Huron attorney issues dissenting opinion to SD Advisory Committee’s Recommendations for Federal Involvement in Local Elections, Removal of Local Law Enforcement at Polling Places

Huron Attorney Aaron Pilcher, a participant on the South Dakota State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, today issued his dissenting opinion on the recommendations issued by the committee in their final report issued on May 8, which does not appear to be available on-line as of yet.  But, given Pilcher’s notation of the recommendations, which he notes include federal oversight of local elections, and the removal of local law enforcement from local polling places, should be of great concern to the people of South Dakota.

Aaron P. Pilcher
Huron, SD 57350

SD Advisory Committee Recommends Federal Involvement in Local Elections, Removal of Local Law Enforcement at Polling Places

For Immediate Release
Contact: Aaron P. Pilcher

HURON, S.D. – On May 8, 2023, the South Dakota State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights approved its final report, “Voting Rights and Access in South Dakota.” The report recommends federal oversight of local elections, and the removal of local law enforcement from local polling places. Aaron Pilcher, a committee member from Huron, filed the lone dissent to the report.

“For the last decade or more, we’ve seen a series of sustained federal activities, particularly within the [U.S. Department of Justice], targeting individuals or entities based on political affiliation and not for any legitimate basis,” Pilcher wrote. “On full consideration, I am obliged to ask whether South Dakota can address our concerns without involvement from federal officials. Based on the testimony we heard, I believe we can.”

Pilcher also took issue with the removal of local law enforcement. “We cannot perpetuate distrust between local law enforcement and the Native American community,” Pilcher wrote. “[I]t is unwise to remove local law enforcement from polling places on a misguided belief that doing so will create a newfound confidence in government.”

This release is issued in Aaron Pilcher’s individual capacity as a member of the committee. He does not speak for the State Advisory Committee, or the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.


Gov. Noem Launches Whistleblower Hotline for Higher Education

Gov. Noem Launches Whistleblower Hotline for Higher Education

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem announced a new whistleblower hotline for students, faculty, parents, and taxpayers to report concerns at institutions of higher education in South Dakota. These individuals can call 605-773-5916 to voice their concerns.

“Our children are our future, and South Dakota universities and technical colleges should best prepare them for our future,” said Governor Noem. “As I work with our Board of Regents and Board of Technical Education to chart our path for higher education, we are giving students, faculty, and parents this tool to help voice any concerns so that they can be addressed.”

Governor Noem first announced this whistleblower hotline in a letter to the Board of Regents.

Governor Noem recently appointed Jim Lochner and Doug Morrison to the South Dakota Board of Regents. She will be making additional appointments to the Board of Regents in the near future.


Attorney General Jackley Says U.S. Supreme Court WOTUS Ruling Protects South Dakotans From Undue Federal Burden

Attorney General Jackley Says U.S. Supreme Court WOTUS Ruling Protects South Dakotans From Undue Federal Burden

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley praised Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that limits the federal Government’s authority regarding the Clean Water Act. South Dakota was part of the lawsuit, Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that led to the court’s ruling.

“This is a good decision allowing states to determine how to manage their waterways,” said Attorney General Jackley. “This is a states’ rights issue.”

South Dakota was one of 24 states that filed the lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s “Water of the United States” rules. In their lawsuit, the states contend that the proposed rule would redefine “navigable waters” to include ponds, certain streams, ditches, and other bodies of water that would be placed under the Clean Water Act as defined by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“This proposed rule would have created an undue burden on our farmers and developers to get permission from the EPA and the Corps on how use these water ways,” said Attorney General Jackley.

Other states involved in the lawsuit were Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“As Attorney General, WOTUS issues have always been a major priority and that is why we were part of this lawsuit,” said Attorney General Jackley. “This decision protects South Dakotans from an undue federal burden.”


Rounds for Senate sends out fundraising e-mail, pointing out Biden’s record on spending

Just received this fundraising e-mail from the Rounds for Senate campaign.. which is interesting, as I don’t think I’d seen one in a while from them.


Thought Jimmy Carter was the worst President on the Economy?
Joe Biden: Hold My Beer

Since the anemic start to his Presidency, Joe Biden’s authoritarian policies and executive branch rules have crippled America’s economy. Plain and simple.

All of the comparisons to Jimmy Carter, probably aren’t fair… Jimmy Carter!

Biden’s economic approval ratings are even worse than Jimmy Carter’s. In 1978, Carter’s net economic rating was eight points underwater with the American public. Biden’s handling of the economy has been even worse at negative thirteen points. The economy, in particular inflation, led to Carter’s political demise. As Biden proves to be the worst President in modern history on the economy, the American people are poised to provide him with the same political path.

CNN reported that “Inflation seems to be a big issue for Biden, just 28% of Americans approved of the job he is doing to handle inflation…” In fact, 47% reported that they were “hurting” – according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll. Hard working Americans are paying the price. In South Dakota, Biden Inflation is costing South Dakota families an extra $850 per month. As more voters, even Democrats, come to terms with the economic failures of the Biden Administration – brighter days are ahead and we’ll look back at this failed Presidency as a lesson learned.

In the meantime, Biden and his handlers will continue to roll out new measures to re-distribute your money to others who they deem more deserving. Unfortunately, during the 2021-2022 Congress, Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. Biden and D.C. Democrats had the ability to pass whatever they wanted, and there was nothing Republicans could do to stop them.

In addition to record high inflation and energy prices, Biden has increased entitlement spending more than 40%. According to the Congressional Budget Office, he’s added almost $10 trillion in additional debt.

In the last two years alone, I have opposed more than $5 trillion in Democrat spending proposals, including:

  • The American Rescue Plan- $1.9 trillion (March 2021)
  • The Infrastructure Law- $1.2 trillion (August 2021)
  • The FY2022 Omnibus Spending Bill- $1.5 trillion (March 2022)
  • The CHIPS & Science Law- $180 billion (July 2022)
  • The (misnamed) Inflation Reduction Act- $739 billion (August 2022)

Those in the liberal media ignore Biden’s spending, but trust me, he’s re-directing existing taxpayer funds at record pace to more new programs than you can shake a stick at. Biden and his new army of IRS agents will be looking to squeeze every dime they can out of hard-working Americans to feed their spending addiction.

All of this leads to today’s fight: the national debt ceiling. Standing at $31.8 trillion dollars, our national debt is out of control. The debt ceiling is a legislatively mandated limit on how much the U.S. can borrow. But, behind the math – the consequences tied to U.S. default on its obligations could sink our entire economy. The media attention on the debt ceiling now has casual observers extremely concerned – some of it over-hyped, some of it legitimate. Since 1960, Congress has raised the debt ceiling seventy-eight times. Forty-nine of those times were under Republican presidents.

Considering Biden’s economy, out-of-control spending, and the current deficit – I’m taking the opportunity to reign in both – spending and the deficit.

That’s why I’ve joined Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) in refusing to advance any bill that raises the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms. Today, we have enough support to block any discussion on a so-called “clean” debt ceiling bill. We have a tremendous opportunity to make meaningful reforms to both Washington’s out-of-control spending and the national debt.

The Republican-controlled House is seeking to raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion, roll back spending to 2022 levels, impose a 1% cap on future spending, sweep unspent COVID funds, and cancel IRS funding for new staff.

We have the cards. The Republican effort in the House and Senate should force Biden to come to the table and negotiate meaningful spending reforms. If Biden refuses, he alone will own the economic collapse a default on our debt would cause.

Today, I believe it’s clear that Republicans aren’t going to save Biden and Chuck Schumer from this mess they’ve caused. The economy is spiraling due to unsustainable fiscal policies. We have the solution and we intend to stick together to see it through.

Racking up additional debt without meaningful spending reform is a non-starter. The Washington Democrats will fight tooth and nail to keep the status quo. That’s why I support the effort to protect taxpayers and gain fiscal constraint. I strongly support Leader McCarthy’s efforts to negotiate a conservative path forward.

Your support over the years has meant the world to me. As I’ve told others, there are big fights in Washington, but our kids’ and grandchildren’s future is worth fighting for.

In these tough economic times, I’m very sensitive to the need to raise campaign funds. But, the fact is, it takes resources.  If you’d be willing to help support our efforts of fiscal sanity, common sense solutions, and a focus on South Dakota – please consider a donation today.


Attorney General Jackley Releases Draft Explanation For Proposed Constitutional Amendment Revising Legislative Term Limits

Attorney General Jackley Releases Draft Explanation For Proposed Constitutional Amendment Revising Legislative Term Limits

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley has released a draft ballot explanation for the proposed constitutional amendment, submitted by State Sen. Brent Hoffman of Sioux Falls, that would revise legislative term limits.

This proposed constitutional amendment would revise legislative terms to a lifetime total of eight years in the State House of Representatives and a lifetime total of eight years in the State Senate. The ballot explanation can be found here.

State law requires the Attorney General draft a title and explanation for each initiated measure, initiated constitutional amendment, constitutional amendment proposed by the Legislature, or referred measure that may appear on an election ballot. The Attorney General’s explanation is meant to be an “objective, clear, and simple summary” intended to “educate the voters of the purpose and effect of the proposed” measure, as well as identify the “legal consequences” of each measure.

The Attorney General takes no position on any such proposal.

Once the Attorney General has filed and posted the draft explanation, the public has 10 days to provide written comment. The explanation was filed Thursday, May 25, and the deadline for comments on this explanation is June 5, 2023, at the close of business in Pierre, South Dakota. The final explanation is due to the Secretary of State onJune 14, 2023.

The draft amendment would require 35,017 valid petition signatures to qualify for the 2024 general election ballot.

To file written comments on a draft Attorney General’s explanation please use one of the following methods below. Copies of all received comments will be posted on this website.

Comments may be submitted via mail, or through hand delivery, to the Attorney General’s Office at:

Office of the Attorney General
Ballot Comment
1302 E. Hwy. 14, Suite 1
Pierre, SD 57501

Comments that are hand delivered must be received by the close of business in Pierre, South Dakota, by June 5, 2023. Comments that are mailed must be received by the Attorney General’s Office before the deadline expires to be accepted.

Comments may also be emailed to [email protected] by June 5, 2023. Comments should be clearly expressed in the body of the email. The Attorney General’s Office will not open attachments in an effort to prevent malware or other digital threats. Please include your name and contact information when submitting your comment. The title of the comment must be included in the subject line of the email.


Release: Johnson’s Applauds SCOTUS Ruling on Sackett v. EPA

Johnson’s Applauds SCOTUS Ruling on Sackett v. EPA

 Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) issued a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision inSackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) affecting the Biden Administration’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Sacketts, protecting farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and rural communities across South Dakota and America.

“For years, WOTUS has been used as a political football for Administrations to advance their climate agenda and it’s caused uncertainty and stress for farmers and ranchers,” said Johnson. “Today’s SCOTUS ruling on Sackett v. EPA is a huge win for rural America. Navigable waters cannot include every small puddle, stream, and ditch. I’m glad our agricultural producers will finally have some certainty. I’ll continue working with my colleagues in Congress to prevent the Biden Administration from placing overly burdensome regulations on our producers.”


Gov. Noem Challenges Board of Regents to Improve Higher Education

Gov. Noem Challenges Board of Regents to Improve Higher Education

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem challenged the South Dakota Board of Regents (BOR) to make South Dakota an example to the nation of what quality higher education should look like. In a letter to the Board, Governor Noem charged them with the responsibility of revitalizing the institutions under its control and leading the nation by example. You can read the full letter here.

Governor Noem began the letter with the following statement:

“Across the nation, higher education is in a state of crisis. For the last several decades, many states have allowed liberal ideologies to poison their universities and colleges. Once a hotbed of ideological diversity, debate, and the pursuit of truth and discovery, many institutions have become one-sided, close-minded, and focused on feelings rather than facts. Professors have discarded reason and logic in favor of subjectivity and relativism. Higher education leaders have rejected universal truth and knowledge and replaced it with ‘individual truth.’

“On campuses across the country, students have been taught the importance of diversity and equity and given access to ‘safe spaces’ instead of learning to tolerate the disagreement, discomfort, and dissent that they will experience in the real world. In many cases, students and their parents are not even aware of the damage these ideas have caused.

“Less than half our students are even graduating, compared to 63% nationally. Students are also graduating with more debt and lower prospects at obtaining gainful employment. 43% of students who completed a college degree were underemployed after graduation. Countless students have been set up for failure – and charged tens of thousands of dollars for their trouble.

“As a country, we should be ashamed of this. As a state, South Dakota can show the nation what quality higher education is supposed to look like.

“I am charging the Board of Regents with the responsibility of revitalizing the institutions under its control and leading the nation by example. We must work together to ensure that we are providing an education that truly prepares our kids for the world they are entering. We must teach our kids a true and honest history of our great country. We must equip them with skills that will enable them to find meaningful, fulfilling careers. We must empower them to improve their communities, engage in the political process as well-educated citizens, and teach their kids to protect the gift we’ve all been given as citizens of the United States of America.”

Governor Noem challenged the Board of Regents to take the following actions:

  • Currently, BOR schools have a 47% graduation rate. In 2020, the national graduation rate for public schools was 63%. The Board of Regents should aim to raise graduation rates to at least 65% by 2028;
  • Take more steps to partner with businesses on registered apprenticeship programs and offer the lowest possible credit rates;
  • Remove all references to preferred pronouns in all school materials and any enforcement of such;
  • Remove any policy or procedure that prohibits students from exercising their right to free speech;
  • Prohibit drag shows from taking place on university campuses;
  • Find ways to cut costs to ensure the affordability of college;
  • Require a course in American Government and a course in American history as part of the general education graduation requirements; and,
  • Immediately review all funding sources of university centers and all donations to ensure there is no money coming into our education system from China.

Governor Noem also set up a whistleblower hotline for students, parents, taxpayers, and faculty to call to voice concerns about institutions of higher education. The call-in line for the whistleblower hotline is 605-773-5916.

“As Governor, my duty is to protect the people of South Dakota, ensure that their tax burden remains low, and spend those taxpayer dollars wisely. Together, we can and must set an example to the nation of what strong, conservative higher education can look like,” Governor Noem concluded.

Governor Noem recently appointed Jim Lochner and Doug Morrison to the South Dakota Board of Regents. She will be making additional BOR appointments in the near future.


Release: Summit Carbon Solutions announces NuGen as partner ethanol plant in South Dakota

Summit Carbon Solutions announces NuGen as partner ethanol plant in South Dakota

AMES, Iowa. (May 25, 2023) – Summit Carbon Solutions is proud to announce a significant partnership with NuGen Energy, an ethanol plant in Marion, South Dakota, principally owned by REX American Resources (NYSE: REX).

NuGen joins 32 leading ethanol plants as partners in the transformative carbon capture and storage project led by Summit Carbon Solutions. NuGen Energy began operations in 2008 and has a production capacity of 150,000,000 gallons per year.

Summit Carbon Solutions is leading the development of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project. Once complete, Summit Carbon Solutions and their partners will safely capture, transport, and permanently store up to 18 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. The project, spanning Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota, significantly reduces the carbon footprint of participating ethanol plants and allows them new market opportunities. This supports an “all of the above” approach to national energy security by enhancing the production of domestic renewable energy and subsequently reducing our reliance on foreign oil.

“We are excited to welcome NuGen to our expanding network of partners,” stated Lee Blank, CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions. “NuGen shares our dedication to supporting the long-term sustainability of U.S. agriculture by decarbonizing the supply chain. NuGen’s commitment to quality, yields, and efficiency aligns perfectly with our vision.”

“We are delighted to partner with Summit on this important carbon capture storage project,” said Zafar Rizvi, CEO of Rex American Resources. “Strategically, the location of our NuGen facility in Marion, South Dakota and our goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions perfectly align with Summit Carbon Solutions. We look forward to working with Summit to achieve our sustainability targets and making a positive impact on the environment.”

The partnership with NuGen will remove and permanently store an additional 450,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. This CO2 will be compressed and transported to North Dakota for permanent geologic storage, furthering the project’s environmental benefits.

The partnership with NuGen comes amidst another notable milestone for Summit Carbon Solutions; the successful acquisition of 70 percent of the pipeline route through voluntary easements with nearly 2,500 landowners. This achievement underlines the strong community support and shared vision for sustainable agriculture and energy production.


Senator Erin Tobin gets shout out from Linda McMahon with America First Policy Institute. (And WWE)

State Senator Erin Tobin just received a nice shout out on twitter from former Administrator of the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon for an editorial that was published earlier this year.

And for fanboy me, it was extra cool, because Linda was also Co-Founder of Titan Sports, which later became World Wrestling Entertainment, where she was active with the company from 1980 to 2009. (From my youth into my middle years).

Release: SDREA General Manager Barnett to give update in Gettysburg tomorrow, May 25

SDREA General Manager Barnett to give update in Gettysburg on service territory 

PIERRE – South Dakota Rural Electric Association (SDREA) General Manager Steve Barnett will be in Gettysburg tomorrow, Thursday, May 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST at the 212 Mini Mall Coffee Bean Cafe to speak to the Gettysburg Rotary Club.

Barnett plans to give an update on the recent events SDREA has attended and will provide an overview of the service territory of the local electric cooperatives. SDREA’s member cooperatives currently serve more than 300,000 members.

Prior to being the general manager at SDREA, Barnett served as South Dakota Secretary of State for four years and he served as State Auditor for eight years.

Barnett is an Aberdeen native and currently resides in Pierre with his wife and four children.