MERCER: Not all candidates misuse Legislature for their campaigns
PIERRE —- Four members of the Legislature are seeking statewide office this year. With three weeks left in the 2014 legislative session, a good question has come up: Are any of them using it as a soapbox?
We can look at the statistics first.
Two of the five candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate serve in the Legislature. Two of the five candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate serve in the Legislature. They are Rep. Stace Nelson of Fulton and Sen. Larry Rhoden of Union Center.
Nelson introduced 13 commemorations, which honor people for accomplishments and are routinely entered into the official journal. He introduced seven concurrent resolutions, which are debated, often longer than most bills.
Essentially, concurrent resolutions are statements of belief. They don't carry any power of law. Five of Nelson's passed in both the House and the Senate.
He sponsored five pieces of legislation. Four died in committees. The fifth failed on the House floor.
Nelson also sponsored one joint resolution, attempting to put a constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot. That was killed after its committee hearing.
Rhoden introduced two commemorations and two pieces of legislation. One bill died in committee. The Senate killed the other on Friday, but it will be reconsidered Monday.
There is one candidate in the Legislature for governor. Rep. Susan Wismer of Britton seeks the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
Wismer introduced two pieces of legislation. One died after its committee hearing. The other was killed in the House.
There is one announced candidate for secretary of state. She is Sen. Shantel Krebs, R-Renner.
Krebs introduced four pieces of legislation.
Two of her bills are for the State Code Commission that oversees the work of aligning and publishing South Dakota's laws.
Both passed in the Senate. Krebs' two other bills also passed in the Senate. The House now holds their fates.
We can also look at these candidates' behavior during committee meetings and floor debates.
Krebs chairs the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. During the Senate debates, she seldom speaks unless she has a true point to make.
The same is true for Rhoden, who chairs the Senate State Affairs Committee. Generally he too keeps his comments to a minimum during floor debates,
The former House Republican leader is likewise known for calling a spade a spade when the circumstances necessitate.
Wismer gradually has become bolder in her comments during debates. With Democrats out-gunned in the Legislature, she has become a good spokesperson on her party's spending priorities.
She also uses Twitter -- the social networking site -- to make points to those people who follow her on Twitter. She sends her tweets during speeches, committee hearings and debates.
Their expressions and comments show Nelson has worn out many of the other 69 members in the House with his daily speech-making and the time spent on his resolutions.
Last week he went to the bathroom and refused to come out to vote on a gun bill.
On Thursday, Nelson was told to "sit down" by the House speaker as he persisted in a rule challenge. He had an outdated version of the rule.
You asked. That's the way it is.