Pennington Co. GOP hosting ‘Thank You’ Party for former State Sen. Lyndell Peterson on Saturday

From the Pennington County GOP:

THANK YOU PARTY FOR LYNDELL PETERSEN – There will be a “Thank You” Party in honor of Lyndell Petersen on October 21st at the Wall Community Building from 7-9pm. Lyndell, a fellow life long Republican has served Pennington County as a Commissioner and GOP Chairman and has been involved in the Party for years.

“For years” probably does not sufficiently sum it up for the former long-time State Senator who served from 1977-1994, and most recently served two terms on the County Commission in Pennington County.

Here’s Lyndell’s profile from his last term in Pierre:

Lyndell was one of those State Senators who didn’t get up and speak often in the Chambers during session. But when he did, everyone paused and listened because “Rattlesnake Pete” was not one to mince words.

If you’re in the Wall area on Saturday, make a point to stop by and wish him well.

IM22 supporters drop new ballot measure with 50k Signatures with Secretary of State

The same people who brought you the unconstitutional Initiated Measure 22 from 2016 have dropped a new ballot measure at the Secretary of State in preparation for the 2018 Ballot, claiming 50,000 signatures:

“South Dakotans clearly demanded change last November with IM 22, but the will of the people was ignored; now the people are one step closer to having the final say,” Mitch Richter, a co-sponsor of the amendment, said in a statement. “This amendment is a response to what the Legislature has done and failed to do.”

and…

Don Haggar, state director of South Dakota’s chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group backed by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, said he’s concerned because the commission would be a “fourth branch of government” with no check and balance. He also said the state constitution shouldn’t contain political rhetoric or appropriations.

Americans for Prosperity, which fought against the 2016 ballot measure, opposes the new amendment, but hasn’t decided how much of a role it will play in an opposition campaign.

The new amendment would also lower campaign donation limits. For example, it would decrease the contribution limit for a state representative from $1,000 a year from individuals to $500 per election cycle.

Read it here.

Campaign finance limits in the constitution? This sounds like yet another big steaming mess of a measure that even if it somehow manages to pass will end up in court.

Rounds working for solution to Obamacare, part of team assembling compromise.

Politico is reporting that South Dakota’s Senator Mike Rounds is part of a bi-partisan group that’s working to ease the transition between Obamacare and the needed reforms to our health care system without abrupt increases in costs to citizens:

A bipartisan deal in Congress offers a glimmer of stability for the Obamacare insurance markets. But for it to become law, each party will need to declare a victory — and President Donald Trump will have to agree to prop up a law he just spent months trying to repeal.

For Democrats, the deal negotiated by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would restore key subsidies that Trump cut off just days ago. For Republicans, it would offer states flexibility to approve health insurance plans that would have the lower premiums they’ve promised voters.

and…

But Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who has worked with Alexander to whip up support, expressed confidence that Trump could convince skeptical Republicans to fall in line. “The fact that the president has indicated a real interest in seeing a bipartisan fix like this move forward for a short-term fix is critical,” Rounds said. “If the White House said, ‘Look, we’re not interested in it,’ then I don’t think we’d be able to go anyplace with it.”

Read it here.

Senator Rounds also offered further comment on the plan to the Greg Belfrage show on KELO Radio:

“This would, for a period of two years, provide the states a chance to actually do some things to slow down premium increases, keep the cost sharing revenues in place long enough for us to get the actual repeal and replace completed.”

Read that here.

What do you think? Does this help get the repeal and replace job done in an atmosphere where every vote counts? Or is nothing better than something?

Rounds, Blunt Introduce Bill to Allow Community Banks to Better Serve Rural Areas

Rounds, Blunt Introduce Bill to Allow Community Banks to Better Serve Rural Areas

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced legislation to support and strengthen lending in local communities. The Community Bank Access to Capital Act of 2017 would roll back burdensome financial regulations to make it easier for community banks to serve their customers, who often reside in rural areas with fewer available lending options.

“Community banks are a vital resource for small businesses and families in rural areas like South Dakota,” said Rounds. “Relieving community banks from unnecessary regulatory burdens will increase credit access for South Dakota families across the state. Our legislation would roll back some of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ federal regulations so community banks are once again able to grow and support their communities.”

“Missouri’s community banks play a critical role in keeping our state’s small businesses thriving,” said Blunt. “This bill will rein in excessive red tape and allow these banks to expand access to credit for Missouri families and local business owners. I urge all of my colleagues to support this measure and help strengthen economic growth in our small and rural communities.”

The Community Bank Access to Capital Act of 2017 would:

  • exempt community banks with $50 billion or less in assets from the Basel III capital rules;
  • exempt community banks with less than $1 billion in assets from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s internal control attestation requirements;
  • broaden the Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation D rule to make it easier for community banks to raise capital; and
  • make it easier for small banks to raise capital that can be used to help finance expansions.

A significant portion of this legislation was introduced by Rounds and Blunt during the previous session of Congress. It is supported by the Independent Community Bankers Association and the South Dakota Independent Community Bankers Association.

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Noem passes on signing Jackley campaign pledge.

From the Argus Leader, it sounds like Kristi Noem is taking a pass on signing the clean campaign pledge requested earlier today by GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Marty Jackley:

Noem said Tuesday that she’s not interested in “campaign PR stunts.” Noem says she’s pledging to residents to take on tough tasks in Pierre to improve South Dakota.

Read the entire story here.

Legislators led by Neal Tapio protesting sale of STAR Academy

A group of legislators, led by State Senator Neal Tapio, are apparently protesting the State’s sale of the now closed STAR Academy:

Lawmakers Ask Governor to Delay Public Auction of former Star Academy Property Near Custer

A group of South Dakota lawmakers is making a last minute call on Governor Dennis Dauggard to postpone the pending public auction of the former Star Academy property near Custer, scheduled for Wednesday at the Custer County Courthouse, saying they don’t believe enough time has been allowed to find the best use for a property that might still serve a valuable future purpose for the citizens of South Dakota.

The 180 acre facility was used as a youth boot camp and later a juvenile diversionary program until it closed in the Spring of 2016.  In March, state legislators voted to approve a public auction of the site.  After an appraisal, a public auction was set for October 18, 2017, at 11:00 am.

Senators Neal Tapio of Watertown, District 30 Representatives Tim Goodwin, Julie Frye-Mueller and Senator Lance Russell,  as well as Senator Phil Jensen of Rapid City are among 30 lawmakers expressing concern about the pending private sale of a property and structural facilities that would cost the state as much as $50-million to replace.  Tapio says he and others have repeatedly called for the facility to be repurposed in some way, possibly to deal with the state’s growing methamphetamine and opioid dependence problem, as a potential diversionary life skills training center.

“Privatization of unused state assets can be a good idea to exercise fiscal responsibility, but in dealing with this particular site, there may still be a number of functions and needs that might be served by repurposing it for something else.”

Tapio says the expense of dealing with methamphetamine addiction and the burden on the conventional justice system make a diversionary partnership with a private entity a very effective way to save South Dakota taxpayers substantially by giving first time meth convicts another choice. A life skills training center could be a valuable tool for drug courts judges as they confront the meth addiction issue where offenders need to be removed from a toxic home environment.

Citizens are also concerned that the condensed timeframe of the sale’s schedule left inadequate opportunity for public awareness and may even conceal an unarticulated agenda on the part of potential bidders better acquainted with the mechanics of the process from the outset.

Representative Tim Goodwin of Hill City says he is hearing from people taken completely by surprise about the scheduled public auction who are very concerned about what they see as a rushed process involving a very valuable public asset.

“A number of my constituents from district 30 have raised concerns that the details of a very short timeframe have allowed an unfair advantage on the part of political insiders in profiting from a glaring example of crony capitalism and incestuous ties between political insiders and business interests,”  Goodwin said.

Representative Julie Frye-Mueller, who has opposed the sale from the very beginning says the entire process reeks of strong arm tactics and insider profiteering.

“We killed this legislation the first time around voicing these same concerns, but in that process I heard from several lawmakers who told me that they were intimidated and coerced into changing their votes when the measure came up for reconsideration.”

House Bill 1209, the legislative bill structuring the pending public sale was originally defeated by a vote of 36-31, but was approved later on the same legislative day by a vote of 46-21.  Governor Dauggard signed the bill on March 13th.

“Legislators were bullied by the governor’s office into changing their votes, allowing this entire process to move forward over the strong objections of some very conscientious people.”  Frye-Mueller said.

Those favoring a delay of the pending auction say sales of properties of similar value normally require many months of marketing and even national searches to locate interested buyers and to establish best market price.

Senator Tapio agreed the marketing of the property seemed less than aggressive, “It seems odd that with millions of tourists visiting the Black Hills each summer, a for sale sign with a contact number would have at least been appropriate.”

Tapio added, “no one knows the proper way to address the meth addiction issue. There are numerous calls to build jails and prisons around the state and it would be a shame if at a later date South Dakota needs a property like this, or if there’s realization that this sale was a terrible idea a few years down the road, reconstructing a similar facility anywhere in the state would cost many multiple times even the appraised value of our existing investment.”  Tapio said.

“In no world will that be responsible fiscal management of tight budgets and state resources in the face of growing potential needs on a number of fronts.”

The Governor’s office has responded in the media:

In an emailed press release late Monday night, a group of South Dakota lawmakers asked Gov. Dennis Daugaard to postpone the public auction of a former-juvenile detention center near Custer that is set for 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

The press release sent by Sen. Neal Tapio, R-Watertown, said there are 30 lawmakers expressing concern about the pending sale of the former STAR Academy property because of “a very short timeframe,” for the auction.

Tony Venhuizen, Chief of Staff for Gov. Dennis Daugaard, disagreed that the there was a short timeline and said in an email that the state first solicited proposals in Dec. 2016 and the state legislature approved the sale in March. He also noted that the auction date was advertised in the newspaper for the first time on Sept. 11 in accordance with state law.

Read it here.

If you look at the legislation which was brought this past session, it’s not as if the vote in the legislature came without some controversy, as it failed in it’s first attempt to come through the State House of Representatives…

… and had to try again with a second pass…

.. flipping Bartling, Brunner, Chase, Clark, Dennert, Duvall, Glanzer, Goodwin, Gosch, Latterell, Herman Otten, Rasmussen, Schaefer, Wiese and Zikmund.

In the Senate, it fared better on the first run, but still, it only won on a vote of 20-15:

I don’t anticipate that the request from legislators are going to sway Governor Daugaard from completing the sale. Despite protests, it’s not like this should come as a shock. It has certainly been known it this was going to happen, having been signed into law on March 27th.

The allegations from legislators opposing the sale seem to be coming a bit late, given the fact that this all a done deal seven months ago when the legislation was signed. Where has all the moral outrage been in the meantime?

Maybe it’s just me, but why would we be protesting the land being returned to the tax rolls? Wouldn’t it be a good thing for someone to develop it into something that pays taxes and reduces the county tax burden?

What are your thoughts?

Now that wasn’t so bad, even though I look like a baked potato.

I thought I’d share a rare picture of me while preparing for my planned medical tests this morning looking a bit like a baked potato in my stylish hospital gown.

It was worth the picture, as my daughter at Augie returned a photo of me with sour cream and chives. I sense a future SDWC author in the making.

Just keep those forks away….

Governor Requests Flags At Half-Staff On Thursday To Honor Fallen Firefighter

Governor Requests Flags At Half-Staff On Thursday To Honor Fallen Firefighter

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard asks that all flags in the state be flown at half-staff on Thursday, Oct. 19, from 8 a.m. until sunset, in honor of Presho Fire Chief Donald F. “Donny” Manger.

Manger died Saturday, Oct. 14, while responding to a structure fire in rural Lyman County.

“Linda and I offer our condolences to the Manger family. Donny’s service to the Presho community will not be forgotten,” Gov. Daugaard said.

Manger’s funeral service will be held Thursday at the Lyman Gardens in Presho. Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Presho United Methodist Church.

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