New legislator Josh Klumb profiled in Mitchell Republic

From the Mitchell Daily Republic, newly elected Republican legislator Josh Klumb is profiled as he prepares to go to Pierre:

Joshua Klumb, of Mount Vernon, will enter the Capitol as one of two House representatives for Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties. He said agricultural issues will be his main concerns as he is a farmer and was named vice-chair of the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee.

He said water mitigation issues in the state will likely be points of discussion. He’ll also keep his eyes on pheasant habitat, and work between farmers and the state to keep the popular birds at healthy numbers.

“I haven’t heard a lot that’s coming down the pipeline,” Klumb said. “I’ll wait and see what people drop in the hopper when I get there. I know people have ideas, but I haven’t heard a whole lot yet.”

Read it all here.


Howie trying to convince people that Bosworth should be let off.

Gordon Howie, who abandoned the Republican party to run for US Senate as an Independent and received 3% of the vote, penned a missive today trying to convince the Attorney General to dismiss the felony charges against Annette Bosworth.  And in doing so, Howie underlines a shocking belief that rules should not apply to him and his friends:

She allegedly was not “in the room” when the actual signatures were affixed to the petitions. On the dates in question, she was actually on a missions trip in the Philippines (perhaps also a crime in the minds of some).

If she WASN”T in the room… is that REALLY worthy of twelve felony charges, or is it legal (or political) over-reach?


At Lincoln Day dinners across the state, Republicans routinely send their petitions around the room. They do not personally witness each signature, but sign the “oath” that they did. I would venture to say that even our Attorney General may be guilty of this practice. PLEASE, Marty, say it isn’t so… not even ONE?


You can make up your own mind, but I think the Attorney General, the people of South Dakota and the “integrity of our elections” would be well served by dismissing the charges. At the very least, offering a generous plea bargain that does not include a felony.

It’s time to move on, and give Annette her life back!

Read it here.

“It’s time to move on, and give Annette her life back?” Gordon may sympathize with Annette because they shared the same former S&M porn photographer who acted as consultant for both, but it shows a lack of knowledge when it comes to elections, as well as some questionable ethics.

Gordon seems to be operating under a theme of “But, everyone does it,” trying to claim that “even our Attorney General may be guilty of this practice,” referring to randomly circulating petitions for office at GOP dinners.What happened to the rule of law, and why is Gordon arguing it should be suspended?

(Also, the problem with Howie’s claim?  Candidates for Attorney General don’t circulate petitions. They’re nominated at their respective convention.)

In the past, Gordon has written about oaths and the importance of keeping them. The candidate swears an oath on the petition attesting to the fact that they were the person who circulating it. Why does this oath not matter to Gordon? We can only speculate.

But in the same breath as we point out he’s demanded adherence to oaths, Gordon’s request for leniency in Annette Bosworth’s case seems reminiscent of his same pleas when his friend Stephanie Strong lost a court case against Brian Gosch. Which again seems to ignore the rule of law:

The State leadership team and the Pennington County Republican leadership team should join together and make a clear, formal, written request to Speaker Gosh and his attorney to withdraw their motion against Stephanie Strong. That might make their cries for unity a bit more believable.

If State and County Republican leaders are serious about unity, they need to end the harrassment and disenfranchisement of conservatives. The dismissal of the action against Strong is where they need to start.

Read that here.

In case you’re wondering about the Strong case, Stephanie Strong lost her court case back in April, was ordered to pay over $30,000 in attorney fees, and as recently as this last week I’m told she has yet to pay anything to clear her debt.

I guess I’m troubled by Gordon (who keeps running for office) touting himself as a constitutional conservative. Because most of the conservatives I know follow the law, but here’s yet another example of Gordon arguing for it’s non-application.

What do you think?  Should constitutional conservatives be arguing for laws to be followed, instead of being ignored?

Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: Vaccinating Saves Lives

Vaccinating Saves Lives
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

DaugaardFor those who grew up in the 1950s and early 1960s, measles was almost a childhood rite of passage. Fifty years ago there were half a million cases and 500 deaths reported in the United States every year. South Dakota experienced over 10,000 cases of measles during the peak years before the 1960s.

Since the 1950s measles and several other diseases – smallpox, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and mumps – have been either controlled or eliminated in South Dakota.

What accounts for this tremendous shift in public health? Improved nutrition, widespread understanding of how diseases are transmitted, and improved sanitation have all played a role. But by far the single most important factor in saving lives from contagious disease is childhood vaccinations. Thanks to Jonas Salk – who developed the polio vaccine – and others like him, people are living longer and more productive lives.

Unfortunately measles is trying to make a comeback in the United States. Measles is a highly contagious airborne disease that causes permanent brain damage in one in every 1,000 patients. It is fatal in three of every 1,000 patients. The majority of those who contract measles in the United States are preschoolers, adolescents and young adults who were not vaccinated.

As I write this, the state Department of Health has confirmed six cases of measles in South Dakota. After 17 years without a single case, we’ve had 6 confirmed cases in one week. Why? Because even though vaccinations are proven to prevent disease and save lives, some choose against vaccination.

Avoiding vaccination has been a recent trend. As the memory of these diseases fades into the past, too many people seem to forget the risk of not vaccinating children.  Unsubstantiated and discredited theories about side effects have created unreasonable anxiety. Medical professionals, repeated scientific studies and organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that vaccination is vital and safe.

I recognize that there are extreme circumstances where a child may not be able to receive specific vaccines because of a severe allergy or condition. In South Dakota, we also allow people to forgo a vaccination for religious reasons.  But for the overwhelming majority of people, vaccines are safe and reliable.

Not vaccinating doesn’t just affect you and your kids. It puts others at risk as well. Just as the polio vaccine protected millions of children from disease in the 1950s, vaccines save lives today. Vaccination is just as necessary today as it was decades ago.


Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: A Typical Day

A Typical Day
By Rep. Kristi Noem
January 2, 2015

kristi noem headshot May 21 2014One of the questions I get most often is: “What does a typical day look like for you?”  It’s a good question, but one that I sometimes struggle to answer concisely, as every day is a little different.

When Congress is in session, I stay out in Washington, D.C.  Like a handful of other Members of Congress, I have a pullout bed in my office so I don’t have to waste time getting through city traffic every day.

Throughout each day in session, we vote on a series of bills.  Sometimes those bills will impact millions of people; other times, they impact only certain communities. Either way, I cast my vote in the way I believe best represents South Dakota’s values and interests.  At the end of each vote, the vote tally will be displayed in the House chamber on equipment manufactured by Daktronics in Brookings, South Dakota, to let Members of Congress know if the bill passed or failed.

Placing votes only accounts for a small portion of my day, however.  Most of my time is spent preparing for such decisions, educating myself on the issues I’ll be weighing in on, and helping write the legislation that we vote on.

During the early morning hours, I usually try to catch up on any news that happened overnight and prepare for the meetings I’ll have that day.  Some mornings, I’ll join my colleagues to meet with House leadership so we can weigh in on what policy areas we believe should be pursued in the weeks to come.  We’ll also discuss reservations folks have about pending legislation and how those concerns can be addressed.

Throughout the week, congressional hearings or briefings are scheduled where I can collect information to help inform future legislative action or oversee the implementation of previously passed bills.  We will bring in witnesses – who may be members of the administration, private stakeholders, or experts in the area – to give testimony and answer any questions Members of Congress may have.  This is always a good time for me to hold the administration accountable for their actions and assess what changes should be made to ensure government programs work better for hardworking Americans.

For me, the best part of every day is the meetings I hold with South Dakotans.  Most weeks, I meet one-on-one with dozens of constituents to listen to their concerns and calls to action.  These meetings – along with the perspectives shared with my office over the phone and in writing – play a tremendous role in the decisions I make.

About once a week, I spend time with reporters, offering them updates on my work and allowing them to question me on the actions I’ve taken.  I firmly believe it’s my responsibility to share with you what I work on from week-to-week and this is one way that I accomplish that.

In the evenings, I finish up letters and emails to South Dakotans who write in with questions or feedback.  It’s also my time to reflect on what ideas I can bring to the table and the kind of fixes needed to address the problems our nation faces.

When Congress isn’t in session, I head back to South Dakota where I hold meetings with constituents, visit local businesses and schools, and try to make it to at least a few of my kids’ basketball games.

I understand that I’ve been placed in this position to serve the people of South Dakota and I have never forgotten that.  This week, I will take an oath of office to launch a third term as South Dakota’s representative in the House.  It’s a responsibility I do not take lightly and one that I spend every day trying to fulfill.

It’s been an honor and privilege serving you the last four years and I wholeheartedly look forward to serving you again this year.


US Senator Thune’s Weekly Column: New Priorities and Goals for a New Year

New Priorities and Goals for a New Year
By Senator John Thune

John_Thune_official_photoIt is about this time every year that people start planning for new opportunities in the year ahead. Some call them resolutions, but I prefer to call them priorities or goals. With both a new year and a new Republican majority in the Senate, I am eager to work on a number of issues facing our country.

With a Republican-controlled Congress and a Democrat White House, there are a number of bipartisan issues we can and should be working together on for the American people. These include important issues like approving the Keystone XL pipeline to create jobs and free up freight rail capacity, especially for agricultural commodities, reauthorizing trade promotion authority to ensure American goods are on an equal playing field in the global marketplace, and acting on bipartisan jobs bills that in the 113th Congress passed the House but were denied further action in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The two parties may not share the same vision or the same prescription for change, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to work together to help our country move in a positive direction, especially with the stagnant economy under the current administration. I am looking forward as part of the Senate leadership team, including my role as Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, to help get Washington working again for the American people. The commerce committee will have the opportunity to address several issues important to South Dakotans including rural broadband, rail service, aviation, cybersecurity, and the long overdue need to modernize our telecommunications policy.

I am also eager to advance a number of important South Dakota priorities including final approval of the expansion of the Powder River Training Complex (PRTC). For the past eight years, I have worked closely with the Air Force in its effort to expand the PRTC to ensure our B-1 pilots and crews in South Dakota can maintain the maximum level of readiness and save taxpayer dollars in the process. I am committed to working with the Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration to open this expanded airspace as soon as possible to ensure multiple aircraft and crew can train together, simulating a more realistic combat environment with no live fire.

I also remain committed to reining-in the Obama Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overreach to protect South Dakotans from the devastating impact these EPA actions would have on American jobs and energy prices. I will also reintroduce my bill to block the controversial proposal to lower the ground-level ozone standard – the most expensive regulation in EPA history. Finally, I’ll continue fighting for South Dakota consumers by working to stop President Obama’s backdoor national energy tax, and the EPA’s effort to further regulate farms, ranches, and businesses by expanding its regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.

I know South Dakotans continue to feel the weight of ObamaCare’s higher health care premiums and deductibles, canceled plans, and burdensome regulations. As families learn what their plans will cost them this year, opposition to the president’s signature health law will only continue to grow. I am committed to repealing and replacing the most onerous parts of ObamaCare with policies that lower health care costs for South Dakota families.

Because there is so much to tackle in this new Congress, there will be considerable debate about what to address first; but rest assured, serving the people of South Dakota will continue to be my number one priority. As your U.S. Senator I look forward to new opportunities to serve South Dakota in the coming year and wish all South Dakotans a happy, safe, and healthy new year.


Republican State Senator wants voting felons. Bad idea.

So, what happened to paying your debt to society? Republican State Senator Craig Tieszen want to give voting rights back to felons as soon as they’re out of prison.

According to KOTA news:

District 34 Senator Craig Tieszen will introduce a bill this legislative session to restore voting rights to felons as soon as they get out of prison.

State law dictates that felons have to wait until their parole is finished.

But keeping in line with the state’s mission to reform criminal justice, Tieszen said Friday that it is only fair that felons get the chance to take part in the voting process.

Read it here.

Sorry, but that’s just a bad move, and no reason to be soft on criminals. What’s next? A polling place at the state pen? The fact of the matter is that in 2012, South Dakota finally fixed what was a confusing patchwork system and clarified that:

Under South Dakota Codified Law § 12-4-18, a person convicted of a felony in either federal or state court on or after July 1, 2012 loses the right to vote. A person so disqualified becomes eligible to register to vote upon completion of his or her entire sentence. A person who receives a suspended imposition of sentence does not lose the right to vote.

Read that here.. If you look at that page, it details the mess we had before.

And, the truth is that there’s a lot more to sentences than jail time. There’s restitution, there’s treatment, and a host of other remedies and hoops the court may require before the felon has completed their sentence and has their full citizenship restored.

Why would we give someone less incentive to fulfill their obligations? Because while some think it might be fair for the felon, what about fairness for the victim? Shouldn’t, say an embezzler, meet the sentence requirement of restitution before having their right restored?

It’s even a worse idea this year. Why? Two words – Annette Bosworth.

Say this law passes. If Annette is convicted (or pleads guilty) to election violations, for a white collar petition felony charge, she likely would not spend one hour in prison. Which, under the Tieszen proposal, means her right to vote would suffer no consequences whatsoever.

Why would we want to do that for election violators? Shouldn’t there be some effect on a right to vote in that situation?

There are a lot of reasons to reject this. Most importantly, I keep coming back to the fact we just fixed this law in 2012. So why would we step backwards and make it a confusing mess again?

That’s just a bad idea.

Rounds’ first legislation: Keystone

From Jon Ellis, Mike Rounds is quickly moving to do what we elected him to do in working to end the federal government’s war on energy:

Rounds, who takes the oath of office on Tuesday, has agreed to sponsor a bill that would allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The project, sponsored by TransCanada, has been held up by the Obama administration.

Read it here.

Held up? Try sandbagged for over half a decade.

The pipeline enjoys overwhelming popular support in South Dakota – on a 2-1 basis – so there’s nothing but benefit for Senator-elect Rounds to champion the plan.

Ed groups know a tax increase for teachers is DOA.

According to education groups pushing a sales tax increase for teacher salaries, the measure likely faces both legislative resistance, and a likely Veto from the Governor.

According to the Argus Leader this morning:

Under the terms of the proposal, state sales tax would increase by a penny in June, July and August. Money from the tax hike would go into a special fund reserved for school districts.

The one-cent sales tax hike would bring in about $40 million, according to estimates. But even the people who came up with the idea are less than certain about how much support there is among lawmakers. Rob Monson, executive director of the School Administrators of South Dakota, said the plan would probably do better among voters.

His group was one of three that pitched the idea to a committee of lawmakers in September. Monson is more optimistic about the proposal’s fate as a ballot initiative than he is about it passing through the Legislature with the required two-thirds approval.

“I just find it hard to believe that we would get that kind of support,” Monson said.

Read it here.

What do you think? Should the legislature be setting local salary policy?

And is this going to be what Democrats spend their time, money, and energy on in 2016 instead of running candidates for office?