Here's the first installment of responses to the online crackerbarrel questions you readers submitted last week. I present legislator responses unedited, uneditorialized.
First up, Curtis Price's question:
For Rep Jackie Sly (and any others that wish to comment)
Why did you vote in favor of equal time for "astrological causes" for global warming?
District 8 Rep. Gerry Lange replies:
Good question, Curtis Price, on the global warming issue. Sometimes, I sign on to bills by friends across the aisle in the hopes of getting some "reciprocral" consideration for some of our bills. HCR 1009 attracted national attention, much like the Skopes "Monkey" Trial did back in the 1920's. In speaking on the floor, my point was that there is no harm in exposing students to sharply contrasting views on what most of us consider "conventional reality." Like William Jennings Bryan, who was vilified by the intellectuals backing Darwin's evolutionary theory, some of us got e-mails with words describing us as "archetypical Neanderthals. No problem in a nation where we believe in First Amendment rights, but it does raise a question as to whether we can carry on a "civic dialogue" or not. "Party-line" voting has been less frequent this session; and I think that's a good thing. Resolutions are not law and are sometimes characherized as a chance for someone to do a bit of "grandstanding!"
District 33 Rep. Jackie Sly replies:
Thanks for the email. Normally, I do not get involved with blogging. Mr. Price is free to contact me regarding HCR 1009. I would be more than happy to email him directly or talk to him personally. I am the only "Sly" in the RC phone book. Plus, he has emailed me previously so knows how to get in contact with me.
I look forward to seeing new farmer's markets open up throughout SD and working to help make the existing ones grow. We have a potential for strong local producers and local markets to continue meeting the needs of local buyers.
This comment is in regard to a local cracker-barrel in your area. Do you have a Chamber of Commerce or some service group that would sponsor cracker-barrels? In the RC area we have several during each legislative session. They are planned well in advance, so the legislators know when they need to try to keep their calendars open. The forums here are mainly sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, but a local service group, Democracy in Action, organized one for an area that did not have one previously. They are a great way for the citizens to interact with the legislators during the time we are in session. By this time, the votes have been taken and many of the bills are already signed.
Resolutions do not require anyone to do anything. They are used as a way to address a concern. One legislator suggested that we have a resolution to not have any more resolutions. If one takes the time to look over the resolutions submitted, they are almost always divisive. Thus, the testimony on the floor is usually of opposing viewpoints.
Again, thanks for contacting me. We will soon be back in Pierre making some tough decisions. Ones that will once again have a variety of viewpoints, but at some point decisions will need to be made.
Stay tuned: more legislator responses to your questions coming up today!