Public Policy Extortion

Public Policy Extortion

[…the tangle web we weave….is delayed]

Governor Noem vetoed the Trans Women in Sports Bill. She can use semantics and say she didn’t veto it, but the result is the same. If the Legislature rewrites the bill as instructed (by her), it is ineffectual. The little bit I’ve read about this issue is disheartening. The Gov. is concerned about boycotts (eg. North Carolina) and entering “..a fight we can’t win”. Who will boycott the State (be specific) and to what “fight” do you refer? Who are the contestants and why is it predetermined S.D. will lose? Is it the NCAA? Who else?

What did she do to help the Bill Sponsors? Did she offer insight into language she would accept? Did she make her concerns known as the bill progressed through the South Dakota Legislature? Did she seek out comment from other Governors whose Legislatures’ were following similar paths? Did she seek coalitions that may support (or oppose) this legislation to get insight into why it is needed (or not)? Did they contact her and she didn’t respond? Did she try to reach out to them and they didn’t respond? How about the Bill Sponsors, did they seek her counsel?

Did she call other Governors’? I realize it is very difficult in today’s society to get someone to call you back, but my guess would be a Governor to Governor call would have a better chance. If I’m the Governor and another Governor didn’t call me back, you can bet the farm I’d have some fun with that!

The Gov. appears to be well liked and indicates she wants to protect both male and female athletes. Great, but if that is truly the case, why didn’t she forward bill language at the start of the session or meet with Bill Sponsors before the bill was drafted or introduced? These and other questions are rarely asked. If these are mentioned at all, there is little follow up. For example, there are national coalitions who would like to prevent biological males from competing in women’s sports and while these coalitions may have other, and in some cases conflicting, agendas, they can still be queried. I get why you may not want to sign on with some of these groups, but at the very least, use them as a resource.

The message is not about Governor Noem, but to exemplify the vagueness of analysis. Perhaps extensive due diligence was performed, but how would the average Joe know? Journalists make good scapegoats, but if the citizenry doesn’t push for disclosure, why should they devote resources to something nobody will read? We need to request these answers.

The points made are how horrible (or great) the policy. Instead of subjective nonstop reiteration of why it is bad (or good), people need information about what was done, how it was pursued, the overall cost (benefit), actionable strategies and viable alternatives. It is wearisome to read articles that are little more than a complaint against a proposed policy. It is worse when personalities are included.

As soon as this issue is mentioned (and many others), the two sides scream positions and the investigation is lost. We are losing the ability to debate, each side is guilty. I have no illusion as to how much goes on behind close doors, but we as a society need to question the process and make some attempt to extract these conversations. Why did she suggest “creating” a coalition if these already exist? Why did she operate in an apparent vacuum? If she didn’t, who did she talk to, and what did they discuss? Who are the threats, what do they threaten, how much is at stake and to which entities? Do boycotts amount to hundreds of millions or tens of thousands? Is the ante one hundred collegiate scholarships or ten thousand? Is it one school or fifty? If people had a better understanding of the stakes, it may make them pay attention.

When public policy is set, or avoided, due to the influence of one, or a select few groups, the process needs scrutiny. As do the players involved (Elected Officials, Companies, nonprofit entities, etc.), on all sides. Is it extortion, or is it simply leverage: Those two terms are often juxtaposed but applied differently? What is the goal of the policy and is its implementation worth the cost? Data and objective analysis, without the emotion and diatribes, would be an excellent start. It would also be useful to press the policy players as to the real impediments, in most cases these will not be given freely.

Categorized as Policy

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