Big GOP Dinner tonight at the Ramkota in Pierre.

Hughes and Stanley County Republicans are having their Lincoln Day Dinner tonight at the Ramkota inn in Pierre about 7pm.

Kristi Noem, Marty Jackley, & Mark Mickelson will be speaking, and Chris Nelson has teased an announcement, which I suspect is that he’s running again.

This event is sure to be a big draw, especially given the speculation of Noem, Jackley & Mickelson being in the hunt for Governor in 2018.

Social hour is at 5:30 PM, and the dinner begins at 6:30. Tickets are $30 each, and available at the door.

There is talk that the Democrats are having an event tonight in Fort Pierre as well. It just depends if the big table at Perkins is open. 

Although, they may get kicked out if they don’t order something.

Unconstitutional voting residency restriction bill (SD 164) to be heard this week. 41st day, and moving along seems the best remedy.

Republican State Senator Craig Tiezen’s legislation to strip voting rights from people who chose to make South Dakota home is set to be heard in committee this week. And hopefully the unconstitutional measure will pass to the 41st day in short order.

The legislative measure adds the following to SDCL 12-1-4 with regards to how residency for purposes of voting is determined:

  No person may register to vote using a business location, campground, or post office box as the registration address. However, if no other residential address or valid physical description of the location of the residence is available, the person may appeal to the county auditor in the county of registration. The county auditor shall determine residency based on the following principles:
            (1)    The sole basis for the person’s presence at the location is not based on a business or a commercial use, such as a mail forwarding service;
            (2)    The residence of the person is a place in which the person’s habitation is fixed and to which the person has a definite plan to return following an absence;
            (3)    The person is not claiming residency of the state solely for taxation or insurance purposes with no intention of physically remaining or returning; and
            (4)    The person maintains a physical domicile with long-term sleeping accommodations at the residence.
    If the county auditor denies the registration, the person may appeal to the Office of Hearing Examiners as a contested case pursuant to chapter 1-26D for the determination of residency. If the person does not meet the principles listed, the administrative law judge may still choose to allow voter registration if the judge determines circumstances indicate legitimate residence of the state. Prior long-term residence in the state shall be considered proof of intention to return to the state.

Read it here.

The main problem? In addition to it being bad policy, and worse legislation, as I wrote about back in December, the bill faces a multitude of problems, not the least of which is that fact that it’s unconstitutional, via Dunn v. Blumstein:

Durational residence requirements completely bar from voting all residents not meeting the fixed durational standards. By denying some citizens the right to vote, such laws deprive them of ” `a fundamental political right, . . . preservative of all rights.


This exacting test is appropriate for another reason, never considered in Drueding: Tennessee’s durational residence laws classify bona fide residents on the basis of recent travel, penalizing those persons, and only those persons, who have gone from one jurisdiction to another during the qualifying period. Thus, the durational residence requirement directly impinges on the exercise of a second fundamental personal right, the right to travel.

“[F]reedom to travel throughout the United States has long been recognized as a basic right under the Constitution.”


In sum, durational residence laws must be measured by a strict equal protection test: they are unconstitutional unless the State can demonstrate that such laws are “necessary to promote a compelling governmental interest.


Preservation of the “purity of the ballot box” is a formidable-sounding state interest. The impurities feared, variously called “dual voting” and “colonization,” all involve voting by nonresidents, either singly or in groups. The main concern is that nonresidents will temporarily invade the State or county, falsely swear that they are residents to become eligible to vote, and, by voting, allow a candidate to win by fraud. Surely the prevention of such fraud is a legitimate and compelling government goal. But it is impossible to view durational residence requirements as necessary to achieve that state interest.

Read it all here.

In a nutshell, Tieszen’s effort to preserve the “purity of the ballot box” by keeping those RV residents out has all been heard before, and declared out of bounds by the US Supreme Court.

I’m surprised his bill hasn’t been withdrawn yet, in light of the impossible hill of constiuttionality it has to climb. There might be measures that are important fights, and well worth what South Dakota taxpayers would spend to take them all the way to the supreme court of the land.

But denying someone the right to vote because they live in an RV versus an apartment? Not so much. Let’s quickly put this measure out of it’s misery this week in Senate State Affairs on Wednesday, and move on to worthwhile matters.

Dear occupant…. please give me $1000. Hawks continues the awfulness.

Check out Democrat Congressional Hopeful Paula Hawks, and her latest example of awful campaign practices, and what NOT to do:



What I’m seeing is her strongest fundraising card, and she’s playing it up front for one reason or another. Potentially, because she can’t raise any money, she’s stuck on first gear, and not gaining any traction.

(I’m not seeing a disclaimer, but I’m sure it’s somewhere in the mailing that I don’t have. Maybe.)

But here comes the cock-up. For Democrats, Herseth-Sandlin represents the biggest gun that Democrats have in running for the office of Congress.  She’s one of two or three a-list alumni they have, and it’s a pretty big deal for her to lend some of her thunder to a c-list (at best) candidate like Hawks.

And Hawks completely blows it by addressing the letter to “Dear Friend.”  “Dear Friend” for a big gun fundraising letter? Really? Addressing a larger dollar fundraising letter in such an impersonal manner is just verboten.

It doesn’t take that much extra time to personalize the darn letters. You can pay a mailhouse to do it, or you can print them yourselves. It’s not that tough. Just print the letters and envelopes in the same order, and tell the volunteers to pay attention.

Failing to do it is evidence of either incompetence, or just plain laziness.

I can tell you that without fail, almost every fundraising letter I’ve gotten from any GOP candidate is personalized – and often remarked with a personal note. It shows that the author cares and values my donation.

But this letter from Hawks?

For all the importance she’s placing on the the recipients? She might have just addressed it to “OCCUPANT.”

Dem challenger noted in Argus

From the Argus, Dems are talking about the Dem challenger. Sort of.

While the name won’t be unveiled until Friday when the announcement is made at the Democratic Forum, Ewald said the candidate is a man with experience in both the private and public sectors “with a compelling vision and offers a stronger voice in South Dakota.”

Read that here.

SDWC readers know we’ve been talking about “if no one else will do it” dem candidate and Yankton Dem chair Jay Williams, who it is reported that Dem Chair Ann Tornberg is hauling petitions around for.

So, what kind of “compelling vision” do you think we can expect Mr Williams will be talking about in his campaign?

Probably something like Jay Williams in front of a power point presentation trying to convince an audience how “TAX is not a dirty word,” or something. 

Rolling it out for his masters.

Laughably, Democrat candidate for State Senate Cory Heidelberger is ignoring the 600-lb gorilla in the room this morning – that the candidate leading his ticket this election year is a last minute, “if no one else will do it” Hail Mary pass:

Sioux Falls Democratic Forum trusts me with their money by sponsoring Dakota Free Press, but they won’t tell me who the candidate is. If you want to know for sure, you’ll need to come to the Sioux Falls VFW on South Minnesota, just north of the I-229 intersection, at noon on Friday for the announcement.

The Senate candidate has clearly followed my advice on waiting until the actual election year to announce.

Laugh at it here.

Is he serious? Not just the SDWC, but Sioux Falls Drinking Liberally (the only worthwhile Dem News Blog) already told readers about what’s coming up. 

Not to mention the fact that Jay Williams is already known as the last chance they had at the seat not being vacant, rumored to having earlier offered to take one for the team.

The word on the street is that Democrats in Pierre are telling people that Jay Williams of Yankton is likely to make an announcement in coming days for U.S. Senate as the party’s candidate for the Senate Seat currently held by Senator John Thune.

I’ve been hearing for months now that Williams, Chairman of the Yankton County Democrat Party, had allegedly been telling Democrat muckety-mucks something to the effect that if they were desperate and couldn’t find a candidate, they could put his name on the ballot.

Read that here.


The South Dakota Democratic Party has been struggling to find someone to run against Thune and his $11 million dollar bankroll. Jay indicated some time ago he would do it if no one else would. It looks like the Democratic Party is down to “no one else”.

Read it here from the dems.

 Apparently, only Cory got the party memo from Ann Tornberg demanding that Williams’ candidacy is to be held until Friday, and he is to be portrayed as a willing candidate, not a last gasp.

Gov. Daugaard Orders Flags At Half-Staff For Justice Scalia

Gov. Daugaard Orders Flags At Half-Staff For Justice Scalia

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Dauggard requests that all flags in the state be flown at half-mast, effective immediately, to honor the life of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who passed away on Saturday, February 13, 2016.

The Governor asks that all flags remain at half-staff until Justice Scalia’s internment. 

– 30 –

Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: CRP Provides Important Benefits and Alternatives for South Dakota Farmers

CRP Provides Important Benefits and Alternatives for South Dakota Farmers
By Sen. John Thune

Landowners have until February 26 to enroll eligible land in the current Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up. Between the improvements that were made to CRP in the 2014 farm bill and today’s low commodity prices, both point to CRP as a useful option for South Dakota farmers and ranchers in their farming operations.

From its highly productive East River cropland to its West River grasslands, and of course the Black Hills, South Dakota is blessed with a diverse landscape. CRP has helped farmers keep the South Dakota landscape so diverse because of the patchwork of CRP-enrolled grasslands, shelterbelts, wildlife food plots, and buffer strips located in what otherwise might be large unbroken blocks of cropped acres.

Thirty years ago this year, the first CRP contract acres were approved in South Dakota, and since the enrollment of those first contracts, South Dakota’s CRP acreage grew to 1.5 million acres by 2007. Unfortunately, it has declined to about 940,000 acres today. CRP has been very popular with not only South Dakota landowners, but also with big game and upland game bird hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and many others who enjoy outdoor recreation.  

As a member of the House Agriculture Committee and now the Senate Agriculture Committee, I helped draft the last three farm bills and have paid special attention to CRP and how it could be improved. I think farmers who have not familiarized themselves with the most recent changes and improvements to CRP will be pleasantly surprised. Today there is greater flexibility in making CRP a fully working lands program, which allows for increased use of CRP vegetative cover through haying and grazing, making it a much more attractive option.

On September 30, nearly 60,000 acres of CRP-enrolled land will expire in South Dakota. Rather than remove these acres from CRP, I encourage contract holders to take a look at how much CRP has changed and improved since they first enrolled in the program 10 or 15 years ago and seriously consider re-enrolling. As spring planting season approaches, rather than applying expensive seed, fertilizer, and chemicals to grow crops that when sold will not meet production costs, I encourage farmers to consider CRP for their less productive land. 

Agriculture is South Dakota’s number one industry, and it’s the farmers and ranchers who keep South Dakota one of the top agricultural states in the nation. With many of the improvements I helped include in the 2014 farm bill, CRP can do even more to help keep South Dakota at the top of the agriculture industry and continue to add to our state’s diverse landscape, increase wildlife habitat, and maintain our state’s more than $225 million annual pheasant hunting revenue.        


Senator Rounds’ weekly column: Defending Against a Cyber-Attack

Defending Against a Cyber-Attack
By Senator Mike Rounds

As many of our nation’s top military officials have pointed out, we are facing some of the most serious threats since World War II. But unlike World War II, some of today’s threats differ significantly from the nuclear and conventional military threats that have largely shaped our national security programs for many decades. 

As we saw during the Paris terror attacks last fall, terrorists are using sophisticated technology to help carry out their attacks. Technological advances – and our increasing dependence on information technology for all aspects of our lives – also means we are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the cyber threat is one of my greatest national security concerns. 

I recently introduced legislation to help streamline the hiring process for cybersecurity professionals at the Department of Defense (DOD). The Cyber Command Employment Personnel Training Act of 2016 would improve DOD’s hiring practices by making certain DOD hiring officials are trained on new hiring and pay flexibilities for civilian cybersecurity employees. These flexibilities permit faster hiring and higher pay for these employees than is normally the case for the U.S. civil service.

Civilian cybersecurity employees play a vital role in mitigating cyber threats against our nation, and expedited hiring and pay authorities are key to placing them quickly at pay levels that are competitive with the private sector. However, these hiring and pay-related authorities work only if hiring officials at DOD are aware of them. My legislation will make certain those officials are trained on these authorities as they seek to fill cybersecurity positions in their organizations.

This bill would be especially beneficial for universities like Dakota State University (DSU) in Madison. DSU is a leader in cybersecurity efforts, integrating technology into the culture of the entire campus. I am pleased to work with DSU on this legislation to improve this process and help assure DOD is working with the best possible talent. In turn, our armed forces will be better equipped to deal with cyber threats on our nation.

I recently had an opportunity to discuss DOD’s cyber-defense policy. One issue of concern, which I brought up during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, is that our government has not clearly defined when a cyber-attack constitutes an act of war. During the hearing, top intelligence officials confirmed that it would be beneficial to have a clear policy that provides this definition. I believe a clear and coherent policy on what constitutes an act of war would help DOD respond to attacks in a timely manner as well as deter potential attackers. 

There is much work to be done to meet the many challenges of cybersecurity, but I am confident we will meet these challenges. We have the most innovative military and economy in the world. I will continue to seek solutions to better protect our nation from mounting and potentially catastrophic cyber threats.


Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Innovation over Regulation

Innovation over Regulation
By Rep. Kristi Noem

Just when many of us were starting to feel the relief of lower gas prices, President Obama put forward a plan to increase the price at the pump by about 25 cents per gallon. Obviously, he does not recognize that many people are just trying to keep their heads above water financially. Why hike costs when people are finally getting some room to breathe? 

Earlier this month, President Obama put forward his final budget proposal. Included in it was a $10.25 tax on every barrel of oil.’s Patrick DeHaan reacted saying, “This proposal would trickle down and be a $10 per barrel tax on motorists – or 20 to 25 cents per gallon on refined fuels…. It will likely be completely passed to consumers in the years ahead.” The White House confirmed DeHaan’s assessment, saying: “We recognize that oil companies would likely pass on some of the costs.”

Why would the President offer up such a hard-hitting tax? To support his environmental agenda.

Time and again, this administration has put its anti-energy agenda above your financial security. He rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would have offered much-needed revenue for cash-strapped South Dakota counties. He also announced a rule last month that would stop coal production on federal land as well as one that would make it more difficult for companies to produce oil and natural gas on federal land.

Perhaps the most concerning was the administration’s greenhouse gas proposal, which the President admitted would “necessarily skyrocket” energy costs for families. By that he meant electricity costs could increase by as much as $17 billion nationwide and put a quarter-million people out of a job every year, by some estimates. In South Dakota, power providers have already said wholesale electricity rates could increase by 40 percent, if changes aren’t made to the President’s plan. Already, families in our state earning less than $50,000 per year spend one-fifth of their after-tax income on energy costs, which is double the national average. Many can’t afford to pay even more.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s greenhouse gas proposal earlier this month – temporarily, at least. As the judicial system is doing its job, I’ve been working in Congress to stop the President’s proposal as well. More specifically, we’ve passed legislation to stop it, although the President chose to veto it. I also cosponsored legislation, which has already passed the House, requiring bureaucrats to institute regulations based on sound data and at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. It seems like commonsense – or something that should be happening already – but it isn’t, so I’d like to write that requirement into law.

We all want to preserve our environment for future generations, and in a place like South Dakota where we largely make our living off the land, that is especially true. But that preservation should be done through innovation, not regulation. I’ve fought hard to make it easier to invest, produce, and build smarter technologies in America, but President Obama has opted for Washington bureaucracy instead of American ingenuity.