New Candidate in District 33 GOP House Race? Dems up to 7 candidates for state legislature.

Sources tell me that a Rapid City woman, Taffy Howard, may be jumping into the race for District 33 House against State Rep. Scott Craig and Dave Johnson, triggering a primary election for the two available seats for office.

The word is Howard will be addressing the Meade County Republican Women this week. But otherwise, this is the first we’re hearing of the potential new candidate for office.

At the same time Republicans are coming out of the woodwork to run for office, Cory Heidelberger (the most liberal man in South Dakota) became the 7th democrat to file for the State Legislature, with his candidacy posted on the Secretary of State’s website yesterday.

So, at this point, SDDP Chair Ann Tornberg has 7 down, and 98 to achieve her promise of filling all legislative seats.

Good luck with that, Dems.

Press Release: FHA Action Responds to House Bill 1008 Veto

FHA Action Responds to House Bill 1008 Veto

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Amidst the Super Tuesday drama, another drama was almost quietly sputtering to a conclusion. As folks across the country waited to see if Governor Daugaard would sign the landmark HB1008 into law, emotions have run pretty hot in South Dakota. The aim of this bill was as well-meaning and void of malice as it was accommodating for people on both sides of the issue. It genuinely sought to address what likely is going to be a prolonged debate in the not-so-distant future in our state. The question at hand is this: should transgender elementary and secondary public school students be allowed to shower and use the restrooms with students of the opposite sex. The State House voted to mandate that instead, it would be incumbent on the schools to accommodate the transgender individual in a respectful and decent manner. The State Senate agreed. Unfortunately, Governor Daugaard did not concur, vetoing the bill late in the day on Tuesday, March 1. We sincerely believe that the Governor missed an opportunity to get out in front of this issue and help accommodate both sides in a peaceful and respectful manner. We appreciate the seventy-eight Legislators who stood on principle and voted in support of HB1008. We are thankful to all those who called or emailed their Legislators and the Governor asking for support, and for all those on both sides of the debate who opted for civil discourse in the discussion of this issue.

Sincerely Yours,

Dale A. Bartscher
Executive Director
Family Heritage Alliance Action


State Rep Fred Deutsch’s Statement on HB 1008 Veto

Here’s the actual statement if you don’t want to squint at the picture:

The 2016 South Dakota legislature should be proud of the difficult but necessary decision to increase taxes to increase our teacher’s salaries. And that is what South Dakota should be known as: cautious to raise taxes but practical when confronted with a problem.

We will continue to have the lowest tax burden in the country, BUT we will no longer by 51st in teacher pay.

HB 1008 was intended to be a practical solution to our evolving social values on gender issues. Unfortunately emotions on both sides of this issue have dominated the news coverage and the recent debate. I still believe an objective reading of the proposed law is consistent with my intent to be non-discriminatory and fair to all students and parents.

However, because I think the national focus on South Dakota should be on our positive business environment, strong labor market and the excellent work our schools do, I am going to ask my legislative colleagues to concur with the Governor’s veto. Further focus on this issue will detract from the other significant accomplishments of the legislature this session.

Rep. Fred Deutsch

Gov. Daugaard Vetoes HB 1008

daugaardheader DaugaardGov. Daugaard Vetoes HB 1008

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard has vetoed the following bill:

HB 1008 – An Act to restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools.

For more information about this bill and other bills, visit


Note: A copy of the Governor’s veto message follows:

March 1, 2016

The Honorable Dean Wink
Speaker of the House of Representatives
500 East Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501

Dear Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives,

I respectfully return to you House Bill 1008, with my VETO.

House Bill 1008 does not address any pressing issue concerning the school districts of South Dakota. As policymakers in South Dakota, we often recite that the best government is the government closest to the people. Local school districts can, and have, made necessary restroom and locker room accommodations that serve the best interests of all students, regardless of biological sex or gender identity.

This bill seeks to impose statewide standards on “every restroom, locker room, and shower room located in a public elementary or secondary school.” It removes the ability of local school districts to determine the most appropriate accommodations for their individual students and replaces that flexibility with a state mandate.

If and when these rare situations arise, I believe local school officials are best positioned to address them. Instead of encouraging local solutions, this bill broadly regulates in a manner that invites conflict and litigation, diverting energy and resources from the education of the children of this state.

Preserving local control is particularly important because this bill would place every school district in the difficult position of following state law while knowing it openly invites federal litigation. Although there have been promises by an outside entity to provide legal defense to a school district, this provision is not memorialized in the bill. Nor would such defense eliminate the need for school or state legal counsel, nor avoid expenses relating to expert witnesses, depositions and travel, or other defense costs. Nor does the commitment extend to coverage over settlement or damage expenses. This law will create a certain liability for school districts and the state in an area where no such liability exists today.

For these reasons, I oppose this bill and ask that you sustain my veto.

Respectfully submitted,

Dennis Daugaard


House Bill 1182 Education Tax Bill – 25 Yea 10 Nay – Measure Passes

South Dakota House Bill 1182 – the measure to raise the sales tax by a 1/2 cent to fund education and property tax relief, just passed the South Dakota State Senate on a vote of 25 to 10, giving the tax measure the 2/3 majority it needed to pass.

If I was listening correctly, The bill passed unamended, and now moves on to the Governor for signature.

Any thoughts or comments?

Rounds Supports Senate Ag Committee Passage of Bill to Stop States from Mandatory Biotechnology Labeling

Rounds Logo 2016 MikeRounds official SenateRounds Supports Senate Ag Committee Passage of Bill to Stop States from Mandatory Biotechnology Labeling

Agrees to Cosponsor Bill as it Heads to Full Senate for Consideration

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today supported the Senate Agriculture Committee’s passage of legislation to prevent mandatory labeling of food produced from biotechnology seeds – commonly referred to as GMOs – at the state level by creating a national voluntary labeling system for bioengineered foods. The bill would pre-empt states mandatory labeling and create a voluntary federal standard. The bill passed out of the Senate Ag Committee by a vote of 14-6 with bipartisan support.

“While extensive testing and scientific studies have demonstrated that genetically engineered crops are just as safe as non-GMO crops, consumers should have the option to purchase products without them if they so choose. Nothing in federal law prevents companies from selling such products today. But food companies – who often sell their products across state lines to consumers in many different states – should not be unnecessarily burdened with 50 different labeling requirements. A voluntary, streamlined approach that sets a new national labeling standard will reduce compliance costs without forcing companies to include – or not include – labeling information on the bioengineered content of their products.”

This legislation is supported by South Dakota Agri-Business Association, South Dakota Farm Bureau and more than 650 agribusiness organizations.


District 33 – Dave Johnson of Rapid City files for the House

In District 33, Local Rapid City Businessman Dave “The Tree Guy” Johnson filed petitions with the Secretary of State today for the State House of Representatives.   You may remember Dave from the Senate Republican Primary against Phil Jensen in 2014. Now, State Rep Jacqueline Sly is taking on Senator Jensen after being termed out of the House, and Johnson is running for the seat that Sly held.

Stay tuned!


Add Casey Murschel to the House in District 12?

Since she left office in 2006, former State Representative Casey Murschel had been in charge of NARAL – SD for several years, and for the past few she’s been lobbying for Child Advocacy Centers of South Dakota.

She had run for office again in 2010, losing to Hal Wick & Manny Steele. And her committee has been maintained as open since.

But, as I just noticed, it’s curious that she’s filed a brand new statement of organization for 2016.


Might she be jumping into the race for the open house seat in 12?