Thune Bill Would Improve Access, Availability of Rural Health Care


  John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressThune Bill Would Improve Access, Availability of Rural Health Care

“This common-sense bill would support and improve the health care services that skilled nursing facilities can provide to our rural communities by allowing them access to much-needed funds that are currently out of reach.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today introduced S. 1916, the Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015, a bill that would amend the Communications Act to permit skilled nursing facilities (SNF) to apply for support from the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) Rural Health Care Program (RHCP). The USF’s RHCP provides funding for telecommunications and broadband services used to provide health care in rural communities. The Communications Act specifies which types of health care providers are eligible to receive RHCP support, of which SNFs are currently not included. Thune serves as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and the USF.

“For many South Dakotans, it is not as easy as jumping in the car and driving down to the local hospital for a checkup, which is why access to rural health care, including telemedicine, is such an important issue for South Dakota families,” said Thune. “This common-sense bill would support and improve the health care services that skilled nursing facilities can provide to our rural communities by allowing them access to much-needed funds that are currently out of reach. My legislation achieves this goal without raising the existing cap on the Universal Service Fund.”

When the FCC updated the RHCP and created the Healthcare Connect Fund in 2012, it proposed to implement a pilot program to examine funding SNFs. In January 2014, the FCC deferred implementation of the pilot program, and in June 2014, Thune sent a letter to the FCC urging it to resume implementation of the pilot program.

The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society (Good Sam), headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., currently operates hundreds of SNFs nationwide, most of which are in rural communities. Through Internet-based connections to its national headquarters, Good Sam allows rural patients to remotely connect with hospitals and physicians. The Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015 would help organizations like Good Sam provide better quality care for rural areas throughout the country.


Argus on Hawks Campaign Roll out: It’s Amateur Hour.

The Argus Leader’s 100 Eyes program is running right now, with the major topic of discussion the Argus staffers savaging Paula Hawks’ announcement for Congress.  Editor or Content Strategist, (or whatever they call him now) Patrick Lalley summed it up in three words, as noticed by Tony Reiss:

Lalley reiterated that statement later in the show, and continued noting “She wasn’t ready to be the candidate.”  “What’s the campaign about….?”

He let the word “Substandard” slip inadvertently, but it’s pretty accurate. And should continue to be for quite some time.

South Dakota Republican Party Highlights Hawks’ Support for State Income Tax


South Dakota Republican Party Highlights Hawks’ Support for State Income Tax

Pierre – The South Dakota Republican Party today issued the following statement in response to Paula Hawks’ candidacy for the U.S. House:

“Paula Hawks is best known for being the leading advocate for the creation of a state income tax that would dramatically raise taxes on all South Dakotans and we welcome her to the race,” said South Dakota Republican Chairwoman Pam Roberts.

Background: Watch the video available at the Argus Leader website for more on Hawks’ support for a massive tax increase:

Questioner: “Are you in favor of an (state) income tax?”

Hawks: “Um, yeah. …”

Questioner: “Do you see a downside to an income tax?

Hawks: “It’s extremely unpopular. The unfortunate part of that is it’s unpopular because of a lack of understanding how that would affect people differently than taxes now.”

I can tell SD Dems couldn’t be more excited to have a congressional candidate…

dems_excited I see South Dakota Democrats can barely contain themselves that they have a candidate for Congress.

Really, this rollout couldn’t have been more awful if they’d planned for it not to be noticed.

The flipside of the coin is that I almost hate to write about how bad it is. As every time I do, it increases the campaign’s media presence exponentially.

Governor’s Office Still Accepting District 9 Nominations


Governor’s Office Still Accepting District 9 Nominations 

DaugaardPIERRE, S.D. – The Governor’s Office is still seeking nominations from the public to fill Rep. Steve Hickey’s legislative seat in District 9.

District 9 includes northwestern Minnehaha County, including the Hartford, Humboldt, Crooks and the Wall Lake area. The district also includes an area in north and northwestern Sioux Falls, encompassing Southeast Technical Institute, Hayward Elementary School and the Sioux Falls Regional Airport. A map of the district is available on the LRC website at

Those wishing to be considered for the appointment, or to offer nominations, should contact Grace Kessler in the Office of the Governor at 605-773-3661. Nominations should include the candidate’s name, current address, telephone number and relevant background information.

Hickey announced last month he would be vacating his legislative seat to pursue a postgraduate opportunity. Hickey’s resignation is effective Sept. 1, 2015.

Gov. Daugaard expects to name an appointee this fall.


Let’s see how that goes for Bosworth

From the Argus Leader…. What’s that saying about people who represent themselves? (We all know it).

Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth fought to keep her medical license at a medical board hearing Friday that was held in response to her felony conviction for election law violations in May.


Bosworth, who represented herself at the hearing, said she’s a good doctor and that she loves what she does, KELO-TV reported.

Read it here.

Given that her former Attorney got her through the last one of these, arguably by the skin of her teeth, I’m not thinking this is going to go well.

State Senator’s dogs involved in biting incident.

From the Argus, it appears dogs belonging to Dr and State Senator Blake Curd were involved in a serious dog biting incident:

The woman was walking near the 1300 block of South Elmwood Avenue at around 7 a.m. when she encountered two Tibetan Mastiffs, one male, one female, said Capt. Greg VandeKamp of the Sioux Falls Police Department.

The woman had bites to both legs and her right arm, and was treated at Sanford USD Medical Center. Police think the male dog bit her.

Sen. Blake Curd (R-12)
Sen. Blake Curd (R-12)

State Sen. Blake Curd and his wife Debbie own the dogs.

“We are distraught over what has happened and thankful it wasn’t worse,” Blake Curd said in a statement to the Argus Leader. “We hope for all to recover quickly and applaud the quick actions of the Sioux Falls Police Department, EMS personnel and Milo the animal control officer who responded to render assistance in this unfortunate circumstance.”

Read it all here.

We certainly hope everyone involved is ok. That’s scary stuff, and but for the grace of God, could happen to any of us. As domesticated as they are, dogs are still animals.

This is the New SDDP Executive Director?

South DaCola took a few minutes off from hating on everyone this afternoon, and posted that the new Executive Director for the SDDP is identified as Suzie Jones Pranger.

No, I haven’t really heard of her either. But, there is this video out there floating around which gives the impression she’s been involved in some of the Dem campaigns in the past:


And this LTE, which someone pawned off on her to sign in 2010 during the Herseth campaign.

Her curriculum vitae matches up with what I’d heard was the background of the person coming into the job, so I have no reason to question it.  Although, why would a past chair of USD Women in Law choose to become the ED of the South Dakota Democratic Party?  That’s like signing up to captain the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.

Ah, youth and exuberance. (It takes a few bruises before they become callused and cynical like most campaign veterans).

Thune Selects Family for 2015 Angels in Adoption Award

thuneheadernewThune Selects Family for 2015 Angels in Adoption Award
“The Fite family is more than deserving of this award, and I am honored to select them.”

2015 Angels in Adoption Award_Fite Family(Pictured from left to right: Chloe, Tami, Clare, Cody, Cate, and Aaron Fite)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today announced his selection of Aaron and Tami Fite of Platte, S.D., and their family for the 2015 Angels in Adoption Award presented by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, of which Thune is a member. This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of men and women across the country who have opened up their hearts and homes to children in need of a family.

“The Fite family is more than deserving of this award, and I am honored to select them,” said Thune. “Aaron and Tami graciously opened up their home, accepting the medical challenges that would come with Cody’s and Cate’s adoptions. Their selflessness has truly been an inspiration to me as well as to members of their community.”

Aaron and Tami were inspired to start a family of their own through adoption while serving on a short-term mission trip in Central America. When they arrived home to South Dakota, they were told about Cody, an infant with Down syndrome who was in need of a family. Eleven years later, Cody is now an active athlete in the Special Olympics, competing in basketball, track, and softball.

In 2006, the Fites received a call about a baby girl, Cate, who was also in need of a family. Cate suffers from a severe neurological disorder called semi-lobar holoprosencephaly and was adopted by the Fites shortly after she was born. Cate has overcome many medical obstacles during her life. Even though she cannot walk or talk on her own, she can walk in a Mustang walker and talk with her eyes through an Eyegaze communication tool. Recently, at a surprise retirement party for Cate’s personal paraprofessional aide, Cate thanked her teacher via the use of the Eyegaze.

After eight years of marriage, the Fites discovered they were miraculously pregnant in 2009, and Chloe was born in 2010. When Chloe was 10 months old, they became pregnant again, and Clare was born in 2012.

“Families have so much love to give, and when families open their hearts to what God has in store for them, it can bring immeasurable joy and growth to a family in ways they never dreamed possible,” the Fites say. “Our adoption story has inspired us to have a Christ-like love for people who are different, for children who are deemed ‘not worthy of life,’ and we are so grateful for the awareness about individuals with disabilities our children have helped bring to our community, churches, and schools. Cate and Cody have taught us more about Christ’s unconditional love and the spirit of perseverance than we ever thought possible. Cody and Cate prove that every life matters and that there is potential in even the worst of circumstances or when the odds are completely stacked against a child.”

The Fites will be invited to join Angels in Adoption nominees from around the country at an awards banquet sponsored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington, D.C., in October.