Happy Independence Day this weekend!

This is largely a vacation week for me, as I’m actually just returning from a couple of days at my B-I-L’s in Missouri, and have my sister & kids coming to town today, so lots of family activities. But in the midst of not posting so much, I did want to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July!

In addition to being our independence day, July 4th it’s also the day when the Constitutional Convention was held in 1889 (it was our 3rd one) in Sioux Falls that finally made us a state on November 2, 1889.

State Paid Family Leave to Take Effect on July 1st

State Paid Family Leave to Take Effect on July 1st

PIERRE, S.D. – On July 1, 2020, Paid Family Leave for state employees will take effect. The South Dakota State Legislature passed and Governor Noem signed SB 186 during this past legislative session to put this benefit into effect.

“Strong families are the key to a strong South Dakota,” said Governor Noem. “Paid Family Leave will allow state employees to invest in their families by taking the necessary time to develop stronger bonds with newborn and adopted children. The State of South Dakota is leading the way for family-friendly employers, and strong benefits put South Dakota in a better position to attract top talent to our state.”

Paid Family Leave will provide parents 60% of their normal salary for up to 8 weeks when they welcome a new child through birth or adoption. It can be used in the first 12 months following birth or adoption placement. This benefit does not set a mandate on private businesses or local governments.

For Frequently Asked Questions on South Dakota’s Paid Family Leave benefit, visit BHR.sd.gov.


Johnson Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Support Meat and Poultry Producers

Johnson, Cuellar Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Support Meat and Poultry Producers 

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX) introduced the Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions (DIRECT) Act. This legislation will allow state inspected meat to be sold across state lines through e-commerce, allowing small producers and processors more options to directly market to consumers.

“As a result of COVID-19, meat processing plants across the country have been forced to close or slow operations and as a result we’ve seen a renaissance in small processors,” said Johnson. “Many states, including South Dakota, have inspection standards that are at least equal to what the federal government requires. This bill cuts through red tape and allows producers, processors and retailers to sell state inspected meat and poultry direct to consumers through online stores across state lines.”

“America’s meat industry has been hit hard by financial challenges resulting from the coronavirus pandemic,” said Cuellar. “The bipartisan legislation will open up new markets for meat producers and processors by allowing meat inspected by the State to be sold online and across state lines. As a senior member of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Appropriations, I will continue to fight for the men and women who work every day to keep food on our table during these unprecedented times. I want to thank Congressman Dusty Johnson for his commitment to supporting our meat industry.”

The DIRECT Act will:

  • Amend the retail exemption under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and Poultry Products Inspection Act to allow processors, butchers or other retailers to sell normal retail quantities (300 lbs. of beef, 100 lbs. of pork, 27.5 lbs. of lamb) of State Inspected Meat online to consumers across state lines.
  • Allow new direct-to-consumer options for producers, processors and small meat markets.
  • Maintains traceability of sales easily accessed in the event of a recall.
  • Allows retail sales to consumers, minimizing the risk for further processing in export, keeping equivalency agreements with trading partners intact.
  • Allow states operating under the Cooperative Interstate Shipping system to ship and label as they are currently.

This bill is supported by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sheep Industry Association, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, SD Pork Producers Council and South Dakota Farm Bureau.

“Over the past few months, more Americans looked to e-commerce to purchase essential goods like beef and an already booming online marketplace further evolved to facilitate purchases and meet consumer demands,” said Marty Smith, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “The American beef supply chain must evolve to keep up with the speed of commerce and the demands of modern-day consumers. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association supports the Direct Interstate Retail Exemption for Certain Transactions (DIRECT) Act because it helps make it easier for the American cattle producer to meet the growing demand of the American consumer to purchase safe and delicious U.S. beef.”

“Through the COVID-19 pandemic we have experienced a trend for consumers wanting to source beef directly from ranchers,” said Eric Jennings, President of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association. “Two of the challenges SD beef producers have faced in developing a direct sales market are a limited population of consumers and very few federally inspected processing facilities. Online sales represent an opportunity for our beef producers to expand their market beyond our limited rural population, but they have been restricted in their broader marketing efforts by prohibitions on interstate shipment of state inspected meat, coupled with few federally inspected plants. South Dakota has had an excellent state meat inspection system that is equivalent to federal meat inspection for many years. This bill will allow our producers more freedoms for interstate commerce while still providing a safe beef product for consumers. We thank Congressman Johnson for bringing forth this legislation.”

“Small, state inspected processors have filled the void for many producers this year when larger plants shut down. The DIRECT Act would allow state inspected plants to sell their product direct to consumers across state lines. This presents a new opportunity for producers to reach consumers directly through online sales,” said Scott VanderWal, Vice President of the American Farm Bureau Federation and President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. “Consumers wishing to directly order a SD steak would be able to do just that.”

“The bill that Rep. Johnson is introducing is a step to opening up more markets for our local State Inspected Locker plants,” said Craig Andersen, President of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council. “Through the last few months these plants have gone to extraordinary levels to help keep pigs in the food chain. They are in need of extra market access for the product they produce. This bill should also make it easier for producers to harvest and give product to local charities.”



Hot off the press – Noem Job Approval at 62% in new poll, with 89% approval among Republicans!

Hot off the press, in a new polling memo from long-time polling strategist Glen Bolger’s company, Public Opinion Strategies, Governor Kristi Noem’s job rating was tested, coming in with a strong 62% approval rating when people were asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the job Kristi Noem is doing as governor?”

You can read the memo below:

SD Noem Polling Memo by Pat Powers on Scribd

According to recent polling conducted June 27-30, 2020 among five hundred registered voters in the state, fully 62% approve and 32% disapprove of the job Governor Noem is doing. According to the memo, “By intensity, 39% strongly approve and 23% somewhat approve. Only 19% strongly disapprove, while another 13% somewhat disapprove. The remaining 6% said they did not know.

According to the poll, Noem is tremendously well received by the Republican majority in the state, as it was noted “The Governor’s approval rating hits 89% approve/7% disapprove with Republicans, 48% approve/43% disapprove with Independents, and 26% approve/68% disapprove with Democrats.

Read the entire memo above.

Gov. Noem Celebrates USMCA Entering into Force

Gov. Noem Celebrates USMCA Entering into Force

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem celebrated a new chapter in American trade as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) enters into force.

“The USMCA is a major win for South Dakota producers, and I am grateful that it is finally taking effect,” said Governor Noem. “This agreement rebalances and modernizes the old rules of the road into a 21st Century, high-standard trade deal that better serves the interests of South Dakota farmers, ranchers, and businesspeople. It couldn’t come at a more crucial time as our producers look to recover from COVID-19.”

Noem, a lifelong farmer and rancher, helped negotiate the USMCA while serving in Congress and has been an outspoken advocate for the agreement. South Dakota exports $586 million worth of goods to Canada and $338 million worth of goods to Mexico annually.

To learn more about how the USMCA will benefit South Dakota, click here.


South Dakota Chamber forms committee to oppose adding pot to State Constitution

From the Capital Journal, the State Chamber of Commerce and Industry has announced the formation of the ‘NO Way on Amendment A’ committee to oppose the constitutional amendment to add legalization of pot to the South Dakota State Constitution:

“Amendment A will appear on this November’s ballot and goes beyond making pot legal,” said David Own, chairman of the committee and president of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “It makes recreational marijuana use a part of our state’s 131 year-old Constitution that cannot be amended by our state legislature.”

“This isn’t about getting high with your friends. This is about permanently expanding access to a drug that can have powerful consequences,” said Owen as he filed the paperwork for establishing the “NO Way on Amendment A” Committee.


Additional business groups have already decided to join the ‘NO Way on A’ effort. These groups include law enforcement officials, public officials and social work leaders. As employers start to study the issue, Owen expects other groups to be making announcements throughout the summer.

Read the entire story here.

South Dakota YR’s hold first convention after reforming in SD

The South Dakota Young Republicans held their first convention since reforming at the state level here in the State, and elected officers last night:

Last night the South Dakota Young Republicans held our first Annual Convention!

We Elected our newly formed Executive Board, worked through our States Constitution and most importantly gathered ideas and plans to help elect quality Republican Candidates to office in 2020.

Congratulations to the following elected members. #MAGA #KAG #LEADRIGHT #TRUMP2020

President-Larry Luetke
Vice President- John Haverhals
Secretary- Carrie Srstka
Treasurer- Cole Heisey
National Committeeman- Spencer Wrightsman
National Committeewoman- Danielle Haugan

Congratulations to all, and keep up the good work!

District 23 Libertarian Senate Candidate Abernathey sued in small claims court for not paying rent

A filing was made this week in McPherson County in small claims court against District 23 Libertarian State Senate Candidate Carl W (or CJ) Abernathey, Jr.    According to the filing with the UJS, Abernathey is being accused of skipping out on his rent to “In Town Rentals” of Eureka.

According to the document filed with the 5th Circuit, Claim is being made against Abernathey for $4358.90 for unpaid rent and costs remaining on one year lease agreement, with a court date currently set for July 28th at 10AM, according to the Small Claims Lawsuit notice, which you can read here:

Libertarian State Senate Candidate CJ Abernathey sued in Small Claims court by Pat Powers on Scribd

If you recall, this isn’t the first time Abernathey has what many would consider embarrassing financial issues come up.

Back in October, Abernathey put out a plea on Facebook because he owed a bail bond company in North Carolina $1500.  Which, if you owe a bond company, it’s generally because a person didn’t show up for court, after you or someone signed an agreement with the bond company to guarantee a defendant shows up for their court appearance.

Both of these instances came up BEFORE he submitted his name to run for the State Senate as a Libertarian in 2020.

Currently scheduled to be heard on July 21st, if Abernathey contests that he owes the money, the court date will likely be shifted to a later date, but may likely be heard before the November election.