Thune Introduces Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act  

Thune, Lankford Introduce Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act  

Senators’ bill protects infants who are born alive after a botched abortion

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) today introduced the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, legislation that protects infants who survive an attempted abortion to ensure they receive the same care as any other newborn. The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on January 11, 2023, by a vote of 220 to 210.

“Babies who are born alive during a botched abortion should be given the same basic medical care that would be afforded to any other newborn,” said Thune. “This common-sense bill is a basic standard of decency, and it is an issue that should have overwhelming bipartisan support. I’m proud to lead this effort in the Senate against the injustices of abortion and infanticide, and I will continue to fight until we can ensure that every child is protected.”

“Every life is valuable—born or unborn,” said Lankford. “It shouldn’t be controversial to say that the small number of children who survive an attempted abortion and are living outside their mother’s womb, that baby deserves to receive care. Protecting life should not be a partisan issue; it should be an American issue and a human rights issue. I am proud to introduce this bill and to speak up for the children who cannot speak for themselves. A baby crying outside the womb should be cared for, not destroyed.”

The legislation is supported by Susan B. Anthony Pro-life America, Americans United for Life, the National Right to Life Committee, March for Life, the Family Research Council, Heritage Action, the Family Policy Alliance, CatholicVote, Students for Life Action, Focus on the Family, Lifeline Children’s Services, the Abortion Survivors Network, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Concerned Women for American Legislative Action Committee, the Christ Medicus Foundation, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Pro-Life Activities, and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.

“Our government’s most sacred duty is to safeguard the right to life for all Americans born and unborn,” said Hon. Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs for Susan B. Anthony Pro-life America. “At an absolute minimum, legislators should be able to agree that children who are born alive during a failed abortion deserve protections. In fact, 76% of Americans agree. We thank Senators Thune and Lankford and their colleagues for recognizing the important role the federal government has in protecting these babies, and we urge members on both sides of the aisle to join in supporting this commonsense bill against infanticide.”

“National Right to Life commends Sens. Thune and Lankford for introducing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “This reasonable legislation would protect a baby born alive following an abortion. This bill isn’t about interfering with a so-called right to abortion. It is about stopping infanticide. Following Dobbs v. Jackson, several states are moving not only to fully legalize abortion up to the moment of birth but also going to great lengths to insulate abortion providers from even the most basic scrutiny. Against this backdrop, there is renewed urgency to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act and protect these vulnerable babies.”

“Every baby born alive is a person and deserves to be protected. Babies should be greeted with the warmth of a thermal cap, not a cold operation table,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council. “I applaud Senator James Lankford and Senate Republican Whip John Thune for their leadership in promoting legislation that protects infants that survive failed abortions.”

“Senators Lankford and Thune should be commended for introducing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which protects babies from infanticide by ensuring that infants who survive botched abortion attempts receive life-saving medical care and establishing criminal consequences for abortion providers who fail to give born-alive babies appropriate medical care and a chance at life,” said Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action. “Without clear enforcement provisions for these abortion providers, survivors could be left vulnerable and neglected, especially in so-called abortion sanctuary states, as both state and federal data confirm that babies can and often do survive abortion attempts. Heritage Action encourages all senators to endorse the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act as the first of many initiatives from the 118th Congress to protect life.”

“Every single child, born and unborn, is made in the image of God and deserves the utmost legal protection,” said Herbert M. Newell IV, president and executive director of Lifeline Children’s Services. “Unfortunately, current law does not adequately protect those who survive attempted abortions. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would require life-saving medical care for the babies who survive an abortion, as well as criminally penalizing the abortionist for failing to provide medical care to born alive infants. The measure of a society rests on how we treat the least of these, and we must prioritize medical professionalism and care for these precious little ones.”

“The extremism of the Democratic party leadership and the abortion lobby in opposing an end to infanticide shows how out of step they are with most Americans,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life Action. “It’s inhumane to stand by while children are allowed to die even as they survive an abortion, and we have the voices of those who have survived that horrific gauntlet allowing us to see the life and death stakes. This is long overdue and represents a place to begin in this new year, and the pro-life generation calls on Congress to finally end this human rights atrocity. Ending infanticide should be a place of bipartisan agreement.”

“Senators Thune and Lankford are courageous defenders of life,” said Melissa Ohden, founder and CEO of the Abortion Survivor’s Network. “They are again demonstrating their leadership by introducing legislation that would ensure infants like me and countless others are guaranteed medical care and legal protections when abortions fail and life wins. This legislation, like the bill passed in the House earlier this year, will save lives, but our work continues. The Abortion Survivors Network is committed to serving survivors of abortion at any gestational age, along with their mothers, who deserve compassionate prenatal and postpartum care, a delivery plan, and emotional support. Let us work together to ensure that infant survivors and their mothers receive the best medical and emotional care possible. We are proud to stand with Senators Thune and Lankford and their colleagues in strong support of this legislation.”

“Babies have been born alive in abortion clinics; the records speak for themselves throughout our nation,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life. “Babies will continue to be born alive and left to die if the bill isn’t passed. The Born-Alive Infant Survivors Protection Act is a common sense, lifesaving bill that should be easily passed with bipartisan support. We urge the Senate – Democrat, Republican, and Independent alike – to pass this bill! Americans United for Life is very thankful to Sen. Thune and Sen. Lankford for leading on this very crucial piece of legislation. The question of whether a baby who was born alive should be left to die or protected and cared for under law shouldn’t be up for question in modern day America.”

“We are living at a sad time in history where certain newborn babies are being allowed to die rather than rushed to immediate medical care – simply because that child survives a failed abortion,” said Craig DeRoche, president and CEO of Family Policy Alliance.“This is absolutely unthinkable. We are grateful that Senators James Lankford and John Thune have introduced the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which will establish necessary protections for these vulnerable newborns, and we urge its passage in the Senate.”

“The Born-Alive Survivors Protection Act promises to ensure the most basic and fundamental of all human rights,” said Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family. “No doctor should ever be allowed to turn their back on a helpless child. I applaud Senator Lankford, Senator Thune, and their pro-life Senate colleagues for codifying what should be a matter of common-sense decency, but which is now a basic human right that risks being held hostage by radical leftists committed to the legalization of even infanticide.”

“It is to our nation’s great shame that this bill, requiring medical professionals provide the necessary aid to a dying child, even has to be proposed,” said Brent Leatherwood, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. “And, even more so, that it has been done so in successive sessions of Congress without being passed. We speak proudly of how advanced our society is, yet we have not even been able to achieve consensus that medical care should be given to the survivor of an attempt on his or her life by an abortionist. This is an injustice that should have long ago been corrected. In the new post-Roe era we now live, it would be a welcome first step towards establishing a true culture of life in our laws to see this legislation affirmed quickly by overwhelming majorities.”

“On behalf of the over 2 million members of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, I applaud Senators Thune and Lankford for reintroducing the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” said Timothy R. Head, executive director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition. “This common-sense bill simply requires that a child born alive after an attempted abortion receive appropriate medical treatment and be transferred to a hospital – the same as would be done for any other human being at the same level of development. This bill does not limit access to abortion. It is truly a reasonable and ethical approach to how we, as a nation, should expect that any innocent human beings would be treated in a medical setting.”

“Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is vital legislation that protect newborns from infanticide,” said Louis Brown, J.D., executive director of the Christ Medicus Foundation. “A civil rights bill, this legislation also protects the basic human and civil rights of newborn children and mothers by requiring medical professionals to safeguard the health and human dignity of both mothers and their infant children. Abortion is not health care and should have no place in American society. But this bill is not about abortion, it is about protecting the lives of infant children. It is unconscionable to think that any senator or member of congress could do anything but support this legislation that simply says health care professionals have an ethical and legal obligation to protect the life and health of infant children.”

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Julie Frye Mueller Scandal: Senate Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion issues Draft Report; Censure, end suspension and limit contact with LRC. Read the report here.

 

“Specifically, the Select Committee finds, and requests the Senate concur in its finding, that Senator Julie Frye-Mueller engaged in harassment”

The Senate Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion has met for what is hopefully a final time regarding the conduct of Senator Julie Frye Mueller, and has issued it’s report.

The committee found specifically that, despite her denials, “that Senator Julie Frye-Mueller engaged in harassment.” 

While the Committee has voted to remove her suspension from the Senate, they are in agreement that she should be censured for her conduct and “bringing the Honor of the Senate into public disrepute.”

And as part of making sure it doesn’t happen again, they are recommending that “Senator Julie Frye-Mueller’s interaction and contact with staff of the Legislative Research Council, including interns and pages, be limited to the director or the director’s designees.”

You can read the report here:

Mr. President:

Your Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion respectfully reports that it has completed its investigation of the conduct of Senator Julie Frye-Mueller; and, after due deliberation, recommends that the Senate do now endorse the finding of the Select Committee that Senator Julie Frye-Mueller should, and by the approval of three-fifths vote of the Senate shall be, censured for conduct by a senator unbecoming the Senate. Specifically, the Select Committee finds, and requests the Senate concur in its finding, that Senator Julie Frye-Mueller engaged in harassment, as specified in Joint Rule 1B-3(2), that had the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual employee’s work performance and creating an intimidating working environment in the Legislative Research Council.

The Select Committee finds, and the Senate to concur, that Senator Julie Frye-Mueller’s suspension is part of the Senate discipline for bringing the Honor of the Senate into public disrepute. The Select Committee further recommends the Senate immediately lift the suspension of Senator Julie Frye-Mueller.

Finally, to ensure that an intimidating work environment does not re-occur during the remainder of the Ninety-eighth Legislative Session, the Select Committee recommends that Senator Julie Frye-Mueller’s interaction and contact with staff of the Legislative Research Council, including interns and pages, be limited to the director or the director’s designees.

Respectfully submitted,

David Wheeler, Chair
Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion

Senate Committee on Appropriations Introduces Gov. Noem’s Budget

Senate Committee on Appropriations Introduces Gov. Noem’s Budget

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, pursuant to her constitutional authority under Article XII § 7 of the South Dakota Constitution, Governor Kristi Noem transmitted the Governor’s Recommended Budget to the Senate Committee on Appropriations for Introduction. The Senate Committee on Appropriations then voted to introduce the Governor’s Recommended Budget as SB 203, the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2024.

“South Dakota is proud of our incredible fiscal strength and our balanced budget,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “My budget this year provides for the largest tax cut in South Dakota history; expands paid family leave opportunities to South Dakotans across the state; invests in South Dakota state employees, healthcare providers, and education; and secures our state for our kids and grandkids.”

Governor Noem originally outlined this budget in her 2022 Budget Address, which she delivered on December 6, 2022.

Article XII § 7 of the Constitution provides for a balanced budget in South Dakota: “The Governor shall propose a budget in which expenditures or appropriations may not exceed anticipated revenue and existing funds available for expenditure or appropriation. Appropriations by the Legislature may not exceed anticipated revenue and existing funds available for expenditure or appropriation.”

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US Senator John Thune’s 2022 Year End FEC: $210k in reciepts, $288k spent, $16.9M Cash on hand. And a nice donation to Feeding SD.

Senator Thune filed his post-campaign/cleanup FEC Report for the last month of 2022 showing that he continues to be one of South Dakota’s strongest and most popular elected officials.

Thune 2022 Ye Fec by Pat Powers on Scribd

This only represents the period of 11/29 – 12/31, so it’s a very abbreviated time period. Senator Thune’s committee reported campaign receipts of $209,783.36, with $299,750.46 in disbursements, including a $9200 donation to Feeding South Dakota, along with a $100 memorial gift for the cause.

After everything, Senator Thune’s campaign committee reports a tremendous $16,942,232.64 cash on hand.

Which you might expect given the lack of competition he’s had over the years, and the fact he’s the second most popular US Senator in the nation.

Governor accuses Dem Senator Shawn Bordeaux of racist comments towards Secretary of Tribal Relations. Again.

From Austin Goss at Dakota News Now, it looks like the next Senator to be brought up for discipline may be State Senator Shawn Bordeaux who apparently has an issue with Secretary Flute, continually referring to him as an “apple,” a derogatory term towards native Americans:

This wouldn’t be the first time Bordeaux was accused of racism, and not the first time he’s been accused of using this term directed at Flute. As noted in the Argus Leader back in 2021, it’s part of what got him kicked off the State-Tribal relations panel:

“To be frank, it’s his racist behavior that caused numerous conflicts, and because of his racist conduct, there needed to be different leadership without a doubt,” Schoenbeck Saturday said of Bordeaux, now the former chairman of the State-Tribal Relations Committee.

Schoenbeck said the beef with Bordeaux goes back to a 2019 committee meeting the Rosebud Sioux tribal member was chairing in which an apple was used to insult a Native American member of Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration. The term “apple,” Schoenbeck said, is used to insult Native Americans perceived to be “red on the outside and white on the inside.”

and..

While Bordeaux confirmed the incident, he denied he was directly involved. He said during his first meeting as chairman of the committee in fall 2019, a visitor to the meeting held up an apple while alluding to South Dakota State-Tribal Relations Secretary David Flute, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe who was notably absent.

Read it here.

Looks like the Committee on Discipline and Expulsion might need to plan on more meetings.

Gov. Noem Signs Unemployment Insurance Tax Cut

Gov. Noem Signs Unemployment Insurance Tax Cut

PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem signed HB 1011, which cuts unemployment insurance employer contributions by 0.5%, delivering an $18 million tax cut for South Dakota businesses.

“South Dakota’s economy is booming, our unemployment rate is the lowest in our history, and our people are choosing to work,” said Governor Noem. “So many new businesses are choosing to call our state home, and our existing businesses are thriving, so our unemployment reserves are stronger than ever. It’s time to put money back in the pockets of hardworking South Dakota business owners.”

The Department of Labor and Regulation and the Reemployment Assistance Advisory Council drafted legislation in 2016 using an average high-cost multiplier (AHCM) to assess the solvency of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.

An AHCM of 1.0 means enough funds exist to cover a full year of benefits during a recession. Since then, employer tax rates have been based on the AHCM of the fund at the end of each fiscal year.

HB 1011 creates a new tax schedule to reduce employer contribution rates by 0.5% when the balance in the Trust Fund at the end of the fiscal year is at or above an AHCM of 1.5.

Additionally, the bill adjusts the trigger point for a surcharge – this is an additional tax imposed when the balance of the fund drops below $11 million. The surcharge trigger will no longer be tied to a dollar amount, but to an AHCM ratio.

This is the first bill Governor Noem has signed into law in the 2023 legislative session.

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Rounds Leading Legislation to Blacklist Foreign Adversaries from Buying American Farmland and Agricultural Businesses

Rounds Leading Legislation to Blacklist Foreign Adversaries from Buying American Farmland and Agricultural Businesses

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced legislation that would blacklist China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from investing in, purchasing or otherwise acquiring land or businesses involved in agriculture.

“Protecting American farmland is critical to maintaining our national security,” said Rounds. “In my travels around South Dakota, I have heard from many farmers and ranchers who are concerned about foreign adversaries owning American farmland. This legislation makes certain American interests are protected by blacklisting foreign adversaries from purchasing land or businesses involved in agriculture.”

“As a third-generation Montana farmer, I’m not going to sit back and let our foreign adversaries weaken our national security by buying up American farmland,” said Tester. “That’s why I’m proud to be joining my friend Senator Rounds on this bipartisan effort to prevent foreign entities from acquiring U.S. farmland and ensure our farmers have a seat at the table when the government makes decisions impacting our national security.

The Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act of 2023:

  • Prohibits China, Russia, Iran and North Korea from purchasing U.S. farmlandand agricultural companies,
  • Adds the Secretary of Agriculture as a standing member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to consider agriculture needs when making determinations affecting our national security,
  • Requires the president to submit a report to Congress on any waiver granted to a prohibited country and
  • Requires reporting from the Secretary of Agriculture on the risk of foreign purchases of agricultural companies to the American agriculture sector.

This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

The PASS Act is supported by the South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) and the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association.

“SDFU encourages other state farmers union organizations and NFU to endorse Senators Rounds and Testers’ bill S. 4786, Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act,” said Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union. “While I feel securing agriculture land owned by family farmers and ranchers is best served by ensuring they are profitable from the goods they produce and sell at the market place, Senators Rounds and Testers’ PASS bill can be a good second position for food and national security for all American families both consumers and producers alike.”

“We appreciate the efforts of Senator Rounds to protect Agricultural companies and US agricultural lands from foreign take-overs,” said Dustin Vining, President of South Dakota Sheep Growers Association. “Thank you for bringing attention to the dangers of foreign ownership as we try to preserve our domestic food and fiber supply which is so important to the SDSGA as well as the future of agriculture in South Dakota.”

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Rick Crawford (R-Ark.).

Click HERE for full bill text.

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Julie Frye Mueller Scandal: why is her lobbyist husband a contact for her legislative matters?

Tonight’s committee hearing ended with no huge surprises. Expulsion was probably a leap too far to have the votes for, but I suspect her censure for the alleged actions with a LRC staffer will sail through.

But more than the allegations and the she said testimony against Frye-Mueller, there was something else that was testified to.

No, not Lee Schoenbeck’s dead cat. 🐱

It came up that Frye-Mueller’s husband is not just up as session as her spouse, but he’s a registered lobbyist for Citizens for Liberty. AND they admitted under oath that he is a designated contact for Frye-Mueller on her legislative matters with LRC. How exactly does his status as her legislative contact and a lobbyist for Citizens for Liberty work?

Haugaard attempted to walk that back by noting Mueller is “an unpaid lobbyist.” But why would that matter?  From his wife’s request, he has more access to LRC than any other spouse, and practically more access to LRC than any other Lobbyist.

There’s no wall between Mueller’s liaison and lobbyist roles. I’ve spoken to people with many years as legislators- they have seen it with no one else and it’s highly unusual.  In the past, there have been spouses who have lobbied. But no one has heard of the spouses getting the access and carte blanche as Mike Mueller has.

That might be another issue that JFM has to be called to account for.

Julie Frye Mueller Scandal: This hearing is kind of crazy.

I jumped in late, but it was at a crazy moment.

Haugaard keeps insulting Sen. Wheeler, and speaks of mystery witnesses who he won’t name, and aren’t there in the room. He might be able to produce them at 24 or 48 hours. Or not? Nobody really knows.

And, as I said, I came in late. And apparently at the moment neither Senator Frye-Mueller nor her husband have been willing to testify to this point.

Is JFM really going to take the 5th? I mean really?

We’re about back, so I’ll check back in.

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Julie Frye Mueller is apparently taking the stand, and read a timeline… and now she’s off-script going off the rails claiming a reference to a dead cat is all about her.. and more.

Lots of denials here, and claiming there was no “filthy talk.” And more talk of “the dead cat strategy.”

Mueller is trying to imply moral superiority over others, claiming that Senators didn’t rush through “beerfest” and “there are Senators who have DWI’s,” as if it has any bearing on her hearing.

Sen. Tobin asked Mueller about her comments about vaccines. But Mueller had to refer to notes about the breast feeding… and JFM went into her comments about “having her husband help.” Tobin tried to pin Mueller down about the statement’s implications, with Mueller claiming “she didn’t know what that meant.” And she didn’t want to talk about it any more.

Jim Bolin asked more about vaccinations, and the accusation that she told the staffer her baby would die, which Mueller denied.

Senator Duhamel asked Mueller if she was friends with the staffer, with Mueller claiming she thought she was friends, but it must have been a lie – and MUELLER NAMED THE EMPLOYEES NAME, among her response.

Senator Davis questioned Mueller further, but Mueller bristled in her response and after an initial response claimed “you guys are looking for something that’s not there. Why is this more important than drunkfest?” (Lots of deflection from Mueller on the actions of others)

Tobin probed further on Mueller’s views on vaccinations causing Down’s syndrome or killing babies, which Mueller denied.

Prompted by her counsel, Mueller went back to her denial of everything, and stated outrage over the accusations. She was also prompted, and expressed that her own children were vaccinated.

Senator Duhamel noted the vast difference between the two accounts, and asked Frye-Mueller if she wanted to apologize, but Haugaard noted that she could not apologize for something that didn’t take place. Mueller claimed that Senators denied her the opportunity to apologize, and wanted to know why the two parties were denied the opportunity to work it out.

Senator Tobin wanted to probe further, and Mueller noted that she did not ask for an opportunity to apologize because she claimed that she did not know what was going on.

Bolin asked how long the interaction was, Mueller noted 10 min.

From here, her husband Mike Mueller was brought to the stand and said “this was a couple of gals talking” and claimed it was all innocent.

Mike Mueller tried to claim that with his knowledge of harassment as a supervisor, only on the third strike is “someone looking for another job.” Mueller claimed his wife has been hung out to dry.

Erin Tobin asked if it was appropriate for LRC to contact him for drafting bills for his wife. Mike Mueller says he was approved, but also admitted that he was a lobbyist.

Senator Duhamel asked Mueller if it was appropriate for him to be there when two women were talking about breasts.. he said he was a captive audience. Haugaard asked him if he was leaving the room, which Mueller claimed he was leaving but the conversation was over quickly.

Haugaard felt the need to go back and bring up that Mike Mueller was not a paid lobbyist.

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When Wheeler asked if the defense had people to testify, Haugaard kept complaining that they have people to testify, but are not ready.

Wheeler quipped “I take that as No.”

Haugaard keeps claiming it is an injustice that they can’t present these people, and they have people from the other side of state and out of state to testify.

In his closing, Haugaard went on for a while about the amount of time they had to prepare, etc. claimed that “the staffer did not measure the gravity of her comments,” and claims to have people to testify on the staffer’s credibility.

Haugaard noted his weird filings yesterday for the Senate, and complained about a lack of a response. He claimed it was not handled in a professional manner. And asked for more time.

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Nesiba made a motion for censure, limiting Mueller and her husbands access to LRC, and to lift her suspension. It was seconded by Wink.

Wheeler noted that it should not include her husband, and the motion was amended, and passed.

The committee will meet tomorrow with action on the report tomorrow afternoon.