Rep. Dusty Johnson Announces Seat on House Agriculture Committee

Rep. Dusty Johnson Announces Seat on House Agriculture Committee

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) today announced he will serve on the House Committee on Agriculture for the 116th Congress.

“Serving on the Agriculture Committee is a true honor and I am proud to give South Dakota a voice at this table,” said Johnson. “I relentlessly advocated for a seat on this committee since being elected to Congress. My placement on this committee will have a direct impact on South Dakota’s largest and most significant industry, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to advance sound agriculture policy that serves farmers, ranchers and consumers in our state. My colleagues passed a strong Farm Bill last year, and I look forward to seeing it through to implementation.”

“I’m excited to welcome Dusty to the House Agriculture Committee. On the heels of the 2018 Farm Bill, it is critical that strong Members like Dusty are involved in overseeing the implementation of all areas of the bill – from the farm safety net to conservation to rural broadband. There is much work to be done in the 116thCongress, and I look forward to working alongside Dusty on behalf of rural America,” said House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Mike Conaway.

“South Dakota Farm Bureau is proud to have Dusty selected as one of the few new Republicans appointed to the House Agriculture Committee. The Agriculture Committee gives Dusty the chance to advocate for not only farm risk management tools, but also conservation, rural development, research and much more,” said Scott VanderWal, President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. “We look forward to working with Dusty to advance policies that help South Dakota farmers and ranchers continue to feed the world.”

“Dusty’s appointment to the House Agriculture Committee is big news for South Dakota Corn. As USDA implements the 2018 Farm Bill, we look forward to working with Dusty to ensure South Dakota farmers have a seat at the table,” said Troy Knecht, President of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association. “During this uncertainty in the farm economy, it is more important than ever to have an advocate for speedy implementation.”

“South Dakota Soybean would like to extend our Congratulations to Congressman Johnson for this very strategic appointment,” said Jeff Thompson, President of the South Dakota Soybean Association. We are excited that he will be seated on the Ag Committee. The Congressman will be a tremendous asset to the committee and a leading advocate for South Dakota farmers. His leadership will provide a voice for all current and future farm families.”


Municipal League ED suing Speaker of the House with Lust. Will the court consider telling the Legislature what to do?

The Argus Leader is reporting that Yvonne Taylor of the SD Municipal League has filed suit against South Dakota Speaker of the House Steve Haugaard over the revocation of her floor privileges, as a result of her calling legislators ‘wackies’ last year in a column she wrote in the SD Municipal League’s newsletter.

And she has hired former House Majority Leader David Lust to act as her attorney:

Taylor’s lawsuit accuses Haugaard, who is a lawyer, of violating her First Amendment right to free speech and First Amendment retaliation. By banning her from the floor, she is unable to adequately represent her members, the lawsuit says.

“One important aspect of lobbying is circulating bill sponsor sheets and explaining to legislators the bill they are being asked to sponsor,” the lawsuit says. “Legislators sign the bill sponsor sheet in order to become a sponsor of a bill. This activity occurs almost exclusively on the floors of the House and Senate.”

Taylor did not immediately return a message. She is represented by David Lust, a Rapid City lawyer who is a former House Republican majority leader who served in the Legislature with Haugaard.

In the May column, Taylor, who has served as the league’s executive director since 1996, complained that the number of “wackies” in the Legislature were increasing.

Read the entire story here.

Taylor complains about it violating her First Amendment rights… but something that seems to be sticking in my head is a question over “how is the court going to view the ability of the Legislature to grant – or to withdraw – floor privileges?”

The court has given the legislature broad latitude in other internal matters, such as the legislature having the ability to determine the seating of members.  So, in light of that, would the court intervene in a case of the Speaker giving the boot for behavior he views as lacking decorum?

That might be the bigger question.

With all of this coming up, I’m also reminded of the previous unhappiness legislators had with the lobbying corps just back in 2017:

Sen. Ryan Maher, R-Isabel, brought a proposal before the Senate Committee on Legislative Procedure that would have blocked access to the Senate chamber and hallways on either side for lobbyists representing the state and its various agencies, departments and commissions.

The committee, at the suggestion of Senate Majority Leader Blake Curd, R-Sioux Falls, then considered an expanded measure that would also block lobbyists “of any stripe” from the areas between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. He said lobbyist presence on the Senate floor and in one of the hallways adjacent has at times been “destructive and a distraction” to the legislative process.


“I think that any lobbyist here in Pierre either with a white badge or with a blue badge has plenty of access to any elected official. There are plenty of opportunities in the day, between the time the sun rises until it sets, to interact with us,” Curd said.

Read that here.

Just two years ago Senators were ready to clear the floor – and the adjacent hallways – of Lobbyists. Which I think ups the ante for this restlessness, especially considering the House was the more forgiving chamber back then.

Are we going back to those contentious days? Hopefully not.

Senate Bill 3 being heard in Committee this AM to add Special Ed Advisory Committee. To amend or to kill?

Senate Bill 3 is being heard in Committee at the moment to add a new task force to study special education.

As I listen, it appears that there are parties who are willing to add parents, which I’ve advocated for, and the administration is in agreement with my wife’s position that we don’t need another task force.

Today’s committee hearing is just the first step… I’m sure there is more to come on this, no matter how it comes out.

More preview on why South Dakota Right to Life is opposing Senate Bill 6

Dale Bartscher with South Dakota Right to Life spoke with KELO Radio this week on why they intend to opposed the Nelson forced sonogram mandate being proposed in the state legislature, and will be heard in committee soon:

“We are opposed to any piece of legislation that South Dakota would lose in court and wind up paying Planned Parenthood’s legal fees.”


SB-6 would require abortion providers to show pregnant women sonograms. Bartscher says the bill would replace a perfectly good law with “vague and uncertain” mandates.

Read it all here.

I’m hearing there’s more coming on this..  stay tuned.

South Dakota Right to Life set to OPPOSE SB6 Sonogram Measure

Senate Bill 6 introduced earlier this legislative session garnered a little media attention as one of this year’s first measures addressing the topic of abortion, specifically with regards to its intention to force women to look at a sonogram of their unborn child as a condition to receiving an abortion in the state.

When discussing the measure, State Senator Stace Nelson believes that women should be forced to look, because it’s just like him looking at his foot before surgery:

Right now, doctors offer patients seeking an abortion the option to view a sonogram or listen to a heartbeat if one is present. If Senate Bill Six passes, these both would be a requirement.

“These are laws that are effective in lowering the abortion rate and protecting unborn babies because pregnant mothers are able to receive factual, scientific information,” said Republican State Senator Stace Nelson.

Nelson calls this ”women’s right to know” legislation.

“For example, I had surgery several years ago where they operated on my foot, and before they did that, they did extensive imaging of it and they showed it to me and they explained to me what the surgery was going to entail,” said Nelson.

Read it all here.

However, it might not be as simple an act as the measure’s sponsor contemplating his foot.  On the South Dakota Right to Life website one of the state’s long-time conservative groups has adopted a position far different than what you might expect:

On the measure that’s been assigned to Senate Health and Human Services, South Dakota Right to Life has announced that they will OPPOSE Senate Bill 6.   Nothing definitive as to why yet, but I suspect no one bothered to ask the state’s leading pro-life group what they thought, and they know up front that the measure is fatally flawed.  (Generally, SDRTL knows from experience when they see a dog that isn’t going to hunt. )

I’m sure it will make for interesting listening when Senate Health & Human Services meets on the measure.

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Honoring States’ Rights on Concealed Carry

Honoring States’ Rights on Concealed Carry
By Sen. John Thune

There are usually a handful of things drivers consider as they cross from one state into another – changes to the speed limit, different rules for the use of mobile devices, or, if they’re traveling on a motorcycle, possible helmet requirements. Of all the things drivers might consider, though, whether or not their driver’s license would be honored by the state through which they’re traveling is not likely one of them.

It’s hard for people to imagine a situation in which a legally licensed driver who travels from one state to another would be required to get multiple driver’s licenses, particularly because all drivers are required to abide by the traffic laws in each state they are operating a vehicle. For example, if a driver is cited for exceeding the speed limit in one state, his or her defense can’t be that he or she is allowed to go that fast because a different state’s speed limit is higher

I believe the same logic that applies to driver’s licenses, at least in this case, should also apply to law-abiding citizens exercising their Second Amendment right to carry a concealed firearm. If, based on a gun owner’s home state’s laws, he or she is eligible or approved to carry a concealed firearm, his or her ability to lawfully do so should be honored in other states, assuming that state also allows concealed carry and the permit holder abides by the applicable laws (not unlike abiding by another state’s traffic laws).

I recently joined dozens of my Senate colleagues in reintroducing legislation, the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, that would help create the kind of logical parity that I’ve just described, because state borders shouldn’t restrict lawful citizens from exercising their constitutional rights. Not only have I long supported this legislation, a version of which was first introduced in 2006, I’ve led the effort during several previous Congresses and am glad to join it once again.

In fact, in 2009, I authored a version of this bill as an amendment, and it received 58 votes, including 20 Democrats, which was only two votes short of adoption in the Democrat-led chamber. The 2009 vote was the furthest this legislative effort has advanced in the Senate. In 2018, a companion bill passed the House of Representatives 231-198.

As a gun owner and proud supporter of the Second Amendment, I believe there are responsible approaches to gun laws that balance safety with individual rights and states’ rights. The Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act strikes the right balance and respects state sovereignty by allowing law-abiding citizens who are permitted to carry concealed firearms in their home states to have their rights honored in others.

Importantly, if this bill became law, it would grant reciprocity without creating a national standard or requiring so-called “Constitutional carry” states to establish a concealed carry permitting regime when they currently do not require a permit for its citizens. Should South Dakota then enact its pending concealed carry bill, other states would have to honor our state’s law.

This idea isn’t new, nor is it radical. It simply allows states to set the standards by which concealed carry permit holders must abide, something they are already able to do under current law, and gives law-abiding citizens the ability to have their rights honored outside of their home state. I remain hopeful that this is an idea we can work with our colleagues to improve in a way that we’re able to secure the votes we need to get it across the finish line.