Daugaard: Hilger’s Gulch Getting A New Look


Hilger’s Gulch Getting A New Look

DaugaardPIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard is embarking on an initiative to bring back the native landscape of South Dakota to Hilger’s Gulch and save taxpayer money.“This is a planned transformation and it’s going to save us time and money,” Gov. Daugaard said. “On average the state has spent around $36,000 annually for irrigation and $23,000 annually for mowing, fertilizing and weed treatment. In dry years, the water bills have approached $50,000. We’re taking this project on as an effort to be better stewards of that money.”

For the project, the Governor selected vegetation that can thrive in the natural climate of central South Dakota. The new plant life is expected to save money over time because it will require less maintenance and will not necessitate the use of chemical herbicides.

The renovation will also serve to restore habitat in the area. Working with the South Dakota Bureau of Administration, Gov. Daugaard has strategically mapped out the placement of the various plants, trees and a meadow with purple, yellow and red wildflowers.

As part of the project, the Bureau of Administration will be developing hiking trails throughout the area. The Bureau will also continue to mow and water the outer perimeter of the gulch, including “Sled Hill” and Governor’s Grove.

“By returning to native plants, we will not only be save taxpayer dollars but also beautify the entire area. With the new gravel hiking trails, walkers will be able to see the plum trees, prairie roses, blue asters and cone flowers up close,” Gov. Daugaard said.

The details of the project were shared on Thursday, July 23, with the Capitol Complex Restoration and Beautification Commission.

The Bureau of Administration began the Hilger’s Gulch renovations this month by planting willow trees. More work will be undertaken this fall. The project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2017.

To see a map of the project, go to news.sd.gov/mediacontent.aspx?id=8&media=photo.


Training Course Set for Enhanced Concealed Carry Gun Permit

jackleyheader2Training Course Set for Enhanced Concealed Carry Gun Permit

Marty JackleyPIERRE – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that rules for the enhanced concealed carry gun permit were approved last week by the Interim Rules Committee. September 23, 2015 has been set aside for the initial training class to be held at the George S. Mickelson Criminal Justice Center in Pierre. Instruction for this class will be provided by National Rifle Association certified instructors and the Division of Criminal Investigation.

The application for the Enhanced Use of Force Training Course can be found at this link:


During the 2015 legislative session the South Dakota Legislature enacted an enhanced concealed carry option in order to allow qualified South Dakotans to meet the requirements of the other States carry law for when they travel. South Dakota’s current permit law remains in place for which South Dakota has reciprocity with the following 26 states that recognize our current concealed carry permit: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.


Not looking good for the launch… @hawksforhouse twitter account screening followers.

The announcement of the Hawks for Congress campaign might be out in limbo at the moment, but in addition to their web site, they also have a twitter account up and running.

Except there’s a catch.


Has anyone ever heard of a candidate for congress screening their followers? As in, “we’re going to pick and choose who is allowed to monitor the campaign’s activities…”

Yeah, me neither.

Looks like Paula Hawks’ non-announcement is coming up soon. Web site is up, but lacks substance, just like the candidate.

It looks like the months-late announcement of Pauls Hawks being Democrats’ sacrificial lamb candidate to run against Congresswoman Kristi Noem is nigh.

Tonight I was able to grab these screen captures of her campaign web site (with logo) from http://www.hawksforhouse.com, which much like Hawks herself, is severely in need of substance to go along with her ambition:

(Just click to enlarge)


Hawks’ Bio notes:

Hello, I am Paula Hawks and I am running to represent South Dakota in the United States House of Representatives.

While growing up north of Flandreau, I was exposed at an early age to the hard work, dedication, and state pride that makes South Dakota such a unique home. My parents, Hugh and Jane Hagel, raised four children on our family farm. We learned early on that to keep the farm running we each had to share the workload. We raised hogs and cattle, and planted and harvested alfalfa, corn and soybeans.

Having grown up in rural South Dakota, I knew how transformative teachers could be to the students of their communities, so I attended college at South Dakota State University where I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Biology along with my teaching certificate.  While I was at SDSU, I was lucky enough to meet my husband, Steve Hawks, a young rancher from Faith South Dakota. We married in 1997 and are now raising our children in Hartford, South Dakota.

After teaching at West Central High School in Hartford for 10 years I realized that the life I had built with my husband and my career as an educator were being impacted greatly by the decisions taking place hundreds of miles away in Pierre. I decided to lend my voice to the process by running for the South Dakota House of Representatives.

– Just as an aside, I note that this paragraph is leaving out that she left her job as a teacher to become a training specialist for METAbank. But I suppose if you’re running for office, it’s more compelling to paint yourself as an educator of children, as opposed to someone telling bank employees how to use the latest update of their banking software.

I believe that the strength of America starts with hard working people and that our economy grows when hard working South Dakota families are given the chance to succeed. I have never been one to shy away from a challenge, and I firmly believe that for our state to prosper in the adverse conditions we are facing as a nation, we need a strong voice in our Nation’s Capital. We need a representative who is not afraid to be an independent voice for our state and we need a representative who is willing to cross the aisle to work for solutions, instead of working to secure political points for the next campaign.

Okay, who wrote this? Is there any originality to it?

So, when Hawks’ ghost writer she says we need a strong voice in Washington, is she going to tell us how as a brand new member of the Democratic minority, she would have a direct hand in the farm bill? Or how she’d get a seat on the ways and means committee, one of the most powerful committees in Congress?  Because we’ve got that NOW.

I’d be interested in finding out how Hawks would envision herself getting anything done. By sucking up to Obama? Because I think we have enough Democrat sycophants in DC already.

South Dakotans have been telling me that our politics in Washington are broken, and honestly, I agree. But, when machinery was broken on our family farm, we knew that it was worth trying to fix before scrapping it all together. I am announcing to you today that I am ready to get to work and that I am prepared to give it my all to fix the mess. It may not be easy, and it may not be fun, but it is necessary. Join our team today. Working together we can bring much needed leadership to Washington D.C.

Washington is broken? Paula – a word to the wise: Mike Rounds called. He’d appreciate a writing credit if you’re going to use his campaign theme. (But a word to the wise, people might point out that it’s last years’ slogan, and they were referring to Obama’s policies when they said that. I’m just sayin’.)

Read the entire bio here, before they go back to the drawing board.

The rest of Hawk’s Congressional campaign web site is similarly devoid of content (Click to enlarge):


I think that’s a picture of kale… And a bunch of nonsensical gobbledygook to take up space while they get the rest of the campaign ready. At least the kale is nominally interesting. Something that won’t likely change when they post other content to it.

I’m sure Democrats had to have somebody to run against the popular Congresswoman Kristi Noem, who is currently standing with 1.2 million cash on hand to put into the campaign. Despite the fact that as we’ve noted here before, Hawks’ political resume is neither wide, nor deep.

Sorry Dems. As you surely know after the last congressional election’s drubbing, if this is what you’ve got. this is what you’ve got. And you just have to play that hand you’re dealt.

Even though you know you’re going to lose all your chips on this one.

Stolen from Facebook. Our current Republican Congresswoman… and maybe a future one

Kristi_sydneyI pilfered this from Dusty Johnson’s Facebook, like most parents are doing with photos of their kids as they arrived home from Teenage Republican Camp this weekend.

It’s a pic of our current Republican Congresswoman… and a potential future one, twenty or so years from now. Kristi was nice enough to shoot a photo with my daughter Sydney, who is the new TAR vice chair for the statewide group.

From all reports, it was a great week, and I’m tremendously proud of my daughter for winning her office, as well as my son, Pat Jr., who is in his second year of attending.

I’ve had 4 kids attend camp so far, and I think they’ve all found the experience to be fun, educational, and valuable.

If you have a teenaged son or daughter, it’s well worth getting them in touch with the TAR organization who has more fun events coming up. The TARS have a booth at the GOP Building at this years’ State Fair, or you can find out more by visiting their website at sdtars.com.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Why the Iran Nuclear Agreement Is a Bad Deal for America

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_Congress
Why the Iran Nuclear Agreement Is a Bad Deal for America
By Senator John Thune

There has been a lot of recent coverage in the news about the Iran nuclear agreement. For many South Dakotans, this agreement may seem far away. However, the danger this agreement addresses – that of a nuclear-armed Iran – is not only a threat to our allies, including Israel, but also to the United States. The agreement will help finance Iran’s terrorist activities, allow Iran to acquire conventional and ballistic weapons, and advance Iran’s nuclear program – resulting in a more dangerous and unstable world.

For this to be a good deal, full access for inspectors is essential. However, instead of the anytime, anywhere inspections that the United States initially sought, the agreement only allows for inspections of Iran’s currently known nuclear facilities.

If Iran is suspected of violating this agreement, inspectors must request Iran’s permission to examine other sites. If the Iranians object, the resulting appeals process could take almost a month, winding through various levels of bureaucracy at the United Nations before inspectors are finally allowed access. For a country that has a long history of doing things in secret, that’s a lot of time.

“Breakout time” is a phrase that has frequently been used during these negotiations. The “breakout time” is the period of time from which we know Iran has started building a nuclear bomb to the time they are able to use it. Unfortunately, as part of this agreement, even if Iran does not cheat on the deal, they can still modernize their nuclear infrastructure and continue research and development on advanced centrifuges. That means 10 years from now, Iran’s “breakout time” will be almost zero.

In addition, this agreement discontinues the ban on conventional weapons after five years and on ballistic missiles after eight. In the future, if Iran wanted to pursue a nuclear weapon, not only would their breakout time be very short, but they will likely have the means to defend themselves against a military strike. If they acquired a nuclear bomb, they could also have a ballistic missile capable of hitting targets far beyond the Middle East.

For these reasons, and the fact that lifting the sanctions will help fund Iran’s continued support of terrorism, I have expressed my strong concern about this agreement and skepticism that Iran will actually hold up their end of the deal.

Just last week, the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, echoing the chants from his people, said, “You heard ‘Death to Israel,’ ‘Death to the U.S.’ … we ask Almighty God to accept these prayers by the people of Iran.”

While I am sure not all Iranians want death to America, it is clear that their leaders still do.

As Congress reviews this agreement, I hope the president will listen to the concerns that have been raised by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. A nuclear armed Iran is a threat to the United States, and an agreement that allows Iran to retain all the components necessary to build a nuclear bomb is not a good deal for America and should be rejected.


US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Dodd-Frank: Five Years Later

RoundsPressHeader MikeRounds official SenateDodd-Frank: Five Years Later
By Senator Mike Rounds
July 24, 2015

We recently marked the five-year anniversary of the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act. At the time, supporters of Dodd-Frank said it would improve our economy and protect taxpayers from “too big to fail” financial institutions. Instead, our economy remains stuck in a rut and the law has plagued our country with burdensome new federal mandates. The 456 final rules enacted since the passage of Dodd-Frank have so far unleashed a bureaucratic nightmare, the cost of which is being handed down directly to the American people.

According to the American Action Forum, these rules have cost Americans $24 billion in compliance costs and burdened job creators with 61 million new hours of paperwork. It would take close to 30,000 Americans working 40-hour weeks for an entire year to finish that much paperwork, and the salaries of more than half a million Americans to pay for those compliance costs.

South Dakota’s banking industry has been hit hard by this, spending too much time and money on regulatory compliance. Smaller banks may not be able to survive and may simply have to sell to bigger banks. At a Senate Banking Hearing, we heard from one bank that because of Dodd-Frank, now employs more compliance employees than actual loan officers. This is not only costly to the banks themselves, but also to the customers who do business with a bank. Compliance costs have to be made up somewhere, so banks have been reducing the interest rates on deposits and have increased fees for previously free services like checking accounts and online banking. Literally everyone who has a bank account is feeling the negative effects.

I have introduced amendments and legislation to take apart provisions of Dodd-Frank. One of my amendments, included in this year’s budget resolution, would provide help for people in rural areas seeking a mortgage to purchase a home. Additional legislation would repeal the so-called “pay ratio” rule in Dodd-Frank.  This redundant provision requires companies to recreate already available public information on employee salaries. These are examples of why the entire law needs to be re-examined and changed so that we can truly recover from the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 and not continue to bog down our job creators with overly burdensome federal mandates.

As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, I have been working with others to change our banking regulations. Earlier this year, we passed S. 1484, The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015, that would provide much-needed regulatory relief to the financial services industry and the consumers they serve. I also recently introduced S. 1816 with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) to help strengthen community banks, particularly those in rural areas.

Dodd-Frank has many flaws which are limiting American growth and productivity. In the five years since Dodd-Frank was enacted, it has placed undue burden on our economy, failed to protect taxpayers from future bailouts of the financial industry and unfairly punished South Dakota consumers who bear the brunt of the increased compliance costs. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to promote legislation that helps reduce red tape and overregulation. These regulations are hurting our economy and adding costs for consumers.


Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: A Disturbing Deal

noem press headerkristi noem headshot May 21 2014A Disturbing Deal
By Rep. Kristi Noem
July 24, 2015

Days after the Obama administration announced it had reached a nuclear deal with Iran, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei told supporters that “even after this deal, our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change.”  His uncompromising and menacing remarks were accented by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” in the background.  Even Secretary of State John Kerry – one of America’s staunchest supporters of the deal – called the scene “very disturbing.”  The Secretary’s words are the same words I’d use to describe the deal the Obama administration has proposed with Iran – very disturbing.

First and foremost, the administration’s proposed agreement with Iran fundamentally fails to eliminate Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon. In fact, Iran will be allowed to keep its centrifuges and many of its nuclear production facilities intact.

What’s more, access to inspect the facilities will be limited.  It was President Reagan who advised us to “trust, but verify.”  We cannot trust Iran and under the President’s proposal we still can’t fully verify their nuclear activities either. Rather than anywhere-anytime access, Iran will get as much as 24 days notice before inspectors will be allowed in.  A lot can be concealed in 24 days.

While America’s primary objective was not reached, Iran’s was.  In addition to maintaining their nuclear infrastructure, the economic sanctions on Iran will begin to be lifted by the end of 2015.  That could produce a windfall of up to $150 billion almost immediately.  The administration argues the sanctions could “snap back” if Iran violates the agreement, but it will take time for those sanctions to be reinstated.  By the time they are, Iran will be infused with cash, meaning we will have lost our diplomatic leverage.

Moreover, there are no restrictions on how Iran – the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism – can spend this influx of cash, an idea that is extremely concerning to our ally Israel and others in the region.  With the arms embargo eventually lifting as a result of this deal too, there is little doubt that Iran will be directing some of that cash toward a stronger, better equipped military.  In fact, Iran is already in negotiations with Russia for the purchase of military aircraft.

We need to walk away from this agreement.  While it’s a good deal for Iran, it’s a bad deal for America, Israel, and our allies.

Congress now has 60 days to review the agreement.  After that, we can vote on whether it moves forward or not.  While the President has already promised to veto congressional action against the agreement, we do have options to override him with enough congressional support.

A bad deal with Iran will jeopardize the security of America, the safety of our ally Israel, and peace around the world.  I’m gravely concerned the President’s proposal puts us in this jeopardizing position.


Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: Striving To Achieve A Broad, Stable Tax Base

daugaardheader  daugaard2Striving To Achieve A Broad, Stable Tax Base
  A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

On June 30, South Dakota state government closed the books on the 2015 budget year. For the fourth year in a row, the state general fund budget ended with a surplus, with both higher revenues and lower expenditures than budgeted. I have made it a priority to balance our budget each year with emphasis on conservative revenue projections. Other states often use rosy revenue numbers, debt or budget gimmicks to appear balanced, but South Dakota balances its budget honestly.

Our largest revenue source is our sales and use tax. Unfortunately, some sales made to South Dakota residents are able escape the sales tax. This creates inequity, and is unfair to retailers in our state who must compete at a disadvantage.

Currently, only businesses with a “substantial nexus” or physical presence in South Dakota must collect sales tax on goods purchased online. Out-of-state retailers, who are not physically located in South Dakota, have no such obligation. The current system doesn’t make sense, and it even discriminates among online purchases. If you buy a new iPod at your local retailer, you pay the sales tax. If you buy it online at BestBuy.com or WalMart.com, you pay the sales tax, because those businesses have retail operations in South Dakota. But if you buy your iPod from Amazon.com, you don’t pay sales tax – simply because Amazon has no warehouse or other physical location in South Dakota.

If South Dakota retailers have to pay sales taxes, their competitors online should as well. This is not imposing a new tax. It is asking online retailers to pay the tax that is already legally due on these sales. Several pieces of legislation awaiting action or planned for introduction in Congress attempt to address this disparity. Consumers already owe sales and use tax on the goods they purchase. The legislation simply provides states the authority to enforce existing state and local sales and use tax laws and eliminates the competitive advantage enjoyed by remote retailers at the expense of local businesses.

I am thankful for the South Dakota congressional delegation’s attention to this issue. Senator Thune, Senator Rounds and Congresswoman Noem understand that a good tax system does not give an unfair advantage to some. Whether by adding online retailers to the tax rolls, encouraging business growth or getting the unemployed back to work, we should strive to achieve a broad, stable tax base.

Online shopping has given every South Dakotan access to more goods and services than ever before, if they are willing to pay for shipping. There is nothing wrong with this. We should not, however, disadvantage our local retailers or our state budget by allowing out-of-state online businesses to avoid paying sales tax. Streamlined legislation is crucial, if we want to allow South Dakota’s main street businesses to remain viable and competitive.