Thune Presses Trump Administration to Prioritize Agriculture in NAFTA Negotiations

Thune Presses Trump Administration to Prioritize Agriculture in NAFTA Negotiations

“I strongly encouraged Secretary Ross to keep the unique needs and dynamics of the agriculture industry at the forefront of the administration’s NAFTA renegotiation effort.” 

Commerce Committee Chairman Thune (left, seated at the head of the table) meets with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (opposite end of the table) and members of the Senate Commerce Committee.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, convened a meeting with U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to discuss the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Thune, who was joined by several colleagues,emphasized the importance of agricultural trade in South Dakota and the significant harm any disruption would cause. 

“Agriculture is the top industry in South Dakota, and it is supported by many hardworking men and women on farms and ranches throughout the state,” said Thune. “I strongly encouraged Secretary Ross to keep the unique needs and dynamics of the agriculture industry at the forefront of the administration’s NAFTA renegotiation effort. I appreciate the secretary’s willingness to meet. He knows that I’ll be following this process closely, and I look forward to receiving additional updates from the administration.”

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Noem-Backed Second Amendment Protections Pass House

Noem-Backed Second Amendment Protections Pass House

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem today helped lead the House in passing H.R.38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. If this legislation, which she cosponsored, is signed into law, those permitted to carry a concealed handgun will be able to bring it to other states that permit concealed carry.

“For most of American history, firearms were integral to the way we lived,” said Noem. “People understood how to use them and taught their children how to as well. In South Dakota, that way of life still exists. I’m really proud of that, and I will always fight to protect it. While we have some reciprocity agreements on the books in South Dakota, this legislation would extend the policy nationwide to better protect the right to bear arms. I love the way we live in South Dakota. We celebrate the liberties and freedoms we’re entitled to under the Second Amendment, and our Constitution demands they not be infringed upon.”

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Thune Appointed to Committee That Will Negotiate Final Tax Reform Bill

Thune Appointed to Committee That Will Negotiate Final Tax Reform Bill

“The House and Senate are on the same team, we’re headed toward the same end zone, and we have the same goal in mind – putting a pro-growth tax reform bill that helps middle-income Americans on the president’s desk as soon as possible.”  

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, has been appointed to the conference committee that is tasked with negotiating a final tax reform bill after the House and Senate each passed their respective versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Senate passed its version on December 2, but a final bill must pass both chambers of Congress before it can be sent to the president for his signature. As one of eight Republican senators serving on the conference committee, Thune’s selection ensures that South Dakota’s interests will be represented at the negotiating table.

“The House and Senate are on the same team, we’re headed toward the same end zone, and we have the same goal in mind – putting a pro-growth tax reform bill that helps middle-income Americans on the president’s desk as soon as possible,” said Thune. “Both chambers have outlined our priorities, which include doubling the standard deduction, expanding the child tax credit, lowering tax rates for all taxpayers, particularly low- and middle-income Americans, and reforming our business tax code. Delivering on this promise that we made to the American people will lead to an environment that will foster greater economic growth and create additional opportunities for families to get ahead. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate, and I am committed to ensuring that our final product delivers on the goals we’ve set out to achieve.”

To learn more about Thune’s work on tax reform, please visit the tax reform section on www.thune.senate.gov.

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20th Annual Pie Day Scheduled for Saturday December 9th

20th Annual Pie Day Scheduled for Saturday December 9th

PIERRE, S.D – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that the 20th Annual Pie Day will be held on Saturday, December 9th. The event begins at 11:00 a.m. at the Capitol building in Pierre.

“I want to extend an invitation to the 20th Annual Pie Day. It is the perfect opportunity to take in “Christmas at the Capitol” and enjoy a slice of pie,” said Jackley.

The event will include free pie, cookies, coffee and ice cream. This event is free and the public is encouraged to stop by the Capitol and enjoy.

If you have any questions regarding this event please contact Sara Rabern at 605-773- 3215.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to endorse Krebs for Congress

I just had this sent off to me by someone who received it:

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is apparently set to endorse South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs in her race for Congress against former PUC Commissioner Dusty Johnson, and South Dakota Trump Campaign person Neal Tapio who is set to announce in January or February.

This is a bit of a surprising move with Krebs having opposed providing information to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity headed up by Kobach back in June of this year.   Obviously, it hasn’t affected their relationship as fellow secretaries of state.

Gov. Daugaard Invites Nominations For District 34 House Seat

Gov. Daugaard Invites Nominations For District 34 House Seat

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard is asking the public to nominate candidates to fill the vacant seat in the State House of Representatives from District 34.

The vacancy, which will be filled by gubernatorial appointment, is due to the death last month of Rep. Craig Tieszen. The Governor’s appointee will serve during the 2018 Legislative Session, and through the current term that runs through the end of 2018.

“Rep. Tieszen was a dedicated public servant and his passing is a real loss for our state,” said Gov. Daugaard. “I’m asking the public to help identify an appointee to complete Rep. Tieszen’s term.”

District 34 includes western Rapid City, generally including the areas west of Mt. Rushmore Road, Dinosaur Hill, and “the gap” on West Main Street, and including sites such as Camp Rapid, Canyon Lake, the Sioux San Hospital, West Middle School, and Southwest Middle School. A district map can be found on the Legislative Research Council’s website:http://sdlegislature.gov/Reference_Materials/Maps/Default.aspx.

Those wishing to be considered for the appointment, or to offer nominations, should contact Grace Beck in the Office of the Governor at 605-773-3661. Nominations should include the candidate’s name, current address, telephone number and relevant background information.

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Congratulations to new Speaker Pro Tempore Steve Haugaard

I got busy working on things yesterday, and forgot to acknowledge that an election was held in conjunction with the budget address yesterday.

State Representative Steve Haugaard was elected to serve as the House Speaker Pro Tempore to replace Don Haggar, who resigned from the legislature to serve as the Executive Director for the South Dakota chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

If Steve continues to serve past the next election, he is in line to be the next Speaker of the House.

Congratulations Representative Haugaard!

Budget Address coming up today… Any thoughts on what we’ll see?

Governor Dennis Daugaard will be making his next to last budget address this morning without a lot of hints other than telling the associated press that money is tight:

Daugaard said that officials will have to “tighten our belt” for the current budget year and be “very judicious” with the money available for 2019. Daugaard said that he will not be recommending cuts, but rather reducing the projected growth of some state expenses.

Read that here.

What’s the budget proposal going to contain? Governor Daugaard had made the point a few days ago to talk about how medical services are taxed… which seems a somewhat unexpected and ominous point to make in the run up to the budget:

Medical services aren’t subject to sales tax in South Dakota.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard plans to talk about that situation and a variety of others Tuesday, when he delivers the annual budget speech to the Legislature.

“It’s one of the points we’re going to make on weakened sales tax,” Liza Clark, the governor’s commissioner of budget and finance, said Thursday.

Most details won’t be revealed until the governor begins remarks shortly after noon.

Read that here.

It very well may simply be a point the Governor wants to make, and making a point is fine… as long as it’s just a point, and not part of a proposal to remove the exemption. Taxing cancer treatments, insulin, etcetera, is not something that’s going to sit well with the South Dakota electorate.

Along with the Governor’s announcement of the budget being tight, I’m anticipating that we’re going to have the inevitable announcement that there will be no raises for state employees as they’re usually the first on the chopping lock when money gets tight.

Why is this important to point out? Because there have already been announcements of efforts to put a measure on the ballot to raise legislator salaries.  And at that time, I noted that while the legislative salary proposal is needed, it is not going to pass without difficulty:

Do I think the measure is going to ultimately succeed? I’m a bit doubtful.  There are more working parts in getting something like this passed than just coming up with it, and the people proposing it are well aware of it, but you have to start somewhere.

First, is money. It’s going to be expensive to propose a bump in legislative salaries. And I believe both revenue may be down from projections, and what the federal government sends to South Dakota in several areas may be in a state of flux. That might be an impossible hurdle to get past among legislators to have the measure move forward in 2018.

Secondly, and more of an abstract concept, I think we’re in a time of hostility between the public and ‘the legislature’ as a broad concept, similar to how people feel about ‘Congress.’ They like and will vote to return their federal representatives, just as they like and will vote to return their state legislators.. but they just have a negative impression of the institution.    I think politically, that could make it a tough sell with the voters.

Read that here.

If the State of South Dakota, one of the largest employers in the state, doesn’t have enough money to give it’s own employees a raise, what would you say the optics are going to look like when they put it on the ballot to ask voters for a raise for themselves?

It’s a lot easier to ask your boss for a raise when times are good than when things are tight.

Stay tuned for more on the budget address as the proposal is rolled out.

Noem Earns Seat on Tax Reform Conference Committee

Noem Earns Seat on Tax Reform Conference Committee

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem was today named to the Tax Reform Conference Committee, a small group of lawmakers who have been tasked with completing tax reform negotiations.

“There’s almost no federal policy that has a bigger impact on families’ day-to-day lives than the tax code,” said Noem. “In tax reform, we’re talking about giving folks a break at those critical life milestones, such as when they grow their family, buy a home, start a business, or pass that business down to their children. We’re also talking about improving things on a broader scale so wages rise and more jobs open up in our hometowns. While there are differences between the two versions, I’m optimistic we’re coming at this with a united front, striving for the same vision of stronger families and a stronger future for all Americans.”

Noem’s entry into public service came after her family was hit by the Death Tax following a farm accident that took her dad’s life. Noem went on to serve in the South Dakota State Legislature where she was appointed to the House Taxation Committee. Following her election to the U.S. House, Noem served on a series of committees, including the House Agriculture Committee where she successfully negotiated the 2014 Farm Bill as a member of that Conference Committee. In 2015, Noem earned a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the first South Dakotan in history to do so.

Today, Noem is a leading voice in support of the Death Tax repeal. Earlier this year, conservative, anti-tax leader Grover Norquist explained Noem’s “hard work and persistence has made our progress to date possible and is our greatest asset in the serious fight to kill the Death Tax once and for all.” The House’s tax reform proposal includes a full and permanent repeal of the Death Tax, which is based on Noem’s legislation.

Additionally, Noem, a mother to three, has become the leading advocate for a pro-family tax policy, working closely with the administration to dramatically increase the Child Tax Credit and related family provisions. She also fought to save the Child Care Credit, an important provision to a state like South Dakota in which more than 80 percent of moms work.

Noem has also championed the exclusion of the Indian Health Service’s Student Loan Repayment program from tax as well as pro-agriculture provisions relating to interest deductibility and expensing.

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Billie Sutton releases 2 weeks’ worth of e-mails after prior promise to release eight years’ worth.

Democrat Candidate Billie Sutton apparently accepted a challenge from the Rapid City Journal promised to release all of his emails while he has been a state legislator, a total of nearly eight years’ worth. and is now getting called out on it, because… because he has’t exactly delivered:

After he proposed legislation to expose government emails to public review, state senator and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Billie Sutton accepted a challenge from the Journal on Oct. 26 to release the emails from his legislative account.

But he has not yet delivered. His attempts to divulge his emails have been stalled, he has since said, by Legislative Research Council concerns about the potential release of confidential information.

and…

Sutton, of Burke, added that because of the time involved and the lack of help from the LRC, he will release only a couple of weeks’ worth of emails.

Read it here.

“Promises made… but not delivered.”

Not exactly the narrative a candidate for Governor wants to communicate.