BIG RUMOR ALERT: Haugaard to supposedly announce for Governor in coming weeks

I’ve hearing it from multiple sources over the last couple of days, including at the GOP Senate trapshoot fundraiser, from sources at SDSU where Haugaard was allegedly trying to enter the parade without noting for what office, and other people keep pinging me that former Speaker of the House Steve Haugaard is going to be announcing his candidacy for Governor against Kristi Noem, and possibly will do so in the next few weeks.

This rift between the two seems to have been growing for a while.

Haugaard has been relatively critical of Noem for some time now. There have been direct conflicts, and asides with other parties where he’s expressed criticism of the state’s chief executive.

Most recently, Haugaard was critical of one of the Governor’s signature pieces of legislation, the Freedom Scholarship. After the recent Lincoln County Lincoln Day Dinner, Haugaard had taken a group of College Republicans at the event aside, and I’m told, was explaining why the Scholarship (a measure he voted against) wasn’t the job of State Government.

Predictably, that chat went over like a candy bar in a pool, with a few reaching out to me express their outrage.

You more directly saw the divide when Haugaard banned lobbyist Yvonne Taylor from the House Chamber, which triggered Taylor to file suit, a suit Haugaard eventually cried uncle on. The Governor was most definitely not shy about expressing her opinion of the whole situation.

Let’s not forget the ridiculous 2019 legislative dress code for women created by the Haugaard leadership team in the House which dictated that female legislators wear nylons, and were skirts had to be a certain length.  Between that and the Taylor lawsuit, at one point Noem called down House leadership to her office, chewed them out, and told them to knock it off.

Ever since Noem took office and Haugaard was sworn in as speaker, it seems that we can just say that the two have been at loggerheads.  If this Haugaard announcement rumor holds true, how do I think this race is going to go? As I noted in a previous column in September of last year..

I have the feeling that the concept of Haugaard challenging Noem would literally be the most lopsided mis-match since ex-legislator Lora Hubbel challenged sitting Governor Dennis Daugaard. It wasn’t even an actual campaign, as much as a months-long complaint by Lora that no one took her seriously, and no one would help her.

Read that here.

Like Taffy Howard’s ‘exploration’ against Dusty Johnson & Bruce Whalen/Mark Mowry/Other guy fumbling aimlessly against US Senator Thune, if a Haugaard campaign emerges, it is once again just a manifestation of the hard right fringes of the GOP complaining that a strongly conservative GOP isn’t conservative enough in their own minds.

And I really doubt it’s going to go anywhere. No one competent is getting involved in their campaigns, there’s no depth to fundraising, and it’s just going to be a months long complaint against ‘the establishment.’

The only benefit of the apparent collection of misfit toys who are challenging incumbents is that in recent weeks I’ve seen more business owners and traditional Republicans who have sat on the sidelines over the last few elections are getting motivated, becoming more active, and are deciding it’s way past time that they show up, pitch in, and get involved.

Stay tuned, as this is far from the end of it.

Release: City Announces Application Timeline and Procedures for City Medical Cannabis Dispensary, Testing Facility Licenses

Sioux Falls Announces Application Timeline and Procedures for City Medical Cannabis Dispensary, Testing Facility Licenses

Sioux Falls, South Dakota: The City of Sioux Falls has announced the timeline and process to apply for a license to operate a medical cannabis dispensary or testing facility within city limits. These processes were developed in accordance with the City’s licensing and zoning ordinances regulating medical cannabis dispensary and testing facilities, which were effective October 1, 2021.

Medical cannabis dispensary applications will be received at the City Licensing Office on first floor of City Hall, 224 West Ninth Street, during normal business hours beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 29, 2021, until 5 p.m. on Monday, November 15, 2021. Consistent with City ordinance, the application period will close in order to conduct a lottery for the five available medical cannabis dispensary licenses. The lottery will be held in the Commission Room located on first floor of City Hall, 224 West Ninth Street, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. The lottery is open to the public.

Medical cannabis testing facility applications will be received during normal business hours beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 29, 2021. City ordinance does not limit the number of medical cannabis testing facilities.

For additional information, including the current application, an overview of the application process and fees, along with a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the City’s website at www.siouxfalls.org/city-attorney/licenses

Aberdeen democrat Brian Bengs files FEC paperwork to run against John Thune for US Senate

From the Federal Elections Commission, it appears that Democrats have a candidate for US Senate.

Brian Bengs, a former assistant professor at Northern, has filed paperwork to run against US Senator John Thune:

Brian Bengs Fec by Pat Powers on Scribd

Bengs has also posted a linked-in page for his candidacy, where he labels himself as an “Independent thinker, former professor, attorney, U.S. Navy veteran and U.S. Air Force retiree,” and he has a facebook page up noting he’s a political candidate, but that’s about it at the moment.

Thune Joins Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Put Patients Over Paperwork

Thune Joins Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Put Patients Over Paperwork

“I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation that makes health care more efficient and patient-centered.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kans.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) yesterday introduced the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, bipartisan legislation that would improve timely access to quality care for seniors under Medicare Advantage (MA). Specifically, the bill would modernize the way MA plans and health care providers use prior authorization. This legislation addresses the top administrative issue for physicians, and it will make the delivery of health care more patient- and doctor-friendly.

“I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation that makes health care more efficient and patient-centered,” said Thune. “By implementing electronic prior authorization, providers are able to reduce delays and help seniors in South Dakota get quicker access to the treatment and care they need.”

The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act has gained support from more than 320 national and state organizations representing patients, health care providers, medical device manufacturers, and health IT companies across the country.

“The bill is a carefully crafted, bipartisan work product that reflects significant input from all direct stakeholders,” said Katie Orrico, senior vice president for health policy and advocacy at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons and leader of the Regulatory Relief Coalition. “The congressional team behind this bill focused on transparency, oversight, and modernization of the Medicare Advantage program to benefit patients and the providers and health plans who serve them. We eagerly await congressional action.  The bill is ready for the finish line.”

“Physicians know the best treatment for our patients but they’re often not the ones making the final decision due to artificial barriers constructed by insurance companies,” said Gerald E. Harmon, president of the American Medical Association. “The time delays and administrative burdens associated with prior authorization continue to undermine our patients’ health. Nearly a third of physician respondents to a 2020 AMA survey reported that prior authorization led to a serious adverse event — such as hospitalization, medical intervention to prevent permanent impairment, or even disability or death — for a patient in their care. The AMA thanks Senators Marshall, Sinema, and Thune for putting patients first by introducing the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, which would simplify and streamline the prior authorization processes in Medicare Advantage.”

“Hospitals and health systems strongly support the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act because physicians, nurses and other providers of care should be able to spend their time on patients, not burdensome paperwork,” said Stacey Hughes, executive vice president at the American Hospital Association. “Efforts to streamline and standardize prior authorization are long overdue. Used appropriately, prior authorization can be a helpful tool for ensuring patients receive the right treatment, but too often the process results in delayed care, clinician burnout and unnecessary waste in the health care system. The AHA is eager to continue to work with Senators Marshall, Sinema and Thune to make improvements to the prior authorization process that protect patients.”

Prior authorization is a tool used by health plans to reduce spending from improper payments and unnecessary care by requiring physicians and other health care providers to get pre-approval for medical services. The current system of unconfirmed faxes of a patient’s medical information or phone calls by clinicians takes precious time away from delivering quality and timely care. Prior authorization continues to be the top administrative burden identified by health care providers, and nearly four out of five MA enrollees are subject to unnecessary delays. In recent years, the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services raised concerns after an audit revealed that MA plans ultimately approved 75 percent of requests that were originally denied.

Health plans, health care providers, and patients agree that the prior authorization process must be improved to better serve patients and reduce unnecessary administrative burdens for clinicians. In fact, leading health care organizations released a consensus statement to address some of the most pressing concerns associated with prior authorization. Building on these principles, the bipartisan legislation would:

  • Establish an electronic prior authorization process that would streamline approvals and denials;
  • Establish national standards for clinical documents that would reduce administrative burdens on health care providers and MA plans;
  • Create a process for real-time decisions for certain items and services that are routinely approved;
  • Increase transparency that would improve communication channels and utilization between MA plans, health care providers, and patients;
  • Ensure appropriate care by encouraging MA plans to adopt policies that adhere to evidence-based guidelines; and
  • Require beneficiary protections that would ensure the electronic prior authorization serves seniors first.

The House companion, led by U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Ami Bera, M.D. (D-Calif.), and Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.), was reintroduced in May.

###

South Dakota Family Heritage Alliance appears to add Political Action Committee which may “recruit and train challengers” to current legislators.

Last month, it appears that the South Dakota Family Heritage Alliance quietly added another organization to their portfolio and filed the creation of a state Political Action Committee headed by former Commissioner of School & Public Lands Tim Amdahl:

Standforthefamily_sdcfdisclosure by Pat Powers on Scribd

Or at least, it added While FHA isn’t named directly on the filing for Stand for the Family South Dakota PAC, it shares an address. In speaking with FHA Director Norman Woods, he notes that the PAC has permission to use the FHA office as it’s headquarters, and that..

The PAC will focus on protecting incumbents who have stood strong for family values, recruiting and training challengers if the current representation is not standing strong, and highlighting the strongest candidate when there are multiple people running for an open seat.

And, Norman also provided a note from PAC President Tim Amdahl, which noted:

“Here in South Dakota there is a need for more people to rally behind the Legislators that are protecting family values. Whether it’s helping current Legislators who are fighting hard or training new candidates when they are needed, the PAC will focus on supporting those who stand for the family here in South Dakota.”

Add this group to several others who are possibly recruiting and running candidates in the upcoming election.

Slightly cleaned up Blackbird proposed Sioux Falls Legislative map

If you’ve been watching redistricting, you’re aware that the Senate Blackbird map seems to be the primary map that’s moving forward. And you’re also aware that the maps that are being provided to the public don’t exactly have a lot of detail.

So, based on overlaying that map over the existing map, I’ve “eyeballed” and roughed out where the lines appear to lay, and what the Sioux Falls districts may be looking like in a month or so. (And if there are little splotches in the middle of a color area, it’s just not me filling in every polygon)

Cap Journal covering how both political parties looking at redistricting. Blackbird seems to have the focus

The Pierre Capital Journal has a story on redistricting today where they’ve reached out to the two political parties on redistricting, and ask what their goals are for the redistricting process:

South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Berk Ehrmantraut told the Capital Journal that minority representation, particularly among Native Americans, is the party’s biggest point of concern.

“I think Democrats are open to working with Republicans on the Blackbird map where we can,” Ehrmantraut said. “…We’ve seen significant issues with Census undercount in places like District 26 and District 27. I think there’s room for the Legislature to accommodate for that and provide some additional flexibility on the 5 percent up, 5 percent down rule. We know that representing minority voices is also an important consideration for drawing these maps.”

State Democrats want the legislature to deviate from the 5% deviance guidelines they’ve set to benefit minorities.  And the State GOP?

In a statement to the Capital Journal, South Dakota Republican Party Chair Dan Lederman noted that his party itself is “not a participant in the process, nor are we being consulted, as it should be.”

“Like any other state resident, we’re encouraging our legislators to come together to draw district lines that provide fair and equitable representation in a process that’s transparent for all South Dakotans,” Lederman said. “As both the House and the Senate have been travelling around the state and gaining local input as they work out their respective plans, it’s a testament to the fact that redistricting as currently provided for in the State Constitution is a system that works just fine as is, and the state does not need special interest groups monkeying around with the redistricting system, creating star-chambers who are responsible to none.”

And the SDGOP notes “we’re not a participant in the process” and are not supposed to be, legislators are supposed to follow the constitution!

Blackbird 222129 by Pat Powers on Scribd

Interesting though, that the blackbird map is the one that both parties are focusing on, which might be the biggest clue to the direction that redistricting is going.

Thune Demands Answers on Supply Chain Crisis, Presses Biden Nominees

Thune Demands Answers on Supply Chain Crisis, Presses Biden Nominees

“This inefficiency has downstream effects on commodity prices, hurting farmers and ranchers across the country, including in South Dakota.”

Click here or on the picture above to watch the video.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today questioned several Biden nominees about the unprecedented supply chain crisis in the United States. Thune emphasized that these massive backlogs at American ports are hurting farmers and ranchers in South Dakota and negatively affecting commodity prices.