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Predictions:Predicting is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”— Niels Bohr, Nobel laureate in physics

As the new year begins, all eyes will turn to our favorite sport.

You were thinking of “high school basketball,” weren’t you?

Some also will find time to watch that other indoor diversion, the state Legislature, as it convenes for its 91st session.

Will lawmakers impose a new tax to plow more money into education, or will Gov. Daugaard find the money elsewhere?

Not all of the activity will be in Pierre, or on the basketball courts. Citizens will have to bone up on a full slate of ballot issues. Legalizing medical marijuana, and drastically changing the state’s campaign finance laws are but two.

Since there is a burden on column writers to lay out their predictions at the start of a new year, here’s the view from inside the snow globe:

  • The governor will find new money for teachers, but not enough, necessitating a tax hike to make up the difference.
  • Legalizing marijuana will go up in smoke. Supporters of this ballot issue are passionate, but the evidence shows that medical marijuana leads to legalized recreational pot smoking, and as former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy said last week, the nation already has legalized the two most addictive chemicals — alcohol and nicotine. Why add a third?
  • Setting an annual limit of 36 percent on loans, which includes interest, fees and charges, sounds reasonable to me, and probably to other voters, as well.
  • Changing the state’s campaign finance law has the ring of reason to it, until the details of this initiated measure are examined. First, it sets up public financing for political candidates, and that’s never been a good idea. No need to go into the other reasons.

Another measure establishes non-partisan elections for federal, state and county offices, at the behest of Democratic Party activists. If the party is looking for a way to win more elections, a laudable goal, it should recruit Stephanie Herseth to lead the charge to register more Democrats, as George McGovern did in the 1950s.

When I suggested that to her dad, Lars, a year ago, he agreed it was a good idea, but predicted it would not happen.

His forecasting ability likely will be better than mine.

Government and politics can be tiresome, I know, so I’ve saved the most difficult prediction for last, even though it’s going way out on a limb: Sadly, the Vikings will not win the Super Bowl.


Dec. 30, 2015