monitor scholastic competition in the state - there are no instances where a transgendered girl has sought to compete on a girls’ team or in a girls’ sport. There seems to be more and more similar legislation - creating a solution in anticipation of a possible problem.
Finally, to all who are supporters of former President Trump, who continue to say his First Amendment Freedom of Speech rights were taken away. No, they weren’t. Mr. Trump has the ability to go stand on a corner and yell about whatever to his heart’s content. He just can’t do it on Twitter or Facebook.
Think about it as a neighborhood swimming pool. You are invited to use it whenever you want, but the caveat is that you are not allowed to….relieve yourself in the pool. No, I don’t know how they know, but they do. The point is, it’s their pool and they make the rules. If you want to play in their pool, you follow their rules.
Mr. Trump just tinkled in the wrong venue.
The Wolsey High School class of 1980 lost another member this week, as Julie (Neuharth) Jacobs passed away.
I attended school K-12 with Julie, and we grew up about three miles from each other. She and another friend taught me how to play Whist on the bus in the morning.
She will be greatly missed by family and friends, however, her earthly struggles are over.
Take care, my friend.