Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self-Governance, debated the merits of a Convention of States with those who are concerned about it on Dec 7, 2016. Click to watch!
If you’re wondering about the upcoming 10 ballot measures, here is my take. I was interviewed on the Facts TV with Mike Austad recently and we covered all 10 issues.
Here’s the voter guide by Dakota Voter covering District 6 candidates and asking them questions about many important issues.
Dakota Voter – District 6
Here are the Attorney General Explanations, as well as the Pro/Con on each ballot measure:
Secretary of State – Ballot Measures
Amendment R – Create an independent board for tech schools. Grows government but supposedly more economic development. Amendment S – Amends constitution to add victim rights into constitution. Stronger requirements for notifying and including victims in criminal process. Some law enforcement have concerns it goes too far.
Amendment T – Terrible. Politicizes redistricting process.
Amendment U – Unbelievably slimy payday lenders’ fake 18% cap, invalidates IM21 and gives free reign.
Amendment V – Very bad, help politicians deceive voters about their party affiliation to get elected.
Measure 19 – Correctly adjusts some deadlines for petitions, but bans Rep and Dem voters from nominating independents.
Measure 20 – Small fix to youth minimum wage, helps more youth get hired which is important for job skills.
Measure 21 – 36% cap on payday loans – I’m voting yes.
Measure 22 – Heck no! Taxpayer funding for politicians campaigns, increases political advertising, costs $11 million.
Measure 23 – No way. Less money in your paycheck, forced unionization.
One of the most contentious issues of the last legislative session was debate over teacher pay. As it was so heated, many misperceptions and mistruths arose. For this purpose, I want to clarify my position to you on this important South Dakota issue. I was, and still am, resolutely in favor of raising teacher pay.
I strongly supported SB 131, the governor’s bill that ensured school boards prioritized raising teacher salaries to an average of $48,500. This bill sent more money from our general fund to schools, with the result being increased teacher pay and a $62 million increase in overall education funding.
South Dakota ranked 37th out of 51st in the nation for education funding, but we stood dead last in terms of compensation for educators. SB131 was the Governor’s solution. It sent more money to schools, and put in place methods to ensure that more money went directly to teachers.
During the legislative session I replied to many e-mails, wrote newspaper articles, and did interviews to clearly communicate my position on this topic. It is sad to realize that media and lobbying organizations were willing to mislead educators on this topic. In recent conversations I have discovered how much this deception still lingers, and it is important that you know the truth.
SB131 – A bill to increase teacher pay by $62 Million – The main bill. Increases teacher pay. Passed overwhelmingly.
HB1182 – A bill to increase sales tax by $107.4 Million – Just one option. Increased tax revenue. Doesn’t increase teacher pay.
$80 Million – Governor’s proposed budget increases before tax increases and teacher pay, based on increased revenues.
$420 million – Education reserve funds (Over 5 years of funding for teacher pay – State should provide districts security to get these funds to teachers)
$972 million – State tax exemptions, over $50 million of which I supported eliminating. If we are going to raise taxes, this is how it should be done.
Unfortunately for our teachers, supporters of an increase to our state sales tax, found in HB 1182, mislead voters by portraying this tax hike as the bill that increased teacher pay. These supporters (including the SDEA) slandered opponents to this bill as opponents of increasing teacher pay. Then they sent educators to Pierre to lobby for this bill, telling them it increased teacher pay. Sadly, not one of the educators I talked to in Pierre had read 1182, and never heard of 131. The Governor gave the option of funding 131 either by using existing funds, requiring less spending in other areas, or by increasing taxes via 1182. It’s fine if some legislators want to increase taxes and spend more on other areas. But it is wrong to lie to teachers, ignore 131, and tell them that 1182=Teacher pay, which was completely false.
Many media outlets advanced this narrative, ensuring that the supporters of HB 1182 effectively silenced people like me, who were actually in favor or raising teacher pay without an unnecessary increase to taxes. The fact is, 1182 as introduced said nothing about teachers or salaries, precisely because it only dealt with tax rates. Even after weeks of teachers being sold on a disinformation campaign that 1182 increased teacher pay, and with the gallery filled with those who were told that opponents of 1182 were against teacher pay, there still were not enough votes to pass the tax increase, since it wasn’t required for the teacher pay increase. Remember, teacher pay was not even mentioned in the bill.
So, minutes before the vote, an amendment was added that said “sixty-three percent shall be dedicated to increasing teacher salaries.” This did nothing to change the fact that the actual teacher pay bill (SB131) which spent $62 million to increase teacher salaries, could have been funded by the $80M increase over our previous budget, OR by redirecting video lottery funds, OR by eliminating tax exemptions for special interest groups, OR by making better use of reserve funds. Most people do not even know that we began the session with $80 Million more to spend than the previous year without any new taxes. I was an advocate for funding education first.
You may ask, why not just support the tax increase? There are over 34 professions in this state that are 51st in pay compared to the national average. We owe it to those families in our district to look at every possible funding option before we further increase taxes, which was, in fact, the exact directive given by the blue ribbon task force. Tax increases like these could increase jobs in education, but they cause job losses for those who are even worse off than teachers. Is that fair? If we absolutely need increased tax revenues, we should start by examining the $972M of tax exemptions we currently have. Many are legitimate, but many are not. Should I take the easy vote to fleece the low income taxpayer, because lobbyists for the tax exemptions are too influential and legislators don’t have the spine to say no? That’s actually the problem with politics today. I won’t do that.
The tax increase bill should not have been voted on before voting on the teacher pay bill. This unnecessary conflict only served to confuse the issue, damage reputations, and increase taxes that disproportionately harmed those with lower incomes.
The anger and fear created by those intentionally misleading educators about the vote on the tax increase was wrong and unnecessary. The overwhelming majority of legislators favored funding teacher pay. It is our duty to examine all revenue sources and set the best priorities in our four billion dollar budget. I will continue to do this in the next legislative session if elected, as well as continue to fight for higher pay for undervalued South Dakota professions.
Having been a substitute teacher myself and experiencing firsthand the challenges educators face today, I know how important good teachers are to the development of this generation and the success of society in the future. I am committed to working to empower you to work together with parents and have the resources and freedom you need to fulfill this mission to the best of your ability.
I want to thank educators for the work you do, and I have always been eager to meet in person or via phone to hear your perspective, answer questions, and learn what I can do to empower you for success in your mission. I look forward to talking with you.
South Dakota District 6
It’s January, and that means the South Dakota Legislature is back in session. The two proposals with the largest fiscal impact are proposed changes to the education funding formula and the Governor’s proposal to implement the Affordable Care Act in South Dakota and expand Medicaid.
The current education funding formula is a long-standing but complex mix of sales tax and property tax (referred to as state aid and local effort) based on a per-student allocation. The new formula would maintain the state and local mix, but instead target staff to student ratios and teacher salaries. In addition, it maintains local control over teacher salaries so school districts will still be able to adjust in the ways their specific needs require.
Under our current education system and salaries, we have about one applicant for every job opening, when averaged statewide. Any business owner knows that you are not attracting and retaining the top talent with that ratio, and to reach the target salary of $48,000 it will require $62 million in additional funding.
The Governor has proposed increasing the State Sales Tax rate from 4% to 4.5%, an increase of 12.5%, in order to make up the difference. This would put additional strain on low and fixed income citizens, and I believe there are achievable solutions using current revenue growth combined with cutting fraud and abuse in the healthcare portion of our state budget.
Voters have repeatedly rejected new taxes even when focused on education, which means they expect us to prioritize and economize just like they are forced to do with their own budgets. Every year there are numerous new programs, increases in state department budgets, money spent to “freeze” higher education tuition, and increases in state employee salaries. I believe these noble ideas should have been–and must be–put on hold while we focus on improving our K-12 education situation.
Which brings me to the Governor’s proposal on medicaid expansion. There are many health care interests that would like to see an increase in federal money flowing into the state, but there are some brief points of principle on this issue that I consider critical.
First, the proposal hinges on the Obama Administration giving us their word that they will finally honor their treaty obligations (which require them to cover 100% of the health care costs for Native Americans) if we implement the Affordable Care Act in South Dakota. This seems a little like bringing someone a helicopter because they promise to release a hostage. But if we resolved just this one issue without expanding medicaid, we would be able to fully pay for the new education funding formula.
Second, the expansion would create a new class of dependents in South Dakota–able bodied adults–and create a new incentive for people to move here not for work, but to have their healthcare paid for by the rest of us.
Third, the Federal Government does not have the money and would be printing or borrowing half a billion dollars from our children and grandchildren every year to pay for this new entitlement, further devaluing the U.S. dollar.
Lastly, South Dakota would become a state with a vested interest in not repealing the “Affordable Care Act,” which ironically, has led to an acceleration in healthcare costs. This has made teacher pay dwindle further as more is spent on health insurance. A new administration may change the law or change the agreement, leaving South Dakota stuck with the bill.
Rep. Latterell can be reached at email@example.com or by phone 368-1002.
Sign the Petition Below
- The Planned Parenthood website states that their Sioux Falls clinic receives South Dakota taxpayers’ dollars through SD Medicaid.
- All Planned Parenthood affiliates are implicated by the recent series of sting videos put out by the Center for Medical Progress, since the national head of medical services admits that they regularly do not follow the law, saying it is “up to interpretation.”
- Planned Parenthood’s “affiliate” arrangement is set up specifically to avoid accountability in the event that one affiliate is found to be breaking the law.
- Until Planned Parenthood of South Dakota stops doing abortions and breaks all ties with Planned Parenthood Federation of America, we must not allow any SD taxpayer dollars to fund this evil organization
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards recently admitted in sworn house testimony that it derives 86% of its non-government revenue from killing unborn children.
When we think it can’t be uglier, the abortion industry continues to shock us with its violent and evil abortion system, as well as its willingness to disregard the law and lie on their reports to state agencies to increase their abortion income. Please join us to urge South Dakota’s leaders to take action now to investigate Planned Parenthood and prevent further unspeakable abuse of South Dakota women and their children.
Representative Isaac Latterell, Sioux Falls
We, the undersigned, call on Governor Daugaard and/or Attorney General Jackley to launch a thorough, in-person audit of actual clinic practices and records and stop all Medicaid payments and taxpayer dollars from going to any clinic affiliated with Planned Parenthood of America.
South Dakota House of Representatives
Office of Rep. Isaac Latterell
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
My colleagues and I join with the communities of Harrisburg, Tea, Lennox, and Sioux Falls and extend our prayers today on behalf Principal Kevin Lein, as well as for the students, faculty, and families affected by this morning’s events at Harrisburg High School. We also give thanks to God that no one was killed or more critically injured and we pray for a quick recovery for all involved physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Though his identity and motive have yet to be released, we are also praying for the shooter and for his family.
We owe tremendous gratitude and deep respect to the swift, efficient response of school officials, law enforcement and first responders from multiple state and local agencies who executed their coordinated response plans and provided security for students across the district.
I am personally thankful that our communities are filled with so many heroes with selfless courage who run towards danger and risk their lives in order to protect others.
I am especially amazed and inspired by the love and courage of Assistant Principal Ryan Rollinger, who put his life on the line to protect his students and staff. His selfless act was an example of the love Jesus showed us on the cross and called us to emulate in John chapter 15:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Thank you to everyone who did their jobs with excellence and courage today and to those who are continuing the work of justice and healing moving forward.
State Representative – District 6
Serving Harrisburg, Tea, Lennox and Sioux Falls
500 E. Capitol Ave. Pierre, S.D. 57501
PO Box 801 Tea, SD 57064
Representative Isaac Latterell calls on Governor Daugaard and Attorney General Jackley to investigate Planned Parenthood of South Dakota for illegal organ harvesting and trafficking
Office of Rep. Isaac Latterell
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, S.D. 57501
CONTACT: Isaac Latterell at 605-368-1002 or email Rep.Latterell@state.sd.us
July 17, 2015
REPRESENTATIVE ISAAC LATTERELL CALLS ON GOVERNOR DAUGAARD AND ATTORNEY GENERAL JACKLEY TO INVESTIGATE PLANNED PARENTHOOD FOR ILLEGAL ORGAN HARVESTING AND TRAFFICKING
PIERRE, SD – Representative Isaac Latterell, member of South Dakota’s House Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement in response to a release by a group called The Center for Medical Progress of a hidden-camera video showing remarks by Deborah Nucatola, senior director for medical services for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) since 2009:
It is appalling and inhumane to see the top doctor for the national Planned Parenthood organization admit, on videotape, that Planned Parenthood affiliates and abortionists daily review pre-orders for baby organs and body parts, then tailor abortion procedures to facilitate the harvesting of the baby’s intact parts and organs for resale. Planned Parenthood treats those who enter their facilities not as patients, but as unwitting hosts to produce baby body parts to bolster their bottom line.
In addition, Planned Parenthood states they regularly skirt the federal ban on Partial-Birth abortion and use a nearly identical procedure to dismember the child feet first, sever the child’s head and remove it intact for resale. Dr. Nucatola demonstrates Planned Parenthood’s complete disregard for the law, claiming “The federal [partial-birth] abortion ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation” … “If I say on day one I do not intend to do this, what ultimately happens doesn’t matter.”
In light of numerous horrific admissions by Dr. Nucatola and her implication of Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country, I call on Governor Daugaard and Attorney General Jackley to investigate Planned Parenthood of Sioux Falls for violations of S.D. Codified Laws Ann. 34-23A-17 and 34-23A-27.
34-23A-17. An unborn or newborn child who has been subject to an induced abortion other than an abortion necessary to prevent the death of the mother or any tissue or organ thereof may not be used in animal or human research or for animal or human transplantation.
34-23A-27. No person may perform a partial-birth abortion which results in the death of a human fetus or infant. A violation of this section is a Class 6 felony.
Dr. Nucatola specifically describes abortionists manipulating unborn children in order to remove them feet first, to facilitate obtaining an intact head, apparently to preserve an intact brain. This statement and others raise a host of ethical questions, including whether pregnant women are being given detailed information in advance about exactly what is going to be done to them and their babies.
Moreover, Dr. Nucatola discusses how Planned Parenthood abortion clinics profit from organ harvesting and trafficking, “I think for affiliates, at the end of the day, they’re a non-profit, they just don’t want to—they want to break even. And if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that.”
South Dakota has multiple facilities that do abortions all throughout pregnancy. Because trafficking in human organs and tissue occurs all throughout pregnancy, S.D. Codified Laws Ann. 34-23A-17 may be violated at any stage of pregnancy. Whether profit is made is irrelevant: harvesting and trafficking of human organs and tissue is illegal.
I have repeatedly called for laws banning the dismemberment and beheading of unborn children, procedures which are admitted to on video by Planned Parenthood’s top medical director. Preventing these procedures will prevent the possibility of organ harvesting and trafficking. In light of recent developments, it is all the more important for South Dakota to pass this law.
Lawmakers should now be asked whether they will continue to oppose legislation to restrict the dismemberment of unborn children, as Planned Parenthood insists – and if so, whether they are motivated in any degree by a desire to preserve Planned Parenthood’s ability to deliver intact, well-developed baby body parts to order.
When we think it can’t be uglier, the abortion industry continues to shock us with its violent and evil abortion system, as well as its willingness to disregard the law and lie on their reports to state agencies to increase their abortions and income. South Dakota must take action now to investigate Planned Parenthood and prevent further unspeakable abuse of South Dakota women and their children.
I commend United States Congress, multiple Governors, and Attorneys General for beginning investigations into Planned Parenthood’s national, state, and local affiliates. South Dakota’s Governor and Attorney General must do likewise and investigate Planned Parenthood and conduct strict audits of hospitals conducting abortions in our state.
Rarely in legislature can it be said that the process is delightful, and rarely does a bill introduced purely at the request of one constituent make it all the way through the process. Last week I had the pleasure to experience both, and witness a brave young lady make South Dakota history!
Before session started, my friend Senator Brock Greenfield from Clark received a phone call from a young constituent in his district asking if she could meet with him and present him with a letter. When they met, six year old Hadley presented him with a handwritten letter:
Now when Hadley and Brock talked, He said “you know, there would be some concerned with allowing fireworks to be shot year around, explosions and so on and so forth all throughout the night” and she understood that, but he told her “I think I can work with you hadley, I think I can probably bring something so that you could maybe shoot some parachutes throughout the course of the year.”
So at the beginning of session, Brock asked for SB 161 to be drafted, with Brock as the Senate sponsor and myself as the House sponsor. The draft exempted several small fireworks, like sparklers, parachutes, snakes, and smoke bombs, but we tried to address some of the fire concerns, not allowing parachutes with a flare or traveling fireworks. We were presented with the initial draft, and hadn’t heard any concerns going into the hearing so we thought maybe everything was ok.
But when we showed up for Senate committee (Hadley testified herself with handmade note cards), opponents came out of the woodwork. It turned out this little six year old caused quite a stir amongst some of the interested parties in Pierre! So the bill was amended to remove sparklers, but still accomplish Hadley’s mission, passing committee and the Senate floor.
In the House committee, Brock and I, who would normally start off introducing the bill, didn’t hear the chair call the bill number for proponents. So brave Hadley, seeing the need, stepped right up to the plate with her note cards. I believe it was the first time in South Dakota history that a six year old gave the opening bill testimony before a committee. I also testified afterward, but her testimony was so compelling that I was careful to make it as brief as possible!
Often we get asked to introduce a bill or speak against something, and somewhere down the line we might hear a thank you. But this little six year old girl put pen to paper right away and was kind and gracious enough to send a note and drawing to each co-sponsor to say thank you. She wrote: “Thank you for writing a bill and bringing it to the floor. From Hadley”
She was a little optimistic when she wrote it, since we weren’t sure it would even make it out of committee. But thanks to her initiative and bravery, Hadley will now be able to chase parachutes with her cousins, who can only come visit her after the 4th of July.
In a humorous twist, my district mate Representative Otten sits on that committee and said thank you to Hadley, realizing that because they shoot parachutes after the 4th, his family really needs this bill to pass t00!
Most states including South Dakota allow for the death penalty for murderers. There are certain revolting methods of execution, such as beheading, that no state would ever permit, even against murderers who use this method on their victims. It is this revulsion that leads us to rightly condemn the beheadings committed by unconscionably violent soldiers in the Middle East. As David Brooks commented in a New York Times article:
“A beheading … is not just an injury or a crime. It is an indignity. A beheading is more like rape, castration or cannibalism. It is a defacement of something sacred that should be inviolable … We’re repulsed by a beheading because the body has a spiritual essence.”
“A beheading feels different because it reveals something about the minds of the killers. The journalist Lance Morrow once wrote that “evil is often happiest when it operates in the autonomy of the gratuitous.” By going beneath even the minimal standards of modern civilization, the militants in the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria get to show contempt for us and our morality. They get to deny the slightest acknowledgment of our common humanity. They can take the bully’s maximum relish in their power over the weak and innocent.”
Planned Parenthood abortionists in Sioux Falls are similarly beheading unborn children during dismemberment abortions. This method has been described by the Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart as a procedure that is: “laden with the power to devalue human life,” and is as brutal, if not more so, than Intact Dilation and Extraction (D&X or partial birth) abortions.”
Most people are unaware that this is happening, because Planned Parenthood of Sioux Falls denies that they behead or otherwise dismember unborn children. As RH Reality Check wrote:
“The clinic does not provide surgical abortions in which a D and E is required. The clinic told RH Reality Check that all patients who need D and E services are referred to clinics in other states. Technically, hospitals can perform such procedures in the state, but none of the hospitals in the state do.”
But South Dakota’s Department of Health’s website shows at least 7 such extreme and dangerous abortions have been done since 2008. There are probably many more where the method used was unstated or stated incorrectly. Considering Planned Parenthood is the only clinic that does abortions, it is clear that they are lying either to the media or to the department of health.
I am beyond angry at what Planned Parenthood is doing to us and to our children. In the words of David Brooks, their actions and their lies “show contempt for us and our morality”, “deny the slightest acknowledgment of our common humanity”, and “take the bully’s maximum relish in their power over the weak and innocent”.
This is why I have introduced House Bill 1230, the Preborn Infant Beheading Ban of 2015. It passed the House Health and Human Services Committee today with a vote of 11-2.
It simply states: “No licensed physician may knowingly behead a living unborn child with the intent of endangering the life or health of the child.”
No state, no religion, and no organization should ever be allowed to use this unspeakably horrifying method. While we rightly take the speck out of our neighbor’s eye by holding ISIS accountable, let us be sure to take the plank out of our own eye by holding Planned Parenthood accountable.
Please consider making a donation today to help me shed light on Planned Parenthood and its barbaric practices, as well as defend against the onslaught of attacks from people who want to silence me and are working to remove me from office
Press Release: South Dakota legislators join nationwide effort to call for a Convention of States to restrain the federal government
Pierre, SD – Representative Isaac Latterell (R-Sioux Falls) has filed House Joint Resolution 1006, calling for an Article V Convention of States for the limited purpose of proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution which would impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for federal officials and members of Congress.
“I have always believed that the solutions to America’s problems will come from the people, not from Washington,” said Rep. Latterell. “Fortunately, the authors of the Constitution gave us the power to fix Washington without the approval of Congress or the President, who will never vote to limit their own power. I am excited to see so many South Dakotans rising up to join this nationwide effort as the People and the states work together on a solution as big as the problem.”
Senator Dan Lederman (R-Dakota Dunes), the primary Senate sponsor of the resolution, noted that it’s far past time Congress got its fiscal house in order. “Federal spending is out of control, and Congress has proven time and again that they will not limit spending, balance our budget, or abide by the limits placed on them by our Constitution. The American public has grown weary of the constant brinksmanship that Washington engages in, shutting down government only to extend spending authority. It’s is time for our federal government to live within its means.”
Under Article V of the United States Constitution, states are given the power to call for a Convention of States to discuss and propose amendments to the
U.S. Constitution. If two-thirds of state legislatures submit applications on the same topic, a meeting is called, but the scope is limited to proposing only those amendments allowed under the resolution topic. Additionally, none of the proposals are adopted or have any effect unless they are ratified by three-fourths of the states. This guarantees that only amendments that are within the limited scope and have the broad support of the people will ever be added to the Constitution.
With the introduction of HJR 1006, South Dakota joins 16 other states who have already filed this year and over a dozen more who plan to file the same resolution in the 2015 legislative session. Rep. Latterell believes that grassroots volunteers are the key to success and wants to connect with South Dakotans who are interested in helping. “This monumental but very achievable plan will require hundreds of thousands of Americans rallying together to push the process forward, demanding their state legislators call for a Convention of States to return the power where it truly belongs–with the people. Visit COSaction.com to learn how you can get involved in this exciting effort.”
One of the reasons this is gaining momentum here, says Rep. Latterell, is that South Dakotans have a strong belief in local control: “South Dakotans are passionate about self-governance, but are growing increasingly concerned that the Federal Government’s continued overreach and insolvency are erasing our children’s hope for a bright future. Using Article V, we will put the federal government back in its proper place, so we can focus on living our lives the South Dakota way.”