Rounds: Impeachment Trial of Former President is Unconstitutional

Rounds: Impeachment Trial of Former President is Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today joined 44 of his Senate colleagues in declaring the impeachment trial of Donald Trump unconstitutional on the grounds that he is a private citizen no longer in office.

“The Constitution is clear that holding an impeachment trial of a former president, former official, or – more specifically – a private citizen, is unconstitutional and that the Senate should not go down this path. Donald Trump is no longer in office and is now a private citizen. Impeachment is intended to be the legislative branch’s check on the executive and judicial branches of government- not a check on our constituency.

“Our Founding Fathers did not intend to put private citizens on trial in the Senate. Why, then, would we hold an impeachment trial of which the immediate consequence upon conviction – removal from office – is something that has already happened? Removal from office implies that the subject to be impeached must be in office. It doesn’t make sense.”

Article 2, Section 4, of the U.S. Constitution states: “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”  Donald Trump is neither the President, Vice President, nor is he a civil officer of the United States.


Thune Questions Secretary of Commerce Nominee Gov. Gina Raimondo

Thune Questions Secretary of Commerce Nominee Gov. Gina Raimondo

“It is vitally important that we close the digital divide in states like South Dakota and across America.”

Click here or on the picture above to watch Thune’s speech.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today questioned Secretary of Commerce nominee Gov. Gina Raimondo (D-R.I.). Thune pressed her on her outlook concerning broadband availability for rural America, spectrum management, and her stance on the incorporation of innovative approaches to weather forecasting from outside stakeholders to benefit farmers and ranchers across the country.


Rounds Supports Legislation to Establish Election Integrity Commission

Rounds Supports Legislation to Establish Election Integrity Commission 

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) joined U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) to introduce legislation establishing the 2020 Bipartisan Advisory Committee to examine the integrity of the November election and make recommendations to State legislatures to improve the security, integrity and administration of federal elections.

“Our system of government is based on free and fair elections, run by individual states,” said Rounds. “I remain confident in the security of South Dakota’s election system. Still, the fact remains that many Americans are concerned about the integrity of other states’ election processes. A bipartisan commission will allow us to examine the 2020 election and restore Americans’ faith in our federal election process.”


The 2020 Bipartisan Advisory Committee will be composed of 18 members; 9 appointed by the Republican Senate leader in consultation with the House minority leader and 9 appointed by the Speaker of the House in consultation with the Democrat Senate leader.

  • The Committee will study:
    • the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic on the election;
    • the election practices adopted in response to the COVID–19 pandemic;
    • practices regarding mail-in ballots, absentee ballots, and vote-by-mail procedures;
    • practices that would have allowed improper or fraudulent voter registration or votes;
    • the scope of any improper or fraudulent voter registration or votes;
    • and practices that would bolster public confidence in the integrity of future general elections.
  • The Advisory Committee will submit two reports:
    • The initial report will include precinct-by-precinct data highlighting the number and incidence of any improper and fraudulent voter registrations and improper and fraudulent votes that were cast in the election.
    • The final report will include recommendations on best practices that each level of local and State Government should adopt for:
      • administering elections for federal office during a pandemic and other national emergencies;
      • mitigating fraud and increasing the integrity and security of mail-in ballots, absentee ballots, and vote-by-mail procedures; and
      • preventing improper or fraudulent votes from being cast and stop improper voters from being registered


Johnson Receives Coveted Committee Assignment

Johnson Receives Coveted Committee Assignment

Washington, D.C. – In advance of this year’s reauthorization of the five-year highway bill, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) has been appointed to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.

“The surface transportation bill will be among the most important pieces of legislation Congress will tackle this year,” said Johnson. “I’m grateful my colleagues have provided me an opportunity to play a lead role in developing that bill, ensuring rural priorities aren’t forgotten.”

The Transportation & Infrastructure Committee also has jurisdiction over other issues important to South Dakota, including railroads, aviation, pipelines, FEMA, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In addition to the transportation assignment, Johnson will continue to serve on the House Agriculture Committee.


Thune: The Legislative Filibuster Must Remain

Thune: The Legislative Filibuster Must Remain

“No matter how appealing it might be in the moment, destroying this long-standing protection for minority rights would be a grave error that both parties would live to regret.”

Click here or on the picture above to watch Thune’s speech.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the legislative filibuster, the feature of the Senate that requires 60 senators to agree before the Senate can end debate and vote on a bill, ensuring that the minority party is represented in legislation. Thune expressed his hope that all Senate Democrats will recommit themselves to preserving this fundamental feature of the Senate.

Governor Noem Introduces Legislation to Defend Property Rights

Governor Noem Introduces Legislation to Defend Property Rights

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem introduced two property rights bills related to the Department of Game, Fish & Parks (GFP).

“So far this legislative session, we’ve taken steps to promote life and liberty. Now, we’re working to defend property rights,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “The two bills introduced today work together to build on GFP’s excellent work to protect property rights and promote trust between conservation officers and South Dakotans.”

The first bill restricts the entry of conservation officers onto certain private land without permission. Under current precedent, conservation officers could enter into open fields without a warrant, though GFP’s department policy prevents this. Similar legislation had been sponsored in the past by Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden during his time serving in the South Dakota state legislature.

“It’s important that we close the open fields loophole to ensure that our private property rights are protected just as the Fourth Amendment protects our homes from unreasonable search and seizure,” said Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden. “Governor Noem has long been a champion of constitutional freedoms. I’m pleased to work alongside the Governor to protect the property rights of landowners.”

The second bill revises provisions regarding inspections, seizures, and forfeitures involving GFP. This legislation would protect property rights in the enforcement of game and fish laws by ending the ability of conservation officers to take and keep private property of hunters and fishermen who break these laws. Such forfeiture of property would greatly outweigh the financial penalty tied to enforcement of game and fish laws.

“We want to make sure that the punishment fits the crime,” continued Governor Noem. “When someone violates a game and fish law, they should be fined and punished as per current law. But they shouldn’t lose their boat, truck, gun, or dog as a result. Our conservation officers understand the need to strike the right balance between enforcement efforts and property rights.”


New pin for my collection – 1939 Harlan Bushfield inaugural pin.

Re-added a pin to my political button collection today that I haven’t had in around 30 years.. and it’s one of the more challenging of the South Dakota Inaugural set.  82 years ago, Governor Harlan Bushfield was starting his first term of office, and issued this pin, showing him riding into office on an elephant after the two previous administrations under Tom Berry (whose pins pictured him with a Donkey).


From Wikipedia, just a little biographical information on our state’s 16th Governor:

A native of Iowa, Bushfield was raised in Miller, South Dakota. He attended Dakota Wesleyan University, graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School, and became an attorney in Miller. A Republican, he served as State’s Attorney of Hand County (1906-1910), and as Miller’s city attorney. After unsuccessful campaigns for South Dakota Attorney General (1913, 1918), and the state Supreme Court (1930), Bushfield became chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party in 1935. He served until 1938, when he received the party’s nomination for governor. Bushfield won the governorship in 1938, and was reelected in 1940.

Read that here.  Bushfield’s 1941 pin is a bit more boring and formal, but his first pin is a gem, and in outstanding condition, and a great addition to my collection.  (Thanks, Gary)

That leaves me the impossible 1933 Inaugural pin, the almost as challenging 1937 pin, the two Nils Boe 1967 pins (large and small), possibly the 1975 Kneip pins (I think I might have them somewhere), and my 2011 Daugaard pin that I’ve misplaced somewhere.

Legislators still trying to strip Governor Noem of appointment power so they can self-select members. Did I write this same article 2 years ago? Still nobody asking for it.

A Joint House Resolution was just introduced into the State House of Representatives with hopes of being placed on the 2020 ballot, despite no one asking for it.

Now that I look at the measure, House Joint Resolution 5002, I get this sense of Deja Vu..

Yep.. this is largely the same measure that was brought in 2019 that went through several permutations :

Back then, HJR 1001 also started out  in its first form declaring that “The Legislature shall provide the manner by which a person may be appointed to fill a vacancy occurring in either house. The person appointed under this section shall be of the same party affiliation, if any, as the person whose vacancy is being filled,” allowing the legislature to pick themselves under a proposed amendment to Article III of the State Constitution.

Literally, it’s the same bill. And the problem now is the same problem the bill had then – where is the hue and cry in the state calling for a new way to make legislative appointments? There isn’t one!

And at risk of repeating myself from 2019 (but I will, since it’s the same bill.)..

Under Article IV, Section III of our South Dakota State Constitution, our state’s founders had granted with almost total exclusivity to the Governor the power of appointment. This very power that the legislature is trying to usurp for itself.

Who in the public is still calling for the legislature to strip away one of the Governor’s Constitutional duties? That would be no one. So why are we bringing back old rubbish?

This is a power grab that I don’t believe voters will stand for. In fact, I would point out that the last time an amendment was proposed to put the legislature on an equal footing with the Executive and Judicial branches, this was the headline (Nov 6, 1974):

“The proposal was billed as a necessary step to put the legislative branch of government on equal footing with the executive and judicial departments, but voters apparently didn’t buy the argument.”

Our parents and grandparents didn’t buy it in 1974 (by about 62% to 38%).

The legislature thought better of it in 2019… or at least the State Senate did.

Still no one in the public asking for Governor Noem to be stripped of the power of appointment in 2020.

And there’s no reason to bring back a bad bill 2 years later.

Former Dem State House candidate gets suspended imposition of sentence for stealing golf carts.

Democrat Brooks Briscoe who ran for election to the South Dakota House of Representatives to represent District 3 in both 2016 and 2018 recently faced not a political opponent but the long arm of the law as a result of his arrest for the thefts of several golf carts in 2020.

According to the Aberdeen American News, he received suspended imposition of sentence, and his attorney claimed he stole the golf carts because of a drug addiction:

Brooks Briscoe, 54, recently pleaded guilty to one count of felony grand theft. Briscoe explained to Judge Richard Sommers that he stole the golf carts from Lee Park Golf Course over the course of a year, then sold them.


With the suspended imposition, the charge will be kept off of Bricoe’s record if he follows probation rules.

Other related charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Restitution of $13,910 has been paid. Briscoe must also repay court-appointed attorney fees and fines and court costs of $1,107.

Read the entire story here.