Rep. Lance Russell at the Rapid City Legislative Crackerbarrel Meeting

South Dakota Rep. Lance Russell (Dist. 30)

South Dakota Rep. Lance Russell (Dist. 30)

Phil Jensen


South Dakota Rep. Lance Russell of District 30 was one of the featured speakers at the second Rapid City legislative crackerbarrel meeting today at the South Dakota School of Mines.

Russell spoke about the discussions dominating the legislature concerning education funding, and specifically increasing teacher pay.

Russell said he thought Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s plan was flawed. Based on the number of teachers we have in South Dakota, compared to the amount of money the governor wants to spend on it, the math doesn’t add up, said Russell.

Rick Kriebel 2016


Russell said he had supported Daugaard’s initial plan a few years ago to cut education funding at a time when the state was running a deficit, but Russell thought we would backfill those cuts. However, he said, we had $300 million in other priorities, and ended up spending the money somewhere else.

Russell has proposed HB 1130 to dedicate revenue from video lottery for the purpose of supplementing teachers’ salaries.  His plan would earmark $75 million from video lottery revenue directly to teacher pay and not allow the state or school districts to use this money for anything other than teacher salaries.  According to Russell, when video lottery was legalized in South Dakota, it was sold to us as a way to fund education.  While some of it may have made it to education, said Russell, most of it ended up in the general fund and spent on other things.

Russell was also asked later in the meeting by Dale Bartscher of the Family Heritage Alliance whether his bill, while well intentioned, would further entrench video lottery in South Dakota and make the state even more dependent on it. Russell replied that he had consistently opposed video lottery, and in his job as a state’s attorney, he had dealt with cases first hand that highlighted the problems of gambling and video lottery. However, he said he just wanted the money that was promised to education 20 years ago to finally make it where it belongs.



Woodrow Wilcox


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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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