US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Another Historic Opportunity to Shape the Direction of our Country

Another Historic Opportunity to Shape the Direction of our Country
By U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

In June, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the United States Supreme Court after 30 years. While we thank him for his years of service and dedication to our legal system, his announcement provides an important vacancy on our nation’s highest court. Confirming a president’s nominees to lifetime appointments to the federal bench is one of the most important jobs of the U.S. Senate. The decisions they make have lasting effects on the direction of our country for a generation or more.

On July 9, 2018, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Kennedy. I had the opportunity to be at the White House for this historic announcement. Judge Kavanaugh currently sits on the D.C. Circuit Court, commonly referred to as the “second highest court in the land.” He graduated from Yale Law School and was a clerk for Justice Kennedy.

During his career, he has issued more than 300 opinions, so part of our job in the Senate will be to review them so we can learn more about his decision-making philosophy. The Supreme Court has endorsed Kavanaugh’s opinions more than a dozen times. In some cases, the Supreme Court upheld a D.C. Circuit Court opinion, which he joined, and in other cases, they used his dissenting opinions to overturn D.C. Circuit Court opinion.

Already, President Trump has done an excellent job of nominating fair-minded, conservative judges to the federal courts. In addition to Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court last year, today approximately one out of every eight circuit court judges on the bench has been nominated by President Trump.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently announced that the Senate plans to schedule a vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation this fall. This timeframe is similar to the confirmation process of previous Supreme Court Justices who have been confirmed in recent years.

As a coequal branch of government, it is vital that our federal judges apply the law as it is written, regardless of the policy outcome. Some of our Democrat colleagues have demanded that nominees reveal how they would vote in a particular case based on the policy outcome. We believe this is inappropriate. Judges – particularly Supreme Court Justices who have the final say in the law – must be able and willing to put their personal beliefs aside and apply the law as it was written, not as he or she would like it to be.

The Constitution clearly laid out that the role of the Supreme Court is to fairly interpret the law that Congress creates. Period. The judiciary must not be politicized. Confirming fair, impartial judges who will adhere to the Constitution is one of our greatest responsibilities in the Senate, and one which I take very seriously. I look forward to a thorough and rigorous confirmation process as we consider the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh.


Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Tackling Juvenile Diabetes

Tackling Juvenile Diabetes
By Rep. Kristi Noem

Never underestimate the power of your story. That’s typically my advice when folks ask what they can do to influence policy. Just tell your story.

Each week, dozens of South Dakotans do.

In some cases, people will share how federal policy impacts their jobs or career fields. In other instances, they’ll offer up changes that could create more opportunity. But many times, they’ll talk about a challenge their family faces, recognizing that many others likely face the same obstacle. That was the case when I met with a juvenile diabetes research advocate this summer.

It’s rare to find a family whose story hasn’t been touched by diabetes. In South Dakota alone, more than 40,000 people live with the disease, many of whom are children.

I had three nephews who were diagnosed young. My nephew Hunter learned he had Type I diabetes when he was in elementary school, and his brother was diagnosed a few years later. Another one of my nephews was just diagnosed a couple years ago. He’s 17 now. Growing up with juvenile diabetes has rarely been easy for my nephews, but more often than not they’ve embraced the challenge, learning resilience, personal responsibility, and compassion for others. I’m pretty proud of them.

We’ve learned together, as a family, how to manage the disease, but it took time to make the necessary adjustments.  Nonetheless, the changes made a world of difference. Unfortunately, an estimated 21,000 South Dakotans aren’t even aware they have the disease, as it’s easy to cast aside the symptoms, which include extreme thirst, itchy skin, increased hunger, unexpected weight loss, or slow-healing wounds.  Some people also experience drowsiness or extreme nausea. If you or someone you love has experienced these signs, it’s important to consult a doctor.

Even in the short time since my nephews were diagnosed, new information about how to best manage diabetes has surfaced. And more investments are being made into research and biomedical innovation every day.

From a policy perspective, we’ve cut some of the burdensome red tape that had made it difficult for innovation to thrive. For instance, in 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law. This landmark legislation removed regulatory burdens that slow the pace of scientific advancement and put patients at the heart of the regulatory review process. It also modernized clinical trials and streamlined processes that made it difficult to translate discoveries into FDA-approved treatments.

Many of these policy changes came because people were willing to tell of the challenges their families faced. Your experiences can have an incredible impact too, so never underestimate the power of your story.

Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: Bringing Our Alcohol Laws To The 21st Century

Bringing Our Alcohol Laws To The 21st Century
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

When I speak with business prospects, I often praise our common sense regulatory environment. I emphasize that we don’t place unnecessary hurdles before our citizens or entrepreneurs in South Dakota. Success is allowed here and government doesn’t get in the way.

Until very recently though, this hasn’t been the case for microbreweries in South Dakota. Many of South Dakota’s laws on alcohol were designed right after prohibition ended, including our laws governing microbreweries. Our statutes capped microbrewery production at 5,000 barrels of beer per year. This is very small, compared to Montana’s cap of 60,000, Wyoming’s cap of 50,000 and North Dakota’s cap of 25,000. Iowa had no cap at all. South Dakota also did not allow a microbrewery to sell its product directly to a retailer while Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa did.

As of July 1, this is no longer the case. A bill I signed into law this past legislative session now allows microbreweries to produce up to 30,000 barrels of beer per year and they can also self-distribute their product. These updates will allow us to better compete with our surrounding states and help our homegrown craft breweries grow and thrive.

I also signed several other bills this year to modernize our alcohol statutes – some of which just went into effect at the beginning of this month as well. Two of these new laws allow farm wineries, distillers and microcideries to hold other types of retail licenses and operate at additional locations under the same privileges. Other laws streamlined regulations for wine manufacturers, provided greater flexibility for charitable events and eliminated the prohibition on using alcohol in some types of foods.

South Dakota’s alcohol laws were written over 80 years ago, during a very different era. I am glad we have streamlined and modernized our statutes, so that they make sense for a 21st Century economy. The new framework improves our already stellar business climate, and validates claims I’ve been making to our business prospects.


LaFleur grouses at Hubbel on social media, threatens Hubbel and Howie with legal action.

Looks like there is some unhappiness on the island of misfit toys, as the Constitution Party Candidates for Governor see Terry Lee LaFleur threatening Lora Hubbel with being ‘held accountable civilly and criminally.’

On Facebook:

Got that Lora? You’re riding the Terry train now.

(Why do I find all this hilarious?)

Sounds like the convention of misfit toys collapsed. Constitution Party convention paused?

So, how did the gathering in Sioux Falls go?

I’m hearing that the Constitution Party convention (aka, the convention of misfit toys) fell apart because Lora Hubbel and Terry LaFleur got arguing about who could and who could not be a candidate or vote based on when they changed party, and LaFleur was reportedly objecting to everything.

I am told at one point, Gordon Howie who was there as a participant was asked to assume presiding over the convention to restore order.

I’m sure Gordon was there because he must have some mystical ability to soothe misfit toys from yelling at each other (or contemplating another run for office, perhaps?)

Predictably, that didn’t work, and the Gordon-led convention collapsed. The word I’m hearing is that they are set to reconvene August 14.

And how was your Saturday?

People who couldn’t get on GOP ballot attending the convention of misfit toys today at Constitution Party gathering.

The Robot Bee lady is getting ready to have her convention with the people who were not competent enough to make the ballot as Republicans this year, with people being added and shifted around on the Constitution Party roster for the convention being held at 3 PM today.

Unelectable goofball Lora Hubbel who ran, but didn’t even try to make the statewide ballot as a Republican is going to debate fellow unelectable goofball “Dr.” Terry Lee LaFleur who claims he didn’t make the GOP ballot for Governor because there was a plot against him.  The winner of these losers will be the Constitution Party candidate for Governor in November.

They’re joined on the ticket by G. Matt Johnson who announced as a Republican Candidate for Congress in a shopper paper about 2 1/2 weeks before the deadline to turn in petitions. Obviously, he didn’t make the ballot either.

Janette McIntyre, who failed to make one of the two House seats available in D34 House as a Republican is running for D34 Senate as a CP Candidate.

I’m also hearing they could be joined by someone else who finished a distant third in their race, but we’ll see if they’re foolish enough to be a Constitution Party candidate.

Why do I think they’re foolish? For starters:

The group lost ballot access after the 2010 election cycle, but regained recognition for the 2012 and 2014 elections. Two Constitution Partycandidates ran for statewide offices in 2014. Lori Stacey earned 3.97 percent of the vote in the race for South Dakota secretary of state and Wayne Schmidt earned 4.95 percent of the vote in the race for public utilities commissioner. The party’s 2014 gubernatorial candidateCurtis Strong, did not meet the required number of signatures to appear on the ballot.

Read that at Ballotpedia.  Not exactly anything to write home about. 4% and 5%.  Good luck with that.

This year, I suspect Lora Hubbel is going to be the victorious candidate for the goofball convention nomination and will find herself leading the ticket of misfit toys who couldn’t find electoral victory anywhere else.

We should see shortly who has decided to follow her lead. At the least, it should be entertaining.

Dusty Johnson July 2018 Quarterly Report: 120k raised, $275K spent, $151K in the bank.

‘The Full Dusty’ was good for the election, as well as his campaign checking balance, as Dusty Johnson is coming off of the 5/17-6/30 abbreviated campaign finance reporting period with over $150K in the bank:

Dusty Johnson 2018 July Quarterly by Pat Powers on Scribd

$120k raised, $275K spent, $151K in the bank, and debts of only $3,724. Not bad coming off of a winning primary campaign election.

KELO Radio: Dems should be thanking the GOP.

KELO Radio is pointing out that State Democrats should be thanking the GOP for pointing out the error of their ways. Clearly they need the GOP’s help to operate as a functional political party:

The Democrats have to recertify statewide wide candidates’ nominations after a Republican challenge. However,  if the Republicans had said nothing, the Democrats might have missed the deadline with incomplete paperwork and that could have meant no candidates on the ballot.


“We thought in the interest of transparency, that this is the best thing to do,” Roetman said.


Roetman says this is a serious matter that should be taken care of properly.

“This is not something to be taken lightly,” Roetman said. “If the situation was reversed, we would be preparing to receive 600-odd very upset delegates at our new convention. We think they (Democrats) need to do this right and have a new convention.

Read it all here.

Maybe someday they might be able to be rehabbed into being a competent party organization.

Dems silently release 2018 platform from unlawful convention. Includes support for killing grandma law, hindering fossil fuels, repeal of right to work laws, and for state income tax.

While everyone has been distracted this week by Democrats finding out they screwed up their convention reporting, invalidating the results of the first one, and forcing them to hold another one, their platform was quietly released.

And now we know why it was done in silence. Because there are some points in there that are doozies.

2018 South Dakota Democratic Party Platform by Pat Powers on Scribd

Democrats released a platform which underlines Democrat support for state income taxes, a law allowing seniors to commit suicide, attacking fossil fuels, and coming down very strongly against South Dakota’s right to work laws demanding their repeal.

As noted in the platform under Human Rights:

The South Dakota Democratic Party supports:

  • The addition of age, sexual orientation, veterans’ status, and gender identity as protected classes under state employment, and housing discrimination, and public accommodation laws.
  • The repeal of the death penalty.
  • Common sense gun safety solutions, consistent with our Second Amendment Rights.

As noted in the platform under Labor and Employment:

The South Dakota Democratic Party supports:

  • The recognition that organized labor is essential to improving life in South Dakota. We affirm that “Right-to-Work” laws, which are used to weaken labor and have no real bearing on the right to obtain a job, must be repealed.
  • The belief that non-dues paying bargaining unit members who benefit from union representation should pay a fair share for the cost of their representation.
  • The proposition that anyone working more than 40 hours per week deserves time and one half regardless of employment status.

As noted in the platform under Natural Resources and Environment:

The South Dakota Democratic Party supports:

  • Recognizing that the effects of human-caused climate change negatively impact South Dakota, and urge Federal, State, and local governments to enact policies that mitigate and reverse those effects.
  • A commitment to United Nations Framework Convention’s on climate change new carbon standards for coal-fired power plants
  • The opposition to development of large-scale fossil fuel pipelines, fracking, and uranium mining.
  • The position that eminent domain shall not be allowed for transport, extraction or disposal of fossil fuels or fossil fuel products.

As noted in the platform under Seniors:

The South Dakota Democratic Party supports:

  • The right to end-of-life decisions which includes a person’s right to die.

As noted in the platform under State and Local Government:

The South Dakota Democratic Party supports:


  • A tax system which taxes all income levels fairly as allowed by the South Dakota State Constitution.

I have the feeling there’s a reason they slipped this platform out quietly.

Since Democrats have to hold another convention, lets see if this platform holds up, or if they end up changing it after the criticism starts.