Thune Reintroduces Bill to Eliminate Government Competition With Private Industry

Thune Reintroduces Bill to Eliminate Government Competition With Private Industry
“Fair competition will allow businesses to thrive and save taxpayers money.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today reintroduced legislation that would require federal agencies to rely on the private sector when providing goods and services that are readily available. Thune’s legislation, the Freedom from Government Competition Act (S. 2990), would ensure private enterprises that provide services that are replicated by the federal government have the ability to compete for the opportunity to deliver those federally provided services.

Thune’s legislation would make the federal government smaller and more efficient while providing the best value to the taxpayer. The bill has been likened to codifying a “Yellow Pages” test, meaning that if the federal government is doing something that can be found in the Yellow Pages, or now in a simple online search, the product or service should be subject to market competition.

“This bill is a commonsense approach in allowing small businesses to compete with the federal government if they can provide that same good or service,” said Thune. “These businesses can oftentimes provide services in a cheaper, more efficient manner. Fair competition will allow businesses to thrive and save taxpayers money.”

The Freedom from Government Competition Act does not mandate the privatization of any specific federal service and would protect those activities that are inherently governmental, such as certain national defense and homeland security functions, prosecutions, foreign policy, and activities to bind the United States to take or not to take some action by contract, policy, regulation, authorization, or order.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) is the sponsor of the companion bill, which was introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Argus Leader has now posted story on Theresa Stehly’s history of blocking constituents. Is it time for her echo chamber of ego to stop?

The Argus picked up on the discussion over how Sioux Falls City Councilwoman Theresa Stehly excludes constituents from social (anti-social?) media:

But some of those blocked say they weren’t barred from participating in the discussions Stehly prompts on social media because they were disrespectful, used profanity or didn’t contribute to discussion. Rather, those blocked, including a candidate pursuing her seat as well as other city councilors, say they got the cold social media shoulder from Stehly because they don’t see eye-to-eye with her politically.

Thor Bardon, a candidate for the central district City Council seat in 2018, told the Argus Leader Thursday he has been blocked from seeing Stehly’s Facebook posts for months after challenging her on positions she’s taken as a city councilor. Not being able to participate in civic discussions with a public official, he said, is essentially government censorship.


Councilors Christine Erickson and Greg Neitzert say they’ve also been blocked by Stehly. Stehly asserts those two blocked her first, though both Neitzert and Erickson insist they do not block anyone from seeing their Facebook pages.

Read the entire story here.

As Stehly seems to isolate herself, she seems to be creating an ego-driven echo chamber of supporters, beholding only to herself.

Case in point would be her claim that multitudes were demanding that concrete ping pong tables be put up in Sioux Falls Parks.  Does anyone ever recall hearing an outcry for taxpayer dollars to be spent on concrete ping pong tables? Exactly.

But it’s not just blocking people. There’s also the pattern of her openly going after anyone who might express a contrary opinion.

We’ve had open attacks against someone who pointed out her misinformation on Facebook, and robocalls against people who she didn’t want the city to hire.

And more recently, in the past few months as a fundraiser was being announced someone who is running against her, Theresa allegedly saw the list of people who were publicly sponsoring the event, and called darn near all of them as far as I could tell to demand why they were supporting her opponent. At least in one instance it was related to me that she directly demanded to know why they don’t like her.

Stehly’s cult of ego has really hit critical mass, and the latest Argus story certainly makes it look like people are sick of her tantrums and behavior.

Stay tuned. I’m sure we’ll hear more before it’s over.

Looking to run for office in 2020 as a Republican? SDGOP Campaign schools this and next Saturday. And I’m always available to chat.

If you’re considering a run for office, don’t forget that the South Dakota Republican party is sponsoring Campaign Schools both this Saturday in Rapid City, and next Saturday in Sioux Falls.  As noted in the link to sign up…

The Candidate school is for Republicans preparing for service as elected officials and community leaders. Ideal attendees are Republican party members who are looking to become more politically active, including candidates and campaign staff. Attendees will learn how to:

  • Organize a campaign staff and structure
  • Raise funds
  • Work with the media
  • Communicate with voters
  • Plan their advertising
  • Target their message

Read more and sign up here.

This Saturday, in Rapid City The Pennington County Republican Party is hosting the Workshop on Saturday, December 7 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.  Next Saturday in Sioux Falls, the South Dakota Republican Party is hosting the SDGOP Candidate School on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 8 AM – 4 PM at ‘Sioux Falls First,’ 6300 W 41st Street, in Sioux Falls.

Good candidates working together are what make the SDGOP great, so if you’re a Republican, and you have an interest, it’s worth $35 and a day of your time to learn more about the nuts and bolts.  I’m personally going to be addressing the Sioux Falls group to discuss some how’s and why’s when it comes to name identification and ways candidates can target their message.

If you can’t make the school, but want to talk about running, feel free to drop me a note here. I’m always happy to have a confidential discussion about what it takes to get a campaign off the ground and to conduct a competitive race.

Thune Leads Hearing on MOBILE NOW, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken Testifies

Thune Leads Hearing on MOBILE NOW, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken Testifies

“This important legislation made a down payment on both spectrum and infrastructure needs, positioning the United States to lead in the race to 5G—a race that has major implications for our national security and economy.” 

Click here or on the image above to watch Thune’s opening statement. 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, today led a hearing titled, “The Evolution of Next-Generation Technologies: Implementing MOBILE NOW.” The hearing examined the implementation of several mandates required by the Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless (MOBILE NOW) Act. At the invitation of Thune, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken testified on MOBILE NOW’s spectrum provisions and the streamlining of broadband infrastructure deployment on federal lands, among other things. Thune is the author of the MOBILE NOW Act, which was signed into law in 2018.

After Stace Nelson lawsuit, SF Councilwoman Theresa Stehly taking fire on facebook over blocking constituents.

Could the next lawsuit over blocking constituents on social media be directed at Sioux Falls City Councilwoman Theresa Stehly?

After the story broke, in the Sioux Falls related “Sioux Falls Politics” facebook group, Stehly has been taking fire over her alleged actions in blocking constituents that she disagrees with:

Should our local politicians be allowed to block people they don’t like from FB? More specifically, should our city council members who use their FB account as one of their platforms be allowed to block other FB users?

A specific council member that is active on this forum has blocked other FB user(s) from seeing their post, all posts, which then does not allow the blocked FB user to see how the city council member is portraying specific items within the City. Where this gets concerning is when they block people who have very valid and important information who then can’t counterbalance the discussion.

Below are two screenshots. One is from my account and the other is from an unnamed FB user who has been blocked by city council woman Theresa Stehly. 

Read the entire story here.  (And join the Sioux Falls Politics forum, it’s always an interesting read.)

It’s a fairly rollicking discussion with Stehly taking fire for blocking people, as well as for other actions in interacting with constituents which left people with negative impressions.  And it finds at least a couple of Stehly’s fellow council persons making the point on how they specifically don’t block people:

The block/don’t block discussion for public officials has really come out of left field, and may leave a number of public officials at the moment wondering if there’s a way for them to openly talk about issues of public concern, while at the same time keeping their public social media presence free of trolls and ne’er do wells.

Is there a happy medium, or given the public nature of elected officials, is this an absolute?

What are your thoughts?

Update on Jean Rounds

Update on Jean Rounds

ROCHESTER, MINN. – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and his wife, Jean, today provided the following update on Jean’s cancer treatment:

This week, Mike and Jean traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., after Jean experienced pain in her right leg. Doctors found a hematoma at the site of her surgical incision. It was determined that this was causing pressure on her sciatic nerve. It was likely caused by blood thinners she was taking following November’s successful surgery to remove the remaining portion of the tumor after the chemo treatments were complete. She underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove the hematoma and will remain at the hospital for the next several days.

“While this is an unexpected hurdle, we are grateful that there are no concerns about the cancer at this time,” said Mike and Jean. “We continue to be lifted by the thoughts and prayers of so many and thank those who have supported us throughout this process. Keep the prayers coming!”

Following six successful rounds of chemo, Jean underwent surgery last month to remove the remaining portion of her tumor. She will undergo radiation treatment in the coming months as she finishes her anticipated course of treatment.


Lawsuit filed against State Senator Stace Nelson for violating civil rights of voter by blocking them on Facebook

Well, this could set an interesting first amendment precedent in South Dakota. Because Senator Stace Nelson is being sued for violating the rights of a voter because Stace would not let him challenge the Senator’s “misinformed and inaccurate statements” on Facebook:

Stace Nelson Lawsuit by Pat Powers on Scribd


1. This is a civil rights action seeking to vindicate important First Amendment values, to protect the free exchange of ideas about matters of public concern, and to prevent a public official from engaging in slander and unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

2. Defendant, Senator Stace Nelson (“Senator Nelson”), a publicly elected official, has wrongfully and willfully attempted to silence Plaintiff, Jeffrey Church (“Church”) after Church was critical of Nelson’s misinformed and inaccurate statements on matters of public concern that were made on a public forum.

3. Senator Nelson has also wrongfully and willfully slandered Church and made harmful statements that were knowingly false or made in reckless disregard of the truth.


41. Church replied to Nelson by asking “Is there a reason I can no longer comment on most of this page? You call me out by name on here, like you did at your Lincoln Day dinner speech, arid then I can’t respond.” To which, Senator Nelson stated, “Jeff Church and yet, here you are … in all your Socialist supporting glory, responding away.”

42. In an additional comment, Senator Nelson wrote: “Jeff Church slanderous comments and lies will be deleted. Either mind your manners or go someplace else to post your propaganda. This is my personal FB page maintained on my personal time. You are not entitled to post your lies and propaganda here. You support Socialists. There’s nothing constitutional or conservative about you.”


51. Senator Nelson’s blocking of Church and deletion of comments written by Church from Senator Nelson’s Facebook page violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments because Senator Nelson’s actions impose content and viewpoint-based restriction on Church’s ability to petition the government for redress of grievances.


60. Senator Nelson, acting under the color of state law, has wrongfully deprived Church that right to petition by excluding Church from Senator Nelson’s Facebook page, a public forum and designated public forum.

61. Senator Nelson knew or should have known that denying Church access to a public forum and a designated public forum on matters of public concern violated clearly established law.

From Church v. Nelson

This is interesting, coming on the heels of his resignation announcement.  It goes along the lines of the lawsuit successfully pursued against President Trump which prevented him from blocking people on his Twitter account.

Let’s just say Stace has a …certain history… of interacting with people negatively on Facebook. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about it as this lawsuit moves to trial.

And it’s a big wakeup call to other elected officials that hadn’t taken notice of the ruling yet. Because they’re now hearing of it as it’s pursued in our own little State, and it may affect how each and every one of them handle their social media.

AFP-SD to Host 2020 Legislative Agenda Kick-Off Events 

AFP-SD to Host 2020 Legislative Agenda Kick-Off Events 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.— Americans for Prosperity-South Dakota (AFP-SD) will host two events to kick-off its 2020 Legislative Agenda. The events will be hosted in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, with RSVPed press invited to each event. Specific legislative agenda items for 2020 will be presented at the events.

WHAT: AFP-SD’s 2020 Legislative Preview
WHEN: Thursday, December 12th, 5:30PM – 7:30PM
WHERE: Holiday Inn in Rapid City Rushmore Plaza
505 N. 5th St., Rapid City, SD 57701

WHAT: AFP-SD’s 2020 Legislative Preview
WHEN: Tuesday, December 10th, 5:30PM – 7:30PM
WHERE: Holiday Inn City Centre
100 W. 8th Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57104 

These events may be streamed from the AFP-South Dakota facebook page. 

Johnson Supports USDA Efforts To Encourage Employment

Johnson Supports USDA Efforts To Encourage Employment

Washington, D.C. – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) finalized a rule impacting able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) benefits. This rule significantly reduces waivers, requiring ABAWDs to enroll in a training program, pursue higher education, or seek employment in order to remain eligible for SNAP benefits. U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations, issued the following statement applauding USDA’s announcement

“We all know education and work provide dignity and economic opportunity,” said Johnson. “The stats are clear. Nearly 75 percent of able-bodied SNAP recipients don’t work. The unemployment rate is at an all-time low. Simply put, people who can work, should work. I applaud the administration for crafting a rule that supports adults as they transition towards and into employment.”


Release: Crystal Johnson Appointed as Interim (Minnehaha Co) State’s Attorney

Crystal Johnson Appointed as Interim State’s Attorney


Sioux Falls, SD – Judge Robin Houwman, Presiding Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit in South Dakota, has appointed Crystal Johnson as Interim State’s Attorney for Minnehaha County. The appointment will be effective at 5:01pm on December 6th.

“We are excited to have Judge Houwman appoint Crystal Johnson as Interim State’s Attorney. Her leadership and experience is an asset to the County. The State’s Attorney’s Office is incredibly busy and plays a vital public safety role,” said Minnehaha County Commission Chair Jean Bender.

Johnson is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law and has her undergraduate from the University of Sioux Falls. Johnson began her career with the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney’s Office in January 2005 and worked as a prosecutor for over 10 years. She was appointed as a Magistrate Judge in April 2015 and served in that role until returning to the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney’s Office as a Senior Trial Attorney in May 2018.

Over the next two weeks the County Commission will determine the process to exercise its statutory authority, articulated in codified law, to appoint an individual to permanently fill the State’s Attorney vacancy. Once the process has been finalized, it is undetermined how long it may take to make a decision on a final selection. The length of the permanent appointment will run for the remainder of the term which is up for election in November 2020.