KEVN News has story on 2022 GOP Congressional primary challenge by Taffy Howard against Dusty Johnson

KEVN gave State Representative Taffy Howard the opportunity to state her case on why she should be elected over incumbent Congressman Dusty Johnson. And maybe it’s just me, but she has some work to do:

”The reality is, no one political party has all the right answers every time, no elected official has all the right answers all the time,” Johnson said. “But I’m going to go to work for South Dakotans every day, serve the constitution, and serve our country. That’s what South Dakotan’s expect.”

Howard argues that Johnson doesn’t represent many of the values of everyday South Dakotans.

One example she cites is his position on supposed “election integrity” in the 2020 race and his vote to let Representative Liz Cheney keep her leadership role after she criticized former President Donald Trump.

Read it here.

Um.. the basis for Taffy thinking she should be chosen over Dusty is because she follows the pillow guy’s views on election conspiracies, and because Dusty didn’t punish Liz Cheney?

If you had a poll of the top 10 issues South Dakota Republican voters cared about, election integrity conspiracies don’t make the list unless someone prompts for it.  And not voting to strip Liz Cheney of a leadership role? How does that affect South Dakotans. It doesn’t.

Don’t even look for that in the top 50.  Literally, no one cares.

Taffy is a nice lady, but now that she’s done exploring the race and actually running, it looks like this is going nowhere fast.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Defending Rural America

Defending Rural America
By Sen. John Thune

Democrats in Washington have forgotten about the folks who are putting food on their dinner tables every night. Our farmers and ranchers feed the world, and instead of strengthening the agricultural economy, Democrats are proposing a multi-trillion dollar spending bill that prioritizes coastal elites ahead of rural Americans. And I am deeply concerned by what this tax-and-spending spree will mean for South Dakota producers.

Agriculture is the lifeblood for many South Dakotans. As a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, standing up for rural America is a top priority for me, which is why I have been sounding the alarm on how detrimental the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending spree would be for South Dakota farms and ranches. Their policies are so draconian that I’m worried the Democrats’ bill could mean the end of some family farms thanks in part to the bill’s expansion of the death tax. I’ve long opposed the death tax, primarily because I don’t think death should be a taxable event. I also believe there should be limits on how many times the government can tax the same money.

Farming and ranching operations are often cash-poor. For many farmers and ranchers, their money is often tied up in their land – not the bank. A farmer could have land that is worth a lot of money on paper, but he could still struggle to break even or make ends meet, especially in years with low commodity prices or poor yields. What’s worse is that if the same farmer were to die, the ability to pass his operation to the next generation could be hindered by an expanded death tax. If the IRS demands a substantial portion of his estate and most of his money is tied up in the land, there’s a good chance that the family will not have enough money in the bank to pay the IRS. As a result, they’ll have to start selling off land – the literal foundation of their farming operation. Without the farmland, there’s no farm.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but the government should not be in the business of shuttering family farms and family businesses. With the Democrats’ tax-and-spending spree, a lot of farmers are going to have to start worrying about whether or not they’ll be able to hand their farm on to their children or grandchildren – or whether a government tax bill will mean the end of a multi-generational family enterprise. The icing on the cake is that at the same time Democrats are planning to expand a tax that threatens family farms, they’re also planning to cut taxes for millionaires in blue states. If that’s not an example of misplaced priorities, I’m not sure what is.

I have heard from many farmers and ranchers who are worried that the Democrats’ proposed tax policies may threaten their livelihood. It’s clear that Democrats’ tax-and-spending spree is a bad deal for rural Americans – and for working families around the country. I will continue to do everything I can to protect Americans from the dangers of Democrats’ socialist fantasies, including their plan to target our nation’s agriculture producers.

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Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Column: Unanimous Consent

Unanimous Consent
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
October 22, 2021

More than 10,000 bills get introduced in Congress each year. Most of them, even good ones, don’t see legislative action. It’s even more challenging to pass a bill when you aren’t the political party in power. Despite the long odds, I was able to pass an important cattle industry bill out of committee this week.

Since I came to Washington, I’ve been fighting to implement reforms to the cattle market. For years, our cattle producers have dealt with the ups and down of a volatile market – but beyond price they have struggled to even get a bid.

In 2019, a fire at a packing plant wreaked havoc on the cattle industry. Demand plummeted and along with that went prices. We saw a similar fall out in 2020 during COVID-19 when large processors throughout the country struggled to keep their lines active with ongoing outbreaks. The ongoing crack in the supply chain caused farm-state Members of Congress to demand answers – why could the market be so drastically impacted when one plant goes down?

There are a few reasons for this… For one, there’s too much concentration among a few large packing operations, and two, producers are often in the dark about what price they should be getting for their product due to a lack of data.

In July 2020 after years of requests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the long-awaited Boxed Beef & Fed Cattle Price Spread Investigation Report. The report had several concerning findings. One recommendation to alleviate market vulnerabilities was the creation of a cattle contract library.

I took the advice of producers and USDA and introduced the Cattle Contract Library Act to improve transparency and provide more leverage to cattle producers. This is not a silver bullet and work remains, but it’s a step forward we should not waste time pursuing.

This week – I got one step closer to delivering a long-sought victory for producers. My bill was marked up in the House Agriculture Committee and passed with unanimous support on both sides.

Like I said, getting support for a standalone bill in the Minority isn’t easy and it’s even harder to get one passed on the House floor. This is the first cattle market transparency bill to pass out of the Democrat-led Agriculture Committee since the July 2020 report was released.

I’m grateful to ranchers for their critical input and for coming to a consensus and I’m glad the committee answered this request. I’m going to fight like hell to get this bill passed out of the House.

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BIG RUMOR ALERT: Haugaard to supposedly announce for Governor in coming weeks

I’ve hearing it from multiple sources over the last couple of days, including at the GOP Senate trapshoot fundraiser, from sources at SDSU where Haugaard was allegedly trying to enter the parade without noting for what office (* he did have a car as a legislator) and other people keep pinging me that former Speaker of the House Steve Haugaard is going to be announcing his candidacy for Governor against Kristi Noem, and possibly will do so in the next few weeks.

This rift between the two seems to have been growing for a while.

Haugaard has been relatively critical of Noem for some time now. There have been direct conflicts, and asides with other parties where he’s expressed criticism of the state’s chief executive.

Most recently, Haugaard was critical of one of the Governor’s signature pieces of legislation, the Freedom Scholarship. After the recent Lincoln County Lincoln Day Dinner, Haugaard had taken a group of College Republicans at the event aside, and I’m told, was explaining why the Scholarship (a measure he voted against) wasn’t the job of State Government.

Predictably, that chat went over like a candy bar in a pool, with a few reaching out to me express their outrage.

You more directly saw the divide when Haugaard banned lobbyist Yvonne Taylor from the House Chamber, which triggered Taylor to file suit, a suit Haugaard eventually cried uncle on. The Governor was most definitely not shy about expressing her opinion of the whole situation.

Let’s not forget the ridiculous 2019 legislative dress code for women created by the Haugaard leadership team in the House which dictated that female legislators wear nylons, and were skirts had to be a certain length.  Between that and the Taylor lawsuit, at one point Noem called down House leadership to her office, chewed them out, and told them to knock it off.

Ever since Noem took office and Haugaard was sworn in as speaker, it seems that we can just say that the two have been at loggerheads.  If this Haugaard announcement rumor holds true, how do I think this race is going to go? As I noted in a previous column in September of last year..

I have the feeling that the concept of Haugaard challenging Noem would literally be the most lopsided mis-match since ex-legislator Lora Hubbel challenged sitting Governor Dennis Daugaard. It wasn’t even an actual campaign, as much as a months-long complaint by Lora that no one took her seriously, and no one would help her.

Read that here.

Like Taffy Howard’s ‘exploration’ against Dusty Johnson & Bruce Whalen/Mark Mowry/Other guy fumbling aimlessly against US Senator Thune, if a Haugaard campaign emerges, it is once again just a manifestation of the hard right fringes of the GOP complaining that a strongly conservative GOP isn’t conservative enough in their own minds.

And I really doubt it’s going to go anywhere. No one competent is getting involved in their campaigns, there’s no depth to fundraising, and it’s just going to be a months long complaint against ‘the establishment.’

The only benefit of the apparent collection of misfit toys who are challenging incumbents is that in recent weeks I’ve seen more business owners and traditional Republicans who have sat on the sidelines over the last few elections are getting motivated, becoming more active, and are deciding it’s way past time that they show up, pitch in, and get involved.

Stay tuned, as this is far from the end of it.

Release: City Announces Application Timeline and Procedures for City Medical Cannabis Dispensary, Testing Facility Licenses

Sioux Falls Announces Application Timeline and Procedures for City Medical Cannabis Dispensary, Testing Facility Licenses

Sioux Falls, South Dakota: The City of Sioux Falls has announced the timeline and process to apply for a license to operate a medical cannabis dispensary or testing facility within city limits. These processes were developed in accordance with the City’s licensing and zoning ordinances regulating medical cannabis dispensary and testing facilities, which were effective October 1, 2021.

Medical cannabis dispensary applications will be received at the City Licensing Office on first floor of City Hall, 224 West Ninth Street, during normal business hours beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 29, 2021, until 5 p.m. on Monday, November 15, 2021. Consistent with City ordinance, the application period will close in order to conduct a lottery for the five available medical cannabis dispensary licenses. The lottery will be held in the Commission Room located on first floor of City Hall, 224 West Ninth Street, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. The lottery is open to the public.

Medical cannabis testing facility applications will be received during normal business hours beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 29, 2021. City ordinance does not limit the number of medical cannabis testing facilities.

For additional information, including the current application, an overview of the application process and fees, along with a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the City’s website at www.siouxfalls.org/city-attorney/licenses

Aberdeen democrat Brian Bengs files FEC paperwork to run against John Thune for US Senate

From the Federal Elections Commission, it appears that Democrats have a candidate for US Senate.

Brian Bengs, a former assistant professor at Northern, has filed paperwork to run against US Senator John Thune:

Brian Bengs Fec by Pat Powers on Scribd

Bengs has also posted a linked-in page for his candidacy, where he labels himself as an “Independent thinker, former professor, attorney, U.S. Navy veteran and U.S. Air Force retiree,” and he has a facebook page up noting he’s a political candidate, but that’s about it at the moment.

Thune Joins Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Put Patients Over Paperwork

Thune Joins Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Put Patients Over Paperwork

“I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation that makes health care more efficient and patient-centered.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kans.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) yesterday introduced the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, bipartisan legislation that would improve timely access to quality care for seniors under Medicare Advantage (MA). Specifically, the bill would modernize the way MA plans and health care providers use prior authorization. This legislation addresses the top administrative issue for physicians, and it will make the delivery of health care more patient- and doctor-friendly.

“I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation that makes health care more efficient and patient-centered,” said Thune. “By implementing electronic prior authorization, providers are able to reduce delays and help seniors in South Dakota get quicker access to the treatment and care they need.”

The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act has gained support from more than 320 national and state organizations representing patients, health care providers, medical device manufacturers, and health IT companies across the country.

“The bill is a carefully crafted, bipartisan work product that reflects significant input from all direct stakeholders,” said Katie Orrico, senior vice president for health policy and advocacy at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons and leader of the Regulatory Relief Coalition. “The congressional team behind this bill focused on transparency, oversight, and modernization of the Medicare Advantage program to benefit patients and the providers and health plans who serve them. We eagerly await congressional action.  The bill is ready for the finish line.”

“Physicians know the best treatment for our patients but they’re often not the ones making the final decision due to artificial barriers constructed by insurance companies,” said Gerald E. Harmon, president of the American Medical Association. “The time delays and administrative burdens associated with prior authorization continue to undermine our patients’ health. Nearly a third of physician respondents to a 2020 AMA survey reported that prior authorization led to a serious adverse event — such as hospitalization, medical intervention to prevent permanent impairment, or even disability or death — for a patient in their care. The AMA thanks Senators Marshall, Sinema, and Thune for putting patients first by introducing the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, which would simplify and streamline the prior authorization processes in Medicare Advantage.”

“Hospitals and health systems strongly support the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act because physicians, nurses and other providers of care should be able to spend their time on patients, not burdensome paperwork,” said Stacey Hughes, executive vice president at the American Hospital Association. “Efforts to streamline and standardize prior authorization are long overdue. Used appropriately, prior authorization can be a helpful tool for ensuring patients receive the right treatment, but too often the process results in delayed care, clinician burnout and unnecessary waste in the health care system. The AHA is eager to continue to work with Senators Marshall, Sinema and Thune to make improvements to the prior authorization process that protect patients.”

Prior authorization is a tool used by health plans to reduce spending from improper payments and unnecessary care by requiring physicians and other health care providers to get pre-approval for medical services. The current system of unconfirmed faxes of a patient’s medical information or phone calls by clinicians takes precious time away from delivering quality and timely care. Prior authorization continues to be the top administrative burden identified by health care providers, and nearly four out of five MA enrollees are subject to unnecessary delays. In recent years, the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services raised concerns after an audit revealed that MA plans ultimately approved 75 percent of requests that were originally denied.

Health plans, health care providers, and patients agree that the prior authorization process must be improved to better serve patients and reduce unnecessary administrative burdens for clinicians. In fact, leading health care organizations released a consensus statement to address some of the most pressing concerns associated with prior authorization. Building on these principles, the bipartisan legislation would:

  • Establish an electronic prior authorization process that would streamline approvals and denials;
  • Establish national standards for clinical documents that would reduce administrative burdens on health care providers and MA plans;
  • Create a process for real-time decisions for certain items and services that are routinely approved;
  • Increase transparency that would improve communication channels and utilization between MA plans, health care providers, and patients;
  • Ensure appropriate care by encouraging MA plans to adopt policies that adhere to evidence-based guidelines; and
  • Require beneficiary protections that would ensure the electronic prior authorization serves seniors first.

The House companion, led by U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Ami Bera, M.D. (D-Calif.), and Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.), was reintroduced in May.

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