Thune not looking at President, focusing on work.

Even though he keeps popping up on those lists, South Dakota’s US Senator is focusing on work in an article this morning from Politico:

It’s often said each senator wakes up, looks in the mirror and sees a future president staring back. But John Thune admits his “window” for a White House run might have closed in 2012.

So instead, the South Dakota Republican is ready to dive deep into the policy weeds as chairman of the influential Commerce Committee, while using his role as leader of the Senate GOP Conference to pursue party unity. And all the while, he’s watching three very different Republican senators mull a run for president.

Sure, Thune still lands with regularity on lists of potential dark-horse White House hopefuls, but ask what excites him and you’re likely to hear about airbag recalls and reining in the Federal Communications Commission, not tackling the Iowa caucuses. He was also a leading advocate for the joint retreat that House and Senate Republicans are holding Thursday and Friday in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

And…

Thune’s legislative hopes include updating a 1990s-era telecommunications law, testing whether Republicans can coalesce around a plan to fight the administration’s net neutrality policies and writing new aviation and highway bills. He will try to invigorate the committee’s investigative muscles on Obamacare and find out “who knew what, when” regarding the recall of millions of cars with defective airbags.

“There’s a lot of stuff you can do,” Thune said. “Sometimes you’re driven by the urgent need of the moment. And we’re trying to be kind of strategic about it and set up things that we want to do.”

Read it here.

Family Heritage Alliance issues response to Judge Schreier’s South Dakota Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

The Family Heritage Alliance, led by Executive Director Dale Bartscher, issued a statement contained in their e-mail newsletter today in which they note their opposition to the ruling handed down yesterday by Federal Judge Karen Schreier:

Dale BartscherThe South Dakota Family Heritage Alliance sincerely believes that marriage has always been – and will always be – between a man and a woman. Ultimately, no court can change that truth.  So regardless of legal outcomes, we’ll continue to address the importance of one-man, one-woman marriage.  It is important to families, society and especially for children who have a right to both a mother and a father.

Over the last 15 years, more than 40 million Americans in more than 30 states have voted at the ballot box to define marriage as one man and one woman – the same definition of marriage used worldwide and throughout history.  In the last 12 months, some U.S. judges have attempted to erase those votes much like what has happened recently here in South Dakota.

Marriage is about more than who you love; it’s about bringing together the two halves of humanity which are male and female.

Also it’s important to recognize that legalizing same-sex marriage comes at a high cost.  It costs kids either a mom or a dad (who are not interchangeable).   Furthermore it costs people of faith their First Amendment rights as government imposes the new definition across all aspects of society. We need to carefully count these costs before we run headlong into this latest social experiment with marriage.

What is before us today in the courts is a process and we pray for the sake of society that ultimately marriage as traditionally and naturally defined will win the day.

Dale Bartscher
Executive Director
Family Heritage Alliance / FHA Action

Follow the Family Heritage Alliance here.

Press Release: Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’ 2015 legislative proposals

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’ 2015 legislative proposals

Pierre, SD – Today Secretary of State Shantel Krebs has announced that she will be pushing an aggressive legislative package and asking the legislature to consider supporting changes to election law, corporate filing law and streamlining current laws.

To ensure greater fairness in the petition process for citizens of South Dakota, Secretary Krebs asks the legislature to consider the following:

Random Sampling of Statewide Candidate Petition Signatures:

This proposal, approved by the bipartisan State Board of Elections, would require the Secretary of State to conduct a 5-percent random sample of statewide candidate petitions. The proposed changes would mirror current state law pertaining to statewide initiated measures and referendums.

The proposal is designed to increase the integrity of the petition process and quell concerns pertaining to current law which does not allow the office of the Secretary of State to review the signatures that come from registered voters on statewide candidate petitions but does allow for the review of authentic signatures for statewide initiated measures and referendums.

“South Dakotans expect the Secretary of State’s office to hold the election process to the highest level of integrity. It’s crucial that our office and the Legislature work together to strengthen our election laws regarding the circulation of statewide candidate petitions so citizens can be confident that the chief elections officer has the authority to ensure statewide candidate petitions are valid,” said Secretary Krebs.

Current law puts the burden of challenging petitions on the citizens of South Dakota first, and then the matter must be decided in circuit court.  The Secretary of State’s office is currently authorized to ensure that those signatures are complete on each line, but not determine whether or not they are signed by registered voters.

Timeframe for Petition Circulation and Timeframe for Petitions to be Challenged:

This measure would give greater authority to the people of South Dakota and the Secretary of State to evaluate and dispute a candidate’s nominating petitions. Moving the petition circulation time frame ahead one month from January 1st of the election year to December 1st of the previous year and moving the petition filing deadline ahead one month from the last Tuesday in March to the last Tuesday of February and  allow challenges to be made until the second Tuesday in March.

Of further benefit to a concerned party is that a challenge to a candidate’s petitions will take precedence over other cases currently in circuit court.

Fictitious Business Name Legislative proposal:

Currently non profit organizations are not required to file Fictitious Business Names under current statute.  This proposal would require them to file so the public can search the database with greater transparency and more easily identify persons with interest in any for profit or non profit entity operating within the state of South Dakota.

“We are opening records that we feel should be available to the public, improving customer service, and making the search process more user-friendly,” said Secretary Krebs.

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(Editor’s Note – Bills mentioned are SB64, SB67, SB68, & SB69)

Jackley: Over 100 rounds expended from Brule County Residence

Investigation into Brule County Standoff

PIERRE, S.D – Attorney General Marty Jackley confirms today that the Division of Criminal Investigation has concluded their crime scene reconstruction in last week’s standoff in rural Brule County and the residence has been turned over to the family of Donald and Michael London.

Preliminary forensic testing indicates that over 100 rounds were expended and initiated from within the residence. Law enforcement fired less than a dozen rounds in response. More specific details of the forensic exams are all part of the ongoing investigation and part of the criminal justice information that may be used in the prosecution in this case.

“Approximately 132 law enforcement personnel assisted in the standoff. We are very fortunate that with the number of rounds fired from within the residence that more officers were not injured. The additional information that continues to come forward is a testament to the cooperation and bravery of our officers during one of the most dangerous events in South Dakota history. We cannot thank the public enough for their support and providing food, shelter and other resources to our officers,” said Attorney General Jackley.

Donald and Michael London are presumed innocent until such time as proven guilty.

Daugaard has no plans to revise minimum wage law. But there could be legislation introduced.

Governor Daugaard has no plans to propose changes to the minimum wage law. But he wouldn’t be shocked if we did see some:

Gov. Dennis Daugaard told members of the South Dakota Retailers Association on Monday he personally would not bring forward any proposed changes to the new minimum wage law passed by South Dakota voters as a ballot measure in November, but said he wouldn’t be surprised if some legislators did.

And…

Changing the law “would be a little bit of an affront to the voters who just adopted it,” Daugaard said, even though he opposed the measure. “I voted against it. I know many of you opposed it,” the governor said, speaking to members at the SDRA annual meeting held in Pierre at the Ramkota River Centre.

And…

The SDRA is gathering stories from its members about any impact of the new law, such as price hikes, staff reductions and reduced benefits, to share with lawmakers and others.

“It’s not just businesses being affected by the new law. It’s nonprofits, it’s daycare providers,” Lyons said.

Read it all here.

Jackley notes State of SD will be appealing today’s court decision

From Tony Mangan at KCCR comes the first note from Marty Jackley that an appeal is forthcoming:

Jackley says the appeal could be heard fairly soon because other states with similar cases, such as North Dakota, also will likely be heard by the same Eighth Circuit panel. Jackley expects some type of ruling this year.

While the U.S. Supreme Court may have the final say on the issue, Jackley says he is compelled to defend the state’s ban because it was approved by the voters. Jackley says the state believes this is an issue best decided by the voters than the courts.

Since most of the briefs and documents are the same in each case, Jackley says the expense to South Dakota for defending the ban has not been expensive. He says an appeal may eventually cost about $1,000.

Read it here.

Long-time State Employee, former Dept. Secretary and Chief of Operations Pam Roberts tapped to lead SDGOP as next chair.

I’d heard rumblings that someone out of Pierre was looking at serving as the SDGOP’s next chair.

And those rumors are confirmed tonight as a group letter has been issued from the top of the party’s ticket endorsing former SD Secretary of Labor Pam Roberts as their candidate of choice for Republican State Party chairwoman.  Roberts had also served in other roles including Chief of Operations under Governor Janklow.

roberts1 roberts2Joining Pam on the endorsed slate of candidates includes Drake Olson as vice chair, Sara Frankenstein Hoyt as Secretary, and Justin Bell as treasurer.

Pam’s a sharp, and well organized person, and brings a slightly different dynamic to the SDGOP than that of ad man Craig Lawrence. But she’s no less experienced, and should not disappoint.

Pam’s not the first woman to serve as GOP chair. If memory serves, Pat Adam of Pierre, and Arlene Ham of Rapid City had previously served in the role in the 70’s/80’s.

Candidates will be voted on at an upcoming Republican Central Committee Meeting.

AG: Federal Court Rules SD Constitution and Statutory Provisions on Same-Sex Marriage to be in Violation of the US Constitution but Stays Order

Federal Court Rules SD Constitution and Statutory Provisions on Same-Sex Marriage to be in Violation of the US Constitution but Stays Order

Marty JackleyPIERRE, S.D – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that South Dakota District Court has granted the plaintiffs and denied the State’s motion for summary judgment in the South Dakota case of Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard.

“It remains the State’s position that the institution of marriage should be defined by the voters of South Dakota and not the federal courts. Because this case presents substantial legal questions and substantial public interest the Federal Court has stayed its judgment allowing South Dakota law to remain in effect pending the appeal,” said Attorney General Jackley.

The Federal Court ruled that a same sex couple has a fundamental right to marry. Therefore, South Dakota law deprives the plaintiffs of that right without sufficient justification in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The Federal Court ruled that because the case presents substantial legal questions, and because of the substantial public interest in uniformity and stability of the law, the Court stays its judgment pending appeal. In addition, the effects of this judgment are stayed until the judgment is final.

The Dakota Territory law that marriage was authorized only between a male and a female was reaffirmed in November 2006 when a Constitutional Amendment was approved by South Dakota voters.

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