Governor to Republicans – Get on the stick, and get recruiting

From the Rapid City Journal:

Gov. Dennis Daugaard told Republican county leaders at their statewide meeting Saturday that candidate recruiting can start immediately for 31 of the 105 seats in the Legislature. Those are seats that Democrats currently hold or have Republicans who can’t seek re-election to the seats in 2016 because they are term-limited. He also suggested that the 74 other Republicans should be asked whether they plan to run again in 2016 so there can be a head-start on finding new Republican candidates to run if they aren’t.

“We are so much more organized, and it makes us strong,” Daugaard said.

Read it here.

Good, solid advice. Time to get recruiting for offices, especially since we may be circulating petitions in 9 months.

That explains a lot. Rapid City CVB using mascots in campaign. Not Tourism

Coming on the heels of my post asking about why the Rushmore mascots are being used in a political campaign, I received a heads up about there being more than one set:

There are two sets of Rushmore mascot costumes.  One is owned by the SD Department of Tourism, and the other is owned by the Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The Tourism mascots are not participating in this campaign, so I can only assume it is the Rapid City CVB mascots.

So, it’s not the state’s mascots who are inserting themselves into the convention center vote. It’s those owned by the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Stolen from Facebook: Can I get the state tourism mascots for my next campaign?

I was perusing facebook this morning, and noticed that Jordan Mason, a former Rapid City Councilman and Register of Deeds candidate had reposted the below pictures, and was commenting about electioneering, likely because it was a pro-civic center message in and around the in-person absentee polling place.


But, the thing that came to my mind was “aren’t these state tourism mascots?” and “What is 1/4 of the state tourism mascot doing promoting a particular position in an election?”

If they’re available for rent, let me know, as I’d love to have Teddy and Lincoln for a hospitality suite at the next GOP Convention.

(Update – Check out my latest post. Apparently, there are 2 sets of costumes. Kind of like a set of evil twins. One is owned by the state, which has noting to do with this, and one owned by the Rapid City CVB….. whom I’m guessing has a lot to do with this.)

US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Academy Nominations

Academy Nominations
By Senator Mike Rounds
February 27, 2015

MikeRounds official SenateServing in the United States Senate comes with a lot of responsibilities, but nominating South Dakota students to the military service academies is one that I am really looking forward to. My first opportunity to nominate students to the academies will be this fall.  Each member of the Congressional delegation will nominate students to the academies. The four service academies that require a Congressional Nomination are the Military Academy at West Point, New York; the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. The Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut does not require a nomination by a member of Congress. All academies offer great opportunity for young people to become leaders in our nation’s military.

Since only a small number of students are nominated to each class, being selected is very prestigious. It also isn’t easy. The service academies are looking for the best and the brightest. Interested students must meet eligibility requirements in leadership, physical fitness, character and scholarship. It is a rigorous program, but also highly rewarding. The service academies open a world of opportunity for their graduates. The young people joining the military directly from the academies are among the highest caliber our country has to offer—a result of the challenging training and education they received.

Admission is a two-part process. First, the student must apply to the academy of his or her choice directly. After the student meets the admissions requirements of the academy, he or she can contact my office requesting a nomination. I have put together a screening committee who will help me review applications and conduct extensive interviews before I make my final decisions on nominees. After the student has received my nomination, it is up to the admissions office at each academy to ultimately decide who gets accepted.

The process can be confusing, so to help students along the way, I plan to hold “Military Academy Day” events across South Dakota in the coming months. At these seminars, my staff will be joined by representatives from each academy to make presentations and answer questions from interested students and parents. Our first Military Academy Day will take place on March 28, 2015 at Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls. The Sioux Falls Academy Day will be the first in a series across the state, including in Pierre and Rapid City. Others may be added, as well. I would encourage all high school students who are thinking about attending a military service academy to attend this informative event. More information about the Academy Day in Sioux Falls can be found on my website,

By attending an academy, not only will students have the opportunity to serve our nation and help lead the best military in the world, but they will receive an excellent education at a top-notch institution. I encourage young South Dakotans interested in service to consider our military academies.


Lora Hubbel forms “truth group,” provides veterinary advice.

From an unwanted e-mail, suicide re-enactor Lora Hubbel provides some goofiness on this Friday afternoon:

This will be my last issue so I wanted to update everyone on 1) legislation 2) What now? and 3) my puppy Abner


2) What now?

We have formed a group called the GANGBUSTERS and it is just what it sounds like. Out goal will be to network South Dakota so activities of the corrupt political “gang” will be broadcast all over the state as we uncover further corruption. First meeting will be 2 pm, Saturday, March 14 at the Main Library in Sioux Falls.

3) Puppy is till alive, but….

My Abner is 7 months old and is not on any treatment, due to “his many problems”. However he is doing well with coconut oil, Metagenics Renegen DTX, Standard Process Canine Renal Support, and Zypam (for digestion), Krill oil and NuVet Plus.

However last night he had a grand mal seizure out of nowhere. He came in from playing with the neighbor’s dog, ate his low-protein prescription diet with bone broth and about an hour later I heard a commotion. He was foaming at the mouth, he lost bowel and bladder control, his eyes rolled upward, and was rigid and spastic at the same time. I scared me to tears. He seems fine about 20 minutes later and still is today. I called the Vet just so Doc could note it on the case against Nestle/Purina….but like he said….there is nothing Veterinary medicine can do. He is such a nice dog….

Lora Hubbel

“Out goal will be to network South Dakota so activities of the corrupt political “gang” will be broadcast all over the state as we uncover further corruption”

So does that mean Lora is going to delve farther into why Democrats were spending Soros money to bolster Gordon Howie’s campaign?

Commerce Committee Approves Bipartisan Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act

Commerce Committee Approves Bipartisan Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson’s (D-Fla.) bipartisan Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act by voice vote.

“While I believe most manufacturers are dedicated to putting vehicle safety first, there have been disappointing examples where that did not happen and Americans died and sustained serious injuries,” said Thune. “This legislation will be a powerful tool to help ensure that problems regarding known safety defects are promptly reported to safety regulators.”

“The auto industry needs to be held accountable if it makes decisions that result in serious injuries or deaths,” said Nelson. “And, one way to do that is to encourage insiders to come forward and tell the truth.”

The Thune-Nelson bill would allow employees or contractors of motor vehicle manufacturers, part suppliers, and dealerships to receive up to 30 percent of the monetary penalties resulting from a DOT or U.S. Department of Justice enforcement action that totals more than $1 million if they share original information not previously known to the DOT relating to any motor vehicle defect, noncompliance, or any violation of reporting requirements that is likely to cause risk of death or serious injury.

The bill takes into account whether or not the whistleblower had the opportunity to report the problems internally, as well as the significance of the information. It will also protect whistleblowers’ identities. The legislation, which was first introduced last November, is modeled after existing statutory whistleblower protections that encourage individuals to share information with the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Click here for the text of S. 304, as approved by the Commerce Committee.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) also cosponsored the legislation.


Noem Urges IRS and HHS to Offer Relief for Farmers Sent Wrong Obamacare Form

Noem Urges IRS and HHS to Offer Relief for Farmers Sent Wrong Obamacare Form

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem today urged Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Burwell, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to offer relief for farmers who were sent incorrect Obamacare tax forms. Earlier this month, the IRS admitted to sending 800,000 incorrect Form 1095-As – a mistake that will uniquely impact farmers who have an earlier tax filing date and therefore less time to wait for the correct forms to arrive.

“I am extremely concerned about the effect the government’s mistake will have on hardworking South Dakota farmers, as they are subject to unique filing deadlines,” said Noem. “Certainly, farmers are in need of relief similar to that which was previously announced for individuals who had already filed. Their financial independence should not be in any way put at risk because of yet another ‘glitch’ in the implementation of the President’s health care law.”

Rep. Noem is a member of the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, giving her jurisdiction over the IRS on matters such as this. The Congresswoman’s letter to Secretary Burwell, Commissioner Koskinen, and Secretary Lew can be found below.

February 26, 2015

The Honorable Sylvia Burwell
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201

The Honorable John Koskinen
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20225

Dear Secretary Burwell and Commissioner Koskinen,

As you know, the President’s health care law requires taxpayers who receive health insurance through the Federal health insurance exchange – including many South Dakotans – to rely on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1095-A to prepare their Federal tax returns. While the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides this form to taxpayers, recent media reports indicate that HHS recently sent approximately 800,000 incorrect Form 1095-As to taxpayers across the country.

To be sure, the government’s error places an additional and needless burden on taxpayers – on top of the already onerous obligation to comply with the healthcare mandate. I am particularly concerned, however, with the effect that the government’s mistake will have on South Dakota farmers, as farmers are subject to unique filing deadlines. Under Internal Revenue Code (Code) § 6654, farmers are permitted, in lieu of quarterly estimated tax payments, to pay their total tax for the year by March 1st of the following year. For this year, the due date for farmers to file their 2014 tax returns and remit their total payment is next Monday, March 2, 2015. This means that a farmer who received an erroneous Form 1095-A, has five days including today to meet his filing obligation without the correct information from the Federal government. And, compounding the situation, the IRS has directed taxpayers who received these incorrect forms not to file their tax returns until corrected forms are sent.

Clearly, farmers are in need of immediate relief similar to that recently announced for individuals who have already filed their 2014 tax returns. In similar situations, such as the delayed passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), the IRS has historically used its authority under Code § 6654(e)(3) to extend the filing due date for farmers and waive relevant tax penalties.

As a Member of the Oversight Subcommittee of the Committee on Ways and Means, I am committed to ensuring that your agencies implement the nation’s tax and health laws in a fair and reasonable manner. To guarantee that South Dakota farmers will receive relief from the government’s error, please provide the following information as soon as possible:

1) Will the IRS provide an extended filing due date for farmers affected by erroneous Form 1095-As? If so, when will that extension be announced, and will it include guidance similar to that which was provided in response to ATRA?

2) Will farmers who are forced to file an amended return or refile be subject to a penalty and/or interest on any underpayment of tax? If so, will the IRS grant relief from such penalties and/or interest in this case and how should affected farmers apply for that relief?

Thank you for your assistance in this matter. If you have any questions, please contact my staff at 202-225-2801.


Member of Congress

CC: The Honorable Jacob Lew, Treasury Secretary


Rounds Receives Assurances that Decision on Hot Springs is not Predetermined

Rounds Receives Assurances that Decision on Hot Springs is not Predetermined

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today received assurances from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald that the agency has not made any premature decisions regarding the Hot Springs VA hospital.

Rounds asked: Would you be able to assure the committee that the SCIP items in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget request regarding the Black Hills Health Care System are not an indication of a predetermined decision for the Hot Springs Hospital?

McDonald assured: There’s no indication of any decision being made at Hot Springs. I have made no decision. We’re still collecting data, and the study is still being done.

Full video of the exchange is available here:

Yesterday, the delegation met with Sec. McDonald after the administration’s 2016 budget request proposed measures to close Hot Springs VA facilities, despite previous assurances that the VA would not act without finishing a fair and thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). That prompted a delegation letter urging Sec. McDonald to withdraw all plans to reconfigure the Black Hills Health Care System from the Obama Administration’s budget proposal. Sec. McDonald has made a personal commitment to Rounds to continue to work with the delegation on the issue.