Press Release: Rounds Statement on Netanyahu Address

Rounds Statement on Netanyahu Address

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today made the following statement following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress:

“I thank Prime Minister Netanyahu for taking the time to address us today on our shared goal of stopping Iran from its nuclear ambitions. Our relationship with Israel transcends both time and political theater, and we must continue to work together to defeat our enemies which seek to destroy us. A nuclear Iran threatens the entire world and cannot be allowed to get nuclear weapons. I encourage the President to carefully consider the Prime Minister’s remarks today as he moves forward with his Iranian policy.”


Busy.. Working on legislation to help kids with Autism, and other stuff.

Yes, I’ve been somewhat quiet on original writing over the last couple of weeks as I’ve held down the homefront while my wife dealt with her Dad’s passing, and we both traveled for the funeral in Arkansas this last week.  But in case you’re wondering, yes, that’s me in an article at today.

No, I’m not in the accident reports, court reports, Argus 911, scolding political silliness or Democrats. I’m actually working with a great group of parents who are trying to ensure that a measure in the legislature being promoted as helping children with Autism actually does that, and doesn’t put families in a worse position than there were in before:

Parents of children afflicted with autism hope a bill moving through the legislature can be amended to help parents get insurance coverage for the most effective treatment plan.


In 2014, insurers in the state began to deny the intensive and expensive treatment protocols used in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), which involve hours of therapy each week and can cost between $50,000 and $120,000 a year. A bill to require all plans to cover ABA died last year in Pierre and was replaced with a bill that called for a study group. Senate Bill 190 was offered by insurance providers in response to the study.


Stanley and other parents, including Pat and Michelle Powers of Brookings, say the bill would put those whose children were grandfathered into coverage in a more difficult position than they are now.

Michelle Powers told KSOO radio’s Rick Knobe on Monday that recognizing ABA coverage as effective and worthy while cutting coverage for the hourslong workaday therapy involved leaves previously-covered parents with less than they have now.

Without amendments, Pat Powers said, the bill recognizes ABA but ignores the tiered delivery system that makes it possible.

“It also places stricter limitations on coverage levels than those recommended by the legislative report in 2014,” he wrote in an email.

Read it here.

If you care about kids with disabilities getting services to help them live up to their potential, and give them a chance to become productive taxpaying citizens, as opposed to wards of the state, it’s an important bill to watch. And with a couple of minor tweaks, it can be a good bill, as opposed to a bad one that hurts families.

(And while we’re at it, I’m also helping with publicity for the Brookings Area Special Olympics Polar 5k run taking place on March 27th. The Polar 5k is one of the fastest growing 5k events in the state, and rivals the Hobo Day 5k in size. Sign up today.)

AFP SD Director Ben Lee Discusses Stealth Tax Increase on KELO Radio

AFP SD Director Ben Lee Discusses Stealth Tax Increase on KELO Radio

One Penny Sales Tax Proposal Would Result In More Than $150 Million In New Taxes

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Americans for Prosperity South Dakota Director Ben Lee appeared on KELO Radio to discuss a bill that could increase sales taxes in South Dakota by $150 million. AFP South Dakota has been engaging its network of activists, encouraging them to reach out to their legislatior and urge them to vote NO on this dangerous legislation.

Excerpt from the interview: “South Dakota’s economic advantage is our low tax structure…Any time we consider significant tax increases we’re threatening that and we’re threatening our economic advantage…If every city chose to take take advantage of the ability to add an additional 1 penny sales tax, that would result in more than $150 million in new taxes, which would be far and away the largest tax increase in South Dakota history… This bill has been under the radar and we don’t think enough folks have been talking about it. So we wanted to shine a light on it and talk about how we don’t believe this is good tax policy for South Dakota.”

You can listen to the full interview here.

Governor to Republicans – Get on the stick, and get recruiting

From the Rapid City Journal:

Gov. Dennis Daugaard told Republican county leaders at their statewide meeting Saturday that candidate recruiting can start immediately for 31 of the 105 seats in the Legislature. Those are seats that Democrats currently hold or have Republicans who can’t seek re-election to the seats in 2016 because they are term-limited. He also suggested that the 74 other Republicans should be asked whether they plan to run again in 2016 so there can be a head-start on finding new Republican candidates to run if they aren’t.

“We are so much more organized, and it makes us strong,” Daugaard said.

Read it here.

Good, solid advice. Time to get recruiting for offices, especially since we may be circulating petitions in 9 months.

That explains a lot. Rapid City CVB using mascots in campaign. Not Tourism

Coming on the heels of my post asking about why the Rushmore mascots are being used in a political campaign, I received a heads up about there being more than one set:

There are two sets of Rushmore mascot costumes.  One is owned by the SD Department of Tourism, and the other is owned by the Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The Tourism mascots are not participating in this campaign, so I can only assume it is the Rapid City CVB mascots.

So, it’s not the state’s mascots who are inserting themselves into the convention center vote. It’s those owned by the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Press Release: United States Supreme Court Denies Rodney Berget’s Petition for Relief

United States Supreme Court Denies Rodney Berget’s Petition for Relief

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley announces that the United States Supreme Court has denied Defendant Rodney Berget’s petition Writ of Certiorari.

“The United States Supreme Court has denied Rodney Berget’s request to overturn his conviction and capital sentence for the murder of Correctional Officer Ronald ‘RJ’ Johnson. I believe due process has been satisfied and that the interest of justice has been served,” said Jackley.

On February 6, 2012, Berget was sentenced to death for the 2011 killing of Senior Corrections Officer Ronald ‘RJ’ Johnson during a failed attempt to escape from the Sioux Falls Penitentiary. Berget was serving a life sentence for attempted murder and an additional life sentence for raping a convenience store clerk.

In January of 2013, The South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed 11 issues, including the appropriateness of the death sentence for Berget’s crime. However, the Court reversed the original sentence because the admission of statements Berget made to a psychiatrist violated Berget’s right against self-incrimination and remanded the case to the trial court for a limited re-sentencing and the opportunity for Berget to call the psychiatrist as a witness. At the re-sentencing, Berget did not call the psychiatrist as a witness but sought to introduce alleged new evidence regarding his family as mitigation against a new death sentence. The trial court again sentenced Berget to death by lethal injection.

Berget appealed from the trial court’s re-imposition of a death sentence claiming that the Court should have opened up the record to take his additional family evidence. The South Dakota Supreme Court rejected Berget’s appeal, citing the fact that Berget had a full opportunity to present all his desired mitigating evidence at his original sentencing. Berget petitioned the South Dakota Supreme Court to rehear his appeal, which the court denied in an order issued October 17, 2014.

Berget is scheduled to be executed between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m., during the week of Sunday, May 3, 2015, through Saturday, May 9, 2015, inclusive, at a specific time and date to be selected by the Warden of the State Penitentiary. Berget may seek the right to file additional habeas proceedings in order to stay the sentencing date.

Stolen from Facebook: Can I get the state tourism mascots for my next campaign?

I was perusing facebook this morning, and noticed that Jordan Mason, a former Rapid City Councilman and Register of Deeds candidate had reposted the below pictures, and was commenting about electioneering, likely because it was a pro-civic center message in and around the in-person absentee polling place.


But, the thing that came to my mind was “aren’t these state tourism mascots?” and “What is 1/4 of the state tourism mascot doing promoting a particular position in an election?”

If they’re available for rent, let me know, as I’d love to have Teddy and Lincoln for a hospitality suite at the next GOP Convention.

(Update – Check out my latest post. Apparently, there are 2 sets of costumes. Kind of like a set of evil twins. One is owned by the state, which has noting to do with this, and one owned by the Rapid City CVB….. whom I’m guessing has a lot to do with this.)




Pierre, SD 3/02/2015 — The South Dakota Republican Party today announced its new officers for 2015-2016.

The officers are: State Party Chair – Pam Roberts, Pierre, Vice Chair – Drake Olson, Sioux Falls, Secretary – Kristi Wagner, Whitewood, Treasurer – Justin Bell, Pierre.   Regional Directors are: Hal Wick – Sioux Falls, Al Koistinen – Watertown, Van Pace – Yankton, David Wheeler – Huron, Mike Mehlhaff – Pierre, Marilyn Oakes – Custer.

Roberts recently retired from a career of leadership in state government, in which she served on the Cabinet of Governors Mickelson, Miller, Janklow, Rounds and Daugaard.  As a senior cabinet official and advisor, Pam has a strong reputation of leadership, sound management, a focus on achievement, and a firm commitment to conservative principles.

The South Dakota Republican Party currently controls all of the state’s executive offices and holds supermajorities in the House of Representatives and Senate.  Republicans also hold both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats and the state’s at-large congressional seat.



US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: Don’t Break the Net

Don’t Break the Net
By Senator John Thune

John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressWhether it is to catch the scores of last night’s game, read the morning news, or stay connected with friends and family, like many South Dakotans, I depend on fast, reliable Internet service. The role of the Internet in our lives is only going to continue to grow. It will keep revolutionizing things like transportation, commerce, agriculture, and education. But heavy-handed government regulation could delay the next big transformation.

On February 26, three unelected officials of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve the most controversial agenda item in the agency’s modern history, a policy awkwardly known as Title II reclassification of broadband. The FCC voted 3-2 to impose heavy-handed regulations on the Internet that were designed and intended for monopoly phone companies in the 1930s. The regulations being imposed by the FCC are an attempted power-grab that will create new barriers for innovation and open the door to new taxes and fees on internet service for American households.

In the 317 page rule that has yet to be made public, the FCC gives itself broad power to decide how broadband services may be offered in the market. For example, mobile broadband plans that allow unlimited music streaming could be prohibited by the government. Additionally, the FCC action could make broadband more expensive because compliance with these regulations will increase operational costs for providers that will likely be passed along to customers in the form higher prices for broadband Internet service.

New investment in communications networks will also be threatened. Broadband networks are expensive to build, operate, and maintain, and nowhere is that more apparent than in South Dakota, with our relatively small population and large landmass.

Advocates for reclassification worry that future entities that control Internet access could abuse that position to affect what content users can access. I have generally not been in favor of instituting government regulations until we know there is a real and actual need. But, to prevent the FCC’s heavy-handed regulatory overreach, I believe it is time for Congress to act by updating our telecommunication laws.

As chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the FCC and policies relating to telecommunications and the Internet, I put forward a legislative solution earlier this year to create common-sense rules for the digital road. What I am proposing is very different from what the FCC has jammed through. The FCC regulations are 317 pages. My draft proposal is six pages that focuses on what consumers want – prohibiting practices like “blocking,” which is the process blocking legal content, and “paid prioritization,” which is demanding special payments for access to certain services, all without the legal uncertainty associated with the FCC’s plan.

Above all, I don’t want the debate about protecting the open Internet to be used as an excuse for the federal government to grab control of the Internet from innovators. I will continue to pursue a legislative solution with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the problems associated with the FCC overreach, and I will fight for policies that maintain the light-touch regulatory structure that has enabled the Internet to thrive.