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TexasTowelie

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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 85,894

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Governor Noem declares 'State of Emergency' due to drought, wildfires

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order in response to the severe drought and ongoing fires in the state.

Executive Order 2021-07, which declares a state of emergency through June 1, due to severe drought and dangerous fire conditions was signed by Noem Tuesday afternoon.

This executive order is in response to the numerous fire incidents occurring throughout the state, according to a news release by Noem's office. The order will allow the state to provide greater assistance to the response efforts of local and volunteer firefighters.

Noem has spent the past two days overseeing the response to the Schroeder Fire outside Rapid City while monitoring other fire incidents, the release said

Read more: https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2021/03/30/black-hills-fires-south-dakota-governor-kristi-noem-declares-state-emergency-rapid-city/4812959001/

Our fervently anti-socialist congressional reps get hopping mad when federal money to Rapid City is

Our fervently anti-socialist congressional reps get hopping mad when federal money to Rapid City is threatened.


The news that a congressional committee just recommended that the White House Office of Management and Budget should revise the population threshold for designating a community a Metropolitan Statistical Area didn’t sit very well with our vocally anti-socialist Sens. Thune and Rounds and Rep. Johnson. The three of them, who have long made political capital out of their purported hatred of socialism didn’t like that news one little bit, mainly because it targets Rapid City as one of the cities (among 144 nationwide) affected by the change. According to anti-socialist Thune, this would be a very bad thing because “stripping the city of its MSA designation would potentially affect eligibility for funding through certain federal programs.” Our congressional trio signed on to a letter urging OMB to reject the proposal.

As it is now, to qualify as an MSA, a community needs a population of at least 50,000, which Rapid City exceeds by about 30,000. If the committee’s recommendations are adopted by OMB, the population threshold goes to 100,000, leaving Rapid City in the relative cold of being designated a Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Most Rapid Citians I know don’t think much of the idea, but unlike our congressional threesome, we don’t say bad things about socialism while holding our hands out to receive the financial largesse provided to this state by taxpayers around the country.

As to the proposal itself, there doesn’t seem to be any explanation for the committee’s recommendations, just requests for public comments. It would take some detailed analysis to know which programs and grants are likely to be affected by the change, or even if they’re likely to be affected at all. Some numbers from authoritative sources would be most welcome.

Read more: https://www.sdstandardnow.com/home/our-fervently-anti-socialist-congressional-reps-sure-do-get-hopping-mad-when-the-flow-of-federal-money-to-rapid-city-is-threatened

If Gov. Kristi Noem is so determined to force a court battle over transgender bill, she should pay

If Gov. Kristi Noem is so determined to force a court battle over transgender bill, she should pay the costs

by Rick Knobe


I wish she was using her money.

Gov. Kristi Noem didn’t get the anti-transgender athletes' bill she wanted on Monday. So now she is trying to “win” by executive order.

One directs the South Dakota Department of Education to create and enforce a policy banning transgender girls from K-12 sports. The other directs the Board of Regents to do the same, as long as we don’t lose NCAA events.

Both orders will not survive the court challenges certain to come. I imagine the ACLU and the U.S. Department of Justice are already writing the lawsuits.

This ploy by Noem (shown above in an image from South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s story on the subject) will play well to her base, both in and out of state. She will no doubt rake in money for her campaign and PAC. Also her private Capitol TV studio will be used a lot as she panders on FOX and other networks, keeping her name and face in the national news.

Read more:
https://www.sdstandardnow.com/home/if-gov-kristi-noem-is-so-determined-to-force-a-court-battle-over-transgender-bill-she-should-pay-the-bill

North Dakota Senate flushes resolution to legalize online poker

BISMARCK — Supporters of legalizing online poker have once again come up with a losing hand.

The North Dakota Senate voted unanimously on Tuesday, March 30, to fail House Concurrent Resolution 3012, which would have put the legalization of internet poker on the 2022 general election ballot.

The House approved the bill last month, but the upper chamber has shown a strong aversion to gambling bills, failing a resolution last week to put the legalization of sports betting on the ballot.

The resolution was introduced by Fargo Republican Rep. Jim Kasper, who has unsuccessfully pushed the issue in the Legislature for more than 15 years. Proponents like Kasper say North Dakotans are already playing poker online, but the state is not regulating or taxing the activity.

Read more: https://www.inforum.com/news/government-and-politics/6955398-North-Dakota-Senate-flushes-resolution-to-legalize-online-poker

North Dakota Senate to consider putting recreational marijuana to voters

North Dakota's Senate could revive the question of legalizing recreational marijuana, but through a ballot measure put to voters -- one of potentially three that could appear next year.

The chamber last week soundly defeated a bill to legalize but restrict the drug for recreational use. The 50-page bill, which passed the House, came as an effort by lawmakers to head off a proposed citizen-initiated measure to legalize marijuana through the state constitution, as South Dakota voters did in 2020. Montana voters also approved recreational marijuana last year.

The Senate Delayed Bills Committee on Tuesday approved 3-2 the introduction of a constitutional resolution by Sen. Dick Dever, R-Bismarck, for a June 2022 measure. The five-member panel considers whether to allow the introduction of legislation beyond introduction deadlines.

The proposed measure will get a hearing likely before the Senate Human Services Committee, which will make a recommendation on passage before a vote of the chamber. The House and Senate both would have to approve sending the measure to voters.

Read more: https://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/north-dakota-senate-to-consider-putting-recreational-marijuana-to-voters/article_6e20a3e9-5f8d-570f-833b-54b8738318cf.html

Legislature eyes early end to session

BISMARCK – Party leaders say they intend to end the 2021 North Dakota legislative session from three to 10 days early, saving those days for a short fall session to vote on redistricting measures and to allocate relief money from the most recent federal COVID relief package.

The state Constitution limits the assembly to 80 days every two years. “There is going to be more work that has to be done this time than there has been in the past,” Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford, said.

Due to delays caused by the pandemic, 2020 Census data used for redistricting may not be available to state governments until Sept. 30. In the past, redistricting numbers became available to state governments in April, a six-month difference. This is a concern for party leaders who want to have redistricting done before January 2022, when legislators start preparing for 2022 elections.

The redistricting bill, HB 1397, was heard in the Senate Political Subdivisions Committee on Friday, March 26. House Majority Leader Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, is the main sponsor.

Read more: https://www.minotdailynews.com/news/local-news/2021/03/legislature-eyes-early-end-to-session/

Opportunity to Think Big with Revenue Forecast and Federal Rescue Dollars

Lawmakers no longer have an excuse to delay overdue investments across the state. Last week, appropriators from both the House and Senate received an updated forecast showing a sharp rebound in the state’s economy. Analysts predict the state will receive close to $1 billion more from oil and gas taxes over the next two-year budget than what was projected earlier. Coupled with the $1.1 billion the state will receive from the federal American Rescue Plan, now is the moment to think big.

Weeks ago, NDx called on the ND Senate to restore some of the investment in the lone bonding-bill still alive in the Legislature. The House took the original $1 billion proposal and shrunk it to $680 million before sending it to the upper chamber. Senate Majority Leader Rich Warder, one of the sponsors of the bill, has moved to do just that. Wardner would like to see $180 million put back into the bill.

Wardner’s wish is a good step in the right direction but still falls short of the original promises made behind the podium in Bismarck to start the session. It is likely the legislature will debate how to use the federal dollars – the dollars our all-Republican delegation rejected – to subsidize many of the projects left out of the bonding bill. The billion dollars sent from Washington will certainly be used for one-time investments.

Townships, school districts, cities, and counties have investment needs but not the means to fund the projects. Unfortunately, promises have been made over several years from the state to assist those local governments that haven’t come to fruition. They can live up to their word because of federal dollars and a rosier in-state budget forecast. Lawmakers can achieve this without raising state taxes and without forcing the hand of local governments to raise property taxes. No excuses. Think big ND.

https://ndxplains.com/2021/03/22/opportunity-to-think-big-with-revenue-forecast-and-federal-rescue-dollars/
(no more at link)

Among the COVID-19 long-haulers: Iowa Rep. Amy Nielsen, who says it's 'like you have the flu for two

Among the COVID-19 long-haulers: Iowa Rep. Amy Nielsen, who says it's 'like you have the flu for two months'


Two months after testing positive for coronavirus, Iowa state Rep. Amy Nielsen still has difficulty breathing. She frequently feels lightheaded. And, occasionally, she experiences "horrible headaches."

The Democrat from North Liberty tested positive on Jan. 30, just weeks into Iowa's legislative session. And what she initially expected to be a few weeks of illness has now stretched into two months. Nielsen is one of six people who have reported coronavirus positive tests in the Iowa House of Representatives this year. One more positive case was reported in the Iowa Senate on Monday.

Those who work in the Iowa Capitol are not required to disclose if they have tested positive for coronavirus or if they've had close contact with someone else who tested positive.

Nielsen said in a phone interview last week that she's feeling quite a bit better — maybe 75% of normal. But those lingering symptoms are like "feeling like you have the flu for two months," she said. Nielsen said in a phone interview last week that she's feeling quite a bit better — maybe 75% of normal. But those lingering symptoms are like "feeling like you have the flu for two months," she said.

Read more: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2021/03/30/iowa-rep-amy-nielsen-still-has-covid-19-symptoms-two-months-after-testing-positive-state-capitol/7002252002/

Deputies indicted on manslaughter charges in Javier Ambler death by Travis County grand jury

Two years and one day after Javier Ambler II died in custody, a grand jury in Austin has indicted deputies who chased the Black father for a minor traffic violation that ended in a deadly encounter.

Former deputies J.J. Johnson and Zach Camden are charged with manslaughter after they chased Ambler, 40, in a 2019 pursuit that started because he failed to dim his headlights, then used Tasers on him repeatedly while he gasped that he could not breathe and had congestive heart failure. Ambler died minutes later.

"What we know is that Javier Ambler, who was a father, a brother, a son and a member of our community, a person of color," Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said. "He died after deputies repeatedly Tased him...after he let them know that he could not breathe and that he was dying."

The indictments mark the latest and most significant turn in the investigation into Ambler's death, which gained national attention and raised questions about the influence of reality TV on American policing. Ambler's family and attorneys believe that a partnership between "Live PD" and the Williamson County Sheriff's Office encouraged deputies to forsake sound policing practices to play to the cameras.

Read more: https://www.statesman.com/story/news/2021/03/30/javier-ambler-austin-grand-jury-indicts-xxxx-javier-ambler-police-custody-death/6967552002/

Cedar Rapids advocates urge permanent rental ban on landlord of nuisance properties

CEDAR RAPIDS — Community advocates are publicly calling on the city to permanently revoke Charles A. Davisson’s permit to lease property in Cedar Rapids, saying he is “not fit to be a landlord” given housing code violations, police calls, shootings and other issues surrounding a Bever Avenue SE property.

Residents are circulating a petition they hope will prompt Cedar Rapids officials to “revoke his landlord license permanently” following a report this month in The Gazette that the city Housing Board of Appeals had taken the unusual step of suspending for six months Davisson’s permission to rent out 2307 Bever Ave. SE and three other properties listed under Property Holders LTD.

Advocates are urging Cedar Rapids officials to bar Davisson, 58, from leasing his properties again once the suspension ends in April. Davisson is appealing in court the board’s decision.

“He has had enough chances to do the right thing,” reads the petition, which is circulating on change.org. “Enough is enough.”

Read more: https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/cedar-rapids-advocates-urge-permanent-rental-ban-on-landlord-of-nuisance-properties-20210330
(Cedar Rapids Gazette)
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