What were the candidates doing this past week?

Curious what the candidates for statewide office were busy with this past week? Here’s a quick review of what the candidates are saying on social media:

Congresswoman Kristi Noem was present at a groundbreaking at the DUSEL lab this past week:

While there have been no posted updates from the Krebs’ Congressional campaign since 7/15, both the Marty Jackley for Governor and Dusty Johnson for Congress campaigns had crews hitting the Gold Discovery Days in Custer:

Gubernatorial Candidate Lora Hubbel is cheering on President Trump as he (supposedly) is shutting down Jihad Training Camps in America:

The only candidate to out-Hubbel Lora Hubbel on Facebook, GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Terry Lee LaFleur promoted his state controlled burial fund to care for South Dakotans’ mortal remains this week:

(psst.. if it’s that big a deal to you, buy a funeral plan. More free market, less socialism).

And on the other side of the aisle, Tim Bjorkman is arranging lunch with supporters:

Stay tuned….

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Stepping Up for South Dakota’s Livestock Producers

Stepping Up for South Dakota’s Livestock Producers
By Sen. John Thune 

Virtually every South Dakotan is now living in an area of the state that’s facing drought conditions. In fact, according to the latest Drought Monitor, 99.97 percent of South Dakota land is now being ravaged by the extreme heat and lack of adequate rainfall. We could have a long conversation about statistics and historical averages, but none of that matters to South Dakota livestock producers who are on the receiving and damaging end of this severe weather. All that matters is the here and now. It either rains or it doesn’t. They either have the feed for their livestock or they don’t. That’s what counts today.

Since the drought first started a few months ago, I’ve been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a nearly daily basis to both relay the concerns I hear from folks across the state and find ways to provide assistance to producers whose livelihoods literally depend on the livestock they raise. I was recently traveling through a particularly hard-hit area in South Dakota and called USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. I wanted to give him as close to a firsthand account as possible of what was happening in the state.

Secretary Perdue has always been willing to listen, which I greatly appreciate. In late June, he accepted my common-sense recommendation to stop USDA from forcing ranchers to destroy good hay on certain CRP-enrolled acres that are subject to mid-contract management. The fact that USDA was even considering going forward with such an idea is a perfect example of how Washington can be out of touch with the real world. Secretary Perdue granted several other requests that I made, including opening up non-environmentally sensitive CRP acres to emergency haying and grazing, which folks have been able to access since July 16. He also waived a 30-day ownership requirement under the Livestock Revenue Program that would have cost insured livestock owners who face early liquidation, due to the drought, their premium and any indemnity.

In my first letter to Secretary Perdue after the drought began, I asked that he also open the hundreds of thousands of environmentally sensitive CRP acres in South Dakota, which have been off limits, to emergency haying and grazing. Of all the hay that’s currently available, it’s the hay on these environmentally sensitive acres that is some of the most useable. I’ve been hearing from producers for more than a month who say this would dramatically help their operations, and I’ve been in contact with several wildlife organizations that support my proposal. I appreciate their concern for our livestock producers and agreement that nearly all CRP acres should be used to provide hay and grazing this year.

After many letters, emails, and phone calls with USDA and wildlife groups, I’m glad to hear that USDA is immediately opening more than 450,000 environmentally sensitive CRP acres in South Dakota to emergency haying and grazing. This will be welcome news to folks across South Dakota, particularly producers in the northeastern part of the state where a large percentage of these acres are located.

This recent announcement means that USDA has used nearly every CRP option that’s available to provide assistance to livestock producers in South Dakota. None of these actions will stop the drought or reverse the damage that’s been done, but they will certainly help alleviate some of the pain and give folks greater peace of mind as we head further into the summer months.

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US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Preparing Service Members for Post-Military Careers

Preparing Service Members for Post-Military Careers
By U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

In Congress, my colleagues and I have not only been working around-the-clock to repeal and replace Obamacare, we have also been doing important work in our committees to cut red tape, advance pro-growth policies that will create jobs and provide essential oversight of government programs so we can improve them. This has been particularly true in the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, where we’ve already had an accountability bill signed into law as well as an extension of the Veterans Choice Act, which includes a provision of a bill I introduced which essentially makes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the primary payer under Veterans Choice Program and protects many veterans from paying higher health care costs.

Most recently, a number of us who serve on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee introduced comprehensive legislation to enhance and improve veterans’ education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Under our proposal, when returning veterans are able to access the educational benefits included in the Post-9/11 GI Bill, they will be better equipped to pursue a successful career in a competitive job market. We want every veteran to prosper as they transition into civilian life, and getting a great education is the first step toward a lucrative and rewarding career.

I’m pleased that our reform bill includes three bipartisan pieces of legislation that I introduced earlier this year, including a bill to add all Purple Heart recipients to the list of eligible veterans who can access full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Purple Heart recipients have made incredible sacrifices, and deserve to have full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, regardless of the amount of time they served on active duty. The reform bill also includes my provision that would allow survivors of deceased service members, who had Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits transferred to them, to reallocate the benefits to another designated survivor. We know that when an individual decides to serve his or her country, their entire family makes sacrifices too. While they can never be fully repaid for their sacrifices, we’re hopeful that this change will make their lives a bit easier.

The third bill, the Veterans TEST Accessibility Act, included in the reform package specifically addresses veterans’ education opportunities. Under current law, veterans are required to use a full month of their Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility to be reimbursed for licensing, certification and national tests, such as those required to be an athletic trainer, fire fighter or medical technician. The bill I introduced would address this issue by reimbursing veterans for the cost of an approved test and pro-rating the affected month of eligibility to be used for future educational expenses, such as tuition. Many high-demand jobs, including those in the science, technology and engineering fields, require tests and certifications. This provision would make the reimbursement process fairer for veterans so they can get the credentials they need to compete for good jobs.

Our veterans have made incredible sacrifices for our country, and they should be able to fully use the benefits they’ve been promised when they enter civilian life. The name of the bill we introduced in the Senate is the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, named for the Army Air Service veteran who drafted the original GI bill, the purpose of which was to improve the transition into civilian life for returning veterans. I’m hopeful our bill will do the same. We expect it to pass out of committee in the next week, and I look forward to seeing it pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Trump soon.

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Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Mining for Knowledge

Mining for Knowledge
By Rep. Kristi Noem

 

For decades, the Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota, was used for mining gold, but today, we are mining the site for something much more valuable: a new understanding of how the natural world works.

This summer, I helped break ground on a new section of the research facility that’s located in the mine, now known as Sanford Lab.  More than 4,000 feet underground, new experiments will be conducted on sub-atomic particles called neutrinos.

Neutrinos are extremely small particles that have almost no mass and travel at near lightspeeds. As John Conway, a professor of physics at the University of California, Davis, puts it: “They’re just little whisps of almost nothing.” And yet, neutrinos are a basic element of our universe. Just hold your hand out in the sunlight for a second and around 1 billion neutrinos will pass through it. Pretty amazing.

Despite the fact that there are billions of neutrinos flowing through each square inch of Earth at all times, we know very little about them. But that’s exactly what these new experiments are setting out to do. Many hope the knowledge gained will have a profound impact on everything from the speed of global communications to our understanding of black holes. The possibilities are endless, which is why the U.S. particle physics community highlighted the effort as the highest priority domestic construction project.

Over the last few years, we’ve been focused on building a community of support around the Sanford Lab and the experiments done there. I’ve had to fight to make the case that this ought to be a priority and push hard to ensure adequate investments were made. I was proud to get some breakthroughs and excited it has earned the support of international partners and the Trump administration.

Beyond the science – beyond satisfying our own curiosities – this project also carries significant opportunity for South Dakota. According to a 2016 study commissioned by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, this experiment will contribute as much as $952 million to South Dakota’s economy, while creating nearly 2,000 jobs.

The indirect benefits are profound as well. In building a modern, knowledge-based economy, we are opening new opportunities for the best and the brightest to thrive in South Dakota. From elementary and high school students to those pursuing a world-class physics education at places like the South Dakota School of Mines, the next generation now has the opportunity to pursue their dreams right here in South Dakota.

The future of science is happening in our backyard. I’m excited to see what knowledge we can mine.

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Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: Budget Practices: SD vs. DC

Budget Practices: SD vs. DC
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

I have long been troubled by the federal government’s budget situation. According to the online U.S. debt clock, which uses figures from the U.S. Treasury, our national debt is currently at $19 trillion, or $61,346 per citizen. This crippling amount of debt is unsustainable, and it is disconcerting that future generations will pay the price.

Though there is no end in sight for the federal deficit crisis, South Dakotans can rest assured that our state budget is in stable and sustainable condition. Unlike some states, South Dakota has low tax-supported debt and our pension liability is fully funded.

A few days ago, we closed the books on Fiscal Year 2017 with a $7.9 million surplus. This marks the sixth year in a row that we have ended the budget year with a surplus. With revenues coming in below projections, it was a challenge. Since the end of the legislative session, state revenue has been lower than anticipated, leaving us with a $7.6 million shortfall.

In response, I directed cabinet secretaries to reduce their spending this spring, and every state agency reverted funds to fill the gap. Collectively, the three branches of government spent $15.6 million less than appropriated – with $14.4 million of savings coming from Executive Branch agencies and $1.2 million from the Unified Judicial System, Legislature, Board of Regents and constitutional offices. Because of those savings, we ended the year in the black. As required by state law, the surplus dollars have been deposited into the budget reserve fund.

In a time when the federal government and many other states are borrowing, adopting rosy projections, or employing budget gimmicks to perpetuate overspending, South Dakota is acting responsibly. There will always be cries to spend more, but the state cannot spend money it doesn’t have.

That’s why every year we work hard to keep our budget structurally balanced, with recurring spending supported only by recurring revenues. It’s one reason that last month our AAA credit rating was reaffirmed with a “stable outlook.” One-time, non-recurring revenues are used for capital projects, or to invest in a way that will reduce ongoing expenses. It’s like adding insulation to your attic to reduce utility bills.

Regardless of what is going on at the federal level, the State of South Dakota will continue to employ practices that reflect the responsible values of its citizens.

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Senator Deb Peters named among most effective legislators in US

According to a press release, FiscalNote, a Washington DC-based company that works to change how organizations engage with government, today announced the most effective State legislator in each of the United States’ 50 states. 

In South Dakota, they cited state Senator Deb Peters as the most effective legislator in our state.

The release noted:

“State legislatures are taking a much larger role in policy setting for heavily-regulated industries, and in some cases significantly diverge from Federal lawmakers,” said Tim Hwang, FiscalNote CEO. “For companies and groups operating in these sectors, engaging the most influential lawmakers across a number of key states is even more essential to achieving nationwide legislative and regulatory goals.”

And…

FiscalNote’s Legislative Effectiveness Score – determined by the company’s proprietary government relationship management (GRM) platform – measures how successful a legislator is at sponsoring and steering legislation through each important stage of the legislative process, all the way through enactment.

The company’s proprietary algorithm weights 12 factors for each individual, including bills sponsored, bills out of committee, bills to the floor and bills enacted, with each stage receiving more importance. A legislator’s score for each stage is further weighted by whether the bill is substantive (i.e., attempts meaningful change) or non-substantive (e.g., a resolution, memorial or commendation) as well as the legislator’s performance relative to other members of the chamber. Legislators are also categorized by ideology.

The most effective U.S. State legislators – all with cumulative placements in the 96th percentile or better, compared to colleagues in their respective chambers – are:

Deb Peters (R-SD)

Read it all here.

South Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Bosworth Felony Convictions and Sentence For Election Law Violations

South Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Bosworth Felony Convictions and Sentence For Election Law Violations

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that the South Dakota Supreme Court has affirmed the felony convictions and sentence of Annette Bosworth for filing false petitions in her 2014 U.S. Senate Primary race.

“Today’s decision upholds and protects the integrity of our institutions and elections in South Dakota. The decision affirms the hard work and deliberations of our citizen jurors in this case,” said Jackley.

Bosworth raised three issues challenging her convictions including the claim that her petition sheets were not false instruments.

In May 2015, Bosworth was convicted on 12 felony election law violations. She was sentenced to 2 years for each of the 6 convictions for filing false or forged documents and 2 years for each of the 6 convictions for perjury. All sentences were suspended, with 3 years of probation. The court vacated charges on six counts of perjury, finding that submission of petition forms is not “process” within the meaning of the perjury statute. Based on the affirmance of the convictions and sentence for the six felony false document charges, there will be no further court proceedings on either the perjury charges or the sentence.

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“If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, it’s a rat.” (Terrell Owens)

For two Presidential elections (Obama-Romney and Clinton-Trump) and four election cycles (2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016) the #1 Republican policy objective was the repeal and replace of Obamacare.

The following US Senators opposed this objective this week and announced opposition to the GOP Senate bill:

Shelley Capito (West Virginia)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Jeff Flake (Arizona)
Dean Heller (Nevada)- Added
Mike Lee (Utah)
Jerry Moran (Kansas)- Added
Rand Paul (Kentucky)

From this day forward, they are Obamacare Republicans, liberal co-conspirators, and deserving of being aggressively opposed in primaries. I support the rumored Trump recruitment of primary opponents.

Rounds, King Reintroduce Bill to Give Small Businesses, Community Banks and Credit Unions a Say in CFPB Decision Making

Rounds, King Reintroduce Bill to Give Small Businesses, Community Banks and Credit Unions a Say in CFPB Decision Making 

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, and U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), today reintroduced bipartisan legislation to make sure small businesses, community banks and credit unions will always have a strong voice in the rulemaking process at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) by establishing three permanent advisory panels. S.1963, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Advisory Board Enhancement Act, would codify two existing advisory boards, the Community Bank Advisory Council and the Credit Union Advisory Council, and would create an additional advisory committee for small businesses. 

“It is crucial that rural states like South Dakota have a seat at the table when the CFPB decides to write new rules that can dramatically impact their economies,” said Rounds. “The bipartisan legislation that Senator King and I introduced will make sure small businesses, local credit unions and community banks are appropriately represented in the CFPB’s rulemaking process. If we can’t get rid of the CFPB entirely, we should at least be able to exert control over this bureaucracy.”

“Small businesses, community banks and credit unions are powerful forces in America’s economy, with rural communities across the nation relying on them to help create jobs and grow the economy,” said King. “That’s why these institutions deserve a seat at the table as the CFPB makes important and far-reaching financial decisions. I’m proud to stand with Senator Rounds, my fellow former governor, to help give them a voice on behalf of rural America.”

The CFPB is an independent agency created by Dodd-Frank responsible for consumer protection of the financial sector. It currently has four advisory groups that help it set policy, though only one – the Consumer Advisory Board – is required by Dodd-Frank. Rounds and King previously introduced this legislation during the last Congress. In addition to establishing three permanent advisory panels, the bill would require each committee to adequately represent members from rural or underserved areas. 

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