Representatives Gottheimer, Reed, Gonzalez, Phillips, Spanberger, and Upton from the Problem Solvers Caucus also joined the bipartisan, bicameral announcement

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Angus King (I-ME), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Gottheimer (D-NJ-5), Tom Reed (R-NY-23), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Dean Phillips (D-MN-3), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-7), and Fred Upton (R-MI-6) of the Problem Solvers Caucus announced a bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 emergency relief framework that will help American students, families, businesses, workers, and health care providers during this crisis. The Problem Solvers Caucus, made up of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans, helped draft and endorsed the package.

A breakdown of the COVID-19 emergency relief framework can be found here.

“Our nation’s top economists have made it clear: Congress needs to act sooner than later on targeted focused relief,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-AL). “I’m proud to be a part of this bipartisan, bicameral group that’s put much-needed relief before politics. More than half of these dollars have been repurposed from CARES Act funding – it’s a responsible proposal. Our teachers, healthcare workers, business owners, and producers continue to step up as we battle COVID-19, it’s time Congress does too.”

“Millions of Americans have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are hurting, but Congress has been deadlocked for months with both sides unwilling to compromise to help our fellow Americans who are in desperate need,” Senator Manchin said. “The bipartisan, bicameral framework announced today proves that we can reach across the aisle and create meaningful compromise that will help those who need it most for the next few months. Our $908 billion framework provides our front line healthcare providers, students, families, small businesses, and workers with the support they need and deserve during this devastating pandemic. I urge my fellow colleagues to work with our bipartisan, bicameral group on this proposal so Congress can finally pass an emergency COVID-19 relief package to help Americans and West Virginians during this difficult stretch of the pandemic.”

“This bipartisan, bicameral group worked night and day throughout the Thanksgiving recess because we recognize that families all across America are struggling, that businesses are closing, and that hospitals are overwhelmed,” said Senator Collins. “I am particularly pleased that this package includes funding for another round of Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans, which has helped keep our small businesses afloat.  In Maine alone, the PPP has helped sustain the jobs of 250,000 workers.”

“After many days of bipartisan negotiations, I’m proud that we’ve reached a compromise to help Americans get through the holiday season, while providing much-needed relief for small businesses, local governments, health care providers, and low-income and minority communities, among others,” said Senator Warner. “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put the months of stalled negotiations behind us, and to support this bipartisan compromise in order to ensure that families across the country are not forced to spend the holiday unable to put food on the table.”

“This is a bipartisan, bicameral effort that creates a pathway forward to bring relief to those who need it most. Republicans and Democrats in both chambers got much of what we wanted, and neither got everything we wanted. That combination reflects what Congress is supposed to do: reconcile priorities and deliver for the American people,” said Dr. Cassidy. 

“Throughout New Hampshire – from small businesses struggling to make payroll to hospitals fighting to keep their doors open and beds available – I’m hearing from Granite Staters who cannot wait any longer. And they shouldn’t. Over a quarter of a million Americans have died from COVID and more than 13.5 million Americans have been afflicted with it. The human toll of this crisis is crushing – and that’s before we even address the severe economic fallout it created,” said Senator Shaheen. “Some of those hardest hit have been our small businesses. When this body came together in March, we worked in good-faith to deliver the CARES Act that provided immediate relief through the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. We put our heads together again and have come up with a new bipartisan framework to build on that progress to help small businesses get to the other side of this crisis, and to provide funds for state and local government governments, support for vaccine development and distribution, assistance for our schools and universities, and relief for our health care providers. But this is just step one. We need more leaders on both sides of the aisle to join us so we can finish what we’ve started and deliver the relief that Americans are calling for.”

“I am honored to work with an exceptional group of Senators, as well as colleagues in the House, on a bipartisan measure to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In my home state of Alaska, Anchorage is officially going into our third round of hunker-down orders, shutting down businesses, restaurants, bars, hair salons, gyms—essentially bringing to a halt the day-to-day life of many people in Anchorage. Many of our rural villages and off road communities are also in various stages of shutdown to control the spread of this awful virus.  These lockdowns come at a significant cost. As the long winter approaches, the uncertainties of job loss, food insecurity, and stable housing all continue to grow,” said Senator Murkowski. “Our response – our responsibility – is to come together not as Republicans with a plan or Democrats with a counter-plan, but coming together with a proposal that will provide for targeted emergency relief for the American people. I am calling on my colleagues to join us in advancing the proposal we offer today, to provide much-needed relief for our nation.”

“After nearly nine months of the coronavirus pandemic and far too little federal support, millions of Americans are facing financial ruin. It’s past time for Congress to put political arguments aside and step up for those in need,” said Senator King. “If enacted into law, today’s bipartisan package would increase unemployment benefits to help families make ends meet, give essential assistance to small businesses on the verge of closing, provide funds to the state and local governments who’ve led the response to this crisis, and much more – including support for schools, hospitals, and vaccine distribution. This plan isn’t perfect, and will require future Congressional action in order to help our country fully weather this pandemic – but if we pass this bill before the year’s end, we’ll extend a lifeline to millions of Americans in need just as cases are spiking, CARES Act protections are expiring, and winter is arriving. The American people need us to work together to save lives and livelihoods – so let’s get it done.”

“This is not a $1.8 trillion stimulus bill. This is a relief measure half that amount—$908 billion, with $560 billion in repurposed funds from the first CARES Act, so the amount of new money is actually $348 billion,” Senator Romney said. “Included in this measure is a liability provision that provides a temporary suspension of any liability-related lawsuits at the state or federal level associated with COVID-19, giving states enough time to put in place their own protections. I am very pleased to be part of this effort, and urge my colleagues to come together on a deal. 

“Our bipartisan COVID-19 emergency relief framework provides the most viable path forward in months, and we must seize this opportunity now to provide critical relief for the American people,” Senator Hassan said. “I am grateful to my colleagues from both parties for coming together on this bipartisan effort, and I will do everything I can to get a deal across the finish line. 

“This is a win for the American people, for common sense, and for problem solving. With cases spiking, winter around the corner, and countless small businesses closing every day, and far too many families hurting, we simply cannot leave anyone out in the cold. This is an essential down payment on what our families, small businesses, and local communities need,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus. “This four-month COVID-19 emergency relief package will get us through the hardest months of winter and into a new Administration.”

“For far too long, working families, small businesses, local governments, critical health care providers, and school districts across America have been left wondering when Washington would stop the partisan bickering and pass a comprehensive stimulus package,” said Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23), Co-Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus. “Now, we have a bipartisan, bicameral deal that directly addresses the needs of the nation and best positions the country for an effective rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s time to come together as proud Americans and get the job done.”

“With the development of multiple successful vaccines, we are on the cusp of beating covid-19 and restoring our way of life, but we are not there yet. This sensible, bipartisan, bicameral proposal will provide those most in need with the bridge necessary to see us through this crisis. The time to act is now,” said Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16).

“The need is great, the time is short, and the urgency is real. Our bipartisan, bicameral working group has found common ground, and now Congress must begin restoring faith in our government by passing an emergency COVID relief measure before year’s end,” said Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-3).

“Working families, small businesses, restaurant owners, and our communities need relief — and Congress must act. The failure to provide that relief over the last several months has been shameful, especially given that there are relief provisions and programs that are supported by both parties and both chambers of Congress, and most importantly, needed by the American people and our economy,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-7). “This bipartisan, bicameral package reflects the priorities of the Seventh District — including funding for unemployment assistance, PPP, food assistance programs and our district’s farmers, rental assistance, broadband internet, and opioid treatment. Today we have demonstrated that we can unite around a common purpose in the face of a national emergency, and I urge my colleagues — as well as House and Senate leadership — to bring this package forward for a vote.”

“Michigan just had the deadliest month from COVID-19 since the pandemic begin. I hear daily from constituents who are struggling to make ends meet. Congress should not go home until we are able to get a COVID-19 deal passed and signed, delivering real help to those who need it most. It’s time for us to step up, and our colleagues need to get behind this effort or out of the way,” said Rep. Fred Upton (MI-6)

To watch a recording of today’s press conference, please click here.



SDSU recognizes nursing grads Tobin, Davis & Rehfeldt & discusses their run for the South Dakota State Legislature

South Dakota State University just recognized three of my fellow Jackrabbit alums on their election to the South Dakota State Legislature in a pair of articles, talking about their individual races, and what went into their run for office.

First, incoming State Senator Erin Tobin:

Tobin consulted with a friend who was a retired lobbyist. His conclusion: It would be a tough fight to take on the seated House majority leader, but given Qualm’s advocacy of the unpopular vaccination bill and the rise of COVID-19, “he thought I had a pretty good chance.”

Their advice was spot on. She received 61% of the vote, upsetting Qualm 2,155-1,366.

“The people felt their voice wasn’t being heard. I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve had a lot of these voters as patients. They knew I could be trusted,” said Tobin, explaining her win. “Also during the primary I made a ton of phone calls. I felt like the cold calls were the hardest. You get a lot of hangups and that’s hard. After a while, I got used to it.”

Read that here.

Another article profiles Sydney Davis and Taylor Rehfeldt and their races for South Dakota State House of Representatives:

Skills learned in nursing school, such as critical thinking and being a thorough researcher, should carry over as a legislator, Davis said.

“Health care is a pretty complicated system. Having the frontline perspective as a provider, knowing what factors drive patients to seek care, knowing where they seek care and how they make those decisions, puts me in a unique position to fill the (knowledge) gap (in the legislature). Working in a small, critical access facility gives me perspectives that they haven’t had in Pierre.

“Better decisions get made when we have more diversity at the table,” she said.

Rehfeldt said with people dealing with COVID-19 and challenges with mental health and health care access, “What better person to understand those needs than a nurse? In training as a nurse, empathy and a willingness to serve people, is inherit. Those are qualities I want to bring to the legislature …

“People just want you to be honest with them. They don’t want a perfect answer. They just want someone to tell you the truth.”

Read that here.

Good Stuff. Go check it out!

Lobbyist demands no mask ordinance in Rapid City because he “loves to get down in the ditch the knife fight.”

The Rapid City Common Council held a special hearing about a proposed mask mandate last night, with ..quite the group of Constitutional Scholars arguing against masks, including former Sioux Falls Legislator R. Shawn Tornow telling council members he’s ready to sue, current State Representative Tony Randolph speaking, and Senator-elect Julie Frye Mueller lurking in the background (among others).

If you want to watch the entire thing:

There’s also a rather unkempt Jordan Mason making veiled threats against council members, because he “does elections” and laughably tells council members that he “loves to get down in the ditch in the knife fight.”

Here’s that portion of a rambling speech from “I’m a lobbyist” Mason:

Somehow I doubt City Councilors lost any sleep over that one.

East Coast Journalists apparently “hate us, because they ain’t us.” South Dakota that is.

According to the American Institute for Economic Research, some of the negative press coming at South Dakota from some journalists over COVID might be.. because we don’t really care what east coast journalists say about South Dakota:

What’s driving the anti-Dakotas vendetta is that the mainstream media overwhelmingly support authoritarian measures and governors of both states have resisted them.

“Unlike other states, South and North Dakota never fully closed down,” as the leftist Vox put it in its article “Why North And South Dakota Are Suffering The Worst Covid-19 Epidemics In The U.S.” Hence the alleged direct correlation between cases and gross irresponsibility in not mandating curfews, masks in the bathtub, and so on. Except … while South Dakota did indeed rank first in relaxed rules as of last month, North Dakota ranked ninth according to the tracking service Wallethub.


The flip side of all this is that if light lockdown governors are reviled, then the totalitarian ones must be celebrated. And they are. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year ordered Covid-19 patients to be placed into nursing facilities, then lied about it. And no, the mainstream media did not let him off the hook. As a result, as many as 6,600 people in those facilities died – many times more than the official total for the Dakotas. Yet the good governor has just received a special Emmy Award “in recognition of his leadership during the Covid19 pandemic.”

In other words, the more orders you issue the more of a hero you are. Is it any wonder that the only award being given the Dakota governors is the wrong side of the cat o’ nine tails?

Read the entire story here.

Incoming Legislator seeks to regulate marijuana manufacturing

From KELOland News, Legislators are announcing their intention to tighten the regulations around the manufacturing of marijuana products in conjunction with the passage of medical, and possibly recreational marijuana:

Representative-elect Mary Fitzgerald said Monday that South Dakota needs laws on driving while under the influence of marijuana, banning use of marijuana in a motor vehicle, and requiring a state license for making substances such as hash oil.


She also wants to require a state license for manufacturing marijuana concentrates such as hash oil products using flammable solvents such as butane or propane.

She said the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known more generally as THC, can be extracted from marijuana plant material using those solvents that are flammable and explosive.

“It’s very easy to make but it’s also very dangerous,” Fitzgerald said.

Read it here.

SD Register for week of 11/23/20; GF&P reappointment and Karl Adam appointed to Council of Economic Advisors

The November 23 edition of the South Dakota Register notes a few new appointments by Governor Kristi Noem, including the reappointment of Doug Sharp to the Game, Fish and Parks Commission, as well as the appointment of former SDGOP Chair Karl Adam to the Council of Economic Advisors.

Also noteworthy.. The final meeting of the Interim Rules Review Committee for the 2020 Interim is Monday, December 7, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. via electronic conference with limited public access in Room 414 of the Capitol. This is a special meeting during which the Committee will consider whether to adopt rules to establish a program to license the growth, production, storage, processing, and transportation of industrial hemp in South Dakota.

Read it all here:

Sd Register 207419 by Pat Powers on Scribd

US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Shop Locally This Holiday Season

Shop Locally This Holiday Season
By U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) 

This year, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Small Business Saturday, the annual event that encourages customers to shop at local businesses during the holiday season.

South Dakota’s small businesses play a critical role in our communities. In our state, 99 percent of businesses are considered small businesses. In total, that’s nearly 90,000 small businesses in the state of South Dakota. Those businesses employ over 200,000 employees which make up about 60 percent of our state’s workforce. When you support small businesses in South Dakota, you are actually supporting your friends and family. But remember, be courteous and wear a mask when shopping so that both you and your neighbors can be safe.

2020 has been a tough year for everyone. That is especially true for many main street businesses in South Dakota who closed their doors to the public temporarily due to the pandemic. For those small businesses, this holiday shopping season will be especially important. The National Retail Federation estimates that nearly 20 percent of a business’s sales come during the holiday season. With the pandemic taking its toll earlier this year, I anticipate that the support from holiday shopping will be more critical than ever before for many small businesses.

This year, I look forward to shopping at local small businesses in Pierre. While I can’t spoil the surprise for my kids and grandkids by telling you what I’ll be buying locally, I can tell you I will be shopping at one of our local jewelry stores. Jean has come to expect jewelry under the tree from me, as I buy her some every year. Creative, I know but at least I’m consistent. She knows it’s coming, and she knows it’s coming from a local store, but what’s in the box is always a surprise. And I’m doing my part to shop locally.

This holiday season, I hope you consider shopping at small businesses in your local community. Regardless of what is on your Christmas list, there’s a store in South Dakota that’s got you covered.

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