US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Biden Border Crisis Puts Americans in Danger

Biden Border Crisis Puts Americans in Danger
By Sen. John Thune

For more than three years, a crisis has been raging at the southern border. In total, 10 million illegal immigrants have come into the United States on President Biden’s watch. The high level of illegal immigration has undoubtedly enabled bad actors to get into the country, threatening America’s national security and public safety.

In June, eight men from Tajikistan with suspected ties to ISIS were arrested in cities across the country. Each of them had entered via the southern border without proper documentation and were released into the country with nothing more than a court date and a hope that they show up when it arrives. In another case, 400 illegal immigrants were reported to have come into the country via an ISIS-affiliated smuggling network, and 50 of these 400 are still unaccounted for. These are hardly the only dangerous individuals who have made their way into the country on President Biden’s watch.

The southern border has also been the entry point for criminals who have harmed Americans. An illegal immigrant who had successfully evaded Border Patrol has been arrested for the murder of a mother of five in Maryland. Another illegal immigrant who was released into the country on parole is charged with the murder of a nursing student in Georgia. Two illegal immigrants are charged with killing a 12-year-old girl in Texas. And, unfortunately, there are other cases like these.

The chaos at the border has created an environment that facilitates bad actors slipping into the United States undetected. We know that 1.8 million illegal immigrants have entered without being apprehended by Border Patrol, and there are undoubtedly more that we don’t know about. These “gotaways” are particularly concerning. Under the Biden administration’s lax asylum policy, individuals who show up at the border claiming asylum have frequently been released into the country with a court date as much as 10 years in the future. If turning yourself into Border Patrol is likely to result in years of essentially legal permanent residence, we can only imagine why someone would choose to avoid law enforcement to escape into the interior of the country.

Until very recently, President Biden has largely done nothing to address this crisis. But after three record-breaking years of illegal border crossings, the president seems to have finally realized his disastrous border record might be a political liability. He conceded last month that he had to do something, but his recent action is too little, too late. A tremendous amount of damage has already been done, damage that can’t be reversed even if his minimal action is successful, which remains to be seen.

This crisis was avoidable. The southern border has been overwhelmed month after month and year after year because of intentional choices President Biden made early in the first days of his presidency. The American people want a secure border. The president’s open border policies have made Americans less safe and jeopardized our national security. Unfortunately, I suspect we will be dealing with the consequences of the Biden border crisis for a long time to come.

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Governor Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Fish Stories

Fish Stories
By: Gov. Kristi Noem  
July 12, 2024  

  I love fishing. There’s almost no better way to relax, get away from the hubbub of daily life, and connect with the natural beauty all around us. And they taste pretty, good, too! South Dakota is home to some of the best fishing in the country. We have many unique experiences, from river fishing on the Mighty Missouri to the Prairie Lakes in the northeast part of the state – and many more opportunities besides.

Our Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) manages many of these opportunities across the state, especially at our state parks and recreation areas. In fact, their theme for our state parks this year is “Reel in Memories in South Dakota State Parks.” I want to share a few “fish stories” from the work that GFP does. But unlike some “fish stories” that are full of exaggeration and extra twists, these ones are all true!

GFP’s Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls teaches fishing classes for groups and the community. One intern at the Outdoor Campus was teaching a special needs class when one of the kids informed her that “he had experience fishing and baiting the hook, but he really wanted to learn how to take a fish OFF the hook.” He wanted to catch a fish! With 30 seconds left in the class, he hooked a small bluegill and was able to reel it in, take a picture, unhook it (exactly what he was hoping for!), toss it back in, and leave with the biggest smile on his face.

GFP hosts the “Ladies, Let’s Fish” series, which takes place one Thursday a month at the Pelican Lake Recreation Area. The class is led by women from GFP, which provides a safe and supportive environment for women to learn and gain confidence fishing. Fifteen women signed up. They learned how to purchase a fishing license on GoOutdoorsSouthDakota.com – then they learned practical skills like tying knots, fish identification, using different types of tackle, setting up fishing poles, and casting. One lady found tying knots easier than she thought. It rained at the first class, but the women were determined to continue fishing. One of them caught a nice white bass, and the ladies were so excited! They all made plans to continue fishing in the future.

We host all kinds of kids’ fishing competitions and other kid-focused fishing events across the state. 35 youth and 35 adults participated at this year’s 17th Annual Kids Fishing Derby at Oahe Downstream. Lake Herman hosted the annual Casting for Kids tournament – kids of all ages came out to enjoy fishing. The Lake Vermillion Recreation Area hosted Take a Kid Fishing– 17 kids were provided a free tackle box, a fishing poll, a fishing handbook, and a meal of hot dogs and chips, too!

There are all kinds of similar events for our kids at state parks and recreation areas across the state – just check gfp.sd.gov to find out when and where!

One final story shows us how fishing can bring peace and hope, even in very difficult circumstances. LeeAnn Currey is fighting breast cancer, and she participated in the “Casting for Recovery Retreat” last year. This event is open for women with all stages of breast cancer treatment and recovery at no cost.

LeeAnn said that the retreat “was a fun-filled weekend and another way of celebrating life.” She had never fly fished before, but she learned something new and bonded with the other women who were going through their cancer journeys. They all shared a lot of laughs – like when LeeAnn hooked her guide Royce’s cap during one of her casts. But she still caught two fish – and has the pictures to prove it! LeeAnn expressed how humbling the experience was, saying, “I came away with a lighter heart and a smile on my face. It was a weekend I will cherish forever.”

This year’s “Casting for Recovery Retreat” will take place from October 4-6 at NeSoDak in Waubay. Individuals should apply online by July 25, and they will be randomly selected to participate.

I hope that each of you find a chance to get out on the water and “Reel in Memories” this summer. You’ll find peace, some hope, and maybe even a delicious dinner! As the saying goes, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can go fishing – and that’s pretty much the same thing.”

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Congressman Dusty Johnson’s Weekly Update: Decisions with BIG Impacts

Decisions with BIG Impacts
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
July 12, 2024

BIG Update

President Biden’s performance during the debate a couple weeks ago was very concerning. Americans deserve a Commander in Chief who is up to the task, and it’s clear that Biden is not capable to fulfill the responsibilities of the office. It is not safe for the American people or the future of our country if Biden continues to run the administration.

Strong cognitive health is necessary to carry out everyday activities and make decisions, especially those that impact an entire country and significant world affairs. We should have a leader who we can trust to make those decisions.

BIG Idea

California recently requested authorization for a regulation that would require much of their railway system to become zero-emissions. This decision is not based on evidence and would have drastic effects on rail transportation outside of California. Their request is not feasible and could cripple the supply chain across the United States.

The EPA must reject this unsound policy that will affect the entire nation’s freight rail network. California’s extreme climate agenda cannot be forced on the rest of America.

I questioned Ms. Arias, the chief of the transportation division at California Air Resources Board during a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing about this detrimental policy.

BIG News

Noncitizens should not be allowed to vote in federal elections, yet dozens of states don’t require proof of citizenship to register to vote. With nearly 25 million noncitizen residents in the U.S. and nearly ten million undocumented immigrants that have crossed our border illegally during Biden’s presidency, we should ensure those who determine the outcome of federal elections are actually U.S. citizens.

I voted to pass the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote in federal elections. Proof of citizenship could be shown through identifications like a REAL ID, U.S. passport, military ID, a government-issued photo ID with a birth certificate, or other official documents.

Free, fair, and accountable elections are vital to the survival of our democracy. Only Americans should vote in American elections.

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SDGOP website and communications efforts not exactly current as we move towards the fall election.

I hate to be that guy, but a month after the State Republican Party convention, I was going to go back and pull some information on the State GOP’s stances on the ballot measures, and went to the portion of the website where it seemed to let you look at what the party platform is:

Clicking into the part that says “Party Platform of the South Dakota Republican Party..”  I’m given this:

 

You get information from the National “COVID Convention” Republican platform in 2020, which was just a restatement from the national platform for 2016.  …which was not at all what I was looking for, since I was looking for what’s in the state party platform.

But it leads into a number of other issues where a lot of the references on the State GOP website are for trainings back in 2023.  Facebook isn’t much better, where the featured posts are telling people to “Head on over to SDGOP.com to get your tickets for our rally with President Donald J. Trump” from July of 2023 on Facebook, and except for the occasional re-post to Twitter, communications from the party have largely shut down.  I won’t get into the number of newsletters that the party hasn’t done since some members of the State GOP Central Committee got a burr in their saddle about me, and demanded that the GOP quit hiring me to produce one.

It’s kind of frustrating to see how quickly that something that was built up so strongly over the past couple of decades can turn on a dime in the face of internal divisions, as populists try to turn the SDGOP into their own ideological megaphone as opposed to an organization that reflects state Republicans as a whole.

Struggling to raise funds, lacking additional campaign season staff, and devoid of any current communications, the populist factionalism in the South Dakota GOP has created an environment where the party is not in a position to capitalize on the dominance of the top of the ticket for the down ballot races, much less influence people on how to vote on ballot measures.

And what about influencing where South Dakotans sit on those ballot measures?  Which was the point of what got me started on my trip down the rabbit hole.  By all indications, we’re in for a wild ride as we approach the fall.

Which is a post for another day, since I have to go dig up the information I was looking for elsewhere.

Release: Coalition Organizes to Oppose IM-28

Coalition Organizes to Oppose IM-28

PIERRE – A broad group of South Dakotans has launched a coalition to oppose Initiated Measure 28 in the November General Election. The coalition believes eliminating the sales tax on anything for human consumption would result in irresponsible funding cuts to essential government functions or lead to new tax increases.

IM-28 would eliminate state and local taxation on “anything sold for human consumption,” including tobacco, CBD, mouthwash, vaping products, toothpaste, marijuana, beverages, and a host of other items, excluding alcohol and prepared food.

It would eliminate more than $176 million annually in state revenues and millions more from already lean local city budgets and will negatively impact South Dakotans. IM-28 will directly result in across-the-board cuts that will reduce quality of life and essential services unless other taxes are increased. At the state level, the $176 million shortfall will result in painful cuts impacting schools and healthcare patients—the two largest expenditure categories in the state budget.

The IM-28 opposition effort is led by South Dakotans Against A State Income Tax, comprised of Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken, South Dakota Retailers Association Executive Director Nathan Sanderson, and Rapid City businesswoman Erin Krueger.

“Eliminating the sales tax on anything for human consumption will have widespread tremendous negative consequences and could set South Dakota up for an income tax,” said Krueger. “An income tax is the wrong approach for South Dakota, so we urge voters to oppose IM-28.”

South Dakota is one of only seven states without a state income tax. The other states are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. South Dakota also has one of lowest tax burdens in the nation and operates on a balanced, fiscally conservative budget. According to Wallet Hub, South Dakota has the seventh lowest tax burden in the nation at a rate below neighboring states Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota.

“The language in IM-28 was chosen for one of two possible reasons; to eliminate sales taxes on many items to set up South Dakota for a state income tax, or it was drafted improperly,” Sanderson noted. “Either way, it’s bad for South Dakotans and voters should vote no on IM-28.”

The measure will also prevent municipalities from collecting sales taxes on these same items. Current state law (SDCL 10-52-2) says that municipalities can only charge a sales tax as long as the “tax conforms in all respects to the state tax on such items with the exception of the rate,” if the state cannot charge sales taxes on “anything sold for human consumption,” neither can cities and towns.

“Eliminating the sales tax for cities and towns will leave a huge hole in city budgets,” said TenHaken. “In Sioux Falls, we would see major cuts to funding for law enforcement, road repairs, pools and parks. Unlike the state, cities don’t have the ability to impose a local income tax, meaning property taxes on seniors and working families would have to increase or city services would drastically be reduced. A sales tax based on consumption levels and also paid for by non-South Dakotans is fairer to the pocketbooks of South Dakotans. IM-28 should be rejected and we should avoid its consequences.”

Founding members of the coalition opposing IM-28 include:

  • South Dakotans Against A State Income Tax
  • Coalition for Responsible Taxation
  • Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce
  • SD Association of Cooperatives
  • SD Bankers Association
  • SD Cattlemen’s Association
  • SD Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • SD Economic Development Professionals Association
  • SD Education Association
  • SD Farm Bureau
  • SD Hotel & Lodging Association
  • SD Licensed Beverage Dealers & Gaming Association
  • SD Municipal League
  • SD Music & Vending Association
  • SD Petroleum & Propane Marketers Association
  • SD Retailers Association

Citizens and organizations can find more information and sign-up to join the coalition at nosdincometax.com.

A formal opposition Ballot Question Committee was established with the Secretary of State by South Dakotans Against A State Income Tax in June 2024.

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Attachments:

Paid for by South Dakotans Against A State Income Tax

Thune, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Expand Interstate Firearm Sales

Thune, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Expand Interstate Firearm Sales

“Lawful South Dakota gun owners, including members of our armed forces, should have unimpeded access to exercise their lawful right to keep and bear arms.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) recently joined his colleagues in introducing the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act (FICRA), legislation that would address burdensome federal regulations on the sale or delivery of firearms between different states.

“Enabling licensed firearm dealers to sell across state lines strengthens law-abiding gun owners’ Second Amendment rights and helps promote a marketplace on which many livelihoods depend,” said Thune. “Lawful South Dakota gun owners, including members of our armed forces, should have unimpeded access to exercise their lawful right to keep and bear arms.”

The legislation was led by U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and, in addition to Thune, was cosponsored by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

Thune has led several efforts to protect the freedoms of law-abiding gun owners and prevent the federal government from infringing on those rights. Last year, Thune introduced the Merchant Category Code Neutrality Act, legislation that would block the Internal Revenue Service from conducting taxpayer audits that unfairly target lawful firearm sales. Thune also introduced the Allowing for Recreational Resources for Outdoor Wellness Act to prevent the Biden administration from blocking funding for elementary and secondary schools’ hunting and archery programs.

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Congressman Dusty Johnson Votes for Election Integrity

Johnson Votes for Election Integrity

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) voted to secure the integrity of American elections by passing the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act to prevent noncitizens from voting in federal elections. The SAVE Act would require proof of U.S. citizenship when registering to vote.

“Voting is a sacred honor reserved for American citizens,” said Johnson. “Millions of illegal immigrants have crossed our border since Joe Biden took office—if they cast votes, our election system would be severely compromised. We must protect this right and protect election security. Allowing noncitizens to vote threatens both of those objectives.”

More than 45 million noncitizens reside in the United States, and nearly ten million illegal immigrants have crossed our borders since January 2021. Many states are committed to providing driver’s licenses to these individuals.

The Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act will:

  • Require an individual to provide proof of citizenship in person when registering to vote in federal elections.
  • Require states to remove non-citizens from existing voter rolls by providing access to existing federal databases.
  • Adds penalties for federal, state, and local officials who knowingly register non-citizens to vote in federal elections.

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Release: Who’s the Real Republican? Casey Murschel Claps Back at Jon Hansen’s Gatekeeping

Who’s the Real Republican? Casey Murschel Claps Back at Jon Hansen’s Gatekeeping

Supporting Freedom Amendment G is True GOP – SDSU Poll Shows 77% of Voters, Including 66% of Republicans, Say No to Forcing Rape Victims to Give Birth, Which is Current Law in SD

Sioux Falls, SD…Former Republican State Representative and chair of the newly formed Republicans for Freedom Amendment G, Casey Murschel, today released the following statement in reply to Representative Jon Hansen who charged in a statement emailed to South Dakota media yesterday that Murschel “might be registered ‘Republican’” but is “as much of a far left liberal as it gets.”

Statement by Casey Murschel:

“Right to Life official and State Legislator Jon Hansen says he represents all Republicans when he says South Dakota’s total abortion ban must stand and charges that I am not a real Republican.

Who put Jon Hansen in charge of deciding who is Republican enough? I don’t recall the voter registration form asking if Jon Hansen gave me permission to register as a Republican. I am not claiming to speak for all Republicans. Our intention as Republicans for Freedom Amendment G is to show how Freedom Amendment G is consistent with Republican support for smaller government and individual liberty. We reject the current ban and the extremist view that women who have been raped should be required by law to give birth. That is not the view of most real Republicans.

I and my group, Republicans for Freedom Amendment G, intend to prove that the numerous surveys showing large majorities of Republicans nationwide and here in South Dakota are against requiring a woman who has been raped to give birth, and are in favor of a more moderate Restore Roe approach, are accurate and reflect the real Republicanism in which I and they believe. We shall see, in the campaign on Freedom Amendment G, and in the election returns this November, which of us better understands and represents what South Dakota Republicans, and particularly Republican women, really want.”

SDSU December 2023 Poll on Abortion

Release – Vote Yes on Referred Law 21: Protect the Landowner Bill of Rights

Vote Yes on Referred Law 21: Protect the Landowner Bill of Rights

(Pierre, SD) The Landowner Bill of Rights is pro-landowner, pro-agriculture, and pro-business. The Landowner Bill of Rights provides significant benefits for landowners, including property tax relief, indemnification, and annual compensation. The South Dakota Ag Alliance is encouraging South Dakotans to vote Yes to uphold this pro-landowner and pro-agriculture, pro-business legislation that also holds pipelines accountable.

“Supporting Referred Law 21 will ensure landowners receive the rights and protections they deserve,” said Jason Glodt, founding member of the SD Ag Alliance. “Referred Law 21 is not just about pipelines, it’s about securing the future of South Dakota agriculture and ensuring new market opportunities that will benefit all South Dakotans.”

“I can relate to the opponent’s concerns, but Referred Law 21 doesn’t do what they say it will do,” added Rob Skjonsberg, also a founding member of the SD Ag Alliance.  “Referred Law 21 will not stop Carbon pipelines from being built so we need the Landowner Bill of Rights to hold pipelines accountable and ensure that landowners and communities receive the advantages and protections they need.”

With corn prices at $3.44 in South Dakota, farmers are facing financial challenges and losing money this year. We need to find new markets and add more value to our commodities to secure the future of South Dakota.  The Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) market represents a significant opportunity to lower the carbon footprint and add more value to the corn farmers produce, however, our farmers will not be able to benefit from SAF if the pipeline is not built. Every farmer in South Dakota will be impacted, and we cannot miss this one shot to take advantage of new market opportunities.

Voting Yes on Referred Law 21 means supporting landowner rights, protecting agriculture, holding pipelines accountable, and opening doors to new markets for the benefit of all South Dakotans.

Landowner Bill of Rights

  1. Compensation for Landowners: Requires carbon capture pipelines to pay landowners reoccurring annual payments of .50 cents per linear of pipeline through their property.
  2. Compensation for Counties: Allows counties to collect an additional .50 cents per linear foot of pipeline that runs through their county for property tax relief.
  3. Indemnity for Landowners: Requires pipeline companies to indemnify landowners for liability.
  4. Minimum Burial Depth: Requires pipeline to be buried at least 4 ft deep, exceeding federal regulations of 3 ft.
  5. Disclosure of Dispersion Models: Requires carbon pipeline companies to make dispersion modeling public.
  6. Lifetime Drain Tile Repairs: Requires pipeline companies to repair any damage to drain tile
  7. Impact Mitigation: Requires pipeline companies to file an impact mitigation plan.
  8. Leak Liability: Makes carbon pipeline companies liable to the landowner for any damage caused by leaks.
  9. Land Surveyors Must be from SD: Requires land surveyors be South Dakota residents.
  10. Bans Perpetual Easements: Limits easements to a maximum of 99 years.
  11. Information Disclosure: Requires carbon pipeline companies to report linear footage of pipes in counties and disclose if they claim a tax credit.

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SB201 referral petitions validated. 9 days after the deadline.

Reports are coming in this afternoon that the referral of Senate Bill 201, the Landowner Bill of Rights, had sufficient petitions signatures to send it to a vote this fall.

Of course, this comes well over a week after the deadline, and when the bill was supposed to go into effect.  What are we going to be voting on? According to the SD Ag Alliance, the “Landowner Bill of Rights” includes the following protections and compensation for landowners and counties:

  • Compensation for Landowners: Requires carbon capture pipelines to pay landowners $500 to access their land for surveying (HB 1185) and at least .50 cents per linear foot of pipeline through their property in the form of property tax relief (SB 201)

  • Compensation for Counties: Allows counties to collect $1.00 per linear foot of pipeline that runs through their county. At least 50% of the surcharge must be used for property tax relief for landowners on the route. The remaining revenue can be spent by counties at their discretion. (SB 201)

  • Indemnity for Landowners: Requires pipeline companies to indemnify landowners for liability. (SB 201)

  • Minimum Burial Depth: Requires pipeline to be buried at least 4 ft deep, exceeding federal regulations of 3 ft (SB 201)

  • Disclosure of Dispersion Models: Requires carbon pipeline companies to make dispersion modeling public. (SB 201)

  • Lifetime Drain Tile Repairs: Requires pipeline companies to repair any damage to drain tile (SB 201)

  • Impact Mitigation: Requires pipeline companies to file an impact mitigation plan. (SB 201)

  • Leak Liability: Makes carbon pipeline companies liable to the landowner for any damage caused by leaks. (SB 201)

  • Land Surveyors Must be from SD: Requires land surveyors be South Dakota residents. (SB 201)

(As cribbed from DRG News.)

So, no payments for landowners, no property tax relief, no lifetime drain tile repairs, no liability, etc.

The system that legislators attempted to improve will remain as it has.

At least until a vote in the fall.