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NELSON: Hot topics surface in week four

My fellow South Dakotans,

It was a frigid 18 below zero as I left our farm a recent morning at 7 a.m. to head to our Capitol. Pray you and yours are staying warm this cold winter. Thank you to all those folks that attended the cracker barrel we had in Alexandria last Saturday. Hot topics discussed were increases in education funding; the EB-5 program and the scandals surrounding it; legal protection for clergy refusing to marry homosexual couples; texting-while-driving ban; bills to require the legislature to be open to the public on meetings discussing pending legislation; and, a bill that would provide you the ability to recall any of your state, county or local elected officials.

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In short, I am for increased education funding, for restricting state entities from being involved in the EB-5 foreigner visa program, for legally protecting clergy's religious rights under the First Amendment, against the texting ban, for bills requiring the legislature to be open to the public and for your ability to recall your elected officials.

The information that has been presented in the past on texting bans indicates studies show that states that have enacted texting bans have seen a rise in accident rates as a result of people hiding their texting. As a retired cop, I can tell you it is nearly impossible to enforce these types of laws, as police officers do not have Superman's x-ray vision to see what a driver is doing below the level of the dashboard. I would be for legislation that would require cell phone service providers to electronically hobble cell phones when they go into motion so that texting and Internet surfing would not be allowed. Such a measure would actually accomplish what folks desire.

Please contact me at by the legislative fax number (605) 773-6806, or by message on the floor (605) 773-3851 on these or other issues you may be concerned with. If you do write, please include your town in the subject line so I can immediately see that you are a constituent, as we get hundreds of emails a day from all over the world. I attempt to reply to every message. If you do not receive an answer, assume I did not get your message and re-contact me.

God bless and semper fidelis.