Noem’s Human Trafficking Provision Passes U.S. House

Noem’s Human Trafficking Provision Passes U.S. House

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem’s bipartisan Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act was passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Human trafficking is happening in our backyard and we must address it,” said Rep. Noem.  “The legislation passed today targets trafficking from multiple angles.  First, I’m hopeful my bill will give caregivers, state law enforcement officers, and others the tools they need to prevent trafficking in our communities.  And when prevention efforts fail, my hope is that this legislation gives us more information about how to intervene while also diverting critical resources to creating safe places for survivors to escape to.”

The bipartisan Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act (H.R.350) would launch a review to look into federal and state trafficking prevention activities.  This will help us identify best practices to stop human trafficking.  It also requires an inventory of existing federal anti-trafficking efforts to make sure all federal agencies and programs work together and that federal resources are being targeted where needed.  Finally, the legislation improves an existing Department of Justice grant, ensuring that the grant is open to shelters and facilities looking to provide housing for survivors.

This legislation was first introduced by Rep. Noem in the 113th Congress to help give shelters, law enforcement officers, and caregivers more resources to address the human trafficking crisis.  While the legislation passed the House late last year, the Senate failed to consider the legislation.  Rep. Noem reintroduced the legislation at the beginning of this Congress with California Democrat Rep. Doris Matsui.

Noem, Klobuchar Lead Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urging Administration to Provide Crucial Funding for Lewis and Clark Water System

Noem, Klobuchar Lead Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urging Administration to Provide Crucial Funding for Lewis and Clark Water System

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014Congress recently approved an additional $31 million for work on authorized Bureau of Reclamation water projects; in a letter to Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner, the lawmakers pressed for strong funding to advance construction on the Lewis and Clark project

When completed, the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System will cover a service territory of more than 5,000 square miles and provide drinking water to 300,000 residents and businesses in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today led a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers urging the Administration to provide crucial funding for the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System (LCRWS). Congress recently approved an additional $31 million for work on authorized Bureau of Reclamation water projects. In a letter to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, the lawmakers pressed for strong funding to advance construction on the Lewis and Clark project. When completed, the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System will cover a service territory of more than 5,000 square miles and provide drinking water to 300,000 residents and businesses in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota. The letter was led by Klobuchar and Noem and co-signed by Senators John Thune (R-SD), Al Franken (D-MN), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) as well as Representatives Collin Peterson (D-MN), Tim Walz (D-MN) and Steve King (R-IA).

“The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Congress provided the Bureau of Reclamation with an additional $31 million for ongoing work on authorized rural water projects,” the lawmakers wrote. “As you consider how to allocate the funding for ongoing projects, we request that you give full consideration to the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System project to advance construction in a meaningful way. We look forward to working with you until the Lewis and Clark project is complete and the federal government has fulfilled its commitment.”

The full text of the lawmakers’ letter is below:

Dear Commissioner López:

Congratulations on your appointment as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.  We look forward to working with you to fulfill the Bureau of Reclamation’s mission to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public.

The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill provided the Bureau of Reclamation with an additional $31 million for ongoing work on authorized rural water projects.  Authorized rural water projects within the Bureau of Reclamation play a key role in providing reliable, quality drinking water to communities in our states.  One such project is the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System (LCRWS).  When complete, it will cover a service territory of more than 5,000 square miles.  As you consider how to allocate the funding for ongoing projects, we request that you give full consideration to the LCRWS project to advance construction in a meaningful way.

In 2000, Congress authorized LCRWS to supply high quality, dependable drinking water to more than 300,000 residents and businesses in southwest Minnesota, northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota.  The Lewis and Clark project is currently 65 percent complete and has seen significant investment at the local, state, and federal level, allowing for the construction of intake wells, a water treatment plant, pumping stations, and pipelines that now connect 11 of the 20 member systems.  Local project sponsors and the three states have collectively pre-paid 100% of the non-federal cost share of $154 million.  The remaining federal cost share to finish the entire project is just over $200 million.

Rural water projects generate both short-term and long-term economic activity and expand economic development opportunities. The member communities awaiting connection to LCRWS have shown the ability to attract economic development if sufficient water supply is made available through the project.  For example, in Worthington, Minnesota, a large pork processing plant needs a reliable water supply before it can expand its operations.  In Madison, South Dakota the lack of water is preventing the community from taking advantage of the new businesses and industries interested in moving to the community. In Hull, Iowa a dairy plant is ready to expand when sufficient water is available.  These are just a few examples of many demonstrating the potential for economic growth with proper investment in LCRWS.  As you evaluate how to allocate funding, we urge you to consider the ability of LCRWS to utilize funds to effectively promote economic development and jobs in communities in our states.

We look forward to working with you until the Lewis and Clark project is complete and the federal government has fulfilled its commitment. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Moran, Tester, Thune Introduce Bill to Preserve Rural Therapy Care

Moran, Tester, Thune Introduce Bill to Preserve Rural Therapy Care
-PARTS Act would protect rural Americans’ access to important health services-

John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressWASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and John Thune (R-S.D.) – members of the Senate Rural Health Caucus – today introduced S. 257, the Protecting Access to Rural Therapy Services (PARTS) Act. The legislation would ensure rural and other patients have access to a full range of outpatient therapeutic services in hospitals in their own communities. The senators introduced the PARTS Act last Congress (S. 1143).

“Requiring supervising physicians to be present for some outpatient therapy services places an unnecessary strain on the already overextended staff of rural health care facilities,” said Sen. Thune. “Further, this CMS requirement can place extraordinary demands on physicians, and it is these kinds of regulations that keep physician recruitment to rural areas challenging. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to move our common-sense legislation forward, ensuring we provide rural health care facilities in states like South Dakota with the flexibility needed to continue to deliver quality outpatient therapy services without being subjected to budget-busting workforce regulations.”

“Rural hospitals need reasonable flexibility to appropriately staff their facilities so they can provide a full range of services to their communities,” Sen. Moran said. “Many hospitals find the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ direct supervision requirements impossible to meet, which jeopardizes access to this important care. The PARTS Act would preserve patient safety and oversight while easing unreasonable supervision requirements for therapy care. This bill is crafted to make certain federal regulations reflect the realities of rural health care and address this issue on a permanent basis.”

“Rural families face unique health care hardships and they deserve access to quality care without being forced to travel long distances,” Sen. Tester said. “This bill removes burdens for rural patients, provides Critical Access Hospitals certainty, and upholds the standard of health care that rural Americans expect.”

“Outpatient therapeutic services” include services such as pulmonary rehabilitation, certain behavior health assessments and counseling, demonstration/evaluating the use of an inhaler or nebulizer, and certain casting/splinting procedures. Hospital outpatient therapeutic services have always been administered by licensed, skilled professionals under the overall direction of a physician. However, in 2009 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) abruptly shifted policy to require that outpatient therapeutic services must be furnished under the “direct supervision” of a physician who is required to be physically present in the department at all times that Medicare beneficiaries receives these services. While CMS subsequently revised its standard to also permit direct supervision by certain qualified non-physician practitioners (NPPs), the agency still requires the physical presence of the supervising professional by mandating the supervisor be “immediately available” at all times these services are provided to beneficiaries.

While the need for this “direct supervision” is recognized for certain high risk, complex outpatient services, CMS’ policy often applies to even low risk services, such as some medication injections and minor wound debridement. For many years, these procedures have been safely administered in hospital outpatient departments under “general supervision,” a standard that permits services to be furnished under the general oversight and control of a supervising practitioner without requiring his or her physical presence. In fact, in December 2014 President Obama signed into law H.R. 4067 – legislation unanimously passed by Congress – that suspended enforcement of this CMS regulation on Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and other small rural hospitals in 2014.

The PARTS Act would:

  • Require CMS to allow a default setting of general supervision, rather than direct supervision, for outpatient therapeutic services;
  • Create an advisory panel to establish an exceptions process for risky and complex outpatient services;
  • Create a special rule for CAHs that recognizes their unique size and Medicare conditions of participation; and
  • Hold hospitals and CAHs harmless from civil or criminal action for failing to meet CMS’ current direct supervision policy for the period 2001 through 2016.

Click here to read the text of the bill.

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I’m looking forward to all the photo ops Dems will have.

President Obama is planning to do something that Rick Weiland wanted no part of during this past election. Traveling to South Dakota.

President Obama’s visit to Boise, Idaho on Wednesday leaves him just three states in the entire country he hasn’t been to as president: South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah.

Now, Obama lost all these states — big time – as he noted in his speech at Boise State University: “Of course, in the general election, I got whupped. I got whupped twice, in fact. But that’s OK. I’ve got no hard feelings.”

But the president has visited plenty of states where he lost badly. (He only got 28 percent of the vote in Wyoming in 2012. Though, to be fair, he only visited there once in 2009.)

No doubt Obama will want to check all 50 off his bucket list before his presidency ends – though including his travels as a candidate in 2008 he’s already hit them all. Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed as much, saying he wouldn’t call it a “bucket list” … “But I do think the president would like to have the opportunity to visit all 50 states as president of the United States.  So hopefully we’ll be able to get that done in the next two years.”

and…

And his last three remaining states have a good bit to offer. South Dakota has Mount Rushmore and roaming buffalo, South Carolina has charming Charleston and some solid golfing in Hilton Head, and Utah (where Obama had his worst showing in 2012 with only 25 percent of the vote) has the Great Salt Lake and Park City skiing.

Read it here.

I’m really looking forward to all the photo-ops that the state’s few remaining Democrat officeholders will have to be pictured arm in arm with President Obama.

Especially at election time.

Be careful who’s house you flood. They may end up being your US Senator.

From KELOland, this is both a little hilarious, and a sweet comeuppance:

South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds’ new job comes with a new responsibility, overseeing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It’s an agency that flooded his property nearly four years ago.

In the summer of 2011, the Corps of Engineers authorized record releases from dams along the Missouri River after a wet spring and a snowy winter in the Rocky Mountains. That water flooded out properties up and down the river in Pierre including Senator Rounds’ new home. Now he’s been given the job of overseeing the agency as the chairman of an Environment and Public Works subcommittee on oversight. Besides the Corps of Engineers the subcommittee also oversees the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We will be actively involved in that oversight. It’s an area I said during the campaign that I wanted to be involved with and I think we’ll have the opportunity to get South Dakota’s point of view in a number of areas in terms of how the agencies have been run and are still run,” Rounds said.

Read it all here.

Do you think anyone in the Corps of Engineers noticed this, and went “Oh, hell….”?

Lora Hubbel thinks the DOH is going to repossess your car, and possibly eat your babies.

Lora Hubbel is mass spamming e-mail boxes this morning, using a list that many think she appropriated from the Minnehaha County Republicans.

I may have been musing about the “eat your babies” part in the post title, but her new rant today regards House Bill 1058, which seems to be a simple bill to clean up language, and make it applicable to diseases that aren’t specifically codified into law, so they wouldn’t have to have a special session if someone brought Ebola to the state.

Predictably, Lora takes that premise and says that if you have a fungus, she thinks THE STATE could seize your vehicle and luggage:

My take on HB 1058 (see link…you may want to print it out and follow along) http://legis.sd.gov/Legislative_Session/Bills/Bill.aspx?File=HB1058P.htm&Session=2015&cookieCheck=true has been written by the Executive branch (that in and of itself is a violation of our SD Constitution…even though we have allowed this for a long time). HB 1058 takes our current state law on managing Tuberculosis (SDCL 34-22) and guts it…replacing all the intensive state laws that used to be reserved for TB (SDCL 34-22-7), a single bacterium, and now applies state control over “contagious/communicable” diseases (both terms mean the same medically) This bill’s definition of contagious/communicable is very broad and could be construed to include the common cold and thousands of viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, toxins, etc.

I find it interesting that right after President Obama makes an Executive Order to further implement ObamaCare making respiratory diseases subject to government control, isolation and quarantine…* The SD Dept of Health does even worse in this HB 1058.

Obviously if the state wanted to keep us safe from Ebola (as they are lobbying) they can just refer to Category I reportable diseases (Ebola’s generic name is Viral Hemorrhagic Fever…see http://doh.sd.gov/documents/diseases/infectious/RptDiseaseList.pdf )

What could happen if you have a contagious/communicable head cold? South Dakota wants to be able to:

1) Seize your vehicle and luggage, etc. They use the word “conveyance” which means “vehicle” when used as a noun, or “to transport” when used as a verb (Section 2).

2) Slap a Class II misdemeanor on you if you possibly have a cold and expose yourself to others in a public place (Section 4).

3) Control sick people by monitoring, quarantine and isolation (Section 7-5)

4) Demand that you be supervised to take the prescribed medical treatment and procedures for prevention (vaccines?) (Section 7-8)

5) Surrender to prescribed screening for state testing of communicable diseases (Section 8)

6) AND the personnel gathering your blood and administering treatments/vaccines do NOT need to be licensed (Section 9)

7) The STATE has authority to consult with doctors and others in diagnosing your cold or suspected cold (contagious disease)

8) The STATE wants the authority to enforce eradication of communicable diseases (they seriously wrote this!) which is a “cold” by this definition… through isolation, prevention (vaccine?) and treatment. (Section 12)

9) All confirmed cases of communicable diseases shall be under the surveillance of the department, which will diagnosis, control, and declare treatment of communicable diseases. (Section 14)

10) All category I reportable diseases (this is the first place the new bill mentions category I diseases and Ebola is already on this list under its generic name “Viral Hemorrhagic Fever” see link above) And a person suspected of having a communicable disease (possibly a cold) proclaimed by the department SHALL ACCEPT DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OR IS GUILTY OF A CLASS 1 MISDEMEANOR. (Section 15)

11) You may hire your own doctor BUT ALL SUSPECTED AND CONFIRMED COMMUNICABLE DISEASE shall be under surveillance of the department (section 16)

Jeez. My head hurts from all the crazy.

Ugh, I didn’t think it started this early..

My High School aged daughter was telling me about her day yesterday, and brought up the fact that in her government class her teacher was spouting off about how the kids shouldn’t watch “biased” news programs and singled out Fox News in particular.

No mention of MSNBC, or the dozens of liberal news outlets who bring a lefty spin, but apparently Fox is bad.

I’m surprised I made it through 3 kids without one of them getting stuck with a teacher who tries to ram that kind of naked bias down their throats.