Rounds Reaffirms Commitment to Repeal Pay Ratio Rule

RoundsPressHeader MikeRounds official SenateRounds Reaffirms Commitment to Repeal Pay Ratio Rule

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today reaffirmed his commitment to repeal the pay ratio rule embedded in Section 953(b) of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is voting today to adopt the pay ratio rule.

“The pay ratio rule is a waste of time, effort and money, and the SEC is misguided in voting to adopt this duplicative, unnecessary rule,” said Rounds “Repealing the pay ratio rule – as my legislation seeks to do – would allow companies to find more productive uses of their time and money so they can invest in the future and create jobs. I will work to move it forward in the legislative process.”

The statute requires the SEC to promulgate a rule requiring companies to disclose the pay ratio of their CEO compared to a company’s median workers. Section 953 is not only redundant because CEO pay is already public, it would also cost businesses millions of dollars in compliance costs.

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My pile of boards leftover from the SDSU Stadium demolition looks like this now! (Not bad for a PolySci grad)

deck4I’ve written more about it on facebook than here, but you might recall that ‘d all but abandoned my hopes of expanding my little concrete pad that passed for a patio this year until I’d stumbled across a pile of lumber at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

And that lumber became the genesis for the biggest project I’ve ever taken on.

ReStore is a great resource for old furniture, light fixtures, building materials, and most anything you can think of in a thrift store, sans clothing. I go out there from time to time to see what they have. And in the latest trip to see what I could see, I went out back to a lumber pile, and noticed that they had a big pile of lumber that at one time had been painted for the SDSU Jacks.

It was explained to me that all these boards of blue and gold had been left over from the stadium demolition. Much of the lumber had gone to stadium benches which were sold to alumni. And they were more interesting, as they had been painted with row numbers. What was in the pile were the more boring or pedestrian boards that they didn’t want, or couldn’t use.

Noticing that it was a big pile of 18 foot long 2×10 lumber, which retailed in the neighborhood of $50 a board for treated lumber at Lowe’s, I asked the ReStore people “how much?”

deck3The reply? “$5 a board.”   And I couldn’t load it fast enough.

The cheap lumber left me to imagine how I was going to put this together from a pile of boards I possibly sat on as an undergraduate student, into a structure that my family could use and enjoy for many years to come.

Here I might mention that I’ve never built a deck before. But, I watch the DIY Channel. I’m game!

I found that my inexperience would crop up from time to time, especially as I was measuring for my decking. On one occasion, I seem to recall exclaiming to myself “Why are these posts 12 feet apart, and these at the bottom are 12’4″?  I measured twice!

deck2 I found myself running back to Habitat ReStore on more than one occasion for “just another couple of SDSU Bleacher boards” for various reasons; whether it was to add support, or to fix my goof-ups.

And in constructing it, I found creative solutions to some of those various goof-ups, such as breaking up the 12ft spans of decking with a board in the middle, masking my post mismeasurement, as well that little thing where I omitted the width of the lumber bolted to the outside of the posts in my calculations.

Did I mention I hadn’t build a deck before?

deck After going on vacation for a week, I returned and dug into the deck once more with gusto, adding railings, 2 sets of stairs, and finally a pergola to outline where my outdoor kitchen will be.

An open corner will hold a plant, or a planter box, so I don’t have to do try to make a post and short railing sturdy enough to weather kids hanging on it all the time.  I’ll cull through the leftovers to see if I’ve got something to make hand rails out of for the stairs. And I’ll add some decorative trim to mask the underside of the deck.

But for now, my deck of SDSU leftovers is looking pretty darned good for an alumnus of the SDSU political science program (versus the engineering or construction management programs), to the point where I’m not afraid to put the family on it

You know, what they say is true. You CAN go anywhere from SDSU.  As far as these bleachers are concerned, you can go from life as seating for thousands of football enthusiasts to a new home and life entertaining and helping a Brookings family enjoy the outdoors for years to come.

Rounds featured in Roll Call Article on “Former Governor’s Caucus.”

South Dakota’s US Senator Mike Rounds is featured in an article on the Roll Call web site about the “Former Governor Caucus,” discussing the difference between running the show, and being one of many:

MikeRounds official SenateJust six months into his Senate tenure, Rounds, who is interested in a biennial budget process as well, is still getting used to his position as a junior member, particularly with crucial legislative deadlines coming to a head in the fall.

“As a new member, not being directly involved with those discussions on a regular basis, it’s frustrating, where as governor you’d be right in the middle of things,” he said.

and…

When King approached Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about the Former Governors Caucus, he told the Kentucky Republican that some suggested the group be called the Extremely Frustrated Caucus.

“Then Mitch said, ‘Well, I’ve found if you have a former governor who’s now a senator and you ask him which job they like better, if they tell you senator they’ll lie to you about other things.’ I thought that was a pretty good way to put it,” King said, laughing.

Read it all here.

So, is the Flandreau pot bus going to pick up people at Public Schools, or up at the SDSU Campus?

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I was reading the article in this morning’s Argus Leader, and was just “thrilled” (insert sarcastic inflection here) to read that the Flandreau tribe has plans to bus people from Brookings and Sioux Falls down to their pot parlor in Flandreau when it opens.

Monarch sales director Cory Johnsen said as the lounge gets closer to opening in early December, he intends to do a lot of marketing in the Sioux Falls and Brookings communities. Among other things, they want to promote the shuttle services that will be offered to transport people from those cities to Flandreau and back.

“Our big thing is, we want people to be able to come there, hang out, consume and be safe,” Johnsen said. “That’s our No. 1 objective, so we just want to promote how we’re going to be able to achieve that.”

There are, of course, law enforcement concerns about all of this. Flandreau Police Chief Anthony Schrad can’t believe the lounge is going to attract only law-abiding citizens.

Read it all here.

Thinking about the city bus stops here in the nicest city in South Dakota, I’m left wondering if they’re going to be bringing the pot shuttle directly to SDSU and pick up people right at the dormitories? Or if they’re going to hit the city bus stops, such as the one across the street from Mickelson Middle School?

It’s one thing for the tribe and it’s designees to be promoting the use of illegal drugs in their sovereign territory – but they want to start exporting it to our neighborhoods?

What are your thoughts? Should cities, or state government have the ability to ban the pot transport vans from their community or their campus?

And if they’re going to be this aggressive about pushing it, should the Attorney General be just as aggressive to keep it confined within the boundaries of the reservation?

When the EPA talks, our delegation had better be darned skeptical. And should rein them in.

Yesterday, our Washington Delegation took great issue with the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan,” which could increase the cost of electricity for South Dakotans, and most of America. As noted by Senator Thune in his dissent over the regulations:

“The Obama EPA strikes again,” said Thune. “If there is one thing for which the EPA can be counted on, it is the repeated issuance of rules and regulations that stifle growth and make life harder and more costly for American families and entrepreneurs. This backdoor national energy tax will hurt jobs, cause costs to skyrocket, and threaten grid reliability.

And…

For South Dakota to meet its state reduction target, the recently overhauled Big Stone Plant would likely have to shut down for at least part of the year. The plant, which is nearing completion of a $384 million environmental upgrade to meet the EPA’s Regional Haze and Utility MACT regulations, will soon be among the cleanest in the country. Yet, under the Clean Power Plan, this investment would be stranded and its sunk costs passed on to ratepayers.

Read that here.

And the EPA Strikes again.  But can we trust that the EPA is passing rules and regulations on the basis of science and a sincere desire of a majority of Americans?

Because as noted recently in relation to the waters of the US rule from the EPA and the Corps of Engineers, in that instance the agency actually campaigned on social media seeking comments in support of their position.

For example, the agency used a Thunderclap campaign to drum up support using social media. “We hope you’ll support our clean water proposal. To help you do that, and get your friends to also voice their support, we’re using a new tool called Thunderclap; it’s like a virtual flash mob.” The message was sent to about 1.8 million people.The agency also has used social media in other ways to help promote the rule.

According to The New York Times, “Late last year, the EPA sponsored a drive on Facebook and Twitter to promote its proposed clean water rule in conjunction with the Sierra Club.”

and..

After receiving heat about these questionable actions, the agency defended itself by claiming, “Our goal is to inform and educate. We encourage folks from all perspectives to participate so we can understand more, learn more and finalize a stronger rule.”

and…

McCarthy also fails to mention opposition to the rule is massive. Groups representing farmers, ranchers, small businesses, manufacturers, homebuilders, mining companies, counties, cities and state legislators, as well as individuals, state officials and other groups have submitted substantive comments expressing opposition to the rule. In other words, there is widespread opposition rarely seen to a proposed rule.

Read it here.

This would be akin to the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks seeking an unpopular reduction in mountain lion quotas going to social media, and asking people to leave a comment if they want to “save the kitties.”  It’s ludicrous, and places what’s supposed to be a unbiased quasi-judicial panel who is supposed to judge the merit of proposals and turns them into a political organization campaigning to turn the will of the people.

In other words, it’s the tail wagging the dog.

If that’s what our government is coming to, there needs to be drastic change in the executive branch of government. And in any instance when the EPA talks, our delegation had better be darned skeptical.

And should take steps to rein them in.

Press Release: AFP Reacts to “Clean Power Plan”

afp_sdAFP Reacts to “Clean Power Plan”

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Today, Americans for Prosperity South Dakota, the state’s foremost advocate for economic freedom, reacted with disappointment to the President’s new “Clean Power Plan” rule, finalized today, which would drive up costs for consumers across the economy.

State Director Ben Lee released the following statement:

“South Dakota doesn’t need more regulation from Washington — especially not ones that will send our electric bills skyrocketing, cost thousands of jobs, and raise costs for consumers all across our state. This new plan would essentially amount to a federal takeover of South Dakota’s powergrid and we just can’t afford it.

Last session, state lawmakers rightly voiced their opposition to the EPA and this harmful plan.  Likewise, Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds and Congresswoman Kristi Noem are doing their part to protect South Dakotans from these costly regulations.  It is important for our leaders to continue to do all they can to oppose this power grab by the EPA.”

EPA’s Backdoor National Energy Tax a Burden for South Dakota Consumers

thuneheadernew John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressEPA’s Backdoor National Energy Tax a Burden for South Dakota Consumers

Electricity Bills Could Skyrocket as a Result of EPA Regulation

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) announcement that it has approved the Clean Power Plan, which could increase electricity bills for Americans across the country:

“The Obama EPA strikes again,” said Thune. “If there is one thing for which the EPA can be counted on, it is the repeated issuance of rules and regulations that stifle growth and make life harder and more costly for American families and entrepreneurs. This backdoor national energy tax will hurt jobs, cause costs to skyrocket, and threaten grid reliability. While all South Dakotans are likely to feel the pain of this burdensome new regulation, low-income families and seniors living on fixed incomes will be hit the hardest. I will continue to fight for South Dakotans and do all I can to see that this rule is reversed.”

The EPA’s final rule will require a 32 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, targeting America’s affordable and reliable coal generation. For South Dakota to meet its state reduction target, the recently overhauled Big Stone Plant would likely have to shut down for at least part of the year. The plant, which is nearing completion of a $384 million environmental upgrade to meet the EPA’s Regional Haze and Utility MACT regulations, will soon be among the cleanest in the country. Yet, under the Clean Power Plan, this investment would be stranded and its sunk costs passed on to ratepayers.

In January, Thune urged EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to withdraw the proposed regulations on existing power plants.

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Rounds Statement on Obama’s Coal Tax Plan

RoundsPressHeader MikeRounds official SenateRounds Statement on Obama’s Coal Tax Plan

“This plan will result in higher electricity rates for every single household and job creator in America.”

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today issued the following statement on President Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” final rule, which was issued earlier today:

“Once again, the Obama Administration is stretching the limits of the law far beyond what Congress intended to impose sweeping new mandates at the expense of American families,” said Rounds. “This plan will result in higher electricity rates for every single household and job creator in America. Additionally, energy production will be reduced, bringing further uncertainty surrounding the electric grid – all with little environmental benefit. The rule could also threaten the livelihood of South Dakota’s lone coal-fired plant at Big Stone, which is already in the middle of a $400 million compliance upgrade.

“The so-called clean power plan is yet another example in which American families are being forced to suffer the consequences of this Administration’s overreaching, over-burdensome agenda without any input or recourse for policies they disagree with.

“Congressional frustration with these types of regulations underscores the need for a bipartisan approach to address executive overreach, regardless of party affiliation.  The bipartisan RESTORE Resolution, which we introduced earlier this year, along with its House companion, would lead to a permanent solution to regulation without representation. It reinforces Congressional oversight as part of the rulemaking process.”

Earlier this year, Rounds sponsored The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA), the principal legislative vehicle in the Senate to roll back the Clean Power Plan. The Senate EPW Committee is scheduled to mark-up ARENA on Wednesday.

More information about RESTORE is available HERE.

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Rounds Votes to Protect Taxpayers from Paying For Planned Parenthood

RoundsPressHeader MikeRounds official SenateRounds Votes to Protect Taxpayers from Paying For Planned Parenthood

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today voted in favor of S. 1881, legislation he cosponsored to redirect funds from Planned Parenthood to community health centers.

“Recent videos of Planned Parenthood officials causally and cold-heartedly discussing the sale of body parts of unborn children is reprehensible. I thank Majority Leader McConnell for bringing legislation to redirect funds from Planned Parenthood up for a vote this evening, and I thank my colleagues who have taken the lead on this important issue. I am pro-life and I do not support taxpayer dollars funding an organization that performs abortions and illegally sells the body parts of unborn children. It is sickening.

“Part of our job as members of Congress is to vote our conscience when it comes to moral issues. This is clearly a moral issue that must be addressed. There are many other options – other than Planned Parenthood –  for delivering important services to women. I will continue to oppose federal funding of Planned Parenthood.”

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South Dakota Attorney General Voices Concern with EPA’s Clean Power Plan

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Marty Jackley

South Dakota Attorney General Voices Concern with EPA’s Clean Power Plan

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized the rule establishing performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing fossil fuel fired power plants.

“We all recognize the importance of protecting our environment and developing energy efficiency, but I am concerned the EPA has exceeded its authority granted by Congress and reduced the decision-making authority of our State. The EPA’s actions will directly affect energy costs and potential energy availability to South Dakota consumers. I intend to work with other State Attorneys General to protect our State decision-making authority and our consumers who heavily depend on energy in their everyday lives,” said Jackley.

In 2014, several states submitted extensive comments on the Proposed Rule, explaining the Proposed Rule was unlawful. In addition, they also noted the EPA’s failure to comply with notice and comment requirements. Now over a year later, these comments and related concerns have not been addressed as the EPA moves forward with the implementation of the Rule.