Capital For A Day, National Day Of Prayer Debated By County Commissioners

Sometimes there just isn’t room in a story to hit on all the interesting exchanges that occur during a meeting. That was the case last night when I wrote up a story about the Yankton County Commission meeting. There were some worthwhile nuggets that I just couldn’t fit, although they did receive a mention.

The first regarded the commissioners considering whether they want to work with the City of Yankton to apply for Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s Capital for a Day program. Communities chosen receive a visit from the governor and other state officials.

Here is how it played out:

Garry Moore
I don’t think that we need to bring Capital for a Day outside of Pierre, S.D., unless Pierre wants to pay for it. We’ve got plenty of other things that we need to do in this county before we support or commit ourselves to any monetary bringing of the state capital to Yankton, S.D.

Allen Sinclair
It doesn’t say anything about paying for anything.

Garry Moore
You know there is expense incurred. There are telephone lines that they need to have set in place. They need to have communications put in place. I know how the program works. I’m not a fool. I wasn’t born last night.

You can see what the state did for us this year. They’re pulling funding out of the Veteran’s Service Office. They’re pulling funding from the Extension Service. We’re (not) getting lots of money coming down for roads and bridges. We’ve got bridges to replace and no money to do it with. We’re not getting any help or cooperation out of the state of South Dakota, but they want to move the capital around this state. They ought to stay in Pierre, save some money and pass a few dollars back.

Bruce Jensen
Come on, Garry!

Donna Freng
Everything you just mentioned there are things that the people in this community want to talk to our governor about. They don’t have the opportunity to go to Pierre. That costs money. If he is going to come here and give the people in this town the chance to visit with him, I’m for it.

Garry Moore
Go for it then.

Allen Sinclair
I agree, Donna. I couldn’t have said it better.

Nobody agrees with everything the governor does, but I still think we need him here to talk about some of these issues. It gives us a chance, one on one, to visit with him and make other people aware of the issues.

Garry Moore
He’ll spend $40,000 bringing his entourage to all these cities in the state … which means there will be that much less money available for projects that we need.


The measure passed 4-1 with Moore opposing it.

Also Tuesday, the commission considered a request to allow local organizers of the National Day of Prayer in May to hang a banner on the grounds of the Yankton County Government Center to advertise the event. The organizers want to hang it up three days before the event, according to Auditor Paula Jones.

Here is how that conversation went:

Auditor Paula Jones
(The deputy state’s attorney) does not feel you have to allow them to put a banner up because it is mixing church and state.

Bruce Jensen
If you allow them here to have a prayer, what is the difference? If you let them congregate here or you put a banner up, to me it’s the same thing.

Garry Moore
I think there is a big difference. I think you’ll find statutorily that you have to allow groups to use public buildings, but you do not have to advertise. Therein lies the difference here. I think you want to be careful about allowing a banner for one group or another regardless of what it is. If they ask to come in and use this room, we probably can’t deny them. But we can deny putting those things in our front yard or on the building. I think you’re treading on some pretty touchy ground here. I would suggest to you that that would say any political party affiliation or candidate that wanted to hang a poster in your yard — you’d have to allow it.

I think you’re going to cross a threshold you don’t want to cross.

Donna Freng
I don’t feel comfortable with the banner.

Bruce Jensen
So if they put a piece in the paper advertising that they are coming here for National Prayer Day, what’s the difference? You’re stating the fact they’re going to be here.

Donna Freng
I don’t think it’s the same thing at all.

Bruce Jensen
I think it parallels it. I really do.

(Paula Jones offers to put it on the next meeting’s agenda.)

Garry Moore
Quite honestly, I’m not going to change my mind, because you’re going to set a terrible, terrible precedent.


The commission passed a measure allowing the facility to be used for the National Day of Prayer but denying the request to hang a banner on a 4-1 vote, with Jensen dissenting.

2 thoughts on “Capital For A Day, National Day Of Prayer Debated By County Commissioners

  1. Bruce Jensen doesn’t see a difference between a private group buying an ad in the newspaper and the county erecting an advertisement for a religious event on public property? Wow!

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