Legislators receive ‘gold watches’

Linda Schauer of Leola, a lobbyist for the Concerned Women for America organization, distributed a treat to legislators Monday on the eve of Valentine’s Day: Make-believe “gold” watches that contained candy. Four of the Republican senators posed for picture: Jeff Partridge of Rapid City, Deb Peters of Hartford, Jordan Youngberg of Madison and Terri Haverly of Rapid City. Not everybody saw the humor. Moments after the photo Sen. Troy Heinert, D-Mission, said they were making fun of 180,000 people who voted for IM 22. The Legislature’s Republican majorities repealed IM 22 as unworkable while it was already suspended by a circuit judge. Now they’re working on legislation to replace many of the key features such as lobbyist limits, conflict of interest reforms, changes for more transparency in campaign finance and possibly one (or possible more) regulatory panels to look at complaints.

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About Bob Mercer

I am a newspaper reporter in Pierre where I cover state government, issues and politics for the Aberdeen American News, the Black Hills Pioneer, the Mitchell Daily Republic, the Pierre Capital Journal, the Rapid City Journal, the Watertown Public Opinion and the Yankton Press & Dakotan. I began covering the Legislature in 1985 and have lived in Pierre since December 1986. I grew up in Wisconsin, worked my way through college, took my first full-time newspapers jobs in Wyoming, and have lived in South Dakota since the summer of 1984 when I moved to Aberdeen to join the American News. I worked for the Rapid City Journal as its state government reporter in Pierre from late 1992 through late 1998. I spent four years as press secretary and a senior aide to Gov. Bill Janklow during his fourth and final term from late 1998 through 2002. I returned to journalism in January 2003 as a self-employed reporter, providing state government coverage to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre and, depending on the year, Aberdeen newspapers. In 2008, the Aberdeen American News offered to hire me as full-time member of the AAN staff, with my reports continuing to be available to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre, Yankton and Rapid City papers. The new arrangement has been in effect since January 2009 as the seven papers continue their remarkable dedication to their readers and the general public, as the only South Dakota news outlets with a full-time reporter covering state government in Pierre throughout the year. In addition to focusing on the Legislature during the annual winter session and its various activities during the interim periods between sessions, I spend many days throughout the year -- traveling as often necessary -- to cover state government boards and commissions which oversee the state universities, technical institutes, outdoors, water, environment, business, public schools, banking, agriculture, utilities, health care and various other areas of public interest. I purposely don't register to vote because of my profession; the last time I recall voting in a presidential election was the first time, 1976, when I had just turned 18. I think I voted for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford. Make of that what you want, just don't make much of it.

3 thoughts on “Legislators receive ‘gold watches’

  1. Lanny Stricherz

    My post on Facebook: Do you really think we are that stupid. The bags of cash come in the form of paid for by the taxpayer trips to the ALEC convention every summer, so that you can be wined and dined to find out what the Koch brothers want you to do to us the next session. One of your members sponsored a bill last session to bail out the payday lenders ahead of the voters passing of the Initiated measure on the same issue. That legislator doesn’t even have a payday lender in her district. I was in the balcony when Senator Peters made her impassioned speech on IM22 and HB1069 to repeal it, in which she referred to the gold watches and bags of cash. I repeat, do you really think that we the voters are that stupid. “Gold watches and bags of cash” were a euphemism for all the side deals that legislators do get. This picture just like HB1069 is an absolute insult to the people who send you to Pierre to work for us, not the lobbyists.

    Then as an afterthought, I added The legislators should have their middle fingers raised. That is what the picture says to me.

  2. Teacher1941

    I wish to compliment Mr. Stricherz for the exceptional restraint he exhibited in his comment. My first reaction to the photograph involved a number of expletives of which my mother would have disapproved, albeit in a pro forma manner.

  3. the lowly independent

    Lanny – Right on, i think eminem said it , “and put one of those little fingers on each hand up”. A middle finger to the voters of south dakota! This is disgusting! They all should be ashamed of themselves. Independents need to run from this ruling CLASS not PARTY, CLASS! The only R’s left in the Senate that I can consider listening to is Nelson and Russell. All the others need to GO AWAY!

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