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Freedom Caucus Statement on Sen. John Thune’s RESTRICT ACT

Pierre, S.D. (April 18, 2023) – Today the South Dakota Freedom Caucus has taken a stand against the RESTRICT Act, sponsored by SD Senator John Thune and has issued the following statement:

As a group committed to protecting the Constitutional rights of South Dakota citizens, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus is deeply concerned about the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act. While the Act is intended to protect national security, we believe that it could have a detrimental impact on the Constitutional rights of our citizens.

We believe that the RESTRICT Act could violate several Constitutional rights, including the Fourth Amendment right to privacy, the First Amendment right to free speech, and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. As we have previously stated, the Act would require certain technology companies to disclose their proprietary information to the government, which could potentially infringe on the privacy rights of citizens. Additionally, the Act would prohibit the use of certain technology products and services, which could limit the ability of citizens to communicate and access information, thus impeding the right to free speech. Furthermore, the Act could grant broad authority to the government to make determinations about which companies are allowed to provide certain technology products and services, potentially leading to arbitrary and discriminatory decisions and infringing on the right to due process.



It is important to note that the sponsor of the RESTRICT Act, Senator John Thune, has a history of introducing legislation that infringes on the Constitutional rights of citizens. For example, in 2012, Senator Thune introduced a bill that would have allowed for warrantless surveillance of American citizens. The bill was widely criticized for violating the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Similarly, in 2017, Senator Thune introduced a bill that would have weakened protections for online privacy by allowing Internet service providers to sell users' browsing data without their consent. This bill was also met with widespread criticism for infringing on the privacy rights of citizens.

Previously the Supreme Court has challenged legislation introduced by Senator Thune that infringes on Constitutional rights. For example, in United States v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that warrantless GPS tracking of a suspect's vehicle violated the Fourth Amendment.

In conclusion, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus is deeply concerned about the RESTRICT Act and the potential impact it could have on the Constitutional rights of citizens. We urge Senator John Thune to reconsider his support for the Act and to uphold his oath to protect the Constitution and the rights of citizens. We also call on all citizens to remain vigilant in protecting their rights and to hold their elected officials accountable for upholding the Constitution.

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--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2023-04-20 07:58:50Last Update: 2023-04-20 10:36:29


Thune’s “TikTok Ban,” an Authoritarian Power Grab?
Ristrict Act- S.686 -Fails to mention TikTok, on its way to creating another bureaucracy exempt from transparency

Feb. 04, 2023 By Breeauna Sagdal

WASHINGTON D.C- Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) has introduced "The Restrict Act" (S. 686) as a bipartisan effort to "ban TikTok." However, the bill has since received heavy criticism from both sides of the aisle, uniting opposition from the far-left to the far-right.

The unified opposition stems from the broad language in the bill, which actually doesn't specify TikTok, but includes any online platform with over one million users. The bill has been read twice and was just referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.


— Jennifer Lynn Lawrence (@JenLawrence21) March 27, 2023

S. 686 authorizes the creation of a new agency-like committee that operates at the pleasure of the President, under the Executive Branch's Secretary of Commerce. This un-elected body would be given an unlimited budget for staffing and resources, have the sole and unreviewable discretion to determine a "foreign adversary," make FOIA-exempted decisions based upon past and present online activity, and then impose penalties of "not more than one million dollars," or "if a natural person, 20 years in prison."

Section 2 is broken into sub-sections that define whom and what the law will apply to. The definition of an Entity for example, can easily be applied to nearly every U.S Citizen;

Section 2(6) ENTITY.—The term “entity” means any of the following, whether established in the United States or outside of the United States:

(A) A firm.

(B) A government, government agency, government department, or government commission.

(C) A labor union.

(D) A fraternal or social organization.

(E) A partnership.

(F) A trust.

(G) A joint venture.

(H) A corporation.

(I) A group, subgroup, or other association or organization whether or not organized for profit.

Section 2 Ss 3(a-b)

"Covered Holdings" - Regardless of how or when such holding was or will be obtained or otherwise come to have been held, a controlling holding held, directly or indirectly, in an ICTS covered holding entity by a foreign adversary (see i,ii,iii)" AND includes "any other holding, the structure of which is designed or intended to evade or circumvent the application of this Act, subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary."

Section 2 Ss 4(C)

"NON-EVASION"— The term “covered transaction” includes any other transaction, the structure of which is designed or intended to evade or circumvent the application of this Act, subject to regulations prescribed by the Secretary."

The last line leaves the interpretation of "intent to evade or circumvent," open and subject to the regulations prescribed by the Secretary. Many have pointed out that this section could be used to surveil and penalize U.S Citizens who use a VPN while online, if the platform they are accessing is currently under review by the Secretary.

Being that the actions and findings of the Commerce Secretary are exempt from; The Paperwork Reduction Act (Section 15(a)), Judicial and Administrative Review (Section 12), and the Freedom of Information Act (Section 15 Ss F[2]), there is actually nothing in this bill that would require notification to the American public in advance, or even after they, or a platform they might be using, has come under review.

This lack of process has the potential to act as a backdoor into the online activity of every U.S Citizen, giving the federal government the authority to spy on Americans through Ring door cameras, web-cams, SMART devices and more.

Without prior notice, a mom who runs a daycare in rural South Dakota could come under surveillance because she accepted payment for daycare from PayPal. The things that are legal today, could change overnight and without notice, making normal actions subject to surveillance, without prior notification. According to Congressman Rand Paul, "it's the Patriot Act on steroids."

🚨The RESTRICT ACT S 686 is a massive violation of our 4th Amendment Rights and an complete Nationalization of the internet. @SenateGOP if you attempt to pass this Bill, you will be sealing the nail in the coffin of Freedom and expect a 80 + Million Americans to be as pissed as… pic.twitter.com/HALpqBydK9

— Joshua Reid (@realjoshuareid) March 28, 2023

Given the broad sweeping definitions, and lack of public notification in its current form, the language could open any American up to surveillance if they currently or have previously; used a VPN, purchase online goods, mine or buy cryptocurrency if a node exists in a country of concern, play online gaming sites/ in-app purchases, purchase from Etsy if the item originates in a country of concern, or otherwise engage in any action deemed to be against the "national interest" by the Commerce Secretary. Penalties for these actions include 20 years in prison, civil penalties of up to $250,000, and even civil or criminal asset forfeiture which are outlined in the bill as being specifically applicable to a "natural person, including a citizen or national of the United States."

According to Senator John Thune, criticism of the bill is misinformation as the bill would only apply to foreign adversaries, and not to American citizens. "The RESTRICT Act responds to foreign-adversary technology threats of today by giving the force of law to former President Trump's nearly identical effort, and it prepares for the threats of the future so the United States isn't forced to play Whac-A-Mole every time a platform like TikTok rears its ugly head. The bill targets foreign countries like China and Russia, and it protects American consumers from the threats posed by these adversarial nations," Thune said in a statement sent to the Washington Examiner.



According to the definition of "person" in the bill itself, and the penalties that are specifically applicable to a "person," Thune may not fully understand the bill he has sponsored.

Section 2 Ss 13- the Definition of "Person." —The term “person” means a natural person, including a citizen or national of the United States or of any foreign country."

Now apply the definition of "person" to every penalty outlined in Section 11 of the bill;

Thousands flock to Twitter Spaces daily to glean information from the nation's best and brightest. Recent spaces have been dominated by concerns for the Restrict Act. Among those most critical of the bill are coders, engineers, software designers and pretty much the entire cryptocurrency community. Cryptocurrency has had some heavy set backs lately, and as a result the community has expressed concerns related to recent federal actions. The "unnecessary" intervention of Signature Bank by the FDIC, and the federal government's intervention into third party settlement companies ahead of FedNow rolling out this July, have created speculation, and mistrust within the industry. Given this context for concern, miners say the bill's broad language could apply to nodes in China, giving the federal government the ability to seize crypto assets.

In particular, the language outlined within Section 5 lists nearly every aspect of crypto mining, and distributed ledgers in addition to pretty much all online activity. In addition, the powers conferred to the Secretary would allow for the committee to add a country, platform or foreign adversary ad hoc and via ex parte decision. Again, the committee is exempt from the Paperwork Reduction Act(Section 15(a)), meaning at no point in time would the government need to notify the public that an adversary had even been identified or added to a list.

According to the procedures outlined in Section 6(b)- notice shall be given, "not later than 15 days before the date on which the Secretary makes or removes a designation..." "By classified communication, notify the President pro tempore, Majority Leader, and Minority Leader of the Senate, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, and the relevant committees of Congress, in writing, of the intent to designate a foreign government or regime as a foreign adversary."

In light of the recent UCC push to remove cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange, the Federal Reserve's push to create their own retail Central Bank Digital Dollar, and now the Restrict Act happening concurrently, it would appear that some coordinated level or intentional attempt at consolidation, is a plausible scenario.

At the most basic level, thousands of Americans rely on TikTok for revenue, some having dedicated their entire career to building massively monetized followings on the platform.

Regardless of what people think of TikTok, organizations from the left to the right are calling this bill the end of free speech. Twitter has been trending with #RestrictThis, and #TrojanHorse as thousands flock to spaces to learn more about the bill's broad language. While the most commonly expressed sentiment is that people no longer trust the federal government "Uniparty," and have lost faith in Congress's ability to make good policy, the bill is also uniting people from across the political divide and inspiring
new allies to work towards solutions.

Editor's Note- Update made at 12:49 to fix a coding error.

Right to Republish- Article's published to The Dakota Leader are free to republish in-part or in-whole, with proper citations and a clear link back to the original content.

Please DONATE NOW, and Help Us to Continue Slaying Sacred Cows with Guerilla Journalism!

--Breeauna Sagdal - Editor in Chief

Post Date: 2023-04-04 07:27:23Last Update: 2023-06-06 13:40:59


Freedom Caucus Works to Debunk Spin on UCC Law

Pierre, S.D. (March 23, 2023) – A fight over an update to South Dakota’s commercial law, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), has heated up since the veto of the UCC update, HB 1193, by Governor Noem, with some pushing to override the veto this coming Monday, March 27.

Now the South Dakota Freedom Caucus is pushing back against what they call “disinformation efforts to mislead our colleagues,” and today released a publication called “Debunking the Spin on the UCC Updates” with hopes to set the record straight.

“It’s unfortunate that this can’t be an honest debate on the issue,” said Freedom Caucus Treasurer Representative Tina Mulally, “the people pushing for this have stooped to name calling, instead of attacking the issue - and that is the redefinition of money and what that means for everyday people.”

The 7-page document released by the Freedom Caucus today lists twenty arguments made by advocates for the UCC updates, that according to the Freedom Caucus “are designed to mislead the public on this issue.”

“We want to discuss the facts,” said Freedom Caucus Treasurer Representative Tina Mulally, “and the fact is, the UCC update redefines money, cementing that definition to include a central bank digital currency as a currency under this law, while eliminating other currencies that are available.”

Proponents of the UCC update have said that the Freedom Caucus, along with the South Dakota Governor, Florida's Governor, Congressman Warren Davidson, Glenn Beck and over a dozen conservative national organizations, are spreading what they call “misinformation.” But the Freedom Caucus rebuffs that allegation, claiming that they’re only, “quoting the authors of this legislation and what they’ve said about this new definition,” said Freedom Caucus Chair Representative Aaron Aylward.

The South Dakota Legislature will reconvene this coming Monday, to reconsider the UCC update, along with other bills, and can override the Governor’s objections if they get a two-thirds vote to do so.

“We’re not backing down,” said Representative Aylward, “we’re taking a stand to support our Governor and her veto of this dangerous legislation.”

Read press release online here.

--South Dakota Freedom Caucus

Post Date: 2023-03-23 10:26:06Last Update: 2023-03-23 14:31:13


SD Freedom Caucus Supports DeSantis Announcement, Encourages Governor Noem to Follow Suit
Press Release

Pierre, S.D. (March 20, 2023) – Today Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called on the Florida legislature “to pass legislation to expressly forbid the use of [a Central Bank Digital Currency] within Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code," He noted, “that there is a concerted effort across America to backdoor provisions for the use of [ a CBDC ] through individual state Uniform Commercial Codes,” an effort that initially passed the South Dakota legislature earlier this year, but was vetoed by Governor Noem.

The South Dakota Freedom Caucus openly opposed this UCC backed legislation and at their urging, South Dakota Governor Noem vetoed the bill. The legislature will convene next week, where the South Dakota Freedom Caucus will be fighting to sustain the Governor's veto over the objection of liberal Republican House and Senate leadership.

“Governor DeSantis clearly understands that it is not enough to just stop permissive legislation for a CBDC, which we are still fighting to do,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Aaron Aylward, “but it needs to be put down and outlawed outright. We call on Governor Noem to push for legislation prohibiting the use of a CBDC in South Dakota".

--South Dakota Freedom Caucus

Post Date: 2023-03-21 10:23:01Last Update: 2023-03-21 10:26:06


Black Hills War Monument Dedication Set For Memorial Day 2023
March 09, 2023 By Contributor Edward Manzano

Most people think of South Dakota as a land of ranchers and horses, of endless prairies and the beautiful Black Hills, of buffalo and Indian tribes, of the Badlands and Crazy Horse Mountain. For those of us blessed to live, work and raise our families here in the Black Hills, it is all of these and much more, truly the term “the land of the free and home of the brave” are among the best words that describe “The Mt. Rushmore State”.

As a retired military aviator and board member of the Black Hills War Monument Association, I have had the opportunity to research the rich and long military history and legacy of duty, honor and country that is an integral part of the history of the Black Hills. From the first World War, through the decades of conflicts in Europe, Asia, the Persian Gulf, etc. military members from the Black Hills have done their part to keep American free.

The 147th Field Artillery, from the SD National Guard, served on the front lines with the 89th Division in France during WWI. In fact, their medical personnel were honored for their courage and skill under fire.

During WWII, Rapid City Air Base (today Ellsworth AFB) trained B17/B26 bomber crews who helped defeat Japan and Germany with relentless bombing missions over Tokyo and Berlin. In fact, Capt. Don Smith from Belle Fourche, SD, piloted the #15 aircraft (known as “TNT”), during the
Doolittle Raid. The flight took off from the deck of the USS Hornet, and gave us hope in the dark days after Pearl Harbor. Over 2000 pilots for USAAC bombers where trained in Spearfish SD at Clyde Ice Field, supplying desperately needed airmen to turn the tide against the Axis powers.

At Ft Meade SD, near Sturgis National Cemetery, the 4th Cavalry was ordered to mobilize as M-5 light tank units and were present in combat on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. During WWII,
over 100 members of the 4th Cavalry gave their lives for their country.

Black Hills POWs were on the Bataan Death March, in Japanese and German POW camps, on
Japanese Hell Ships, and in prison camps in North Korea and Vietnam. Black Hills military members died at Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Arizona, at the bloody battles at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Okinawa and Iwo Jima; our sailors died at the Battle of Midway and the Coral Sea and died delivering atomic bomb parts to the aircrews that bombed Hiroshima (aboard the USS Indianapolis); our local heroes died at Chosin Reservoir in Korea, at the battles of Hue and Khe Sanh in Vietnam, at Fallujah and Baghdad in the War on Terror.

Ellsworth AFB in nearby Box Elder, SD was instrumental to our nation’s war effort during the Korean War (1950-53), the Cold War (1946-1991), the Vietnam War (1964-1975) and the Global War on Terror (2001-present). Formerly known as Rapid City Air Base, during WWII our airmen learned to fly B17 and B29 bombers; then in the 1950s and 1960/70/80s flew RB36 and B52 bombers. Over the past 40 years Ellsworth has been home to the premier AF bomber, the B-1B, and now the base awaits the arrival of the B21, expected in the next 3-5 years. In addition, the 44th Strategic Missile Wing operated ICBM silo sites that played an integral part of the nuclear triad that deterred Soviet aggression and ultimately defeated communism during the Cold War.

Camp Rapid in Rapid City, is home training base for the SDNG, saw action in World War I as the 147th Field Artillery Battalion. In World War II, the 109th and 132nd Engineer Battalions were among the first US units to see action in the war against Germany. Since then, National Guard units have deployed countless times during wartime in support of national war efforts.

Taps is our final farewell to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation.

With this military legacy and history in mind, in 2022 the Black Hills War Monument Association (BHWMA) was formed as a non-profit group by several retired military veterans. Our vision was to erect a war monument that listed the names of ALL Black Hills military who died in service to the nation from World War I to the present, a period of over 100 years. Their goal was to ensure our citizens NEVER FORGET the sacrifices and selfless service of hundreds of Black Hills military members who went off to war and never came home.

Today, the Black Hills War Monument nears completion, with six granite walls listing the names of almost 700 fallen military from WW I, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Global War on Terror, and all POW/MIAs from each of those conflicts. In addition to the six walls, the six military service flags fly proudly, three on either side of a 40ft US flagpole, complete with SD state flag and the POW/MIA flag.

The War Monument is located in Memorial Park, near downtown Rapid City and the Civic Center, at the intersection of Omaha St and 6th St. It is easily accessible and the walls have night lighting for viewing 24 hours per day. For more information, see
www.bhwma.org. A visitor can scroll down on the website to Walls of Honor, and view the name of each fallen member, with links that show the military history/legacy of all 694 names on the granite walls.

On May 29, 2023, the official dedication of the War Monument will take place, honoring our war dead. A Color Guard will post the colors, the national anthem will be sung, along with Taps, and a three volley salute with rifles in honor of the fallen. Many Gold Star families will be present to speak on behalf of the fallen.

--For more information contact the BHWMA by email at info@bhwma.org, or call 605-209-6283.

Post Date: 2023-03-09 13:31:33Last Update: 2023-03-09 16:16:31


Legislative Update from Rep. John Mills
Week ending 03-05-2023

Only one week remains in the main run of the 98 th legislative session. When the gavel comes down on Thursday, all that will remain is to re-convene March 27 to consider any bills that are vetoed.

We will have one veto to deal with for sure, as Governor Noem has vetoed HB1109. That bill would have allowed communities to double the occupancy tax that hotels and motels charge from $2/night to $4/night. I had voted against this bill and so was glad to learn that she vetoed it. Her veto letter to the legislature reads in part “South Dakota residents are traveling every day for business, medical visits, youth activities, weddings – the list goes on. South Dakotans vacation in South Dakota as well.” I believe that she was correct to write that this tax increase would hurt our citizens. I plan to support her veto on this one.

Another surprise development this past week was the defeat of HB1116. This bill would have prevented the use of state or public resources and buildings to host "lewd and lascivious content." The bill was in response to an event hosted at SDSU last fall. That event was a drag show with advertisements saying "bring your $1 and $5 bills to tip the performers," and that it would be "kid friendly" so "bring the family."

The bill was amended in the House State Affairs committee so that it only applied to live performances and then passed out of that committee with a strong 11/1 vote. In the House, Representative Reisch and myself joined the majority in a strong 60/10 vote of support.

In the Senate, the bill hit a wall of resistance and was killed on Thursday when it failed to get enough votes to be placed on the calendar for debate. Many wonder, how can a bill be so strongly endorsed in one chamber, and then crushed in the other. In this case, I think it’s a sad testament to how far we have slipped from moral decency. It is also a source of deep frustration to those who want our world to truly be more "kid friendly"- especially when it comes to how we use public resources and money.

I have mentioned before, there is an excellent resource available to connect with your your legislature. Sdlegislature.gov is the place to locate your legislators, find their contact information, hear debate and see how legislators vote. Every step for every bill is recorded. I encourage you to check what your elected officials say and how they vote. An informed public is key to good government.

To share your views with me please use my state email- John.Mills@sdlegislature.gov

In service to God and you.

Rep. John Mills
--Representative John Mills (Madison)

Post Date: 2023-03-06 12:07:03Last Update: 2023-03-06 12:24:34


Senate Expulsion of Sen. Tom Pischke from Republican Caucus
In a seemingly retaliatory move, Sen. Tom Pischke has been expelled from the Republican Caucus upon seeking and being denied remedy

March 06, 2023 By Breeauna Sagdal

Pierre, S.D. – On Friday Feb. 24, 2023, Senator Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids) was promptly removed from the Senate Republican Caucus upon submitting affidavits to the Hughes County Court. Pischke sought criminal charges against fellow Senators for preventing Senator Julie Frye-Mueller from meeting, a class 4 felony under SDCL § 2-4-6, and casting a vote(s) on behalf of her district, a class 1 misdemeanor under SDCL § 2-4-7.

The day prior, Thursday Feb. 23, 2023, Sen. Pischke held a press conference to announce the legal filings in Hughes County. Hughes County State's Attorney, Jessica LaMie, who previously served as deputy to Roxxane Hammond, was appointed to her role as State's Attorney by interim A.G Mark Vargo, after a mere two years in the department.

LaMie and A.G Marty Jackley have since concluded, “that neither the state’s Executive Branch nor Judicial Branch have any role in the internal workings of the Legislative Branch.” Events have left District 30 voters frustrated, and now District 25, as Sen. Pischke has been expelled from Caucusing in a seemingly retaliatory move.

In response to these events, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus has issued the following statement today:

"The South Dakota Freedom Caucus denounces the recent efforts by the Senate Republican Caucus to silence and intimidate Republican Senator Pischke by expelling him from the Republican Caucus for exercising his freedom of speech and his right to file criminal charges.

"We believe that Senator Pischke has an inherent and explicit right to 'freely speak, write and publish on all subjects,' as is stated in our sacred South Dakota Constitution, under Article 6 § 5. The Legislature, and our government as a whole, is here to protect such rights, not to impede the exercise of them, as SD Const. Art. 6 § 1 states, 'to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'

"Further, it is not for the Legislature, or any of its members or bodies, to interfere in the judicial process in determining the legal validity or invalidity of such criminal charges, or to make such determinations themselves, as such 'judicial power of the state is vested in a unified judicial system,' or our courts, as stated in SD Const. Art. 5 § 1. Any such argument that such judicial power would extend beyond the judgment of the “qualifications of its own members” is a perversion of SD Const. Art. 3 § 9, and would in effect render the legislative branch to be immune from its own laws and the influence of the judicial branch, thereby rendering such checks and balances without meaning or effect.

"These principles are embodied in both our national and state Republican Party Platforms, and should be respected and adhered to.

"Such interference as is seen is akin to criminals intimidating their victims to stay silent after they’ve been abused and is unbecoming of the esteemed and honored body of the South Dakota Senate.

"The decision to pursue criminal prosecution or not is solely within the hands of the judicial branch, and such interference in this process is a clear violation of the separation of powers that our forefathers that founded our great state and country wisely prohibited, in order to prevent the influence popular passions at the time may have over such impartial and unbiased decisions that must be made for the sake of justice to be served.

"That is why we, as the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, implore the Senate Republican Caucus to cease and desist in such actions."

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2023-03-06 10:39:26Last Update: 2023-03-06 12:06:13


Bay Area Dems Charged with “Colonialism,” “Perpetuating White Supremacy” Amid Attack on Muwekma Ohlone Tribe.
Silicon Valley, Newsom, and Bay Area Democratic careers have been built upon the stolen lands of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe

February 24, 2023 By Breeauna Sagdal

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif.—The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is locked in a century-old holding pattern, fighting to be restored to federal recognition. The fight began in 1927, when an Indian Affairs Commissioner with conflicts of interest, purged Bay Area tribes from the federal registry. Originally recognized in 1906, the Muwekma Ohlone’s genealogy has been traced back to the Verona Band of Mission Indians, nearly eradicated after Spanish contact in 1769. The tribe was hunted, first by the Spanish, and then by California’s first Governor, Democratic slave-owner Peter Burnett, who issued scalping bounties when gold was found on tribal lands. Burnett however, is perhaps most famous for the "Burnett Lash Laws," implemented during his time as an Oregon senator.

In an attempt to reconcile the atrocities of racism, multiple broken treaties, genocide and the homelessness of indigenous peoples, Congress created the
BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs). Congress then passed new laws and appropriated funding, requiring the BIA to buy land for “homeless indians.”

However, the government never found land for what they called the Verona Band tribes, and similar to what is happening today, the tribe took a back seat to the special interests protected by local power brokers. Essentially, a loophole has been exploited that exists within the registry system; any tribe not recognized by the federal government is neither entitled to lands or services.

As a result, none of the contemporary Indigenous groups whose ancestors lived in the central San Francisco Bay Area or Monterey Bay areas are recognized as tribes by the federal government.

University of California, Berkeley–known as a bastion of progressivism–
possesses the largest single collection of Muwekma Ohlone skeletal remains and artifacts, unearthed while freeways and shopping malls were paved over ancient burial grounds.

Today, the more than 600 enrolled members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe remain committed to the reclamation of their ancestral lands, bones, and artifacts. Unfortunately for the tribe, these lands essentially encapsulate parts of the San Francisco Bay, and Silicon Valley–arguably the most expensive real-estate market in the State of California.

Chairwoman of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, Charlene Nijmeh, has been touring the Bay Area and Washington D.C. in her push for justice. Recently, Nijmeh shared the story of her people, the history of near-extinction, and the conflicts of interest still influencing continued
colonialist behaviors, during a U.C Berkeley TedTalk.

Ironically, congressional Democrats, who have campaigned on reparations and anti-racism, are now at the forefront of Muwekma oppression and “colonialism,” demanding the Tribe forfeit economic development rights in order to attain federal recognition. In other words, no nation-building, only access to select government services.

Silicon Valley Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Calif, whose
largest campaign contributors include; Alphabet Inc., big tech, big pharma and real estate interests, was formally censured by the Tribe as the result of a hostile exchange in D.C., followed by an extortionate letter from Democrats, holding the tribe’s recognition for ransom.

Eshoo, who famously demanded the censorship of political opponents as “misinformation,” has refocused her oppression to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, as they fight for their right to nation-build. According to a press release from the tribe;

“Chairwoman Charlene Nijmeh was invited to a meeting that became unexpectedly hostile with five members of the Bay Area congressional delegation, in which one of the members claimed she was 'aiming arrows' at the members by communicating discrepancies in members and staff claims in public and private communications. Another purported the Tribe doesn’t adequately understand colonialism, and another mentioned he didn’t know the Tribe.”

Pennsylvania born and raised Congressman Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said that the Tribe didn’t understand colonialism as much as he does. Congressman Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., claimed that it would be hard to work on helping the tribe if they “aim arrows,” at Congress–in an upset related to the tribe's communications with the press, exposing recent events. And Congressman Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif, claimed he didn’t know who the Tribe was, which is either dismissive or ignorant of Bay Area history.

One source explained the situation on background, and later provided a statement; “it’s kind of difficult when you are working for someone you believe in and they pull this kind of embarrassing behavior, especially to this Tribe, simply fighting for justice. I thought it’s what we are all here for.”

No one, including the BIA, disputes the tribe’s ancestry. According to the tribe, they just want their ancestors' remains returned, and the right to prosperity and nation-building, not handouts.

The Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Council is reportedly in communication with the California Attorney General’s office. The Tribe’s spokesman Jonathan Lockwood,
penned a letter to AG Rob Banta, whose father walked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK was a staunch ally of the indigenous peoples, and the letter underscored that support, in an inspirational appeal to an honorable man.

“Attorney General Rob Banta has the opportunity to stand up for the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, and not only insert ethics into the Bay Area political machine, but correct atrocities of the past,” Lockwood writes. “The Bay Area delegation is perpetuating colonialist policies by attempting to extort the tribe and put conditions on their federal recognition. People don’t know the ugly foundation of the West Coast as a white supremacist haven of slave-owning Democrat politicians."

“Their frameworks are still in place, being weaponized against marginalized groups, and upheld by the current politicians who enjoy the benefits of building their careers on Muwekma lands, while denying the Muwekma people justice, as they campaign on equity and justice for all,” Lockwood concluded.

Lockwood pointed to the fact that not only have the attorney general and Bay Area delegation built their careers on Muwekma lands, but so has California's Gov. Gavin Newsom. According to Lockwood, Newsom’s office has been made aware of the political battery faced by the Tribe, yet has heretofore remained silent on the issue.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the Tribe is hopeful that their relations with the AG’s office will produce results, as Banta’s office could have a tremendous impact on the outcomes.

While the Tribe has
vast support from the community and its leaders, the road to recognition has still been an uphill battle, even in 2023 with advanced societal awareness. Recently, Democratic operatives have whispered about Chairwoman Nijmeh’s political motivations and are concerned about her desire to run for Congress. Nijmeh dispelled those murmurs, sharing that her current focus is the Tribe’s recognition. The San Francisco Chronicle’s self-important Shira Stein cheapened the Tribe's fight for recognition as a ploy for gambling rights, echoing Lofgren’s propaganda. Stein even went so far as to speculate that federal recognition would give the Muwekma Ohlone an unfair advantage, claiming a casino would come next. Fortunately for the Tribe, other papers in the Bay Area have countered the Chronicle’s blatant bias.

Lockwood says if Nijmeh did run she’d have vast support from constituencies needed to win in California, and that she would get national support too.

“Chairwoman Nijmeh is a formidable leader, she has alliances from the Muwekma Lands to the United States Capitol,” said Lockwood. “Everywhere we go, people say she should run. People in the Bay Area are outraged and sick of failed leadership, corruption and entrenched career-politicians.”

Despite these apparent attempts to undermine their efforts, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe has not lost support, backed down or succumbed to political suppression. Undeterred, Nijmeh and her staff are heading to the United States Capitol in March to continue congressional relations amid its push to attain the restoration of their federal recognition.

According to Nijmeh, the delegation will also be joined by advocates including; academics, faith leaders and students from Bay Area schools and universities.

“The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is thankful for the vast amount of support we have in the Bay Area, and we are looking forward to bringing the message of Justice for Muwekma to Washington, D.C.,” said Nijmeh. “The California delegation has the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past, restore our recognition, honor their commitments and create a freer, more just future.”

In addition to meeting with the state’s senators, Nijmeh will be rekindling talks with the Bay Area congressional delegation. While meetings with Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Congressman Jay Obernolte, D-Calif., went well during the Tribe’s last trip, the meeting with the congressional delegation from the Bay Area was a departure from their districts’ support of the Tribe.

“The Bay Area is behind the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. The congressional delegation should listen to their constituents and uphold agreements with us,” said Nijmeh. “I think we can move on from colonialist diatribes and racist policies, and that starts with legislation to restore our federal recognition without economic sanctions.”

Please help us to continue telling these vital stories, by making a donation today!

Editor's Note- While this article deviates from the Dakota Leader's usual focus on South Dakota State policy, we believe this story is vital to recognize in the broader context of water and land rights. As Congressional Candidate and member of the Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux Tribe, Bruce Whalen, has stated many times over, "what has happened to our people is now happening to every American across the country."
--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2023-02-24 14:18:03Last Update: 2023-02-25 13:28:56


Legislative Update from Rep. John Mills
February 19, 2023

This past week the budgeting process began to move to center stage. The Governor proposes a budget each December, but final budgeting authority rests with the legislature. The Joint Committee on Appropriations (JCA) that I serve on leads that process.

This past week, the Bureau of Finance and Management, from the executive branch, and the fiscal staff of the Legislative Research Council, from the legislative branch, each provided a detailed revenue forecast to the committee. The committee listened, reviewed the data they provided and asked lots questions. Then a subcommittee met again, asked further questions and decided what to recommend. For our current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2023, the sub-committee recommended and the full committee adopted a revised revenue target of roughly $2.3 Billion.

Because that revised revenue target exceeds our original budget, and because of other savings, there is more than $300 Million available for one time spending. These dollars are limited for use on one-time capital projects. Projects likely to be financed with one-time money this year include We will be able to do many good things because of the surplus.

Using all of the financial data provided, the JCA also set the revenue target for the next fiscal year (FY’24) at $2.389 Billion, anticipating conservative growth of $3.8 percent above the previous year. With this revenue target, we have roughly $320 Million available to increase funding for our on-going needs. The new budget will be able to provide welcome increases in support for our schools, improve compensation for state employees, and consider several overdue funding adjustments to ensure that people are cared for and vital state work continues.

Strong revenues also provide the confidence that a tax cut is possible. Three tax cut ideas are actively under consideration. For the remaining three weeks of the session, a tax cut will be decided, the budget details will be discussed and debated, and the final pieces of the puzzle will be put in place.

There are many other bills being debated. It is a busy time in Pierre. I hope you are staying tuned-in.

To share your views with me please use my state email- John.Mills@sdlegislature.gov

In service to God and you.

Rep. John Mills
--Rep. John Mills

Post Date: 2023-02-24 12:23:07Last Update: 2023-03-06 12:07:03


Central Bank Digital Currency, Virtual Transactions, Distributed Ledgers and A.I
“I have read this bill, I don’t suggest that you do,” Brett Koenecke advised lawmakers.

PIERRE, SD- HB 1193 recently passed the House and will be heard in the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee this week, with little understood about the new amendments the bill proposes to the Uniform Commercial Code. In fact, during the committee hearing on HB 1193, lobbyist for the South Dakota Bankers Association, Brett Koenecke, advised lawmakers that he "doesn't suggest," reading the 117 page document. Fortunately, Rep. Scott Odenbach (R-Spearfish) and Rep. Jon Hanson (R-Sioux Falls) did read the bill and have subsequently brought to light some very serious issues.

The bill seeks to bring South Dakota "into code compliance," with the "long anticipated," 2022 amendments to the Uniform Commercial Code, according to prime sponsor Rep. Mike Stevens (R-Yanton). In order for the proposed amendments to take effect, all 50 states would need to agree to the new terms ahead of the
projected July 1, 2025 implementation date.

As outlined in the bill, the amendments and additions to article 12 would completely alter key definitions such as "money," and "electronic," while creating the legal framework for CER (Controllable Electronic Records), and incorporate a Central Bank Digital Currency into today and tomorrow's retail economies. Although the prototypical CER is bitcoin and other cryptocurrency, the new UCC Article 12 has been designed to work for technologies that have yet to be developed, providing rules intended to apply to various (currently known or unknown) intangible digital assets. Which leads us to the new definition of "Electronic" for example.

(16A) "Electronic" means "relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities." Per the commissioners who have authored the amended UCC, this language has been placed to incorporate future unknowns like A.I, bio-security and things we haven't even considered yet.

Likewise, the definition of "money," if passed, may have very broad implications for privacy, surveillance, and control. (24) "Money" means "a medium of exchange that is currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government. The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization or by agreement between two or more countries. The term does not include an electronic record that is a medium of exchange recorded and transferable in a system that existed and operated for the medium of exchange before the medium of exchange was authorized or adopted by the government."

According to Edwin Smith, the Chair of the ULC (Uniform Law Commission), who currently serves as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the new amendments are needed to incorporate Central Bank Digital Currency, and have been intentionally left broad to account for future and unknown technologies. Under these new definitions things like decentralized crypto currencies could no longer constitute a medium of exchange. As concerning as it may sound to lose money due to government intervention, another more pressing concern exists for the centralization of power under the Bank for International Settlements (the global central bank).

The BIS is the policy creation hub and central bank of all central banks. According to a
survey from the Bank for International Settlements, more than 85% of central banks worldwide are researching, piloting, or in advanced stages of development of CBDCs. What's more, the BIS just announced its own CBDC with the successful trial of the global retail stablecoin known as the Aurum project, piloted in Hong Kong.

Similarly, the U.S Central Bank (Federal Reserve)
has just launched its own pilot program for FedCoin, a central bank direct currency where the money would be a liability of the Fed. However, it is unclear how CBDC bank accounts would work, given that central banks like the Fed, do not house personal bank accounts. Essentially this means all money would be in digital form, and therefore alleviate the need for third party processors like PayPal e.g.

The idea of an all digital financial system is concerning to many,
including Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06). Emmer introduced a bill to ensure the United States’ digital currency policy would protect financial privacy, maintain the dollar’s dominance, and cultivate innovation.

Emmer warns that "CBDCs that fail to adhere to these three basic principles could enable an entity like the Federal Reserve to mobilize itself into a retail bank, collect personally identifiable information on users, and track their transactions indefinitely,” Emmer said. “Not only would this CBDC model centralize Americans’ financial information, leaving it vulnerable to attack, but it could also be used as a surveillance tool that Americans should never tolerate from their own government.”

“Requiring users to open up an account at the Fed to access a U.S. CBDC would put the Fed on an insidious path akin to China’s digital authoritarianism,” Emmer said. “It is important to note that the Fed does not, and should not, have the authority to offer retail bank accounts. Regardless, any CBDC implemented by the Fed must be open, permissionless, and private. This means that any digital dollar must be accessible to all, transact on a blockchain that is transparent to all, and maintain the privacy elements of cash.”

In light of the heated arguments and
policy concerns outlined, the Fed has publicly stated it would await authorizing law and language prior to launching a retail coin.

“We would not proceed with [a digital dollar] without support from Congress, and I think that would ideally come in the form of an authorizing law, rather than us trying to interpret our law to enable this,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said. However, that hasn't stopped the Fed from launching two pilot programs to test the technology and market viability of digital dollars like "FedNow," which the Fed is calling upon financial institutions, service providers, and software companies
to adopt by next spring.

According to ULC Chair Smith, the UCC amendments are specifically required to support emerging technologies known and unknown, and the infrastructure for intangible central bank digital currency. In other words, it would appear that the Federal Reserve has found its authorizing laws and language, assuming that all 50 states agree.

With more questions about privacy, liberty and surveillance than answers, and a new UCC that essentially authorizes a monopolized or centralized digital currency without clear oversight mechanisms, several organizations in South Dakota are sounding the alarm and calling upon Gov. Kristi Noem to intervene. The South Dakota Freedom Caucus first
launched a petition last week calling attention to the issue, and the potential for misuse. That petition has since been followed by a press release by Citizens for Liberty, outlining further concerns with the amendments.

The Senate Energy and Commerce Committee has been assigned the bill, and meets on
Tuesdays and Thursday at 10am.

Editor's note- a previous version of this article contained a typo in the implementation date (July 01, 2024) and has since been updated to reflect the correct projection date of July 01, 2025.

Please DONATE NOW, and Help Us to Continue Slaying Sacred Cows with Guerilla Journalism!

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2023-02-20 10:19:59Last Update: 2023-02-22 13:30:20


“We Do Not Consent” HB 1193
Press Release Citizens for Liberty

RAPID CITY, SD- SD Citizens For Liberty, a statewide grassroots organization based in Rapid City, is announcing NON-CONSENT to the proposed amendments and redefinitions to the Uniform Commercial Code, believed to have been created in less-than good faith, and without full disclosure. HB 1193 is rapidly moving through the South Dakota State Legislature and is expected to have its first reading in the Senate this week, despite concerns raised during committee by Rep. Scott Odenbach (R-Spearfish), and Rep. Jon Hanson (R-Sioux Falls).

At issue are the following amendments to section 12 of the Uniform Commercial Code, which must be agreed to by all 50 states, before it can go into effect on July 1, 2024.

Section 1-24: seeks to redefine “money,” to EXCLUDE; “an electronic record that is a medium of exchange recorded and transferable in a system that existed and operated for the medium of exchange before the medium of exchange was adopted and authorized by the government.”

Section 57A-1-201 subsection 16(A) seeks to redefine the term “electronic,” to mean; “relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.”

Given these new definitions, our understanding if passed, is that this legislation would enter the State of South Dakota into a binding agreement for contract and commerce that centralizes future currency and assets into an electronic system [meaning optical, wireless, magnetic, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities] adopted and authorized by the government. Given the added context of the Federal Reserve Coin, and the Executive Order From President Biden authorizing the use of a Central Bank Digital Currency, we have grave concerns for the potential use or misuse of a digital currency system.

We the people of South Dakota constitute a free and sovereign state, where we must be given full and honest disclosure, and have the right to negotiate or decline the terms of any contract. The terms set forth in the U.C.C creates an agreement for contracting and commerce that all 50 states must agree to prior to becoming uniform.

We hereby register our non-consent, as these terms are neither transparent nor are they agreed to, as we believe they have been negotiated in less than good faith. We urge our elected representatives to recognize and register our non-consent on the floor of the Senate. And, we urge our Governor, Kristi Noem, to take a stand against tacit agreements which have the potential for digital totalitarianism.

We urge everyone to please sign the petition from the South Dakota Freedom Caucus!
--SD Citizens for Liberty

Post Date: 2023-02-18 16:16:51Last Update: 2023-02-20 16:49:27


Freedom Caucus Warns Against Central Bank Digital Currency

Pierre, S.D. (Feb. 16, 2023) – The South Dakota Freedom Caucus launched an online petition today to stop House Bill 1193, which they are claiming helps create a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), in hopes to draw awareness to an issue they say could be fatal to our economy.

CBDC has been a highly debated topic over the last year, since the U.S. Federal Reserve released its discussions on the matter. The main concern from opponents to the currency comes from a government’s ability to control people’s purchasing, as described by International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Bo Li this last September, when he stated, “programming CBDC, that money can be precisely targeted for what kind of people can own [CBDC] and for what kind of use this money can be utilized, for example for food.”

“The ability of a free people to determine the means of exchange and which transactions they engage in is what makes them free,” said Vice Chair Representative Tony Randolph, “and without it, you don’t have a free people.”

The issue over the creation of CBDC in HB 1193 was first raised by District 31 Representative Scott Odenbach during debate over the bill in House Judiciary last Wednesday. Rep. Odenbach pointed to an area in the bill where it establishes“an electronic record that is a medium of exchange recorded and transferable in a system … authorized or adopted by the government.” Even with Rep. Odenbach’s opposition, and three other committee members, HB 1193 passed committee by a vote of 7 to 4 and that following Monday, passed the House by a vote of 49-17.

“We just can’t afford to let something of this magnitude pass unchecked,” said Freedom Caucus Treasurer Representative Tina Mulally, explaining why the Freedom Caucus’s sudden push against the legislation.

The bill is now set to appear before the nine-member Senate Commerce and Energy Committee, chaired by Sen. David Wheeler. With growing opposition, groups like the Freedom Caucus are hoping to round up five votes in that committee to kill the legislation. No date has been set for the hearing of this legislation in the committee.

--South Dakota Freedom Caucus

Post Date: 2023-02-16 16:01:37Last Update: 2023-02-20 16:09:35


SD Medical Assoc. Justin Bell “Vaccines Cannot Prevent COVID Transmission.”
Wack-A-Doodles Argue For Mandates

PIERRE,SD- The South Dakota Medical Association's paid lobbyist Justin Bell shocked observers in a recent committee hearing when he admitted that "vaccines cannot prevent Covid transmission." The paid lobbyist's words echoed those of proponents for HB 1235, who expressed concerns that vaccine mandates ignore science.

The Health and Human Services Committee passed HB 1235 on a slim margin of 7-6 this morning, after some rather unusual debate. The bill to "provide a conscience exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination," now moves to the House floor.

The bill passed by one vote, despite heavy opposition from nine lobbyists, including the father-son-duo, Mitch and Tim Rave. Testimony became lively on both sides of the debate, with one doctor getting cut off due to derogatory remarks.

While those in favor of the bill included prominent doctors and scientists, the opponent testimony came solely from registered lobbyists whose arguments centered primarily upon the idea of social obligations. Most noticeably absent from opponent testimony was any type of scientific study, or clinical based evidence to support the COVID vaccinations.

According to a recently published study by Dr Anthony Fauci, mRNA based herd immunity has largely been debunked and "needs to be re-imagined," as the Covid-19 vaccines have not been found to prevent the transmission of the Sars-Cov-2 virus.

South Dakota State Medical Association's lobbyist Justin Bell, who has also
lobbied against early treatment protocols, told committee members that "it's true the vaccines cannot prevent COVID transmission." "Prevent, that's the key word there, prevent," Bell said. "That's true, and that's true with almost every vaccine," Bell said. Bell went on to argue that the point of public health is to decrease statistics, to which he added that the vaccines are "safe and effective."

According to CNN however, the CDC is currently looking into the safety of the bivalent series, as signals indicate
the Pfizer bivalent may be tied to blood clots in elderly patients.

Deb Fischer-Clemens, a lobbyist for Avera Health, gave an emotional finger-pointing testimony in which she asked committee members to consider a hypothetical question about healthcare staff, prior to the vaccine's availability.

"You know when beds were full, beds were full in this state, what if, what if every healthcare worker was suddenly COVID positive," Fischer asked. "And there wasn't a healthcare worker available to take care of the people in those beds, what would have happened? What would have happened?"

Perhaps most interesting, however, was the testimony given by Doug Abraham, registered lobbyist for the South Dakota Retailer's Association. Abraham argued in favor of mandates, "Basically anyone who wishes to be exempted on the claim of conscience could. There's no way to disprove that here," Abraham said.

According to Mitch Rave, registered lobbyist for Sanford Health, the bill is unnecessary due to the fact that medical and religious exemptions are "widely accepted today." It is currently estimated that Sanford and Avera Health have lost between 6-8,000 staff members combined, as their exemptions were not accepted. A point that now seems moot, as a recent amendment was added to the bill that would exempt many of the largest healthcare facilities in the state.

Rep. Brandei Schaefbauer (R-Aberdeen), who sits on the committee, shared that the bill impacts far more than just the thirteen districts represented by those on the committee. Schaefbauer asked colleagues to send the bill to the House floor in order to allow broader representation of the state.

As Schaefbauer correctly notes, conscience exemptions and the right to exercise them would apply to most South Dakotans. The bill now goes before the House for debate and a floor vote. The bill and the floor vote can be followed
at the SDLeg website, or by following Associate Correspondent Matthew Monfore HERE.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2023-02-14 09:04:42Last Update: 2023-02-14 20:01:41


Sen. Frye-Mueller Expelled Hours After Introducing Medical Freedom Bill
The Dead Cats and Boiling Frogs of South Dakota

January 30, 2023 By Breeauna Sagdal

PIERRE-In an unprecedented move, the South Dakota State Senate has expelled Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller pending an investigation for allegations unknown. On the morning of Thursday Jan. 26, 2023 Senator Frye-Mueller introduced SB 125, "An Act to prohibit the imposition of additional immunization requirements on children."

According to sources, Senator Frye-Mueller stopped into the LRC (Legislative Research Council) office that morning, in order to make revisions to her bill. Allegedly, a conversation took place at that time where the senator was asked for advice by a female staff member she considered to be a friend. What was stated during this conversation is said to have been germane to the topic of childhood vaccines, a topic that Frye-Mueller is very vocal about.

By that afternoon Senate President Pro-Tem Lee Schoenbeck (R-Watertown) made a motion to suspend the senate's rules and have Frye-Mueller relieved of her legislative authority, vote, and even her email access.
Citing a 2006 sexual harassment case, Schoenbeck argued that Frye-Mueller’s comment was considered misconduct, and therefore leadership has the authority to handle the case like an internal HR matter.

In February of 2006, an eighteen-year-old senate page
accused Senator Dan Sutton of making unwanted sexual advances towards him at a motel. Sen. Sutton was not removed from his seat, nor was he expelled, as the senate lacked the authority to do so. However, in the case of Sen. Frye-Mueller, she has been removed indefinitely without due process or a formal allegation of wrong-doing.

Per South Dakota Codified Law, a bill must be sponsored by a member of the legislature in order to advance, meaning Sen. Frye-Mueller’s medical freedom bill (SB 125) is also expelled, along with the voice of her entire district.

Given that South Dakota’s media apparatus has been swiftly and entirely bought-out over the last year-and-a-half, it might come as a shock for some to learn that this is only the most recent debacle in a battle that began during the pandemic.

Boiling Frogs

As previously reported by The Dakota Leader, Governor Kristi Noem used taxpayer dollars to fly to various events, including CPAC, where she told cheering crowds that she “listened to her people, trusted them to do the right thing, and kept South Dakota open.”

During that same time-frame, Health Freedom South Dakota was making headlines for a bill that would have made vaccine mandates illegal. In a state run by “the most conservative governor,” who values personal choice, one might imagine that a bill to prohibit mandates would have sailed through both chambers and now be law. So what happened?

On March 30, 2020, a slim majority of 29 lawmakers, led by Speaker Steve Haugaard, actually kept South Dakota open by killing various bills that would have closed businesses and schools during the pandemic. Over the next three years, these 29 members would be targeted and eliminated from office, one-by-one.

Ironically, the money raised by Gov. Noem's version of events
would be used to primary the state’s most conservative members, and begin reshaping the legislature from red to purple. And, days before being expelled, Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller was on FOX news warning conservatives about Gov. Noem.

Gov. Noem and Sen. Schoenbeck
worked together to create a "hit-list," of lawmakers they wanted removed from office. These actions have sparked a deep fracture and feud within the South Dakota Republican Party. Adding fuel to the feud, frustrated SDGOP members altered the power structure during convention this year—nominating Monae Johnson for Secretary of State and nearly removing Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, and A.G Marty Jackley.

Since that time, Sen. Schoenbeck et al, known colloquially as "the boy's club," have made their intentions to
eradicate the state of "wack-a-doodles," very clear. Legislation has even been proposed this session to eliminate Precinct Committee People from voting in future conventions.

Sen. Lee Schoenbeck,
who helped to fund Frye-Mueller's primary opponents in the last two elections, has made no secret of his hatred and desire to see her gone. Schoenbeck's lack of decorum has ranged from publicly ridiculing advocates of medical freedom on the floor, in social media posts, and in mailers.

In 2020, Schoenbeck and Pat Powers of Dakota War College created a campaign that
targeted and attacked the sponsors of Health Freedom South Dakota’s bill that would have made vaccine mandates illegal. The mailers were funded by Dana Dykhouse, the President of First Premier Bank, owned by Billionaire Denny Sanford. Sanford Health, the largest healthcare provider in South Dakota named after Denny Sanford, also donated to these efforts via Pac-N-Heat, and SDAHO (South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations). In the end, Frye-Mueller was the only lawmaker to have sponsored that bill and still won her re-election bid.

In an interview with SDBP, Schoenbeck called Frye-Mueller and anyone who believes in medical freedom "crazy." During a town hall meeting, Schoenbeck referred to Frye-Mueller as a "wack-a-doodle," whom, "you wouldn't want taking care of your dog."

The Dead Cat

According to Lee Schoenbeck, Frye-Mueller is also a “dead cat,” a term used to underscore the
political strategy of placing outlandish headlines, to distract the public from important policy.

During a recent podcast hosted by “boys club” members Jake Schoenbeck (Sen. Schoenbeck’s son), political newcomer Noah Greble, and Pat Powers (Dakota War College), it’s clear that a personal vendetta exists, in addition to a power struggle for the future of the state. Less than three weeks into the 2023 session, over 80 bills deal with public-private partnership agreements for land trusts, banning puberty blockers in minors, abortion, vaccine mandates, housing, infrastructure, eminent domain, stripping away the rights of PCP’s at convention, Medicaid and more.

The Senate Committee on Discipline and Expulsion
meets tonight at 5:30pm central time. To learn more about the nine-member committee selected by Schoenbeck, use the search feature in the top right-hand-corner of our website to access our article archives.

Editor's Note: a former version of this article mistakenly shared Noah Greble was an intern for Tim Goodwin.

The Dakota Leader has dedicated the last year to investigating and uncovering these stories. We need your help to continue our efforts

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2023-01-30 08:41:29Last Update: 2023-01-30 15:48:18


SDFRW Passes Resolution to Maintain the Supreme Court at Nine Justices
Press Release and Resolution from the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women

Our Founding Fathers created a government of three branches, each checking the other two, each checked by the other two. The Legislative was tasked with creating law, the Executive with executing law, the Judicial with interpreting law.

Unfortunately, the lines between branches have become muddled at times. The Supreme Court has legislated from the bench – going beyond merely interpreting laws to actually creating them. Consequently, politicos began seeking to control the Court’s makeup and thereby to control the Court itself.

After three justices were appointed during President Trump’s term, the Democrat Party screamed for an increase in the Supreme Court’s membership. By appointing a slew of Left-leaning justices, Democrats intended to dilute conservative votes and force rulings that further a liberal agenda.

On January 17, 2023, protesting such manipulation and gross distortion of our system of government, the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women’s executive committee passed a unanimous resolution asking Congress to maintain the size of the Supreme Court at nine justices.



On January 17, 2023, the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women (SDFRW) Executive Committee unanimously adopted a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment to keep the Supreme Court at nine justices.

It reads:

WHEREAS, An independent United States Supreme Court is an essential element of America's system of checks and balances that protects our Constitutional rights; and,

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court has been composed of nine Justices for more than 150 years; and,

WHEREAS, The United States President and Congress should be prohibited from undermining the independence of the Supreme Court by changing the number of Justices on the Court; and,

WHEREAS, The practice of “packing the Court” for political advantage greatly decreases confidence that the Supreme Court exists as an essential element of America’s system of checks and balances, which guarantees and protects a citizen’s constitutional rights; and,

WHEREAS, A number of former state attorneys general oppose “packing the court,” and recent polls have shown that voters support a “Keep Nine Amendment” by more than a three-to-one margin;

RESOLVED, That the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women joins the National Federation of Republican Women and the Republican National Committee to urge Congress to adopt the "Keep Nine Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution that states: "The Supreme Court of the United States shall be composed of nine Justices;” and,

RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be sent to South Dakota U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson to encourage him and his bill co-sponsors in their fight to “Keep Nine,” copies of this resolution be sent to South Dakota U.S. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds as a show of our support for their efforts to “Keep Nine,” and that a copy of this resolution be sent to the National Federation of Republican Women to underline their call to action to “Keep Nine”.

TDL is now limited to Tuesdays/Thursdays due to budget issues. If you'd like to see us continue, please donate or advertise today.

--South Dakota Federation of Republican Women

Post Date: 2023-01-19 10:44:15Last Update: 2023-01-19 15:07:12


OP-ED “Where’s the electricity?”
The Elephant in the EV sales room that no one wants to talk about is the limited amount of electricity available to charge EV batteries.

JAN. 19, 2023 - OPINION - By Ronald Stein

One of the best-known quotes was "where’s the beef?" from Clara Peller who was a manicurist and American character actress who, at the age of 81, starred in the 1984 advertising campaign for the Wendy's fast food restaurant chain.

Today, the huge dark cloud over EV projected sales, is the availability of electricity to charge batteries which leads us to the quote for the foreseeable future, Where’s the electricity? The Elephant in the EV sales room that no one wants to talk about is the limited amount of electricity available to charge the EV batteries.

The global fleet of road vehicles in 2022 numbered about 1.446 billion, that’s with a “B”.

Of this huge global fleet,
only 12 million were electric vehicles (EV) in 2021. Thus, less than one percent of the worldwide road vehicle fleet were EVs, and more than 99-percent of the global fleet was “yet to be replaced”.

After over 15 years to large subsidies and increasing regulatory requirements seeking to promote EVs, less than one percent of the world’s road vehicles are fully electric. Today, even with less than one percent of the vehicles on the roads being EV’s, there is a limited amount of electricity:
1. Smart Chargers:  As of May 30, 2022, in the UK, new home and workplace chargers being installed must be “smart” chargers” connected to the internet and able to employ pre-sets limiting their ability to function from 8 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 10 pm. In addition to the nine hours a day of downtime, authorities will be able to impose a “randomized delay” of 30 minutes on individual chargers in certain areas to prevent grid spikes at other times. 

2. Separately Metered: The
UK Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 came into force on 30th June 2022. All home installed electric vehicle chargers are required to be separately metered and send information to the Smart meter data communications network. Potentially this legislation allows the electricity used for charging EVs to be charged and taxed at a higher rate than domestic electricity. The technology enacted also enables the rationing of electricity for EV charging because the government can decide when and if an EV can be charges, plus it also allows the EV battery to be drained into the grid if required.

As the ”net zero” efforts move forward to reduce emissions at any cost with closures of coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants in favor of massive building plans for unreliable wind and solar facilities utilizing breezes and sunshine for intermittent electricity, the dark cloud Elephant in the Room may be getting darker in the years ahead.

The intermittency of electricity generated from breezes and sunshine has resulted in the “nameplate” generating capacity of wind turbines and solar panels being a “farce” capacity to replace continuous uninterruptible electricity generation from coal, natural gas, and nuclear. Subsidies for wind and solar power plants are based on “nameplate ratings”, thus they should be penalized when they cannot deliver what they have been permitted for. As more EV’s, the other 99 percent of the 1.446 billion global fleet that have “yet to be replaced”, will be attempting to get a charge from electrical grids around the world that are incapable of meeting growing demands for electricity, the proverbial question will be “where’s the electricity”?

The Dakota Leader is now limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays due to budget shortfalls. If you would like to see more, please donate here.

--By Ronald Stein Pulitzer Prize nominated author, and Policy advisor for The Heartland Institute on Energy

Post Date: 2023-01-19 10:25:52Last Update: 2023-01-19 14:44:15


“Help Not Harm Act” Introduced
HB 1080 is a bill that would provide legal remedy, and prevent the transition of minors in South Dakota

Jan. 17, 2023 by Breeauna Sagdal

PIERRE, SD- Rep. Bethany Soye (R-Sioux Falls) hosted a joint press conference (video) with Norman Woods of the Family Heritage Alliance in the capitol rotunda this morning to announce the introduction of the "Help Not Harm Act." House bill 1080, if passed, would prevent cross-sex hormones and surgery for minors, in addition to providing legal remedy. Similar to a prior version of the bill introduced in 2020, which was killed by Sanford Health lobbyists and activist groups, the bill would allow individuals to sue for damages after receipt of puberty blockers, hormone replacement, or surgery.

“Healthcare providers in South Dakota are becoming increasingly bold about the experimental treatments and sterilizing procedures being performed on children in our state. Now is the time to protect our youth," Rep. Soye said.

The bill announcement follows the highly controversial Gender Identity Summit, hosted over the weekend in Sioux Falls. The event gained the attention of national media, after Nate Hochman
broke a story detailing Gov. Kristi Noem's ties to mega-donor Denny Sanford of Sanford Health.

As previously reported by the The Dakota Leader, The 3rd Annual Gender Identity Summit was hosted by The Transformation Project and Sanford Health. The Transformation Project was instrumental in lobbying against the 2020 bill, which has gained the non-profit funding from major Hollywood donors like FOX, LionsGate, NBC, and more.

More than one hundred and fifty people protested the Gender Identity Summit, despite negative temperatures outside. One protestor, who asked to remain anonymous, told TDL that Sanford Health has slowly used the Department of Education
as a pipeline for gender ideology and surgery.

In 2015, Denny Sanford introduced "Z," the gender-less alien to South Dakota teachers. "Z" is the mascot of the Sanford-Harmony Social Emotional Learning curriculum, implemented first within the Sioux Falls School District.

“It’s time for us to stop experimenting on kid’s bodies," Norman Woods of the Family Heritage Alliance said. "We have been perpetuating the dangerous lie that through medical intervention, we can change a person’s sex. This harmful idea, and the industry profiting from it, are leaving a trail of broken bodies in their wake.”

Recently, the
country of Sweden banned the practice of stopping natural puberty, giving cross-sex hormones and affirmation-surgery for minors. The U.K's Tavistock Institute closed permanently this year amid a class-action lawsuit, and data showing rates of suicide increased after transitioning. Despite mounting evidence proving it is harmful, sexual reassignment surgery is a billion dollar emerging market for the medical industry.

According to Global Market Insights, sexual reassignment surgery is valued at $623 million dollars this year, and is expected to net 1.9 billion by 2032.

"We care deeply about children struggling with their identities and want to provide them with true meaningful help and healing, not permanent bodily harm. That’s why I am introducing the Help Not Harm Act,” Rep. Soye said.

The Dakota Leader is South Dakota's #1 Source for Conservative News. DONATE HERE!

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2023-01-17 11:13:47Last Update: 2023-01-17 18:59:37


First Week of the 2023 Legislative Session with FHA
Family Heritage Alliance

Executive Director of the South Dakota Family Heritage Alliance, Norman Woods, gives an update on the opening and first week of the 2023 legislative session. To follow legislation and conservative efforts in South Dakota, make sure to hit the subscribe button on YouTube (below), or click here.

Are you passionate about protecting family values?

On Tuesday January 17th, the Family Heritage Alliance will be hosting a legislative day. Round-trip bus transportation will be provided from Rapid City and Sioux Falls, to Pierre, SD.

The morning will include a light breakfast, a briefing on legislation that is currently being considered, optional guided tours, and a chance to meet your legislators or watch a committee hearing.

The afternoon will include lunch in the rotunda with legislators and a presentation on how we as Christians can have an impact on public policy in our state!

--Norman Woods is the Executive Director of the SD Family Heritage Alliance

Post Date: 2023-01-13 13:56:49Last Update: 2023-01-13 15:58:39


“GAME ON!” Jensen on Tomorrow’s Vote for SDGOP Chair
OP-ED by Rep. Phil Jensen

This past June the SD Republican Party held their state convention and precinct people from across the state elected our constitutional officers, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General,- all Republican candidates for the general election in November.

What was so unsettling to the establishment republicans was the fact that conservative republicans (the ones that vote in line with our Republican Party Platform as well as our state and US constitution) dared to vote for real conservative leadership and not just the same old establishment monopoly.

But what do you expect after a dozen conservative candidates were targeted by Gov. Noem and Lee Schoenbeck, President Pro Tem of the Senate just weeks earlier in the primary election. Sen. Schoenbeck is the senator that encouraged the Republican Senate Caucus to cover-up the Drunkfest party of 2020 that involved the top three in senate leadership.

The conservative grassroots had mobilized and had enough votes to take out the sitting Secretary of State, Steve Barnett, replacing him with Monae Johnson, the conservative candidate who had worked in that office for eight years and is bringing some great ideas to improve the office. 

Steve Haugaard, former Speaker of the House, came within a few percentage points of taking out Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, who participated in the
2020 Drunkfest fiasco while functioning in the role of Lt. Governor…on the clock.

Charlie Kirk, with Turning Point USA, recently stated at Americafest 2022 that “the backbone of the Republican Party is the precinct committee person”.

What the
SD Republican Party is attempting to do is eliminate precinct committee people from voting for leadership. This would totally squeeze out the little people, who are now viewed as only good for grunt work-not voting!

We have elections coming up tomorrow in Pierre (Saturday January 14, 2023) to determine who will be the new state chairman and vice-chairman of the state party.

Gov. Noem has allegedly hand picked Sen. John Wiik to be Chairman (a well known boot-licker for the Governor) who also voted NOT to form a committee to immediately investigate Drunkfest 2020, and later conspired to cover it all up. Rep. Mary Fitzgerald is her pick for Vice-chairman, who incidentally was very vocal at the June GOP Convention encouraging suppressing of the vote of the little people and concentrating the power in the hands of the Politburo.

Rep. Fitzgerald also called Rep. Liz May’s county chair and told him that Sen. Wiik was running unopposed, an outright lie. How many others has she lied to?

The political power brokers are bringing legislation in January to deprive the precinct people of the right to vote for their leadership.
This legislation is being brought by Sen. David Johnson of the famed Ashley-Madison scandal. He was deeply involved in this cheaters website from 2010 to 2015.

So, there we have it, quite a cast of characters who desire to completely control the SDGOP! Ben Franklin once said “a person when given new information can change their mind, a fool never does”. If you are a precinct committee person and have committed to voting for the Wiik/Fitzgerald team, it’s OK to change your mind.

--Contributed by Rep. Phil Jensen District 33

Post Date: 2023-01-13 10:41:54Last Update: 2023-01-13 13:56:49


SD House Withholds Votes for Speaker Bartels
No concessions made, but a “massage” has been sent

Editorial Note- "Massage" is not a typo, but a placeholder for a future conversation on capitol culture and inappropriate behavior. As a publication owned and ran by women, The Dakota Leader is on your side Editor@DakotaLeader.com.

PIERRE, SD- In a move that echoed that of Congressional Republicans, fourteen South Dakota State Representatives withheld their vote for Speaker of the House, Hugh Bartels (R-Watertown), this morning. Meanwhile, three female legislators were noticeably excused from that vote.

The 98th South Dakota legislative session opened Tuesday Jan. 10, 2022, with a vote for house and senate leadership. That vote was an utter embarrassment for Bartels, who somehow supplanted Rep. Jon Hanson, favored for the role. Although the holdout had no impact upon the outcome, it was certainly a statement made by the remaining conservatives in the house that sent a clear message to the republican establishment.

Following that first joint session was the governor's state of the state address where Noem clearly announced a plan for bigger government, along with the expansion of foster care, state regulated day cares, and adoption services. Noem also announced that South Dakota will be creating a committee to review land purchases from foreign entities to prevent the "CCP from buying land near critical infrastructure." Perhaps most perplexing however, is Gov. Noem's plan to increase PTO (Paid Time Off) payments to 100 percent, for up to twelve weeks, while simultaneously reducing the unemployment burden for employers.

Last session, things became tense between the executive and legislative branches after Gov. Noem accepted, then allocated, millions in federal aid dollars without legislative oversight. How the rest of that money is to be spent this session is a primary concern for many conservatives in the state, amid leadership changes.

A growing concern also exists over the consolidation of power from the Watertown, SD area. Watertown is home to Speaker Bartels, Gov. Noem, and former Senate Pro-Tem Lee Schoenbeck. Sen. John Wiik, who will face-off against west-river's former lawmaker Thomas Brunner on Saturday for SDGOP Chair, is also from Watertown. If Wiik wins the vote for SDGOP chair, some say they are worried that the old money, east-river-establishment will become unstoppable. As we have witnessed in Washington, D.C. with the democratic party, the ability to allocate funding is often rewarded with larger donations and re-election.

Watertown is already growing rapidly after receiving large sums of money last session, earmarked for workforce housing and infrastructure. In fact, the Governor's Office of Economic Development confidently announced new construction projects like The Plains, a 216 unit apartment building that began breaking ground before financial disbursements were even released from the treasury. With 216 new units, young professionals and families will ultimately move to the area, just ahead of the next redistricting process.

With money on the table, pork in the water and conservatives effectively hobbled, this legislative session is already off to a rocky start for the "limited government" state. 

A special thank you to our friend Pat for making this article possible.
--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2023-01-10 02:11:49Last Update: 2023-01-12 10:41:54


Gov. Noem and The South Dakota Freedom Caucus Announce Intent to Take Action on ESGs
ESG- a global social scoring system, is said to have major national security implications

PIERRE, S.D. Dec. 8, 2022 – The South Dakota Freedom Caucus is praising Governor Noem's efforts today, after Noem ordered a full review of state investments.

According to a statement released today, The Freedom Caucus agrees with the governor's risk assessment related to threats the Chinese Communist Party potential poses on national security.

State Representative and Freedom Caucus Treasurer, Tina Mulally (R-Rapid City) said the governor's efforts are commendable. “Governor Noem’s conscious effort to protect our financial sector is to be commended,” Mulally said. “Good money, to bad people, makes bad policy and we’re encouraged to see good policy being implemented here.”

In addition, members of the Freedom Caucus have indicated an intent to bring forward legislation during the 2023 session, in order to address "bad actors" within the financial sector and E.S.G. Scores (Environmental Social Governance). Also referred to as "stakeholder capitalism," ESG policies have been created by the World Economic forum, as a social scoring tool to assess risk in lending according to their stated goals for The Great Reset.

According to Justin Haskins, Senior Research Fellow at the Heartland Institute, ESG is an arbitrary set of financial policies that allow for discrimination, inequality and unfair practices in the marketplace.
Further concerns have been cited related to the centralized power that ESGs would give to the world's wealthiest corporations to dictate national policy.

Nearly half the states in the U.S. are currently working to create policies that would block the implementation of ESGs for businesses, and
social scoring systems like MyLife for citizens.

“It’s great to see the Governor acknowledging the impact of foreign interference and how it can impact our financial markets,” Mulally said. Mulally also noted that the Governor’s recent actions are timely and necessary in light of recent news.

Last month, The Hill published the Op-Ed of Bryan Bashur, the federal affairs manager at Americans for Tax Reform and executive director of the Shareholder Advocacy Forum.

Bashur wrote "environmental, social and governance ratings, coupled with the Biden administration’s subsidization of electric vehicles, are facilitating the misallocation of capital toward firms controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. ESG ratings are encouraging the politicization of retirees’ life savings and bolstering China’s stranglehold on the global energy sector."

According to Mulally, this has been an issue of concern for sometime and she is looking forward to working on policies that will help protect South Dakotans from foreign countries that are currently working to purchase critical food supply resources.

Chair of the Freedom Caucus, Representative Aaron Aylward (R-Sioux Falls) said “the governor is right in framing this as a national security issue, this is economic warfare and we are fighting an enemy within.”

“There’s more at stake here than most people know,” said Freedom Caucus Vice Chair Representative Tony Randolph “and now is the time to act, before it’s too late to do so.”

The 2023 South Dakota legislative session begins this January 10th.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-12-09 10:51:08Last Update: 2022-12-09 11:13:05


Hollywood Funding Targets the Transiton of South Dakota’s Political Landscape
How South Dakota found itself at “the unlikely epicenter of a transgender uprising on the American Great Plains.”-Washington Post

The Dakota Leader · Hollywood Funding Targets the Transiton of South Dakota’s Political Landscape

Dec. 08, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

Sanford Health, the largest healthcare system in the State of South Dakota, has just announced their partnership with The Transformation Project, for the 3rd Annual Midwest Gender Identity Summit.

The Transformation Project, a Sioux Falls based 501(c)(3) working to educate, support and empower trans youth and their families, was just given a $145,000 grant after being "found and vetted" by the
San Fransisco based non-profit, wayOUT. The grant, funded by a Hollywood Gala, came on the heels of HB 1057, which The Transformation Project lobbied against during the 2020 legislation session. While the bill failed to pass, it managed to gain national attention, and according to the Washington Post made South Dakota "the unlikely epicenter of a transgender uprising on the American Great Plains."

The Gala and auction, hosted by Billy Eichner in Los Angeles, CA on Nov. 12, 2022, was made possible through significant
Hollywood buy-ins. Items were donated from Legendary Entertainment's Executive Gesumino Rulli, along with FOX, Lionsgate Entertainment, MarVista Studios, NBC Universal and even the Kellie Clarkson Show.

Additional partners included Fiji Water, Amazon, Facebook, In-N-Out Burger, Hasbro Games, and donations from the Travel Industry. Jet Blue, Lyft and various Hoteliers partnered to provide vacation packages for the auction.

According to Alexander Moore, National Marketing Chair of the wayOUT, they specifically look for, and closely vet LGBTQ+ organizations within conservative areas and states to fund-raise for.

In total, a check for $145,000 was presented to The Transformation Project's Founder, Susan Ann Bill.

Ironically, Bill is a registered republican in the State of South Dakota. A former Mary Kay salesperson, Bill began getting politically involved after her ten-year-old wrote her an eight page letter, explaining that he felt trapped in the wrong body.

Similarly, HB 1057 failed to pass due to republican-led opposition, even drawing criticism from Gov. Kristi Noem. Democrats in South Dakota have failed to gain momentum, until recently, but currently do not have the numbers to stop or pass legislation like HB 1057. Clearly republican does not equal conservative in South Dakota, and yet, wayOUT still decided to aim their sights on the "conservative state."

State Sen. Casey Crabtree (R-Madison), recently elected to senate leadership, told talk radio host Bill Zortman that the media needs to pay close attention this session because the abortion debate will be coming up. "South Dakota's voters are not as conservative as the legislature," Crabtree said.

With national attention attracting out-of-state donations, large healthcare lobbies and teachers unions funding progressive lawmakers, and special interest groups currently funding an abortion measure on the ballot, the matter of South Dakota's "conservatism" is apparently up for debate. Meanwhile, the state is on the radar and in the cross-hairs of powerful donors, who want to see change, and are willing to put their money where their mouth is.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-12-08 12:09:16Last Update: 2022-12-11 09:24:02


LIVE- Senate Round-table on Covid-19 Vaccines
“COVID-19 Vaccines- What They Are, How They Work and Possible Causes of Injuries”

WASHINGTON D.C.- U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson leads a round-table discussion, COVID-19 Vaccines: What They Are, How They Work, and Possible Causes of Injuries, to shed light on the current state of knowledge surrounding the vaccine and the path forward. Medical experts and doctors who specialize in COVID-19 vaccine research and treatment join Sen. Johnson at the table.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-12-07 11:21:03Last Update: 2022-12-07 12:09:16


Sioux Falls Police to Use Drones in On-Going Accident Investigation
Police notify public that UAS will be in-use

Dec. 07, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — On Monday Dec. 5, 2022 the Sioux Falls Police Department were dispatched to the intersection of 259th St and 471 Ave. According to Sergent Joel Dalton, police arrived at 1:44pm to find a Ford F-150 had overturned in the middle of a field.

The vehicle's driver is said to have been a male, who was pronounced deceased at the scene. Information has yet to be released about the driver's identity. However, police say they are currently investigating the accident and will be employing the use of UAS (Unmanned Aerial Surveillance) to accomplish this task. The UAS/Drone team will be assisting the Sioux Falls Police Department to determine the cause of the accident.



According to a statement released today by the Sioux Falls Police Department, they are now notifying the public ahead of time, as is there policy whenever aerial surveillance aircraft are flown.

According to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, "utilizing UAS for crash-scene reconstruction can significantly reduce the data collection time at a crash scene, resulting in shorter road closure times, and officer on-scene times." In just one flight, UAS can collect hundreds of images to create accurate and detailed 2D and 3D modeling for thorough accident investigations.

The Sioux Falls Police Department began using drone assistance for crash-scene reconstruction in 2019, after thoroughly researching the program for over a year. According to flight logs, the UAS program has been used for things like tracking deer populations, and even assisting in missing person cases.

--The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-12-07 09:50:55Last Update: 2022-12-07 11:21:03


Watertown School Super Spent $3K on Equity Consultant for Mandatory In-Service Training
The Real Cost of Federal Funding...

The Dakota Leader · Watertown School Super Spent $3K on Mandatory Diversity Training

Running Short on Time? Listen to the article on SoundCloud: 3:48 minute read

Dec. 5, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal.

The Watertown School District's Superintendent has created quite the stir among his staff and parents alike, after intrusive surveys were passed out during a mandatory in-service training on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. During the mandatory training, teachers and staff listened to a four-hour-long presentation from "Equity Consultant" Wayne Felton. At the end of the presentation however, surveys were passed around to teachers and staff that asked very personal questions. Although the surveys were optional to complete, several attendees have since shared that they felt very uncomfortable at the time. Others have taken to social media, voicing concerns related to the district's general direction under Superintendent Dr. Jeff Danielson.

According to Public Action Notice 23079, Superintendent Danielson used $3,000 in taxpayer funds for Wayne Felton's speaking fee. Felton, a previous Christian minister, now travels to help educational facilities with consulting, training and strategic planning of D.E.I policies and racial incident response procedures.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has become common place on many college campuses, and is now creeping into k-12 education under the auspices of closing the achievement gap.
However, according to a 2021 study conducted by Backgrounder, results showed that "the existence of Chief Diversity Officers may actually exacerbate achievement gaps between white and black students, white and Hispanic students, and wealthier and poor students. These findings are consistent with the observation that CDOs have more to do with political activism than with improving education outcomes—or narrowing achievement gaps between students."

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training is currently optional, left to the discretion of school boards and superintendents. However, the issue of political activism in the classroom is becoming a more nuanced discussion, especially within school districts that accept federal funding like Watertown, Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

LEAs (Local Education Agencies) that receive certain types of federal funding, like the school lunch program, and NCLB (No Child Left Behind) are mandated to implement federal guidelines or face repayment. Federal guidelines for program eligibility have changed often over recent years. Despite push-back from parents, federal funding was leveraged during the COVID-19 pandemic as a means of ensuring adherence to CDC guidelines on social distancing, masking, and may even have an impact on vaccine requirements going forward.

Under the Biden Administration, federal funding guidelines have become drastically more stringent, while definitions for violations have largely been expanded. Recently a year-long process ended, whereby the White House and U.S Department of Education redefined the Title IX anti-discrimination law in its entirety.
The once simplistic civil rights law, is now 554 pages long, redefined to include gender identity, an expanded version of sexual orientation and expanded policy mandates for LEAs receiving any form of federal funds.

With the allocation of COVID-19 relief funds, centralized federal funding is now capable of bypassing state rights. In 1932, American Communist Party Founder William Z. Foster, wrote "among the elementary measures the American government will adopt to further the cultural revolution are the following: the schools, colleges, and universities will be coordinated and grouped under a National Department of Education and its state and local branches. The studies will be revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic, and other features of bourgeois ideology."

South Dakota has taken steps to safeguard local controls. Last year Gov. Noem signed
an executive order banning certain federal funds in public schools, or the application for certain federal grants. The E.O came on the heels of two policies passed last session that prevent divisive content in education, and biological males from competing in women's sports.

As a result, schools that were providing federally funded lunches during the pandemic, are no longer able to continue that service. It's possible that Gov. Noem has a long-term strategy however, as parents who have lost trust in public schools are creating
million dollar deficits in budgets due to unenrollment. Homeschooling is currently the fastest growing educational method in the U.S, jumping from 2.3 million in 2020 to 55.292 million students today, with the top reasons reported as concerns for "the school environment," political indoctrination and teacher's union policies like "tenure."

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-12-05 11:25:45Last Update: 2022-12-05 16:50:55


Secretary of State Monae Johnson Takes Office a Month Early
Johnson says she is eager to begin working on stronger tribal relations, election integrity, campaign finance transparency and helping businesses to succeed

PIERRE, S.D. – Monday Dec. 5, 2022 Monae Johnson has assumed the role of Secretary of State this morning, after the resignation of Steve Barnett. Johnson, who was elected to the office of Secretary of State by a 64% landslide in the midterm election, was appointed by Gov. Kristi Noem to serve the remaining month of Barnett's term.

After Barnett was named in a lawsuit by the Rosebud and Oglala Sioux Tribes for "violating the National Voter Registration Act," the state was court ordered to provide better training and resources to county auditors. Having three Native American children, Johnson ran on strengthening tribal relations, along with election integrity, and increased training to help support county auditors.

“Monae Johnson has the confidence of the people of South Dakota,” Gov. Noem said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “She was elected because of her promise to focus on election integrity, and I look forward to working with her on those efforts.”

Johnson won additional voter confidence while taking a stand for campaign finance transparency, and economic prosperity when she unveiled her plans to make updates to the current Secretary of State website. With eight years of experience in the office, having served under two previous Secretaries of State, Johnson says that the website could be more user friendly for reporters, business owners and the public.

“I am truly grateful to Governor Noem for the opportunity to finish the current term as Secretary of State, and to the people of South Dakota for trusting me to serve in the role for the next four years,” Johnson said. “Tom Deadrick, my new Deputy Secretary of State, and I will immediately get to work for the citizens of South Dakota to finish up the year-end duties. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-12-05 08:04:28Last Update: 2022-12-05 11:25:45


Gov. Noem Signs E.O To Protect Data as Tensions Mount With China
Gov. Noem Takes Action as The DOJ and Now the FBI Warns of National Security Breaches Due to Chinese Owned Telecom Companies

PIERRE, S.D.- Gov. Kristi Noem has signed Executive Order 2022-10, taking decisive action as tensions continue to mount with China. The E.O bans state government agencies, employees, and contractors from accessing the social media platform TikTok from state issued devices.

Noem's order corresponds to recent warnings issued by the DOJ and FBI, as various national security breaches have been unearthed. In addition, tensions mount as China's President Xi Jinping has taken aggressive actions, and absolute control
of both the government and the military. According to ABC news, Jinping replaced most of the top leadership with his generals last month during the 19th Party Congress.

Upon seizing control, Jinping outlined a new path forward that refocuses the Country's prior emphasis on economic security, to now making China a world power by 2035. According to the Chinese Communist Party Leader, this will be accomplished and backed by creating the top ranked military in the world.

Jinping's actions, and the use of Chinese owned telecom companies to spy on Americans, have many within the U.S State Department warning of threats to homeland and national security.

During the Nov. 15, 2022 Congressional Oversight hearing on Homeland Security, FBI Director Christopher Wray told members of Congress that "under Chinese law, Chinese companies are required to essentially, and I’m going to shorthand here, basically do whatever the Chinese government wants them to in terms of sharing information or serving as a tool of the Chinese government. And so that’s plenty of reason by itself to be extremely concerned.”

TikTok has come under recent fire, and is now facing multiple lawsuits in European countries for allegedly oversharing their user’s data. TikTok is owned by
parent company ByteDance, a Beijing-based company that has links to the Chinese government . Shou Zi Chew, who simultaneously served as the CFO of ByteDance until November 2021, began serving as CEO for TikTok in April 2021, solidifying concerns related to the influence of the Chinese parent company over the app's data management.

FBI Director Wray is one of several within the intelligence community to warn Congress, stating that they do not believe the app has the ability to protect user data.

Privacy and national security concerns continue to mount after the
DOJ arrested five Chinese Nationals in March, who were recruited to spy on defectors of the CCP regime on U.S soil.

During a press conference on Oct. 24, 2022 DOJ Director Merrick Garland announced charges in three separate cases accusing more than a dozen defendants, most of them Chinese officials, of participating in schemes to repatriate critics of the Chinese government, obtain secret information about a U.S. investigation into Chinese telecom firm Hauwei and recruit spies to act as agents of the Chinese regime in the U.S.

"This case exposes the interconnection between PRC officers and Chinese companies," Deputy Attorney Lisa Monaco said during the press briefing.

Noem has said that the E.O is needed immediately in order to prevent the Chinese Communist Party's ability to gather data from state issued devices. The app is able to track user location, videos watched and commented on, as well as the data gathered off the device itself such as; personally identifiable information, contact lists, addresses, photos, health information, and even banking information.

“The Chinese Communist Party uses information that it gathers on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they gather data off the devices that access the platform,” Noem said. “Because of our serious duty to protect the private data of South Dakota citizens, we must take this action immediately. I hope other states will follow South Dakota’s lead, and Congress should take broader action, as well,” Noem concluded.

EO 2022-10, signed Nov. 29, 2022, takes immediate effect and only applies to employees and agencies of the State of South Dakota, including persons and entities who contract with the state, commissions, and authorities or agents thereof. The order prohibits downloading or using the TikTok application or visiting the website on state-owned or state-leased electronic devices capable of internet connectivity.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-11-30 08:07:59Last Update: 2022-11-30 14:04:28


Christian Pulisic Helps Bring U.S Closer to World Cup
U.S Leads Iran 1-0 at Halftime

The crowd was electric as Christian Pulisic brought the USMNT one step closer to the FIFA World Cup at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar today. Pulisic is one of only 22 Americans to score big during a World Cup.

During the play however, Pulisic collided with Beiranvand, and was removed off the field. Tim Weah nearly made the score an even 2-zip, when a referee called his goal offside. That offside call could have meant another goal for the USMNT.

Having failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, it has been eight years since the USMNT were contenders for the Finals. A big day for all watching and involved. The game continues this afternoon as 32 teams fight to secure their place in the finals, beginning Dec. 18, 2022.

PULISIC PUTS THE USMNT ON TOP 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸@USMNT pic.twitter.com/nkcQ5DDU0i

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 29, 2022

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-11-29 11:53:03Last Update: 2022-11-30 11:07:59


Recent Snows Make Driving Conditions Difficult
Minnehaha Sheriff’s Department offers tips and tricks for safe driving

November 29, 2022- Breeauna Sagdal

Minnehaha County Sheriff's Deputies are reminding people to take it slow today. Earlier this morning, deputies responded to multiple accidents on rural county roads following overnight snows. The Sheriff's Dept. is now asking that people take their time navigating the slick conditions.

Sgt. Scott Dubbe of the Minnehaha Sheriff's Department says people should give themselves an extra ten minutes to get to work or school in the morning. "Currently the roads are looking pretty good, but overnight it will likely freeze and create icy road conditions," Dubbe said. "Make sure that you allow multiple car lengths between yourself and the car in front of you, and make sure that you leave at least ten minutes early to give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination safely."

Dubbe says that if you do find your car skidding, or sliding, to take your foot off the gas and turn into the direction of the slide, rather than try to course correct. If worse case scenario should occur, Dubbe says to call 911, put the car's hazard lights on and try to get the vehicle off the road.

"Prepare ahead of time to avoid accidents," Dubbe said. "Make sure to keep your headlights on, check your tires, drive slow and buckle-up."

Deputies in Minnehaha County are responding to multiple accidents on rural county roads. Please slow down and stay off the roadways if possible.

— Minnehaha Sheriff (@MinnehahaCounty) November 29, 2022

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-11-28 10:52:18Last Update: 2022-11-29 11:53:03


The Novem-burns “Link” Challenge
Killer Burns - Awesome Cause

Nov. 23, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

The Novemburn for Hope Challenge is coming to close soon and it appears that Councilman Greg Neitzert might be headed for a second year win. The challenge began last year as an awareness campaign for the Link, a Sioux Falls based emergency triage center for mental health and chemical dependency in all its many forms.

"We had raised funding for COVID-19 rental relief, and had this incredible service for the community," Councilman Marshall Selberg tells TDL. "We just needed to figure out how to merge the two concepts, and tell the community it was available," Selberg said. The service provided by the Link is saving thousands of lives in the Sioux Falls area alone.

Bill Earley is the Executive Director of the Link. Earley tells TDL that his staff members have helped to provide triage services for over 5,000 people this year, creating a sizable dent in the opioid war. "These are not numbers to us," Earley said. "The people walking through our doors are the same kids you grew up with, played sports with, went to prom with. They're brothers, sisters, sons and daughters and everyday our staff members hope and pray that another soul will walk through our doors and have that 'vie' moment."



When people decide to fight for their lives and work towards reducing chemical dependencies, Earley and his staff call this "the vie moment." "We have many who come through our program several times, and that's okay," Earley said. "The moments we live for though, are those moments when you see a shift happen, and people begin to vie for their lives. We call this the vie moment."

The Link is one of the only emergency triage facilities in the Sioux Falls area. The program helps people to detox from opioid pain medications or street drugs, and become stable in those first steps to freedom from chemical dependency. The link also specializes in recognizing and addressing duel-diagnosis needs, which helps people to get linked to the right services while in the midst of an episode.

In an effort to help raise awareness about this program. Sioux Falls City Council members have been growing out their facial hair, specifically their side-burns. Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum actually inspired the entire event, Councilman Selberg explains. "Police Chief Thum has the best side-burns, so we decided to do something silly and challenge each other for a good cause," Selberg said. Chief Thom will be judging this year, and we will know soon who has won for sure.

Let us know who you think will win. Have you or someone you love been impacted by the opioid epidemic? Write to us and share your experience at Editor@DakotaLeader.com

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-11-23 14:02:24Last Update: 2022-11-23 16:25:50


The Argus Leader’s Mandatory Furlough Ahead of the Holidays
The end of print, or a distaste for “biased reporting?”

Nov. 23, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper chain, recently announced mandatory furloughs which will require employees to take one week of unpaid leave this December. The company, which owns The Argus Leader, The Watertown Public Opinion, and The Aberdeen American News, is also seeking volunteers for buyouts according to a staff-wide email sent by CEO Mike Reed.

In addition, the company also has paused overall hiring and will temporarily suspend matching contributions to employee 401(k) accounts starting Oct. 24. The email came two months after Gannett laid off 400 employees and eliminated 400 open positions in response to year-over-year losses, and a troubling second quarter. Gannett reported a loss of $54 million dollars during the second quarter, and its shares have plummeted down by 77% over the last year.

In the company-wide email sent to the over 200 publications owned by Gannett, Reed said “these are truly challenging times. The company continues to face headwinds and uncertainty from the deteriorating macroeconomic environment which has led the executive team to take further immediate action.”

The company-wide furlough is now impacting the "young and out of the area" journalists at The Argus Leader. A GoFundMe page has been created to help Argus Leader staff ahead of the holidays.

The Argus Leader has had significant losses this year within their own newsroom. Top investigative journalist Jonathan Ellis, and capitol correspondent Joe Sneve, have both left The Argus this year to launch their own publication,
The Dakota Scout. The Argus also lost top news Director Cory Myers in early October of this year, along with Mackenzie Huber. Huber has joined colleague Seth Tupper to launch the SD chapter of Searchlight, which functions as an independent state newsroom.

In addition to losing some of their top local staff, Gannett will say goodbye to President Maribel Perez Wadsworth at the end of this year. Wadsworth was the first woman of color to serve as the publisher of USA Today, prior to being named the President of Gannett. Her announcement came on the heels of the Gannett Co. Board of Directors eliminating the role of former CEO, Paul Bascobert, to streamline its operating structure.

Since then, Michael Reed, chairman and chief executive officer of the overall public entity, Gannett Co., has assumed the responsibilities of both Wadsworth and Bascobert. According to a timeline of events, these decisions came rapidly after a negative second quarter, and revelations related to subscription losses.



According to a transcript obtained by the Washington Post, Gannett's editorial staff met in April to scale-back opinion and election coverage. “Readers don’t want us to tell them what to think,” the editors, who come from Gannett newsrooms across the country, declared during the internal presentation. “They don’t believe we have the expertise to tell anyone what to think on most issues. They perceive us as having a biased agenda.”

"Not only are editorials and opinion columns 'among our least read content,' the committee said, but they are 'frequently cited' by readers as a reason for canceling their subscriptions.'"

Going into the third quarter amid steep losses, one of the biggest questions has been; How much improvement could the company achieve in a short time-frame? The answer came early this month with an identical third quarter loss of $54 million and a 10% year-to-year revenue decline. CEO Mike Reed told analysts, as he had in August, that he does not expect revenue to head back up until sometime in 2024.

It's not all bad news for Gannet however. The company hit a milestone in paid digital subscriptions which could signal where things are headed for the media giant and its over 200 print dailies. By the end of the third quarter Gannett hit 1.98 million digital subscribers, and passed the 2 million mark since then. On Sept. 30, Gannett had an increase of 28.5% in digital subscribers compared to the same period a year ago.

According to Reed, cost controls have taken root as the U.S headcount fell by 6.5% during the quarter with 468 employees leaving the company and another 400 open positions left unfilled. In addition, with the imposed mandatory unpaid leaves and suspended 401(k) contributions Reed said "the full impact on costs will be greater this quarter and through 2023." The company is also on track to sell $60 to $70 million in real estate and other assets this year to help pay down the debt they took on when the company acquired GateHouse in 2019.

Due to the cost-cutting measures, the on-going transition to digital and a focus on digital marketing services, the company is slowly seeing a turn around. At this point the question appears to be; How quickly can Gannett fully transition digitally? With print subscription revenues off by $51 million and print advertising in a $31 million year-to-year decline, the $9 million in digital gains may not be enough to keep print alive.

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-11-23 11:09:21Last Update: 2022-11-23 16:33:10


Deadrick Named Deputy Secretary of State
Secretary of State-elect Monae Johnson names her Deputy

PIERRE, SD - Secretary of State-elect Monae Johnson has announced that Thomas J. Deadrick will be joining her office as Deputy Secretary of State.

"As an attorney, former legislator, and former deputy, Tom brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position that will be invaluable to me," Johnson said. "Tom has a long history of service to our state and the people of South Dakota, and I am thrilled to have him as part of my team."

Deadrick previously served as Deputy of Business Services from 2015-2018 under former Secretary of State Shantel Krebs. A graduate of Platte High School, Deadrick earned a Bachelor of Science degree from South Dakota State University and holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Loyola University School of Dentistry, Chicago and a Juris Doctorate from the University of South Dakota School of Law.

He practiced dentistry in Philip, SD for five years before transitioning to law. He practiced law in Philip and Parker, SD and served as state's attorney in Turner and Charles Mix counties. From 1995-2014, he operated Deadrick Law Office and Platte Title Company in Platte. A Republican, Deadrick served in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 2003-2010 and was Speaker of the House from 2007-2008. Since 2019, he has worked as an Assistant Attorney General for South Dakota. Deadrick and his wife, Cindy, have two grown daughters and reside in Pierre.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-11-23 08:33:10Last Update: 2022-11-28 10:52:18


Statement on CDC Minor COVID-19 Immunizations Schedule Recommendation
SD Freedom Caucus Issues Statement

Pierre, S.D. (October 21, 2022) – In response to the CDC adding COVID-19 treatments to the recommended children’s immunizations schedule, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus released the following statement:

The South Dakota Freedom Caucus passed a resolution in July of this year affirming parental medical rights and rejecting any forced child COVID-19 mandates, which work to erode the rights of parents to make informed medical decisions for their children. We join several of our state freedom caucuses around the country in rejecting such efforts by the CDC which have once again severely damaged the credibility of the medical community and have posed risks to our children’s health and well-being.



Today we reiterate our stand against such forced mandates, which current studies and information indicate may pose a serious medical risk to our youth with little known benefit due to the nearly negligible hospitalization and mortality rate from COVID-19 infections with minor children, as reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). (Hospitalization and Death by Age, COVID-19, Center for Disease Control)

“The current presidential administration, and the unconstitutional CDC, have made it clear that they intend to hinder our rights of making medical decisions for our children”, said Freedom Caucus Chair Aaron Aylward, “and we want to make it clear, that we will fight for the rights of South Dakota parents to keep their children safe.”

We are calling on our Governor, Secretary of Health, Secretary of Education, our fellow legislators and our local school boards to reject any effort to make such experimental medical treatment mandatory in order to receive a public education, which is guaranteed by our South Dakota Constitution Article 8 § 1.

--Press Release

Post Date: 2022-10-22 11:00:09Last Update: 2022-10-22 11:03:30


Call For Immediate Sales Tax Relief
Press Release from the desk of Representative Phil Jensen District 33 State Representative

Press Release Calling for Legislative Special Session for Immediate Sales Tax Relief

During the 2022 legislative session, the South Dakota House passed Senate Bill 117, which would repeal the state sales tax on food, while allowing cities to maintain some local control on what they’d like to set for a local sales tax. That bill unfortunately died in the State Senate. As we moved through the spring and into the summer, we saw a continuous rise in inflation, gas prices, and food prices, and consequently, a large number of people who are on fixed incomes and low earned wages, continued to get squeezed into unfortunate financial situations.



Thankfully, during the last week of September, Governor Noem made a public statement that she was committed to repeal the sales tax on groceries. The hard-working citizens of South Dakota have experienced a significant increase in the cost of groceries over the last year, seriously impacting their ability to provide for their families, and it’s time our citizens are able to keep more of their hard-earned money. South Dakota is in a great financial position but we need to remember that it’s not the role of government to hold onto the peoples’ money, but rather to provide them with the necessities of a limited government.

Senator-elect Tom Pischke (R-Dist. 25), Senator Julie Frye-Mueller (R-Dist. 30) and Representatives Phil Jensen (R-Dist. 33), Taffy Howard (R-Dist. 33), Tony Randolph (R-Dist. 35), Kevin Jensen (R-Dist. 16) Steve Haugaard (R-Dist. 10) and Aaron Aylward (R-Dist. 6) are asking their fellow legislators to provide relief for the people of this state and to call a special session for November 3rd, 2022.

Representative Phil Jensen

District 33 State Representative

10215 Pioneer Ave

Rapid City SD 57702

--Representative Phil Jensen

Post Date: 2022-10-11 08:04:23Last Update: 2022-10-11 17:14:19


SDFRW Announce Newly Elected Members
Press Release - South Dakota Federation of Republican Women

October 07, 2022 For Immediate Release

Last weekend, the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women (SDFRW) held its biennial convention, with former Governor Dennis Daugaard delivering the keynote address.

Members enjoyed fun activities – from pontoon boat rides on the Missouri River, to live music performed by Jim Mehlhaff and the Homestretch Band – and met with conservative leaders including Marty Jackley, Chris Nelson, Rich Sattgast, and many others. SDFRW also hosted a watch party, cheering on Governor Noem in the gubernatorial debate.

Special congratulations to Cecil Nankivel Award-winner Lois Van Dusseldorp, Maree Raschke Award-winner Lorie Hausmann, and the unanimously-elected officers: SDFRW is an affiliate of the NFRW, our nation’s largest grassroots Republican women's organization with more than 65,000 active members. SDFRW consists of one virtual club and 10 in-person clubs located throughout South Dakota. To learn about, or to join SDFRW, please email info@SDFRW.org


Post Date: 2022-10-07 09:07:01Last Update: 2022-10-07 07:30:06


“Vote NO on Measure 27”
“It’s Not Recreational, It’s Reckless”

--Sent to TDL By- “Protecting South Dakota Kids”

Post Date: 2022-10-07 08:03:27Last Update: 2022-10-06 20:07:01


Op-Ed Debate on Convention of States- “Why Amend The Constitution When Our Current Government is Not Enforcing It?”
The Other Side of The Conversation Regarding an Article V, Convention of States

October 03, 2022 By Leah Southwell Program Director for The John Birch Society

Can an Article V Convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution actually rein in the Federal government?

The Constitution is a Compact or Contract between We the People and the Federal government. It lays out very clearly and with simple language and stated as concisely as possible the limited and enumerated powers and proper authorities of the Federal government. The later added Bill of Rights, specifically in the ninth and tenth amendments, state clearly that just because it isn’t it isn’t named, the federal government can’t do anything not enumerated in the contract and that if we the people didn’t delegate a right or power, to the Federal government, it was to be retained by the states and or the people.

Does the Constitution limit the Federal government, yes, or no? If it hasn’t, why not? What error in the Constitution is causing the Federal government to have assumed unlimited powers?

Is the Constitution the problem and would amending it solve this problem? Or is the problem the lack of adherence? If a contract is not being abided by, do you add amendments or do you enforce it? Efforts to amend the Constitution to fix bad behavior of government is like amending the Ten Commandments to fix bad behavior of individuals.

You can not amend to remove a power never granted!

Why have we not been enforcing it? And who should have been doing this?

Primarily the state legislators should have been opposing usurpations of power? Finally, we the people should have been demanding it! We were supposed to be the guardians of the Constitution and electing representatives that took their oath to uphold it seriously.

Why have we not opposed these abuses of power?

Because often there is a benefit or bribe for complying with unconstitutional demands. Additionally, the Constitution was purposely eliminated from our education, leaving now three generations ignorant of it and to the principles needed to preserve liberty.

What would happen if the states stood up to these abuses and stopped complying?

Most states have over time made themselves deeply dependent on federal funding. They have agreed to comply out of fear of losing the free money and having to live within their own budget. Isn’t this like the pot calling the kettle black. We need to rein in federal spending but don’t decrease what you are sending to us, the states.

Where does this free money or bribe money come from?

The Federal Reserve System we live under is not Federal nor Constitutional. It is able to create money out of this air, used to bribe and enslave not only U.S citizens and states but the entire world. Please read The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin. Should we perhaps look deeper at the root causes of our problems?



Is there a role for an Article V convention, as it is constitutional?

Yes, it is constitutional. It is also a mechanism that has never been used in 235 years. We were given two ways to amend the Constitution. The only way we have ever used is the Congressional method of proposing amendments. Could there be a reason for this? Yes, there are many reasons why.

Why is the Convention method risky and fraught with unknowns?

The well-funded and most vocal lobbying organization pushing for a Convention is called Convention of States Action. They claim that by calling it a Convention of States it is not a Constitutional Convention. We are both talking about an Article V Convention for proposing amendments. It is the same thing. Calling it something other than it has always been called doesn’t change its nature or it’s lack of rules.

Blacks Law Dictionary defines it as;

"A duly constituted assembly of delegates or representatives of the people of a state or nation for the purpose of framing, revising, or amending its constitution. Art. V of U.S. Const, provides that a Constitutional Convention may be called on application of the Legislatures of two-thirds of the states."

What are the rules for a Convention?

Article V only gives us one clear instruction. Upon application of 34 states to Congress, Congress calls the convention. There are no other instructions for a Convention. If the goal is to circumvent Congress, then applying to them for a convention is a lousy way to do it! If the states want to have a meeting to discuss ways to rein them in, then suggest a regular meeting, don’t endanger the whole constitution! The rules being promoted to the state legislators such as them controlling it, that each state will have one vote, the ratification process ensures bad proposals from being ratified, that they will nominate and control the delegates and most egregiously promising that it can be limited, are not found in the Constitution. These assurances have been made up to sway the state legislators into believing this is a safe method.

In 1787 the convention delegates locked the doors and no one knew what the delegates were doing until they were done. Could they do that again? Would it be any better to televise it live where everyone knows the delegates. I’m sure no attempts to bribe or threaten the delegates by powerful interests could possibly happen!

Can a Convention be limited to specific topics?

Corpus Juris Secundum (a legal summary of 5 court decisions) states: “The members of a Constitutional Convention are the direct representatives of the people and, as such, they may exercise all powers that are vested in the people of the state. They derive their powers, not from the legislature, but from the people of the state. They derive their powers, not from the legislature, but from the people: hence, their power may not in any respect be limited or restrained by the legislature.

Under this view, it is a Legislative Body of the Highest Order and may not only frame, but may also enact and promulgate a constitution.



Court decisions and state conventions have followed the precedent set by the 1787 constitutional convention. As the 1787 convention did, a convention today can ignore limits of power imposed by the states, and appeal to the ultimate power of the people themselves. State legislatures have no reason to expect they can control the convention Thus, a “limited” convention is a myth.

Ronald Reagan said, “Well, constitutional conventions are kind of prescribed as a last resort, because then once open, they could take up any number of things.”

How do we ensure that a Convention would not exceed its authority?

In our one and only previous federal Constitutional Convention in 1787, the delegates from 12 of the 13 attending states, were sent with commissions. The delegates debated during the convention if they had the power to throw out the Articles of Confederation and create a new form of government and a new Constitution. None said they were within their delegated powers to do this. Some said they didn’t have the power and should not proceed, some said they don’t have the power but should proceed anyway. Some left, knowing they were exceeding their authority.

Does this mean our Constitution was created illegally?

No! After great debate the 1787 delegates appealed to the ultimate sovereign power of the PEOPLE (not) the state commissions) for their authority.

Our most important founding document, The Declaration of Independence says,

"That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [of securing our rights] it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute new government…"

The delegates decided the Articles of Confederation where not sufficient to these ends and they were justified in throwing it out and creating a new Constitution, changing our form of government from a Federal system to a National one.

How could any bad amendments possibly be ratified when 38 states are needed to approve them?

Do we have any bad amendments now? I would say the 16th (federal income tax) and the 17th (direct elections of Senators) most definitely did not improve our situation or make us freer. Did the prohibition amendment not have to be rescinded? We know that destructive amendments could pass the current ratification process.

Could the ratification requirements be changed in a convention?

During the only one we had in 1787, they were! The Articles of Confederation stated that all states must unanimously agree to any amendments. During the convention it was changed in the new constitution to only ¾ of the states were needed to amend the constitution. What would stop them from changing it to a simple majority of the states or even a direct election of the people to approve amendments!

Is this the right time for a Convention?

With such extreme division in our country today. Would we be able to agree on anything? James Madison the father of the Constitution said, “If a General Convention [called by unanimous consent or by Article V] were to take place for the avowed and sole purpose of revising the Constitution… an election into would be courted by the most violent partisans on both sides; it…would no doubt contain individuals of insidious views, who … might have a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric.”

What in our constitutional structure needs to be changed? And who, in a modern convention, could be trusted with such awesome power?

Is the push for a Convention a conservative effort?

No, there are lobbying organizations on the left and the right pushing for a convention. The left opposes the Convention of the States efforts but support a convention for their leftist issues like abolishing the 2nd amendment and the electoral college and now to enshrine the right to an abortion. The left works toward a convention in left leaning states and the right works on it in the right leaning states.

Why did Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen. Jim de Mint and now Sen. Rick Santorum endorse Convention of States efforts?

Could it be because they were paid well to do that? Based on the 990 from COSA, we know that Coburn and de Mint were both paid around a quarter of a million $ to be their spokesmen. Maybe someone could ask how much Sen. Santorum is being paid? Being a lobbyist is much more lucrative than being a legislator.

We also know that the founder and leader of Convention of States, Mark Meckler in combination of salaries from his wife and son have had a combined income of close to a half a million dollars in some years. Who wouldn’t give their all to promote a convention for that kind of money? Not exactly grassroots!

Those opposing a convention have no organization or financial support, just the passion for preserving and protecting one of the most successful forms of government ever conceived.

If not Article V, then what?

The answer is enforcement, nullification and an educated electorate who holds their representatives accountable for their actions and replaces them when they don’t.

Nullification is firmly grounded in the text of the U. S. Constitution. Specifically, Article VI binds state legislators along with members of Congress, judges and all other officers at large to their oath “to support this Constitution.”

Article VI also states, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United Stated which shall be made in Pursuance thereof… shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”

State legislators are required to uphold and implement only those laws that are “made in Pursuance” to the Constitution. Any laws not made in Pursuance thereof” are therefore not the “supreme Law of the Land” and as such state legislators are under no obligation to enforce or carry out their provisions.

An excellent read to understand this principle from a biblical view is The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate by Matthew J. Trewhella State legislators have the power to stop abuses right now and have always had this power. A simpler and effortless solution for state legislators, would be to abdicate their role and let a convention try to fix an out-of-control D.C. The odds of any amendments that could force the Feds to abide by them when they are currently disregarding all the others is zero.



Without a well-informed electorate, who understands what a Constitutionalist looks like, we have no hope. Current Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky said, “Show me a single state where Constitutionalists comprise a majority of the state legislature. At this point in history, an Article V Convention would be a disaster.”

We need a revival of understanding of our Constitutional principles and the ideals of liberty. We can’t expect less government if we aren’t willing to take back our own responsibilities as states and as individuals! No proposed constitutional amendment can substitute for an electorate and elected officials who are well educated about the Constitution.

If you have legislators standing strong against government overreach, support them and encourage them to do what so few will. If you agree that a convention under the current sentiment is a dangerous and an ineffective solution, then contact your representatives now and let them know. They are being bombarded, threatened and bribed from well-funded lobbying organizations attempting to pressure them to apply to Congress for a convention. So far this year, Convention of States Action has invested large sums of out of state money to influence elections of SD legislators through dirty attack ads on those who have held strong in opposing this as a viable solution. They need to hear from you! Let’s address the true root of the problem and work on a real but not simple solution!

This article expresses my own personal opinions and may not be those of my employer, The John Birch Society. For more information you can go to The New American magazine. www.thenewamerican.com and the John Birch Society www.jbs.org There you will also find our excellent Constitution Course called, The Constitution is the Solution, exposing the many threats to our American foundation. You may also contact me at lsouthwell@jbs.org. I would also be happy to speak to any groups wanting to learn more about this issue and would be happy to debate anyone in favor of a convention.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--By Leah Southwell

Post Date: 2022-10-03 08:17:16Last Update: 2022-10-03 15:13:02


SD Secretary of State Under Fire
SD Freedom Caucus Releases Scathing Statement on Behalf of Citizens

October 03, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

In a press release issued Monday October 03, 2022, Representative Tina Mulally (R-Rapid City), of South Dakota's Freedom Caucus released a scathing demand for transparency from current Secretary of State, Steve Barnett. Barnett, who was recently found to be seeking employment out-of-state after losing the Republican party nomination during this year's SDGOP Convention, has now been caught misleading South Dakota Citizens.

After receiving a Freedom of Information Act Request from Hartford resident Cindy Meyer, seeking the state's purchase order and agreement with ESS (Elections Systems and Software), Barnett responded “the Secretary of State’s office does not have any contracts with Elections Systems & Software (ES&S).”

Upon further investigation, and a court order compelling access to elections records, documents revealed that Barnett had in fact
signed a purchase agreement with ES&S on October 10, 2019.

The Freedom Caucus is now demanding full transparency and cooperation on behalf of the voters of South Dakota. Rep. Mulally also alleges that the SD Freedom Caucus, comprised of elected members of the State's House of Representatives, "has faced numerous attempts to suppress their investigation into the matter, including
threats of exorbitant fees, legally questionable fees, [and] or intimidation on the part of State Attorneys."

Rep. Mulally states that "the South Dakota Freedom Caucus will not be threatened or intimidated," and goes on to conclude that these alleged threats will not stop their investigative efforts on behalf of South Dakota's citizens.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-10-03 08:13:02Last Update: 2022-10-05 11:03:27


Legislation May Help to Resolve Land Disputes Over Pipeline
Understanding the role and scope of PUC authority

September 30, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

Amidst the back-drop of lush and rolling farms, signs opposing two proposed carbon capture pipelines span the rural countryside of Eastern South Dakota. While farmers and landowners are opposed to the new carbon pipeline, various Chambers of Commerce have backed the idea and welcome the new business venture. In the middle of these two sides, sits the impartial elected watchdog group known as the South Dakota (PUC) Public Utilities Commission.

The Public Utilities Commission was created in 1882 by South Dakota's legislature, and has been given legislative and statutory authority under
Title 49 of the South Dakota Code. The state of South Dakota determines, via the legislature, how the PUC is to operate and arbitrate each case filing that comes before the Commission.

Additionally, under South Dakota state code, ex-parte law prohibits any Commissioner from espousing an opinion, or discussing the details of an open docket case. While legally unable to give details, PUC Chair Chris Nelson spoke to The Dakota Leader in an effort to explain the process, outlined in state code, which defines how the PUC is allowed to operate.

Nelson has served on the Commission for eleven and a half years and says, "the role of the PUC, in most simplistic terms, is to protect utility consumers or rate-payers in the state of SD."

Public utility providers are often limited in quantity due to the infrastructure needed to provide each utility. Infrastructure that is not only expensive, but expansive in order to link structures like schools, homes, businesses, and farms across an entire grid of water pipes, electrical lines, or telecom towers.

According to Nelson, this creates an almost monopolistic-like environment in which the Public Utilities Commission was created to regulate for price and service quality.

"The companies who provide utility services are limited, which creates an almost monopolistic-like environment," Nelson shares in an interview with TDL. "It's the role of the PUC to make sure these companies keep prices reasonable, or capped, while also ensuring that the floor doesn't drop out on the quality of services provided."



Nelson also explains that the Commission does not have the ability to make laws, but instead the Commission operates more like a court under a quasi-judicial jurisdiction called, administrative procedure.

"The PUC does not have legislative authority, instead the state legislature tells the PUC how it is allowed to proceed, or make quasi-judicial decisions called Administrative decisions. There is a strict formal process we must go through before ever coming to a decision. That formal process, laid out in state law, requires a process of fact finding, evidence and public testimony, and even after the Commission makes an Administrative decision, that decision can immediately be appealed to the circuit court and over-turned," Nelson shares.

Like a judge, South Dakota law compels Commissioners to be impartial and unbiased in how they approach every hearing. "The law is very clear, and requires PUC Commissioners to be unbiased in how they approach each case," Nelson shares. "Commissioners are not allowed to espouse their own opinions, and any conflicts of interest actually require Commissioners to recuse themselves," Nelson points out.

Recently, Summit Carbon Solutions requested an extension on their application for a pipeline in order to work out route changes. Nelson says that the pipeline proposed by Summit has been placed on an indefinite hold, until the mapped route is finalized.

However, Nelson says before Commissioners ever vote on the issue, a process of discovery, pre-filings and testimony will take place throughout various procedural hearings. During this time, the PUC will set aside time for briefs when the company, PUC staff and interveners opposed to the pipeline will all have ample opportunities to voice their views.

This process can take an entire year, and Nelson shares that it will likely be well into next year before the pipeline case will go to a vote before the Commission.

In stark contrast to legislators, when Commissioners are judging if a utility has a right to a permit, it is based on a criteria in state law, not the personal views of any Commissioner. This is also the case with Eminent Domain, a process made confusing by neighboring state's laws.

Eminent domain is a hot topic right now, with around twenty different lawsuits currently pending related to the Summit Carbon pipeline alone. Again, the PUC does not have jurisdiction or authority over Eminent Domain, because it too is defined in state law. According to state law, "Eminent Domain can be exercised in acquiring right of way as prescribed by statute," and "by any pipeline companies owning a pipeline which is a common carrier as defined by § 49-7-11."

In neighboring Iowa, state law gives some discretionary authority to the Utility Board to declare Eminent Domain. However, under South Dakota state law, the PUC has no involvement regarding Eminent Domain, or who can exercise it. Disputes over Eminent Domain are likewise settled by the Circuit Court, and of the twenty cases currently pending, some are preemptive landowner cases, while others appear to be filed by Summit for surveying access.

South Dakota lawmakers are currently reviewing the laws that govern the PUC, and Eminent Domain. Representative Marty Overweg (R-HD19) chairs the Natural Resources Committee in the South Dakota state legislature. Rep. Overweg tells The Dakota Leader that lawmakers are looking into changes that can be made to state law for this coming legislative session. "Legislation can be expected this coming session," Overweg states.

In addition to arbitrating the pipeline cases, the PUC has also received an application for a 17.9% rate increase by Xcel Energy. The PUC has a full year in which to process the rate increase request, and has suspended the rate increase for six months the longest amount of time allowed by law. Nelson shares that the Commission will take this time to fully review the financial disclosures of Xcel in order to make sure the company's request is "reasonable, necessary and prudent."

Xcel has come under fire for spending money on green energy infrastructure,
which critics allege the company is now looking to recoup from South Dakota rate-payers, as they did last year in Colorado. According to Nelson, the PUC is not able to tell companies what they can or cannot spend money on, but it is their job to ensure that South Dakota's rate-payers experience reasonable increases related to costs that are reasonable, necessary and prudent.

This legislative session may impact how the PUC is able to proceed going forward. However, state legislation will hinge upon how Federal law will be interpreted, support from the Governor, and Congressional Representatives of South Dakota, in Washington D.C.

An FAQ can be located on the front page of the PUC website to help the public understand the process better. In addition, the meeting minutes, documents filed, audio of each hearing, and final orders (granting or denying applications) can be found at

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-30 08:04:19Last Update: 2022-10-03 13:17:16


South Dakota, Leading the Nation in Security
Putin Says He is Not Bluffing, South Dakota Prepared For Road Ahead

September 22, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

Amidst talks Wednesday of nuclear blackmail and war with Russia, South Dakota is poised to lead the nation in national security and defense.

In 2017, Dakota State University tied for second place at the Argonne National Laboratory Cyber Defense Competition, against Kansas State University. While DSU bellies in comparison to the size and student enrollment of KSU, the Beacom Institute on DSU campus has played a significant role in turning out leaders of industry. The facilities have also caught the eye of High-ranking executives from Amazon, Citibank, Google, General Motors, Symantec, Visa and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE).

“What you’re doing here in terms of a threshold for giving us the resources to enact cybersecurity should be emulated around the country,” said Chris Murphy, GM’s chief privacy officer. “This is a most impressive facility.”

Dakota State University's Applied Research Lab has now received a 90 million dollar investment for expanding the cyber security labs at the Madison and Sioux Falls campuses. The public-private partnership agreement will, "more than double the number of cybersecurity students and faculty, create 400-500 high paying jobs and prevent “brain drain,” by keeping South Dakota graduates in state while playing a key role in protecting our national security,"
Senator Casey Crabtree (R-Madison) stated.

The infrastructure and educational advancements are timely considering recent geopolitical events, and a driving need to combat threats of nuclear aggression.



Last month, Raven Aerostar invited experts from U.S. Government, U.S. Military, and industry partners to its Sioux Falls location to discuss current and emerging lighter-than-air capabilities and challenges. Aerostar stratospheric balloons provide critical advantages for various missions, bridging key capability gaps in ISR and communication in dynamic environments.

In a release from the company, President Jim Nelson stated "the primary purpose of this forum was to expand an already strong partnership and innovation between the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, and the Stratospheric Capabilities Industry,” Nelson said. “Aerostar brought together a mix of industry partners providing highly specialized technology to South Dakota to demonstrate how our products are integrated to achieve objectives on the battlefield, at the site of natural disasters, and in other austere environments. Working together, high-altitude capabilities can save lives.”

Aerostar increased production at their Madison and Sioux Falls facilities,
after receiving a contract last year with the DoD for high altitude stratospheric balloons.

These advancements are said to help encourage graduates to stay in the state, as well as bring new employment opportunities to South Dakota for the next ten to fifteen years.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-22 08:26:09Last Update: 2022-09-21 22:23:42


Economists Self-Censored and Inflation Is a Result
Brownstone Institute

September 21, 2022 By Jay Bhattacharya and Mikko Packalen

Consumer inflation rate in the US has remained above 4% since April 2021, 5% since June 2021, and 8% since March 2022. This last month’s inflation report came in at 8.4%, above analysts’ forecasts, disappointing hopes that the inflation rate might start to subside.

A significant part of the current inflation is a rather obvious result of the massive covid relief and stimulus packages and the production and supply-chain disruptions caused by lockdowns and other covid restrictions

High inflation is forcing people to adjust their lifestyles and consumption patterns and accept a diminished standard of living. Consumers’ widespread and deep frustration has linked inflation with a stiff political cost. The public has good reasons to ask whether politicians should have pursued more prudent policy measures that would have avoided high inflation.

But politicians are not the only group facing questions about inflation. The economics profession is also under scrutiny. The one profession tasked with evaluating and informing the public about the pros and cons of different policies failed to raise the alarm about inflation.

Did economists not see inflation coming? Or, if inflation was not a surprise, why did economists not raise the alarm about the policies that led to it?



The answer to these questions is disheartening. Many in the economics profession did see that government policies of the last couple of years would result in high inflation. But most who saw it coming chose not to inform the public or raise the alarm until it was too late.

Jason Furman, former Chairman of President Obama’s council of economic advisors and current Harvard professor, commented recently that most academic economists have been ‘skeptical (mostly silently)’ of the stimulus packages. The high inflation we see today is partly the price of the economics profession’s self-censorship.

The economics profession’s determined silence on inflation is on display in regular surveys of top U.S. economists conducted by the Initiative on Global Markets of the University of Chicago School of Business. The initiative and surveys aim to help policymakers make informed decisions on ongoing policy debates.

None of the 35 surveys from January 2020 to May 2021 included questions about the potential inflationary impacts of covid restrictions and relief packages. Neither did the respondents bring up this concern in their free-form answers to the many survey questions about covid policy during this time.

The surveys only bring up inflation as a topic in June 2021, after the prospect of further lockdowns seemed remote. Congress had already approved the covid relief packages, and inflation had increased substantially.


--Jayanta Bhattacharya, and Mikko Packalen

Post Date: 2022-09-21 08:17:40Last Update: 2022-09-21 14:26:09


Don’t Wait – Reach Out! September Suicide Prevention Month
SDDVA Secretary Whitlock’s September Column

September is “Suicide Prevention Month.” It is a great opportunity for all of us to reach out and do our buddy checks!

There are many reasons that veterans in particular feel like there is no way out of a difficult time – whether its PTSD, MSD, survivor’s guilt, financial strain, family problems, or a combination of these. But it’s up to all of us to help veterans realize that that they are not alone, that help, and resources are available.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, now known as the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, is a free, confidential crisis resource that veterans and their families can access any day, any time. Trained responders are ready to listen, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It’s three quick digits – dial 988 and then press 1.

The VA also has a website and app called “PTSD Coach.” This tool provides education about PTSD, information about professional care, a self-assessment for PTSD, opportunities to find support, and tools that can help veterans manage their stressors. Visit: https://mobile.va.gov/app/ptsd-coach.

South Dakota’s Departments of Social Services, Health, Education, Tribal Relations, Ag and Natural Resources, and Veterans Affairs have been working together for the past three years on a statewide suicide prevention plan. This group has collected data, developed education and training programs, and developed communication messages. The South Dakota Suicide Prevention website provides a lot of information and resources. Visit: https://sdsuicideprevention.org/.

South Dakota has two VA medical centers, two Vet Centers, eight Community Based Out-Patient Clinics, numerous mental health care facilities, and 11 community mental health centers to assist veterans and their families.

In addition, we have county and tribal veterans service officers in every corner of the state, we have over 20 veterans service organizations located within the borders of South Dakota, and we have our team here at the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.

Remember, we are all in this together. Support is just a call, click, or text away.

Veterans, don’t wait – reach out!

For more information, contact: Audry Ricketts (South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs) at 605-773-8242 or audry.ricketts@state.sd.us
--Department Of Veterans Affairs

Post Date: 2022-09-20 08:16:15Last Update: 2022-09-20 17:31:26


Inflation: How-To Prepare and Protect Your Small Business
Leaders Of Industry Segment

How does inflation impact a business, and how can you build an inflation-proof business by making critical changes to boost revenue? The reasons and the remedies might surprise you, but they can be critical to preparing for inflation and surviving its impact. In fact, how your company reacts to small business inflation can become a sustainable competitive advantage! Here's how:

Is inflation ever normal? In less turbulent economic conditions, inflation is a normal and manageable fact of business life. In short, small business inflation can be defined as:

A continual rise in the pricing of goods and services.

Of course, inflation impacts buying power for the consumer, too. When inflationary price increases across the economic landscape are small and expected, preparing for inflation is somewhat easily accomplished in one (or both) of two ways:
  1. Raising prices of products and services to cover the cost of goods and cost of operations
  2. Cutting source material and/or operating costs
It's when unexpectedly high inflation prevails that businesses often lack the confidence and agility to respond.

How Does Inflation Impact a Business?

Preparing for inflation and executing steps for protection against inflation first requires understanding how inflation impacts businesses. Again, in stable economic times, inflation is less troublesome for business owners. In fact, research shows that inflation barely registers as a concern for most. But when inflation spikes, worry grows.



Specific Small Business Inflation Challenges

Inflation certainly brings its share of big-picture concerns. It can also manifest with specific challenges which may include: How Inflation Impacts Businesses ... Positively

Although inflation is often seen (rightly so) in a negative light, it can spawn some positive outcomes as well. These include: How to Respond to and Protect Against Inflation by Focusing on Sales

After cutting costs and raising prices, what can the small business owner do to turn inflation's business impact into a competitive advantage? One way is to focus on sales. Here are some strategic and tactical ways to make sure your sales operation can be more effective, efficient, and profitable in response to inflationary influences:

Enhance Your Sales Plan

A new economic landscape can change industries and marketplaces almost overnight. Is your Sales Plan still relevant? If you're not sure, take steps to: Improve Your Sales Process

Does your current sales process still work in the altered competitive landscape? If not, be sure to: Execute and Grow Sales

Beyond strategy and processes, empower your sales operation by: For a clearer picture of how inflation impacts businesses and how to "inflation-proof" your business, contact me today (DM or johnlee@salesxceleration.com) to learn more.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--John Lee CSL- Contributing Writer

Post Date: 2022-09-20 08:10:13Last Update: 2022-09-20 17:16:15


Live Social Studies Standards Review


Post Date: 2022-09-19 09:25:30Last Update: 2022-09-19 11:10:13


BREAKING- “Gender Identity” Incorporated as A Protected Class Under Title IX
“Girls in Sports,” May be Moot For Schools Receiving Federal Funding, or COVID Dollars

September 19, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

Comments were due by Monday September 12, 2022 to address proposed rule changes published in July by the Department of Education. According to the Federal Register, those rule changes were adopted and incorporated Friday September 16, 2022.

The rule change clarifies the term "sex" under Tittle IX, and applies to any educational facility that accepts federal funding. The new clarification reads, "schools and institutions that receive Federal financial assistance eliminate discrimination on the basis of sex in their education programs or activities. The Department therefore proposes that the current regulations should be amended to provide greater clarity regarding the scope of sex discrimination, including recipients' obligations not to discriminate based on sex stereotypes, sex characteristics, pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation, and gender identity."

The rule change also increased the scope of applicability to include educational activities, like sports.

"Further, the Department proposes that the current regulations could better account for the variety of education programs or activities covered by Title IX, which include recipients' education programs or activities serving students in elementary schools, secondary schools, and post-secondary institutions."



The Department of Education requested these new proposals, after what they call an "extensive review of its regulations implementing Title IX, as well as the live and written comments received during a nationwide virtual public hearing on Title IX held in June 2021."

In addition, the Office for Civil Rights held numerous listening sessions with a wide array of stakeholders on various issues related to Title IX, and considered input from stakeholders during meetings held in 2022 under Executive Order 12866.

As noted near the end of the 1,000 page document, the newly adopted definitions have also replaced the term "primary schools" with "LEA" (Local Educational Agencies), in order to include private pre-schools, elementary schools and beyond. Federal funding has also been expanded to mean COVID-19 relief funds, previously received, in addition to federal funding currently being received.

The newly adopted definitions will likely impact state policies, and potentially nullify state laws like last year's "girls in sports bill," signed by Governor Kristi Noem. The Dakota Leader has reached out to the Governor's office for comment, but has yet to hear back at this time.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Health and Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-09-19 08:59:42Last Update: 2022-09-19 10:25:30


Interview with Shirlee Meier of SDCOS
235 Years Later, We Discuss the Ratification of the U.S Constitution

[The Dakota Leader spent a morning interviewing SD Director of Convention of States Shirlee Meier from her home in Sioux Falls, SD, during September, the month when the US Constitution was ratified in 1787].

TDL(The Dakota Leader): Hello, Director Meier! Thank you for joining us today!

SM (Shirlee Meier) – Thank you for having me. I appreciate the interview and spreading the word about Convention of States.

TDL: Well, this is September, and it’s the month when the US Constitution was actually ratified back in 1787. So, we thought we’d talk to you about Article V, Convention of States, as we have previously reported on at TDL. But before we get to that, please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in this movement here in South Dakota.

SM – I retired from federal service after about 49 years and I was looking for something to do with my time. I checked out some different groups to volunteer with. I came across this
Convention of States group and I went in, signed the petition, and volunteered. At that time, I did NOT hear back from anyone for 4–5 months. So I signed it again and volunteered and STILL didn’t hear back from anyone. Then I found a number for COS and contacted Ginny Rapini and told her I signed the petition and wanted to volunteer and still hadn’t heard from anyone. I then heard from David Schneider (regional director for COS), and then I became a volunteer, district captain, grassroots coordinator and then state director.

TDL: How long?



SM – I signed the petition in 2015 and joined then. And at that time we had a state director, but he wasn’t very active. Also at that time there were only two district captains (two brothers) and they weren’t very active, either.

TDL – What’s a district captain?

SM – Someone in charge of a certain district. Call people, follow up with people who’ve signed the petition to see if they wish to volunteer, organize events about Convention of States, anything to spread the word about Convention of States and get people involved.

TDL – And then you just kind of went up from there?

SM - Actually, when I became grassroots coordinator, I didn’t put in for it; our regional director basically MADE me the grassroots cordinator.

TDL – Obviously you didn’t fight it.

SM – No, I just went ahead, took some courses from the COSU
(Convention of States University) and just … did it. After a while as GC, I asked Dave, “Are we ever going to get a state director?” Dave literally told me, “Oh, didn’t I tell you: you ARE the state director!” I said: “Oh, ok!” I was already doing the work of all of them anyway, and so – there it goes.

TDL – And what time was this?

SM – I don’t remember. But in 2016 that was the first time I went to the capital (Pierre) with Dave Schneider, and we were the only two there for Convention of States. I remember as district captain, he said, “Go talk to that legislator.” I said, “Are you crazy! I’m not going to go talk to them!” But eventually I got over that, and now I can talk to legislators without being intimidated. Gradually, I got to know legislators, and talked to them, and wasn’t so scared stiff. It’s a learning process, but if you just do it slowly, gradually, and get to know people and let them know you.

TDL – Is it true that you send Christmas cards every year to legislators, whether they voted for COS or not? SM – Yes, and I also send them thank-yous, whether they voted for us or not, to honor their legislative service. Even if I disagree with their vote maybe [laughs].

TDL: Interesting, thank you. So where do you go to promote this and how do you do that, or have already done that? SM – We do different things. We are in parades, at fairs, town hall meetings (if it’s an hour or so away I usually get a volunteer to help figure out where to host it). We print out fliers to post in towns. Much of it is word of mouth from our volunteers in different districts. Back when we had the Shopping News I used to put an ad in it. I suppose if you knew all of the small newspapers you could put in an ad in all of them. But, really, word of mouth is the best.

TDL: Does everyone agree with your argument of Article V in South Dakota?

SM – No. We have those that oppose us. The John Birch Society and Eagle Forum oppose it. Most of the time it’s because of bad information that they have been given. But if you read Article V of the Constitution, there are only two ways to make amendments to the Constitution: one is Congress in Washington, or state legislators can do it if they vote for the resolution. It’s calling a Convention of States for PROPOSING AMENDMENTS to the Constitution. It’s not opening up the Constitution.

TDL: Ms. Meier, why is an Article V Convention of States even necessary? What about the argument that we just need to interpret the Constitution as it’s written, and that’s what we need to do and that’s it. Why go the extra mile of the process of an Article V Convention of States?

SM – Number one, that came about as the Founding Fathers were signing the Constitution, and George Mason said wait a minute: we have given Congress a way to make amendments to this Constitution, but we have not given the PEOPLE a way to make amendments to the US Constitution, and he wanted that in there, and so it was put in there. Otherwise, ONLY Washington, DC, and your legislators would have the power to do that, and no power at all for the people themselves to do that.

Also, with the idea of interpreting, we’re not living under THAT Constitution, so to “interpret” the current one is to have nothing like what the Founders actually wanted us to live under. The one the Founders gave us is 39 pages. The one that we actually live under NOW is 2,000 pages, when you add in the Supreme Court rulings and Administrative Rules from the Executive Branch.

TDL: That’s a sizable difference.

SM: Mmm-hmm.

(Pictured. The US Constitution of 39 pages and the 2010 version with all Supreme Course decisions, over 2000 pages. SD Convention of States Booth, Turner County Fair, August 16, 2022).
TDL: How many states does it take to call a Convention of States, by the way? In fact, can you explain the
actual process for all TDL readers?

SM – OK, in order to call a Convention of States for proposing Amendments to the Constitution, you need to have 34 state legislatures pass a resolution which is basically the same resolution (only a few words difference) for each state, because they (Washington) will throw it out. Now, they’re (Congress is) notified, and they get a copy of it, and if a resolution differs substantially from all of the others (with subject matters being different) it’ll get thrown out. So, Congress does have the power to throw it out IF it does. Ours has only three topics: (1) Term limits on Congress in Washington, DC; (2) Fiscal responsibility; (3) Rein in the power and scope of the federal government. That’s it. Those three.

TDL: How do you that?

SM – How you do that is you get 34 state legislatures to pass the same resolution. Once a resolution is passed in 34 states, Washington – and this is the only part that they will play – will set a time and place for the meeting. They cannot wait 2–3 years. They have to set it immediately. But even if they don’t, the state legislatures CAN pick their own time and place of meeting. And, also, the state legislatures, once they’ve met in one place, they can change the venue at will. Then the state legislatures select their state delegates. They can send 1 or they can send 15. It doesn’t matter, though, because it’s always one state, one vote. And the states HAVE to pay their delegates’ room and board and expenses while they’re at the meeting. So when they come together to make up the amendments, they would divide up into like into three different committees covering the three different subjects. They’d discuss this and discuss the wording of each amendment that they look at. They may come up with 1 or 20 amendments. That’s up to them.

TDL: But only on those topics.

SM – Yes. If any other topic is brought up, like gun control or abortion, or anything that is not part of those topics, that person (delegate) CAN be sent home by the Convention. That’s up to the state legislature. And each state gives their delegate a COMMISSION – which is a formal charge they have to obey …

TDL: Just like in 1787.

SM – Yes, just like that. They did send some home in 1787, too. So once they come up with their amendments, each of their amendments has to be approved by 26 states in order to come OUT of the Convention itself. Once that’s done, if that’s done, they have to go back to the states for ratification. Each of the amendments has to be ratified by 38 states in order to become a direct part of the Constitution.

TDL – So, directly. The Supreme Court, or Congress, or the president has no say at all?

SM – No say. This is a function of the states. Remember, the states created the federal government, and not the other way around.

TDL – So at that point, those amendments are now officially a part of the Constitution, like the 27 we have?

SM – Yes.

TDL – Thank you for that explanation. And this Article V process has always been there?

SM – Yes, it’s always been there.
George Mason absolutely made sure that it would be in there.

TDL: Have many
legislators in South Dakota agree with you regarding an Article V, Convention of States?

SM – Not enough. Many, but it’s hard to know, as it’s an election year. We’ve lost some supporters, but we’ve also gained some new ones that support it. It’s hard at this point, right now, to tell you exactly where we stand. We won’t know until the election’s over in November, but right now I’d say 50–50.

TDL: Director Meier, South Dakota elected, overwhelmingly, both President Dwight Eisenhower in
1952 and 1956, and also President Ronald Reagan in both 1980 and 1984. Although Convention of States is nonpartisan, were you aware that both of these Presidents advocated, either as President, or before being elected [audio included on both links] an Article V Convention of States to restrain government?

President Eisenhower – National Endowment For Humanities; President Reagan - Wikipedia

SM – Absolutely.

TDL: Let’s clear this up: is the
Article V, Convention of States organization, either nationally OR here in South Dakota, funded by George Soros, The Open Society Institute, the World Economic Forum, The Government of Communist China, The Government of Russia, The Government of North Korea, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The United Nations, Michael Bloomberg, The Council on Foreign Relations, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Ford Foundation, Apple, Inc, Blackrock, or Hydra?

SM – No, we are not [laughing]. We are funded by donations from volunteers, large and small. Some on a regular basis (monthly) and some not so. We are just volunteers, but we don’t have any high-paying people just support us.

TDL: Tell us about
Convention of States South Dakota organization itself. Who IS it made up of, and how does it function?

SM – OK, we are all volunteers. We do not have any paid employees!

TDL: None?

SM – None. None of us. Our regional director (not in the state) is paid. We only have, nationally, about 50 paid employees (people who do our website, our attorneys, etc.). Everybody else is a volunteer. They volunteer their time, talents, and treasures and that’s it.

TDL: Is there any possible way that the organization that you’re president of in South Dakota in any way misinterpreted what Article V reads or means?

SM – No, because I can get the Constitution and I can read exactly what it says, if you’d like me to.

TDL – No, ma’am, that’s fine.

TDL: On another topic, as
we previously reported, didn’t the John Birch Society itself, with the US Congressional record, didn’t they support a Convention of States back in the day?

SM – Yes, they did.

TDL: If that’s true, why are they
against it now?

SM – There was a change and there was a, how do I say, a difference of feelings among individuals, and they turned against it. It was a personal feelings thing. Not anything substantial.

TDL: As an aside, wasn’t the John Birch Society the organization that
erroneously called Dwight Eisenhower a “Communist” during the late 1950s?

SM – Uh-huh, yes.

TDL: What’s the term
“Con-Con,” and who came up with it?

SM – “Con-Con” stands for Constitutional Convention. And there are those who say that if we use Article V that we are using a Constitution Convention. This is not true. Big difference between a Constitutional Convention and an Article V Convention with the States proposing amendments. The original Con-Con was to repair the Articles of Confederation. They realized that they couldn’t repair them. So they rescheduled their meeting and came up with our US Constitution. If you read Article V, you see that all that is is a proposing of Amendments to the Constitution. And it still has to go through the process that we mentioned. You’re not rewriting the Constitution. You’re just adding amendments to the 27 that we have now.

TDL: Is it true that
states – even colonies – got together all of the time to solve problems throughout US history in order to solve problems?



SM – Yes, they did it all of the time. Sometimes it was two colonies, sometimes three. It was for various issues: taxation, or various things.

TDL: And they did this even as colonies?

SM – Yes, even as colonies. They didn’t all come together. Sometimes it was 3¬–4, depending upon the issue.

TDL: How about the
“runaway” convention idea? You want to deal with that? Can that even happen?

SM – No, it cannot happen. And where they come up with this is when we got our Constitution, we got it because it was a “runaway Convention.”

TDL: You’re saying that other people think that our 1787 Constitution process was a “runaway convention?” What were we “running” from or to?

SM – Because there are those who believe that the US Constitution we have is illegal. They still believe that we should STILL be under the
Articles of Confederation. This is because they didn’t read history, and so they’ve put on this myth and attached it to not only 1787, but also to now. And they also say that those colonies that met, they didn’t have the authority TO meet to construct the Constitution. However, all but two had the authority to do “whatever was necessary” to come up with a Constitution and to make it work.

TDL: And this was because, under the Articles of Confederation,
we’d just had Shay’s Rebellion a few months before, and the government, such as it was, was worried about even lasting at all.

SM – That’s right. So, anyway, some of these believe that the very Constitution we’ve been living under that our Founding Fathers gave us is illegitimate.

TDL: Very interesting. What, if you know, is the solution that the John Birch Society, or even the Eagle Forum, has for our out-of-control government, if not an Article V COS? Article V itself is only
143 words.

SM – They basically do not have a solution. It’s basically leave things as is and it’ll work itself out. That’s basically it.

TDL: Do you think they can articulate a solution without using the word “not” in it?

SM – No [laughing].

TDL: Why
hasn’t South Dakota passed the resolution, even though above us, in North Dakota, they passed it years ago, and just below us, in Nebraska, they passed it earlier this year. Even Wisconsin, a much “bluer” state than South Dakota is, passed it in 2022 as well. Why the reluctance here in South Dakota, which is supposedly much more conservative (certainly than Wisconsin)?

SM – Well because in South Dakota – and I’m going out on a limb here, and some might not like this – but we have a lot of RINOs. They may have an “R” behind their name, but they vote like the opposition. They’re not true, real conservatives. Because if you talk to them and ask them why they vote on some things, their answer is not clear. And also, there are those who are more worried about their careers and being IN the legislature and living up to their true values. They can basically be bought off or scared, and I don’t think that’s right that legislators should be threatened by other legislators. People should vote their conscience. And if they can’t do that then they shouldn’t be in the legislature. That’s my honest opinion.

TDL: You’ve gone all around the state at various venues. What are you hearing from South Dakotans on this issue, generally?

SM – Well, I can tell you, especially at the fairs, etc., they’re not happy with the COS being voted down, and the legislators that opposed us and what they did. I heard that so many times, and they named names. And they’re not happy. The people in SD want a COS passed here. I can tell you that. There are more for us than against us. Some are more timid in their statements than others, but they want it passed and think it should’ve been done a couple of years ago.

TDL: You take people on bus tours to Pierre to lobby for this every year during session. Has that changed over the past few years? SM – I can tell you that when I first started going, there were only two of us there, myself and Dave Schneider. This year (2022) we had 120 people. We are growing more and more people, and we have to have more people to have this. And even some legislators are coming around. Some legislators will never change. They think they know best and that’s that. But more and more people are coming and showing up and supporting Convention of States. And we have almost 17,000 petition signers here in South Dakota.

TDL: Let’s say South Dakota passes the resolution this year. What does Article V Convention of States here in South Dakota, or nationally, do in that case afterwards?

SM – OK, if we pass it here (hopefully we’ll be state number 20) we will stay active because there are those who’ll try to have it rescinded, and we’d have to start all over again. But regardless, we will be active with the legislature until a Convention of States is actually called. And then we’d stay active listening to the Convention itself!

TDL: What do you think about the
recent poll by the Trafalgar group that showed that most people – including 81% of Republicans and 50.2% of Democrats – support an Article V Convention of States?

SM – I think that’s right on target. We do have many Democrats that like it, but their leadership won’t let them vote for it or speak for it. But that’s about it. There’s a lot of independents and Libertarians that support us as well.

TDL: Who was
Senator Tom Coburn?

SM – Senator Coburn was a senator [from Oklahoma] in Washington, DC, and he left because Washington, DC, was so corrupt, and he joined COS as an advisor, and he advised us on different things, and unfortunately he passed away from cancer in 2020.

TDL: Wasn’t it true that he once asked now Supreme Court Justice (then nominee) Elena Kagan
whether the US government had the power to require people to eat vegetables?

SM – Yes [laughing].

TDL: And isn’t it true that the late Senator Coburn, when he was in the US House in the 1990s, was part of the 1994
“Contract With America” wave election, producing, if not a balanced budget by 2000, at least the smallest deficits nationally we’ve had in decades? I mean, was there anyone in Congress who did more to cut spending in Washington, DC than he did?

SM – Not during the time he served, no. Not that I know of.

TDL: And yet
he left the US Senate early before his second term ended in 2015 and joined Convention of States as an advisor. Speaking of former US senators, what do you make of the fact that former Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat from Wisconsin, is writing a book opposing an Article V Convention of States? What do foes on the conservative side think of being aligned with him, who famously tried to limit the First Amendment via the McCain–Feingold law, which was ultimately held as unconstitutional?

SM – It’s like a lot of things. Probably a lot of people do not know this. If people would really check into the history, and in their state, they’d be surprised at some things they support, or don’t support, in the past.

TDL: Speaking of books, what books do you recommend people read in order to understand the actual Article V of the US Constitution, or the Convention of States itself?

SM – I would recommend Professor Robert Natelson’s
“The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant” and “The Law of Article V.” These are both excellent books on what our Constitution actually says and what Article V actually means.

TDL: I see you did a
Convention of States Christmas tree last year in Pierre. Are you and SD Convention of States going to do another one this year?

SM – Yes [laughing], we have applied. We’ll see. We haven’t heard back yet.

TDL: Do you think that, if you do put up the COS Tree again in Pierre this year, that the John Birch Society or the Eagle Forum or others opposed will have a “we’re against that tree over there” tree at the State Capitol in Pierre?

SM – [Laughing] – It wouldn’t surprise me. I don’t think they’d be allowed to do that (laughing).

TDL: Article V COS supporters, either here in South Dakota or elsewhere, do they have
“rocks in their heads?”

SM – Ha-ha-ha. No. We do not have “rocks in our heads.” We think, we do our research before we go forward. We don’t just shoot from the hip like, ahem, the author of “rocks in their heads.”

TDL: Do you think that’s an appropriate way for SD politicians to speak about regular South Dakota voters?

SM – No, I do not. I do know that the person who said that, he really doesn’t care about South Dakota voters. He only cares about his own ambitions.
He’s said other things about South Dakota voters as well.

TDL: Director Meier, I know you won’t debate, but
do you think our politicians in South Dakota will debate someone like, say, Mark Levin on this subject?

SM – No. And I can tell you that Convention of States will not debate politicians, etc., because it has been proven to us is that they will take things that we say and turn that against us. If anyone wants to hear it, there was one between
Michael Farris and the John Birch Society, and that’s on YouTube. That’s the last debate that we did and that we will do.

TDL: So I take it you’re going to
travel to Pierre yet again this next legislative session in 2023, and keep on advocating for SD to pass the Article V Resolution?

SM – Yes, we will be there.

TDL: You’ve mentioned more people are coming every year in support of Article V. How about those opposed to it?

SM – Umm, it varies. They’re losing ground as to why they oppose us. It’s becoming more and more evident, as more are learning the truth about Article V, and there’s less and less opposition to it. I do know that those opposed are getting more vocal and outspoken to you in person. I think it’s like someone who’s losing a battle: they get more aggressive.

TDL: Who’s your favorite Founding Father, generally?

SM – George Washington. My next one is Abraham Lincoln (though he’s not a Founding Father).

TDL :Why Mr. Washington?

SM – He was a very Christian man. He stood up for what he believed, even in opposition, and he didn’t back down. And he wasn’t in it for himself; he was in it for his country and his fellow man. His whole character, he just stands out in my mind.

TDL: Are you going to
keep on doing this, even though you’re retired and this is all volunteer?

SM– As long as I can I plan on it!

TDL: Director Meier, thank you for your time, and Happy Constitution Month!

SM – Thank you! Happy Constitution Month to you, too!

Editor's Note: The Dakota Leader neither endorses or opposes COS. This segment is intended for educational value during the commemoration of the 235th year, post ratification of the U.S Constitution.

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--Contributor Segment

Post Date: 2022-09-17 08:12:29Last Update: 2022-09-17 11:29:01


Major Fight Brewing Over Proposed Social Studies Standards in South Dakota
Educators are bristling under the weight of expanded curriculum content, and expectations--Parents are fed-up

September 16, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

Every seven years the Department of Education is required, by law, to review and update public school curriculum standards. The Social Studies standards, previously led by Chiesman Center for Democracy and implemented in 2015, are now due for revision.

Last year, a similarly comprised committee to that of the 2015 committee, was created to offer a new proposal. However, sources on the Board of Education have told The Dakota Leader that the product was a total flop, sparked outrage and had more than 600 people testify against the first draft.

"For whatever reason, Native American history and culture was stripped out of the proposed standards, and the entire thing turned out to be a nightmare," our source shared on the condition of anonymity. At issue, was the removal of over a dozen references to the Oceti Sakowin tribe, which led to public outrage, and a march on the Capitol in September of last year.

The Board of Education put out a statement regarding the first draft, and said that the process should start over and be, "free from political activism and agendas." In response, Gov. Kristi Noem agreed, then announced a new committee would be created. The new committee was chaired by Noem's former Chief of Staff, Mark Miller in consultation with William Morrisey, a former Hillsdale College Professor
and various Tribal Leaders.

Professor Morrisey led the work group, and placed an open invitation for educators, and tribal leaders to help craft the new standards. In August the new group released their draft standards. Within 24 hours the South Dakota Teacher's Union (SDEA)
released a statement deriding the new draft as not being age appropriate and employing memorization over critical thinking skills.

In an effort to try and better understand both sides of the argument, The Dakota Leader reached out to Utah Professor Connor Warner.
Professor Warner authored a published study in 2015, in which he analyzed the Social Studies Standards of 14 states. Hoping to end harmful stigmatizations of Indigenous peoples, that he shares in the study have impacted his wife, Warner set about trying to find root causes of bias.



"She doesn't look like an Indian!" Warner shares that new acquaintances often carry stigmas about how his wife "should look." "I tell new acquaintances that my wife is a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Such a statement is, of course, untrue. My wife “looks” exactly like an Indian; she is an Indian, which is a complex social, political, cultural, and ethnic identity," Warner shares anecdotally.

The study claims that schools have played a large role in creating stigmas and bias, as they serve as "vehicles of assimilation and deculturalization." Most notably, the study found that Native history and culture was mainly being taught in elementary school, and limited to historical representations of Indigenous people like Pocahontas.

The study offers that bias is likely created due to the fact that living representations of Native people, life on or off the reservation, and important socioeconomic cues, are largely left out of the conversation.

Professor Warner reviewed the newly proposed South Dakota Social Studies Standards, and compared them against the 2015 standards at our request. "The 2015 standards are much less specific, leaving it up to districts or even individual teachers to decide what knowledge and skills to use in order to meet those standards. As with anything in education, there are pros and cons to both approaches," Warner responded.

"The proposed standards show a significant increase in reference to Native peoples and nations, probably more comprehensive than most states in the country," Warner says. Adding, "however, from an educator’s standpoint, I can envision the proposed standards receiving pushback because they are very detailed and prescriptive. The proposed standards are knowledge heavy—that is, they prescribe very specific things that students need to know (e.g. the lists of people, etc)."

Warner continues, "the field of social studies education, as a whole, has moved away from this approach to emphasize disciplinary thinking skills and processes." As an example, Warner cites the new standards of the National Council of the Social Studies.

According to a statement put out by Michael Kroll of the Warner School District, Professor Warner is right on target. "The standards have moved away from higher order thinking skills like 'compare and contrast', 'analyze', and 'explain the importance of'," Kroll writes to educators and parents in the district before giving examples.

Kroll also acknowledges that the volume of course material has greatly increased for all grade levels. Although the course heavy standards
are exactly what the public asked for, have been given an additional budget, and two years for districts to integrate prior to being implemented, some say it's just too much work.

Others appear to be more divided on the standards along political lines, as evidenced by the comment section of Gov. Noem's social media accounts.

The proposed standards are based upon Hillsdale Curriculum, currently being taught nation-wide. As a result, many have taken aim at the involvement of William Morrisey, and say the standards are part of a "culture war."

However, the 2015 standards were led by the Chiesman Center for Democracy, which fueled criticism and allegations of political pedagogy in the previous curriculum. Chiesman is the political science division of the University of South Dakota, and in
2017 Chiesman engaged in a campaign to get people to "blindly sign initiative petitions, without disclosing who had funded it."

Last week
Breitbart gained access to exclusive emails sent from Dr Becky Guffin, chair of the Education Commission, who has tried to "torpedo" the standards from behind the scenes. The Dakota Leader has also been made aware that various curriculum directors state-wide have sent out emails, or held in-person meetings with staff, to mount opposition to the standards.

Meanwhile, a coalition of parents have told The Dakota Leader that they are hopeful, and look forward to the challenges of "more rigorous content focused on factual history, without politics involved." Parents say they intend on being at the meeting Monday, in an effort to "counteract the teacher's unions," who they say "are pushing CRT." (Critical Race Theory)

Monday, September 19, 2022 at 9am, the Board of Education will host the first public comment meeting at the Dakota Event Center, 720 Lamont Street South, Aberdeen. The deadline to register for public comment ends Friday September 16, 2022 at 5pm. Testimony can be given in-person, or via zoom, and as tensions run high, officials say they are anticipating large crowds during both public comment periods.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-16 08:49:36Last Update: 2022-09-16 11:12:29


Open Letter to Educators
[OPINION] “The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum was made by professors and teachers—not bureaucrats, not activists, not journalists—teachers.”- Dr Kathleen O

Dear Teacher,

As you know, teaching is one of the most important professions in human history. As an institution whose purpose it is to teach, we at Hillsdale College are acutely aware of what it takes to teach and to teach well, especially today. We thank you for taking up this charge in general and this curriculum in particular. We hope and trust that it will serve you and your students in the ways that you and they most deserve.

The pursuit of truth is an unapologetic pursuit. For those who strive for honesty, it cannot be otherwise. As such, you the teacher should be aware of the truths which Hillsdale College holds to be accessible to human reason, proven through the ages, and true of all people and all times. This curriculum is based on these truths. They are as follows.

The Plains, Grand Opening in Watertown

September 15, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

The Governor's Office of Economic Development announced today that Alliance Management Group has opened the first of three new apartment buildings in Watertown. Alliance Management Group broke ground on a new development located in northwest Watertown called The Plains, earlier this spring.

The apartment buildings will consist of 72 units along with a clubhouse, providing an additional 216 total residencies in Watertown. The second and third buildings are currently underway, and projected to open by the summer of 2023.

The Plains were created in order to address work force housing needs. Apartments range
between $1,035 per month for a one bedroom, to $1,745 per month for a three bedroom two bath.



According to Commissioner Steve Westra, “the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) was able to participate in this project with a Revolving Economic Development and Initiative (REDI) loan. The use of this funding makes it easier to finance this kind of project in communities like Watertown.”

“We appreciate the investment by Alliance Management Group in our community. This project helps fill critical housing needs for both our existing and future workforce,” said Michelle Kakacek, executive director of the Watertown Development Company.

“Housing availability is key to workforce growth throughout South Dakota. The partnership between the state, the Watertown community, and Alliance Management Group on this project is a great example of what can be accomplished,” said Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden.

“We appreciate Governor Noem’s leadership at the state level and the city of Watertown working with us to make this development a reality,” said Rick Berg, owner of Alliance Management group. “My hope is this new development will help address Watertown’s housing needs. We are excited to open this project and be a part of Watertown’s growth.”

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-15 08:17:34Last Update: 2022-09-15 10:16:45


Biden’s “Bioeconomy,” Hacking Humanity Through Genetic Engineering
Federal Funding Far From Free Money...

The solution phase of COVID-19, and supply chain shortage Hegelian Dialectics, have begun to take shape. On September 12, 2022 President Biden signed a new Executive Order titled "Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy."

concept is linked to bioeconomy strategy, which was adapted by the European Commission in 2012 as Innovating for Sustainable Growth of "circular cities," or smart cities . Following this, the bioeconomy strategy was updated in line with the objectives of the U.N. 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement, as the "EU Updated Bioeconomy Strategy" of 2018.

While the White House acknowledges that the bioeconomy is mostly known in the context of health today, the E.O, outlines the need for biotech manufacturing as a means to help "achieve our climate and energy goals, improve food security and sustainability, secure our supply chains, and grow the economy across all of America."

The Executive Order goes on to describe how biotech will be used, and why this private industry warrants the focus of federal dollars and all agencies.

"For biotechnology and biomanufacturing to help us achieve our societal goals, the United States needs to invest in foundational scientific capabilities. We need to develop genetic engineering technologies and techniques to be able to write circuitry for cells and predictably program biology in the same way in which we write software and program computers; unlock the power of biological data, including through computing tools and artificial intelligence; and advance the science of scale‑up production while reducing the obstacles for commercialization so that innovative technologies and products can reach markets faster."



The new Executive Order comes on the heels of Biden's cashless society and Central Bank Digital Currency pledge, which may provide insights as to why South Dakota State lawmakers argued against taking federal ARPA dollars last legislative session.

have sounded the alarm starting with 9/11, only to be shrugged off as "conspiracy theorists," for their cited concerns related to data collection used to create digital dictatorships, similar to Orwell's 1984. Dr. Yuval Noah Harari of The World Economic Forum, on the other hand, now says we should just get used to the idea because it's already here.

“In the past, many tyrants and governments wanted to [hack millions of people], but nobody understood biology well enough,” Harari stated at a recent conference. "And nobody had enough computing power and data to hack millions of people. Neither the Gestapo nor the KGB could do it. But soon, at least some corporations and governments will be able to systematically hack all the people,” he goes on to say, adding, “We humans should get used to the idea that we are no longer mysterious souls. We are now hackable animals.”

But Dr. Harari says this merger of human life with technology will not benefit the average person so that he or she may improve their own future. Instead, Harari claims a handful of “elites” will not only “build digital dictatorships,” for themselves but “gain the power to re-engineer the future of life itself. Because once you can hack something, you can usually also engineer it.”

While the White House gives a nod to human rights, it's done so with respect to
Executive Order 13985 signed on January 20, 2021, "Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government." Biden's 13985 Order revoked two Trump era E.O.s, specifically the "1776 Advisory Commission," and "Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping" Executive Orders.

In addition, E.O 13985 pledges significant federal funding specific to minority and undeserved communities, in order to study and provide recommendations for identifying inadequacies in existing Federal data collection programs, policies, and infrastructure across agencies and implement actions that "expand and refine the data available to the Federal Government to measure equity and capture the diversity of the American people."

According to
The World Economic Forum's Internet of Bodies, we're quickly approaching a world run by A.I, where everything we do, think, and feel is monitored by implanted, ingested or wearable devices that collect our bio data in real-time. Applications for biotechnology range from; Elon Musk's neural-net brain interface, to FDA approved remote sensing pills.

According to the U.N. and the World Economic Forum, biotechnology will help to monitor and regulate how citizens participate in the world around them. A 2017 Forum, hosted in Stockholm, Sweden, outlines some of the pros and cons of human rights in the era of the internet of things, and smart city infrastructures in which bio-technologies and the internet of bodies will be integrated.

The creation and stakeholders behind smart cities have been largely shrouded in secrecy, until recently. Opponents point to this lack of disclosure as a barrier to understanding whose definitions of human rights will be adapted. Considering the rapid implementation of these policies in the wake of COVID-19, concerns and rumors have already began to circulate on social media, related to the virus and mRNA vaccines.

For example, social media posts cite a 2013 Supreme Court Case, which granted Myriad Genetics a patent on the company's synthetic cDNA sequence.
The Court's ruling stated that DNA manipulated in a lab is eligible to be patented because DNA sequences altered by humans are not found in nature. The Court specifically mentioned the ability to patent a type of DNA known as complementary DNA (cDNA), a type of synthetic DNA that is expressed as a protein, after receiving cellular instructions from messenger RNA (mRNA). While this theory of patenting humans, post vaccination, has largely been debunked by online sources, critics argue that grey areas exist in the law related to privacy, access, and implementation of the bioeconomy.

Building out the infrastructure for bio-security now appears to be a race against time. However, with
trust in the government at an all-time low, individuals from across the political spectrum are voicing concerns for centralized control in the hands of a few. Time will tell how these policy adaptations will impact South Dakotans, farming, business, and day-to-day life.

Stay tuned for this Friday's Dakota Leader Radio Show at noon central time, to learn more.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Health and Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-09-14 09:12:06Last Update: 2022-09-14 11:26:57


Legal Cases Against Mandates Gain Teeth After FDA’s Court Ordered Disclosure
When State Legislatures Fail to Act, Due Process is Left Open to Interpretation and “Rational Review” of Liability.

This issue of mandatory medical intervention is being called into question, as is the way COVID-19 has been handled by U.S regulatory agencies. On September 12, 2022 researchers at Harvard, University of San Fransisco, Oxford, Edinburgh, John's Hopkins et al Medical Schools published a study in which researchers assert that the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters are 98 percent worse than the virus itself, for young adults. In addition, the authors challenge coercive policies, making five arguments against "ethically unjustifiable" mandates on campus.
  1. "No formal risk-benefit assessment exists for this age group;
  2. "Vaccine mandates may result in a net expected harm to individual young people;
  3. "Mandates are not proportionate: expected harms are not outweighed by public health benefits given the modest and transient effectiveness of vaccines against transmission;
  4. "US mandates violate the reciprocity principle because rare serious vaccine-related harms will not be reliably compensated due to gaps in current vaccine injury schemes; and
  5. "Mandates create wider social harms. We consider counter-arguments such as a desire for socialisation and safety and show that such arguments lack scientific and/or ethical support. Finally, we discuss the relevance of our analysis for current 2-dose Covid-19 vaccine mandates in North America." - quoted from the study's abstract.
Challenges have come on the heels of full disclosure, compelled by a court ruling last year. A group of highly qualified and credentialed scientists and doctors filed a Freedom of Information Act with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), to release the documents they received prior to granting EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) for Pfizer's BioNTech biologics. Although the FDA had promised complete transparency through their licensing period of the COVID-19 biologics, the FDA refused to release the documents, initially stating they would need 75 years to produce the clinical trial data, or about 500 pages per month.

The team of scientists took the FDA to court, and in September of 2021, a
Texas Judge ruled that the FDA had until March of 2022 to release all documents publicly. As the evidence used to issue EUA status is slowly being revealed, challenges of ethical and medical malfeasance mount.

Now, a group called Nations in Action,
has filed an Amicus Brief in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals citing the Liberty Clause. Plaintiffs Katie Sczesny, Jamie Rumfield, Debra Hagen, and Mariette Vitti allege the state of New Jersey via Governor Philip Murphy, violated their due process, fourth and fourteenth amendment rights, by conditioning the benefit of employment upon the relinquishment of a constitutional right.



"The fact that the government in this case conditioned the benefit of employment on the relinquishment of a constitutional right does not alter the Liberty Clause analysis. Pursuant to the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions, the extraordinary level of coercion involved in the COVID-19 injection mandates render them presumptively unconstitutional and subject to the same judicial scrutiny as laws of general applicability," the Amicus Brief states.

Law Professor and lead author of the Amicus Brief, Deana Sacks, says she is frustrated that other attorneys have failed to argue these cases, or practice the law on the basis of "strict review."

Sacks asserts that the burden of proof falls upon each attorney, and up until this point, the history of bodily autonomy has yet to be laid out or shown to be a constitutional right through proper pleadings, and arguments.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Health and Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-09-14 08:40:57Last Update: 2022-09-14 14:17:34


Hay Shortages Are Affecting Food Security
Op-Ed on The Importance of Hay

Hay does not feed Americans in the way that other crops do like potatoes, wheat, corn, beans, and other commodity crops. Even though we don’t have hay at our dinner table, its production is vital because it feeds livestock, and that livestock in turn feeds us. Without hay, we find ourselves with a break in the food security supply chain.

Farmers and ranchers across the United States are currently facing a hay shortage due to extreme drought and inflation. These issues have led to increased costs of fuel, fertilizer, and other inputs. The general population may not notice this issue right now, but the shortage of hay will impact our food security in America as it becomes more apparent in the colder months.

The hay shortage will have a three-fold effect. It will first hit the bank accounts of farmers and ranchers who grow and sell hay. Then the shortage and subsequent high prices of hay will impact those who feed hay to their livestock. Already there have been reports across the country of long lines at sale yards where ranchers are selling their herds because they do not have feed available at affordable prices. Lastly, the hay shortage will impact the general population that enjoys a glass of milk or a hamburger. The scarcity and skyrocketing cost to feed livestock will ultimately result in a higher cost at the grocery store.

While some American consumers may be able to absorb these price increases, many will not. Those unable to afford these products will be pushed into purchasing food items that may not be as nutritionally dense as animal protein.  


Food insecurity is not new. In 2013, roughly 14% of our nation’s families were facing it at some point. In 2019, the number of families experiencing food insecurity had dropped by 3%, down to roughly 11%. Unfortunately, in 2022, due to inflation and policy, food insecurity for families across the country has spiked. As of this spring, 64% of American families were struggling to afford the cost of living. Crop shortages causing food insecurity are not new either.


While this may just be another hot summer for some, for farmers and ranchers who grow hay, it has been devastating. Many regions across the country have experienced severe drought this spring and summer. The drought has impacted crop yields because many people who farm rely on regular rainfall to water their crops. To make matters worse, a select few states rely on irrigation, but many of those areas have had their water use cut by governmental policy.

During a typical year, the United States on average (excluding Hawaii and Alaska), gets about 30.21 inches of moisture. This year (2022) we are approaching record lows after the long hot summer across the nation. This lack of precipitation has caused farmers and ranchers to grow less hay because there is simply not enough water. Additionally, hay crops are dying much earlier than they would during an average crop cycle. Ultimately, this leads to a lower yield for farmers and ranchers who have planted and harvested hay this season.

Hay production this year has decreased by 17.9% in Oklahoma and 22.5% in Texas. Overall hay production this year has decreased by 10.1% when looking at the past ten-year average (2011-2021).


In terms of man-made factors affecting hay production in 2022, inflation caused by policy and the rising cost of fuel can be listed as the biggest. Not only does the high cost of petroleum products affect the cost to run equipment, but it also raises the prices of goods across the board, including fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. This year alone, the cost of fuel has risen nearly 60%. Despite news stories reporting that the cost of fuel has decreased in recent months, the price is still more than double what it was last year.

When prices for inputs rise sharply, like herbicides and fertilizer, many farmers and ranchers simply cannot afford to utilize them to maximize crop yield per acre. The high cost of fuel to run planting and harvesting equipment has also caused some farmers and ranchers to leave fields fallow.

According to a study done by John Baffes and Wee Chian Koh for the World Bank, fertilizer prices have gone up nearly 30% since the start of 2022, putting them at a record high. This rise in cost has made it nearly impossible for the average hay farmer to afford fertilizer in order to maximize crop production per acre and yield.

Pesticides that keep crops from being consumed by insects (like the locusts and grasshoppers ripping through nearly every field in the Eastern South Dakota currently), have also spiked upwards in 2022. It appears there is a battle on all fronts for farmers and ranchers as they try to scrape by without losing their livelihoods.


In 2020, the meat and dairy industries took large hits from Covid-19 shutdowns. Since then, food industries have worked hard to recover and start on an upward trend.

However, due to drought and inflation, this year the crop yield for hay is critically low. The hay shortage is impacting the dairy industry and the meat industry (specifically beef) which rely on hay as a food source for livestock.

Meanwhile, the need for hay grows as more food is needed to be produced. Agricultural experts across the country have expressed concern that farmers and ranchers will not have enough hay to sustain livestock this winter. The early sell-off of cattle by many farmers and ranchers and the coming winter will ultimately mean shortages in grocery stores as well as rising prices. Shortages of food products will directly impact foods that make it to dinner tables across America.

Consumers are already starting to see a rise in the cost of beef products. In 2020, a pound of ground beef cost $4.12 on average. In 2022 that number is roughly $4.78 and much higher in many areas. The price hikes have brought us past a $0.50 increase in under two years. At the current rate of increase, the average American family may not be able afford to buy steaks or even ground beef for dinner on a regular basis. Other staple products have also risen dramatically in price.

Continue Reading HERE...

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--Protect The Harvest- Republished With Permission

Post Date: 2022-09-14 08:11:28Last Update: 2022-09-13 19:12:06


Will Governor Noem Take A Plea Deal?
While Gov. Noem continues to argue that complaints filed against her are a “political attack,” a timeline of events paints another picture.

September 10, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

On August 28, 2020 a story broke in ProPublica regarding an investigation into Denny Sanford. "The richest man in South Dakota, T. Denny Sanford, was investigated for possible possession of child pornography, according to four people familiar with the matter. Sanford is a major donor to children’s charities and Republican politicians."

"Investigators with the South Dakota attorney general’s Division of Criminal Investigation obtained a search warrant as part of the probe, according to two of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. They said the case was referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for further investigation."
Denny Sanford, according to open secrets has been one of Gov. Noem's largest campaign donors.

On September 12, 2020, fifteen days after the story broke of Denny Sanford's alleged child pornography probe, then Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was heading home, when he hit something outside of Highmore. It was confirmed the next day that he had hit and killed Joseph Boever, a Highmore resident who was
found to have been highly intoxicated in an autopsy report.

On September 28, 2021, a year and 16 days after Jason Ravnsborg had fatally hit Joseph Boever, a complaint was filed with the GAB (Government Accountability Board), regarding allegations of malfeasance and misconduct associated with the Governor's daughter Kassidy Peters.

In a
letter that accompanied the complaint, dated September 28, 2021, Ravnsborg turned over the investigation of Gov. Noem and suggested using out-of-state legal counsel in an attempt to avoid any impropriety on his behalf, or that of his department.

Allegations of misuse began in 2019, when flight-logs showed Gov. Noem used the state plane to fly to an
NRA Conference, a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition at a Las Vegas casino and other trips during Donald Trump's 2020 re-election bid. Members of the South Dakota state legislature, on behalf of the taxpayers, requested that A.G Jason Ravnsborg look into the possible misuse of the state plane, after Gov. Noem requested 5 million dollars for a newer model plane.

Both issues were brought
before the legislature during the 2021 session, which began in January.

On February 17, 2021, State Senator Reynold Nesiba sent a formal letter, to then Attorney General Jason Ranvsborg, requesting an investigation into Gov. Noem's use of the state owned airplane.

On February 23, 2021, following three misdemeanor charges of then Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, Gov. Noem called for his resignation. Earlier this summer, Ravnsborg was impeached by the State Senate and removed from office. Meanwhile, the investigations of Governor Kristi Noem's alleged misuse of state resources, along with her potential misconduct related to her daughter's appraisal license, have remained on-going.

Despite media reports claiming that allegations regarding Noem's misuse of the state airplane had been dismissed, the investigation was in fact handed off to recently appointed A.G Mark Vargo.
Three lawmakers, including Rep. Jamie Smith, running against Noem for Governor of South Dakota, called upon A.G Mark Vargo to recuse himself from the investigation of Noem. Vargo, who was appointed to the position of Attorney General by Gov. Noem, has now handed the case off to Hughes County State's Attorney Jessica LaMie.



Jessica LaMie, according to her LinkedIn account, has practiced law for a mere four and-a-half years, and was trained under former Hughes County State's Attorney, Roxane Hammond. Hammond, who recently engaged in "prosecutorial misconduct," was found to have violated the Brady Act in a case resulting in the mistrial of second degree murder suspect Barry Allman of Box Elder. LaMie took over for Hammond as the Hughes County State's Attorney, when Hammond went to work for now Attorney General Mark Vargo, in Pennington County.

Early Friday morning, September 9, 2022, the Government Accountability Board (GAB)
released the records and complaints related to the on-going investigation into whether or not Gov. Noem abused the power of her office to intercede on behalf of her daughter's appraisal license.

Within the released records, is a motion to dismiss the case dated April 15, 2022, from Gov. Noem's attorney Lisa Prostrollo. Prostrollo argues in the motion that the Board should not proceed further with a contested case hearing, citing that the A.G did not have proper standing to file, nor does the Board have proper statutory or Constitutional authority to provide relief.

"The Attorney General has filed his complaint in bad faith while acting in his official capacity without the requisite authority, and he is seeking relief from this Board that is well beyond its statutory and Constitutional power to provide. Therefore the complaint should be dismissed outright without a contested case hearing," Prostrollo states, who has also claimed that turning over the investigation was a "political attack."

The Government Accountability Board was created in 2017 by the legislature in order to investigate statewide office holders, and members of the legislature after various scandals emerged, like
EB-5 and Gear-Up. The Board is codified in state law under SDCL-3-24-1 through 3-24-11. According to the SDCL, the only requirement stipulated to file a complaint, is being a citizen or resident of South Dakota.

The Government Accountability Board has dismissed one charge related to Noem's daughter, Kassidy Peters. It was alleged that Noem had misused state funds to settle a $200,000 dollar age discrimination case with former director of South Dakota’s Appraiser Certification Program, Sherry Bren.

The Board has moved forward on other charges however, including "malfeasance" as outlined in SDCL 3-24-3(4). Sources close to the investigation tell The Dakota Leader that Gov. Noem has been given the option to take a type of plea deal or go to a contested case hearing. Sources also indicate that Gov. Noem has been given until next week to decide how she intends to proceed.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-10 08:15:48Last Update: 2022-09-13 12:40:57


New Recording Surfaces From the August 27 SDGOP Central Committee Meeting
More information comes to light....

September 7, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

A new recording has surfaced from the August 27, 2022 Central Committee Meeting, where state GOP leaders discuss the termination of voting rights for certain party members.

(0:00-1:16) The defeat of the substitute motion (by Anne Beal) has been just been confirmed and discussion returns to the original motion.

Marilyn Oakes restates the original motion, but there seems to be some confusion over the actual wording of the original motion and some discussion occurs away from the microphone in regard to that.

1:16- 1:31 - Dan Lederman takes the microphone and says they will re-state the original motion so everyone can hear it.

1:31- 2:00- "To direct the Bylaws committee to explore options to set election times for PCPs to allow time for training and familiarization prior to the convention, and then the report will be brought back [from the Bylaws committee] by the winter meeting."

2:00- 2:50 - Mary Fitzgerald (elected rep from Lawrence County) states that she would like to amend the current motion, and she is then asked how she wants to amend it, and is asked to go to the microphone so that everyone present can actually hear what she is saying. There is also cross-talk from someone (possibly Fitzgerald) about just having the Bylaws committee look into the duties of a precinct committee person and make recommendations to the executive board prior to the winter meeting.

2:50 - 3:20 - At this juncture, Mary Fitzgerald is heard to say:

"They [newly elected precinct people] want to participate in our county meetings, they want to try to take control of our convention, take control of our county [central committees], and I think it's really important that we have people who work hard and are rewarded by actually doing things. And now we have these people who come in and go to the convention and vote and we never see them again... until maybe when we have a county election and they try to take over [in] a coup and take over our central committee."

3:20 -3:40- She goes on to say "I know that [the suggestion for an amendment to the motion] it's really vague, so maybe someone else can change it or whatever. So vote it up or vote it down, whatever..."

3:45- 4:15 - There is some unintelligible discussion, and then a remark is made that Fitzgerald's motion to amend requires a second, and the motion to amend is seconded by Roger Meyer.

4:15-5:15 - Dan Lederman takes the microphone to say that he'll repeat what was suggested. "The motion (to amend) is to direct the Bylaws committee to rewrite precinct committee (PC) duties, responsibilities, privileges, and timing of service (timing of term) and come to the state central committee winter meeting with a proposal for bylaw change."

5:45- 7:10 - The "friendly" amendment proposed by Fitzgerald and seconded by Meyer is approved on a voice vote, and Lederman then makes an off-handed remark about the "Word Salad" they're creating. There is some small talk and discussion about giving Marilyn Oakes [secretary] time to catch up with the meeting notes in regard to the current amended motion.

7:10 - 8:10 - Marilyn restates what is being proposed in terms of a friendly amendment to the original motion.

Lederman remarks that they are now back to discussing the original motion as currently amended.

8:15- 9:35 Jefferey Church takes the microphone to suggest that they direst the Bylaws committee to explore options for removing Precinct People who do not participate in their county duties (as yet undefined) . Someone in the group suggests that should actually be made as its own separate motion. Church then retracts his motion and says he'll bring it after the current motion is voted upon.

9:50 -11:35 Charlie Hoffman of McPherson County (District 23 representative) takes the microphone and says:

"The inside baseball everyone needs to be aware of. We're at a pinnacle in this party where we can't allow disenfranchised people [to sever] the party statewide. If we don't do something- this is a very important meeting- and the meeting in January will be of utmost importance for this reason"

"I know for a FACT there will be legislation brought that will GUT our conference [convention], GUT our summer celebrations, that will do things to this party that we don't like... and there isn't much we're gonna be able do about it... [except] maybe get the Governor on our side to veto it."



"But there's a lot of power pushing back against the things that happened at convention. Now just to say this, because I've got the microphone and I won't speak again- My thoughts of the previous [proposal] is there has to be skin in the game for you to be able to vote at convention and here [central committee]. All of us have skin in the game, okay? The constitutional offices... when you come to a convention and you've done your homework and you want to be the best Secretary of State, or the best Treasurer, the best Auditor, or the best School and Public Lands Commissioner- that's fantastic- you're running for a position-not so much running against someone else.

"BUT...when you come to our convention, and you run against the Lt. Governor... you are not running to be the best Lt. Governor, you're running to SPITE the governor. There is no way in hell".... (Scattered applause from meeting attendees)

11:40-12:45 Hoffman continues his remarks- "I was at both last conventions where there were two people running to 'take out the Lt. Governor.' Now here's the deal... think about this: We all think we have the expertise and knowledge to elect the best person in our party to be the governor of this state, and whoever that is, that person ends up being the most powerful political person in the state.

"Yet by convention we don't think that person has the audacity, intelligence or drive to pick their own Lt. Governor. Let's have a discussion on that [the Lt. Governor nominating process], leave the [other] constitutional offices alone. That gets the grass-roots [involved], we don't want to screw up the grassroots in this. We're moving in the right direction- I'm not sure we can go all the way to 105 [seats in the legislature] - if it happens, that's fantastic...[then] all the constitutional offices are all held by us- let's keep that preserved.

"Let's work on making sure we don't get some Nut Bags from the other party - especially in the PUC (Public Utility Commissioner) race. But otherwise, that's all I've got. Thank you very much for your time." (end of Hoffman remarks) (applause from some of the meeting attendees)

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--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-08 08:54:56Last Update: 2022-09-07 14:59:42


The Dakota Leader Radio Launches with Special Guest Rep. Spencer Gosch
Catch us every Friday at noon central

The Dakota Leader has launched its very own radio show broadcast, which will air live every Friday at noon central time. Our first guest, Speaker of The House Representative Spencer Gosch, joins TDL Editor Breeauna Sagdal, to discuss South Dakota politics and headlines in the news. Join us live every Friday at Revolution.Radio, Apple Podcasts, on your ROKU device, or catch us later on our YouTube Channel.

This Friday at noon, we will feature special guest Senator-elect Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids)

The Dakota Leader Radio is Member Supported. If You Like The Information We Bring To You Each Week, Please Consider a Monthly Donation!

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-08 08:41:52Last Update: 2022-09-07 14:58:07


Renters Pay Higher Property Taxes Than Home Owners According to Researchers
A look at the correlation between property taxes and housing affordability

By Mike Zitterich *UPDATED 09/08/22 By Editor Breeauna Sagdal*

Each year, beginning the first of August through the end of September, the Sioux Falls City Council holds public meetings to discuss the Annual tax revenues, expenses, future projects, programs, and projected plans of the city government. Part of that process includes the City Finance Officer seeking approval of the residents to take its allotted increase from the State Property Tax Assessments.

This allotted increase, in addition to the increases of the Sioux Falls School District budget, could mean higher property taxes for residents in the 2023 fiscal year. Property taxes, aside from impacting home-owners, also impact renters and access to housing affordability according to researchers.

In May of 2018, SmartAsset published a nation-wide study of the "Most and Least Severely Housing Cost-Burdened Cities in 2016". The study found that many people in 2016 were paying 30-50% of their income on housing, but the authors state, "it’s especially a problem for households that rent."

"Nationwide, renter households are more than twice as likely to be housing cost-burdened as owner households," the authors state.

While South Dakota has some of the highest property taxes in the nation, the cost of living is is offset by a small sales tax, and no income tax. In 2016, Sioux Falls, South Dakota ranked amongst the lowest cost-burdened cities.

However, according to the SmartAsset study, "no city is perfect." In 2016 4% of households across all income levels within Sioux Falls were still paying 50% or more of their incomes on housing costs, while 10% were spending between 30-50% of their income on housing. In the five years since then, property taxes in Sioux Falls have increased by another 14.2 million dollars. It's important to note that the max tax rate is set by the state legislature, but each city, and county have separate agreements and operating expenses that fluctuate budgets and property taxes.

Over the past five years, the City Council has steadily approved property-tax increases by $14.2 million dollars. $60,129,933 (2017); $62,523,959 (2018); 66,576,460 (2019); $70,288,580 (2020); and $74,349,770 (2021). Per the "2022 Request for Property Tax Dollars", the City Finance Officer has assessed, and confirmed that the City may be entitled to increase property-tax evaluations again, by another $2.2 million dollars ($78,572,716) for F.Y. 2023.

The 2.2 million dollar property tax increase is on par with the last five years, and in fact Mayor Paul Tenhaken's budget proposal for 2023 is below forecasted revenues for the year. With the costs of inflation, living costs for many are increasing, but some are feeling the squeeze more acutely. According to Derek Lobo of SVN Rock Advisors, these cost increases disproportionately impact renters.

Derek Lobo is the founder and CEO of SVN Rock Advisors Inc in Ontario Canada, and says that sometimes renters actually pay more property taxes than home-owners.

"It’s widely believed that only property owners pay property tax, but it’s actually not true, and in fact renters sometimes pay more property tax than those in single-family dwellings. They just pay it in their rent," Lobo said in an article for Real Estate News EXchange.

Lobo also points out that most renters do not think about property tax, because these taxes are “seemingly borne by the landlord." However, like Ontario, the city of Sioux Falls taxes homes that are
owner-occupied, and homes or multi-unit residencies that are renter-occupied, differently.

Renter occupied properties, be it single-family or multi-family such as apartment buildings, are taxed at higher rates because they are considered income properties for the owner. However, these costs get passed along to the renter in the form of rent, as do higher interest rates, increases in water, sewer, electric costs and more. In addition, renters share the same, or higher, tax burden for school districts, regardless of use.

According to a study recently published by Zillow, minorities often shoulder more of the cost burden, and are further behind on their rent than non-minorities, following the pandemic. According to a study recently published by the University of Chicago, the disparate inequality of housing costs for poor and minority households, are driving factors of homelessness, and access to housing.

According to the study's author,
Christopher Berry, housing inequality across the country is being driven by disproportionately higher property taxes in poorer neighborhoods. "Across the country, in city after city, homes in low-income neighborhoods are systematically over-assessed relative to their actual market prices, while those in rich areas are under-assessed. The net result is a transfer of billions of dollars of tax burdens from rich households to poor ones."

The total property value assessed in Sioux Falls,
according to the state's Department of Revenue is $16,800,000,000 billion dollars. The tax rate for Sioux Falls is currently set at 1.42% of assessed value, meaning the average home valued at $250,000 will pay about $3,550 dollars per year for owner-occupied properties, slightly over more than the national average.

Lloyd Companies, is a rental property company that owns approximately $212,113,800 dollars worth of assessed property value in Sioux Falls. Renters of Llyod property's, such as those living at Philip Ave Lofts, The Cascade and so on, pay an annual combined $3.02 million of the property tax burden to the city. Similarly, Ronning Rental Properties owns $45,521,500 million in assessed value, with their renters currently paying an estimated tax of $650,000 per year to the city.

The City Council will discuss the 2023 fiscal year's budget at the next meeting, September 13th.



*Editor's Note: We have retracted a former version of this article, and we apologize for the mistake made by our team. The current version accurately reflects the author's intended story and corrected math.

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--Mike Zitterich- Edited By Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-09-08 08:06:04Last Update: 2022-09-08 13:15:48


The U.S. and the Holocaust
A new documentary by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein

Premieres September 18 at 8/7c

The U.S. and the Holocaust is a three-part, six hour series that examines America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the twentieth century. Americans consider themselves a “nation of immigrants,” but as the catastrophe of the Holocaust unfolded in Europe, the United States proved unwilling to open its doors to more than a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of desperate people seeking refuge. Through riveting firsthand testimony of witnesses and survivors who as children endured persecution, violence and flight as their families tried to escape Hitler, this series delves deeply into the tragic human consequences of public indifference, bureaucratic red tape and restrictive quota laws in America. Did the nation fail to live up to its ideals? This is a history to be reckoned with.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-08 07:08:16Last Update: 2022-09-08 08:03:31


A.G Mark Vargo Announces Settlement Against Medicaid Fraud Case

Essilor International, Essilor of America Inc., Essilor Laboratories of America Inc., and Essilor Instruments USA (Essilor), headquartered in Dallas, Texas has settled a case of alleged Medicaid fraud. The company manufactures, markets, and distributes optical lenses and equipment used to produce optical lenses. Pursuant to the settlement, Essilor will pay the United States and 35 states a total of $22 million plus interest.

The settlement resolves allegations that between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2016, Essilor knowingly and willfully offered or paid kick-backs to eye care providers to bribe providers into exclusively ordering and purchasing Essilor products for their patients, including Medicaid beneficiaries. The government alleges that the Essilor’s conduct violated the Federal False Claims Statute and South Dakota statutes, and resulted in the submission of false claims to the South Dakota Medicaid program.

According to a statement from A.G Mark Vargo's office, however, "the settlement is neither an admission of liability by Essilor, nor a concession by South Dakota that its claims are not well founded."

The total settlement amount recovered by South Dakota is $56,009.03, of which $31,286.18 will be retained by the federal government for the federal Medicaid share. The remaining $24,722.85 will go to the state general fund to offset alleged Medicaid damages in this case.

This settlement came after two whistleblowers filed lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A team from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (“NAMFCU”) participated in the settlement negotiations on behalf of the states. The South Dakota Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the South Dakota Department of Social Services assisted in recovering the settlement money.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Health and Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-09-07 11:03:28Last Update: 2022-09-07 11:20:44


UPDATE - Noem Misconduct Allegations
Bi-partisan effort calls on A.G Mark Vargo to recuse himself

As previously reported by The Dakota Leader, the Government Accountability Board has turned over the case of Gov. Kristi Noem's "nepotism" allegations to interim A.G Mark Vargo.

As of August 23, 2022, three state lawmakers, from across the political spectrum, are now calling on Vargo to recuse himself from the investigation into Noem. State Representative Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls), is joined by Speaker of The House Rep. Spencer Gosch (R-Mobridge), and Rep. Scott Odenbach (R-Spearfish) in calling upon the interim Attorney General who was appointed by Gov. Noem this June, following the impeachment of Jason Ravnsborg.

Rep. Smith, who is running for the Governor's office this November, told Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory, “I am asking that we have a special prosecutor assigned this,” Smith said. “As honorable as the appointed Attorney General is, this puts him in a bad spot, there is going to be an impropriety because he was appointed by the current governor who is being investigated.”

Representatives Spencer Gosch and Scott Odenbach told Dakota News Now reporter Austin Goss,

“I think in order to show the people of South Dakota that we take ethical violations and complaints seriously, then it is only appropriate that the Governor appointed Attorney General in Vargo steps aside, to allow for a third party investigator to look into the ethics violations by Governor Noem,” Gosch said.

“It is only appropriate for him (Vargo) to immediately recuse himself and appoint a special counsel so that there is a continued faith and trust in the process, that you are held accountable no matter who you are,” Odenbach said in a statement.

Vargo contends that no decisions have been made yet.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-07 10:19:51Last Update: 2022-09-07 11:02:41


South Dakota’s “Gold Standard” of Elections On Trial
SPECIAL REPORT - Republics Defend The Minority, Yet in The Republican State of South Dakota, Multiple Non-partisan NGOs Fight For Election Reforms, Ahead of November.

September 07, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

The state of South Dakota has been embroiled in one of the longest-standing legal challenges to its election process. In 2002, the ACLU filed, "The Largest-Ever Voting Rights Lawsuit on Behalf of Native Americans in South Dakota." According to the ACLU, South Dakota state officials have ignored federal law meant to protect minorities from voting discrimination for nearly 50 years, as the Justice Department has approved more than 600 statutes and regulations that affect voting and elections in the state, without proper preclearance.

The ACLU has long since contended that South Dakota flouts elections laws. In August of this year, Federal Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange agreed, ordering the state, and specifically Lyman County to come up with a new redistricting plan that will provide for two County Commissioner seats by this November's 2022 election.

September 6, 2022, another lawsuit filed recently, was just settled yesterday. Filed by plaintiffs; Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Lakota People’s Law Project, and voters Kimberly Dillon and Hoksila White Mountain, was settled against Secretary of State Steve Barnett, Department of Social Services Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill, Department of Labor and Regulations Cabinet Secretary Marcia Hultman, and Department of Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Craig Price.



“This agreement requires South Dakota establish training and accountability mechanisms so voters, including Native voters, actually receive the legally required opportunities to register to vote,” said Oglala Sioux Tribe President Kevin Killer, regarding the case.

Secretary Of State Steve Barnett, however, is currently seeking employment in Minnesota, as the Benson City Manager. Barnett, who recently lost his party's nomination at the SDGOP Convention to Monae Johnson, now appears to be entertaining job opportunities out-of-state. Barnett will not leave his office until the new Secretary of State takes office after November's election. With a family to care for, some have expressed concerns that Barnett might be understandably, occupied with where he will land. Meanwhile, trainings and collaboration between agencies must occur before the next election to satisfy the state's agreement with the Rosebud and Ogala Tribes.

Conversely, state officials have claimed that South Dakota has "the gold standard" of elections. During the 2020 federal election, Donald Trump won the state of South Dakota by a significant margin, while still losing his bid for re-election. Following the election, however, another group of voters have been in hot-pursuit of election materials, in an effort to audit South Dakota's so-called "gold standard." Some media sources, outside of The Dakota Leader, have conflated SD Canvassing with Trump sycophants, still angry about the loss of the 2020 election. The logical fallacy of this stigma caught the attention of TDL, and we began to investigate
after republican counties started to hire top attorneys, and fight back against full disclosure.

Jessica Pollema of SD Canvassing tells The Dakota Leader, "South Dakota is one of only four states in the entire nation, that do not conduct a post-election audit process." Post-election audits are vital to transparency as the integrity of any election safeguards minority thoughts, ideas, and candidates seeking to reform the status quo.

According to ES&S (Election Systems and Software) the company contracted with the state of South Dakota to help provide secure elections, "Post-election audits are a legal process by which election officials verify that votes were counted accurately." The company goes on to state that, "ES&S voting systems support these audits by providing election details," specifically CVRs or Cast Vote Records, which the company says is used by election officials to ensure accuracy.

These samplings ensure that ballots match what the computer is registering as the voter's preferred selection. The ability to access these drives was a highlighted selling point, after the contested election of Al Gore vs George W. Bush in 2000, which resulted in a very long process of hand-counting ballots.

The group tells TDL, auditors across the state have been told these records do not exist, or have never received training on how to access them. Several have reported feeling frustrated that they are expected to certify the results of the election, when they themselves cannot verify each ballot actually matches what the computer software has registered as the vote.

Now it has come to light that this information came directly from the Secretary Of State's office, and Steve Barnett himself. An email dated August 24, 2022 from Kea Warne, who works for Steve Barnett, states "a CVR doesn't exist."

On Friday September 1, 2022, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus hosted a public meeting for County Auditors and the public to try and facilitate trainings, and get to the bottom of varied information.

During the meeting, Lyman County Auditor Deb Halverson confirmed that she had been notified by the Secretary Of State that the Cast Vote Record did not exist, and due to the determination by the Office of Hearing Examiners, third-party documents could not be shared.

"It has been our understanding that the ruling that came from the Office of Hearing Examiners, called the ES&S data proprietary information. Um Past that, I understand the Office Of hearing Examiners if not a court order, but it is close to it, and it is not my responsibility to violate any sort of ruling that has been made. Whether or not that is, that is not something that I can determine. But we have been told that, due to the Office of Hearing Examiners' determination, third party documents are not ours to share."

In a follow-up question related to being told auditors could not share third-party documents, Senator-Elect Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids) asked, "who has directed you to that conclusion?" Deb Halverson responded, "to the exact person who told us that information, we, the Secretary Of State has very clearly told us that a CVR does not exist in the counties that do not have an ERM."

As previously reported from last week; Lincoln, Minnehaha, and Pennington Counties are currently in litigation with SD Canvassing over public records requests made in order to obtain the CVR data. Those documents are legally allowed to be destroyed 22 months following the federal election. On August 31, 2022, Circuit Court Judge John Pekas ordered these three counties to preserve all election materials from the 2020 election, until the case for public records and access to records could be heard.

On the following day, September 1, 2022, Judge John Pekas then ordered all counties across the state to preserve their election materials. However, in an unprecedented move, Judge Pekas vacated his own order within 24 hours "ex-parte," meaning without the presence of both legal sides. The order was issued as legislators met at the Capitol with the public and county auditors Friday afternoon.

The Dakota Leader was able to verify that Judge Pekas vacated the "all counties" order, but according to the attorney for SD Canvassing, the order for Lincoln, Minnehaha and Pennington Counties is still in effect.

Lincoln County Auditor, Sheri Lund, told Kelo News in a recent interview that she has no intention of destroying the data being requested. The Dakota Leader reached out to Lund to ask if she or her legal counsel were present as the Judge vacated his order. Lund replied that due to current litigation she is unable to answer questions at this time. Lund also notified TDL that the meeting County Auditors are hosting on the 8th, will in fact be open to the public.

The public records requests were made in an attempt to help provide expert training for auditors and agencies alike, according to SD Canvassing. With the potential destruction of that material in 63 counties, and the turn-over of the current Secretary Of State, Pollema tells The Dakota Leader, "the amount of time before November's 2022 election is dwindling, I worry for the Native American vote, down ballot candidates, and the over-all level of public trust for the democratic process, if the state can't get training and collaboration organized ahead of time. As we witnessed in 2016, and in 2020, concerns exist all the way around. It's time to address these concerns for everybody and ensure that the will of the people is being done."

Help Support Local Investigative Journalism... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-07 09:25:32Last Update: 2022-09-07 12:54:56


Developers Plan For Solar Farm in Sioux Falls
The Sioux Falls Planning Commission Will Discuss Amendments to Plan for Solar Energy Next Wednesday

On September 7, 2022, the Planning Commission will meet at the Carnegie Town Hall to discuss a number of planning related issues of the City of Sioux Falls. One of the agenda items popping-up, is an Amendment to the Shape Place Zoning Ordinance (2013), adopting language to initiate, establish, regulate, and to plan for Solar Farm developments in the future.

Solar farms are usually built on retired farmlands or warehouse roofs, essentially anywhere that plentiful amounts of unused open space can house them. Solar farms are also known as "solar parks" or "solar power stations," as they create massive amounts of energy, just like any other power plant.

Utility-scale solar farms can produce up to 2,000 MW (Mega-Watts) per year, with community solar farms generally producing at, or under, 5 MW per year. To produce 1 MW, six to eight acres of land is required. Subscribers to Common Energy are accessing solar energy through community solar farms, a co-op that allows customers to use solar energy, without installing solar panels on their own roofs.

As part of the new Shape Places 2040 Comprehensive Plan, the City of Sioux Falls is hoping to incentivize, and give developers the ability to develop these new-age energy concepts. Their stated goal is to use energy from the sun in order to "sustain, and provide renewable energy to the residents of the city," while helping to shape the city's future growth.

According to the United Nations 2015 news article, "Financing Sustainable Energy for All," written by World Bank's Anita Marangoly George.

"For the global community, universal sustainable energy must be a top priority. We owe it to the 1.1 billion people still living without electricity and the 2.9 billion people still using polluting biomass fuels for cooking and heating. Energy is fundamental to ending poverty as it underpins economic growth and progress in all areas of development—from food security to clean water, education, jobs and health care."

As part of the City's Shape 2040 Comprehensive Plan, city staff are currently developing the following initiatives, and goals:



Through environmental stewardship practices, the City of Sioux Falls has plans that take a more proactive approach to environmental stewardship, including the Greenway Plan, the Parks and Recreation System Plan, and the Sioux Falls Master Plan for Storm-water Best Management Practices (this approach is to address both water quality and flood control). In the future, the City might also look at other master plans to further the environmental stewardship objective, including a Sustainability Master Plan.

Sustainability Programs utilize local governing policies in an attempt to convince residents to conserve resources, and alter consumer behavior through the use of taxpayer funded subsidies and incentives. These environmental policies for sustainability and biodiversity have been a mainstay-policy, first developed by the United Nations in the early 90's. Through newer global initiatives and goals such as Agenda 2021, and now the new goalposts set forth in Agenda 2030.

The United Nations has set about altering public policies at the local-level, in order to create a “world (by 2030) free of poverty, hunger, disease and want … free of fear and violence … with equitable and universal access to quality education, health care and social protection … to safe drinking water and sanitation … where food is sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious … where habits are safe, resilient and sustainable … and where there is universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.” According to the U.N Agenda 2030's Human Securities, "this results in development that is more inclusive and sustainable."

Developers and Planners in Sioux Falls are now drafting amendments to the current city zoning, with the intent to create new regulations regarding the development of solar farms. Regulations for solar farm facilities would be subjected to reasonable conditions which will protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, while also maintaining the aesthetic integrity of the community. These regulations would govern the placement, construction, and modification of solar farms, while helping to encourage the the use of alternative energy sources.

Solar Energy is considered any type of energy generated by the sun. Solar energy is created by a process known as "nuclear fusion," which takes place inside the sun. Fusion occurs when protons of hydrogen atoms violently collide in the sun's core, and then fuse to create a helium atom. According to the United Nations, "solar energy is the most abundant of all energy resources and can even be harnessed in cloudy weather. The rate at which solar energy is intercepted by the Earth is about
10,000 times greater-than, the rate at which humankind consumes energy."

Solar technologies convert sunlight into electrical energy, either through photovoltaic panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation, and can reportedly deliver; heat, cooling, natural lighting, electricity, and fuels for a veritable host of applications.

While the authors of the Shape Sioux Falls 2040 Comprehensive Plan have stated, "The environment should not only be considered as a constraint, and as something to mitigate, but also as an opportunity to enhance and to improve the quality of life of the citizens, of which, the focus of the plan titled Shape Community, addresses objectives within that goal of improving the sustainability of the community itself." However, per the Sciencing news article,
"Effects of Solar Power Farms on the Environment," in order to provide comparable amounts of electrical energy used today, solar farms would require large tracts of land.

Western states like California, have deserts with abundant space and sunshine, but these areas are also natural habitats that support wildlife. For example,
environmental reports underestimated the number of desert tortoises that would be displaced by the Ivanpah Solar Generating System in California’s Mojave Desert. The same solar farm also came under scrutiny when an increasing number of bird deaths were reported on its premises. Many of the bird's wings had been melted or burned off by heat from the solar farm’s mirrors.

Solar farms can also have devastating impacts upon entire ecosystems. The destruction of an individual species can send ripples throughout these ecosystems. Animals like burrowing owls in California’s Mojave Desert, rely on burrows dug by desert tortoises for shelter. As solar farms displace species within a habitat, they also remove the valuable ecosystem services that certain species provide to that habitat. Resulting in entire habitats becoming less livable for plants and wildlife who have adapted to specific conditions.

While the transition seems like a logical and profitable venture, especially as payments made by contractors are much greater than revenue which is received from farmland rentals. City planners must also consider that the transfer of land from agricultural use may result in additional tax liability, greater insurance requirements, personal injury/liability issues, potential future environmental mitigation, and even the inability to transfer lands into other uses such as the Farmland Preservation Programs.

In Craven County, North Carolina - "agricultural farm sales since 2007 (field crop and livestock production only) ranged from $40-$70 million annually, depending upon price of commodities and yield." According to an economic study by NCSU in 2008, "jobs and services supporting this industry added over $312 million to the local economy. However, the number of farmlands converted to other uses over the past 15 years have exceeded a twenty square mile area. This directly affects farmers and the local economy. Thus, any additional loss of farmland will adversely affect the agricultural economy." With food prices and the costs of inflation skyrocketing, some residents of Sioux Falls fear the risk of losing such vast tracts of farmland.

Other landowners are supportive of the plan to develop their lands into solar farms. As lands are transitioned from farmland to commercial property, it will also increase the amount of property-tax-dollars that counties can generate from the land use. Considering the total life expectancy of solar farms, which is anywhere from 15 to 20 years in length, the future income and tax revenues could ultimately add values to both the landowners, and the counties.

However, critics of the proposal warn that the issue is more complicated, and say abandonment of these solar farms, after they outlive their lifetimes, will only decrease land values, making reclamation difficult if not impossible. The issue of what to do with these large solar panels, after they have outlived their use, has become a very big sticking point, as the abandonment of solar farms is then subject to provisions of the Clean Water Act.
These panels tend to leak and leach toxic chemicals into the ground, surrounding environment, and are nearly impossible to recycle.

In particular, abandoned solar farms that have any type of wetland hydrology, would then be regulated by the EPA, the Corps of Engineers and the Coastal Area Management Act, leading to more involvement by the federal government. Chinese solar expert Tian Min, general manager of Nanjing Fangrun Materials, a recycling company in Jiangsu province that collects retired solar panels, has called his country’s solar power industry “a ticking time bomb.”

If Adopted by the residents of Sioux Falls, through the City Council, or by a petition drive, 'developers' will be able to apply for, and zone private lands with the intent to finance, provide for, and build out solar farms. Solar farms can provide renewable energy services to the many residents within a growing community, but how much energy, at what costs to the environment itself?

The Shape Sioux Falls 2040 Comprehensive Development Plan is seen, just as previous developmental plans, as citywide policies adopted by the people, to set aside specific plans, goals, and concepts for the upcoming decades. It will set a vision for how the people wish future generations to govern the city, and if adopted:

"The Shape Sioux Falls 2040 Comprehensive Development Plan marks a continuation of the progressive planning tradition in the Sioux Falls area."

The Planning Commission will meet next Wednesday September 7, 2022 at Carnegie Town Hall to discuss the plans further.

--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-09-02 08:53:30Last Update: 2022-09-02 18:06:28


The Alibi Bar-Lounge-Restaurant and Casino Plans-On New Building

September 2, 2022 by Mike Zitterich

Located North of E. Arrowhead Parkway, East of Six Mile Road @ 7400 E. Grove Trail (New Development).

On the Agenda for the September 7th Sioux Falls Planning Commission, is a petition request made by Johnson Properties to establish a new Bar, Casino, Restaurant, Lounge, on the east side of the city.

Part of a proposed new development, the project would be built on the old Arndt's Auto Wrecking Site. The plan is to build a new building on 1.98 acres of land. However, this must first be approved by the City Council, based upon the Sensitive Land Use zoning, due to the proposed site being within 500ft of residential housing.



Project Name: "Alibi Bar, Restaurant, & Casino Type of Application: Conditional Use Permit Owner: Johnson Properties – Justin Johnson Applicant: Reynolds Construction Management – Paul Reynolds Request: CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT to allow an on-sale alcoholic beverage establishment within 500’ of a sensitive land use. Purpose: Allow on-sale alcoholic beverages for video lottery terminals."

CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT STANDARD: 160.616 – Conditional Use Standards - On-sale alcoholic beverage establishments SENSITIVE LAND USES are land uses that need to be separated by a reasonable distance or incorporate buffer yards and landscaping to alleviate land use conflicts. Sensitive land uses are located not adjacent to, but within 500’ to the north of the proposed use. Uses will be buffer via drainage way.


The proposed bar and restaurant with video lottery terminals, supplemental to on-sale alcohol, meets the criteria and intent of the comprehensive plan. The site is located near a heavy commercial corridor with other commercial and industrial businesses. Specifically, along the south of Arrowhead Parkway but new development along the north will contain other C-4 zoned allowed uses. Required parking will be located on site. Buffer Yards are not required for the proposed use. A security management plan has been submitted and approved by the Police Department.

Presentation Link HERE

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--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-09-02 08:22:24Last Update: 2022-09-05 17:06:04


Circuit Judge Orders ALL Counties To Preserve Election Materials
It was previously ordered that Minnehaha, Lincoln and Pennington Counties could not destroy election materials in question. Today, Circuit Court Judge John Pekas ruled that ALL Counties will need to do the same.

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--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-01 19:17:12Last Update: 2022-09-05 20:28:26


SD Freedom Caucus Press-Release and Remote Meeting Link
Election Meeting in Pierre Friday September 2, 2022 at 1pm

Dear County Auditor

Thank you for expressing your interest to participate in the efforts of South Dakota citizens’, their representatives, and our Governor to preserve the integrity of our public elections, by ensuring transparency and oversight by the public in our elections, as they were intended.

The invitation we received from the County Auditors to provide the people’s representatives with information regarding the election speaks to the very heart of our request to Governor Noem and the Attorney General, namely that members of our citizenry have been denied public records of their election and how such election was conducted, on the basis of protecting private, special interests instead of the people’s, which as elected officials we swore to uphold.

Whether or not issues or incidents occurred in the previous elections is immaterial to our request to uphold the inherent right of the citizens of our great state of South Dakota to oversee their elections. As we originally stated the issue at hand, and our Governor has publicly agreed with, we are proud of the right of our people to oversee their government and elections, which is “embodied in our laws allowing for the inspection of nearly every step of our elections while still maintaining the secrecy of individual ballots,” and is seemingly being denied by those officials we have entrusted with this sacred duty.

We are pleased to see that Governor Noem supports our efforts, and her administration will be assisting us in the fight for free, fair and transparent elections in South Dakota, as they are “actively researching potential legislation for the upcoming legislative session.”

That is why we have included the Governor and Attorney General in our response to you here today. Governor Noem recognized that inherent right of our citizens to oversee their elections and provided you and your colleagues a clear direction when she stated that “all aspects of state and local government in South Dakota would do well to conduct our elections in a transparent fashion.” We too would encourage you to take heed of our Governor’s wise and prudent advice.

That is why we must decline your request to attend the county auditors’ invitation only event, out of the view and inaccessible to the general public, and after the stated deadline for our request for the preservation of our election records has passed, on behalf of our citizens.

However, we would invite the various County Auditors of our state to attend a public informational meeting at our State Capitol before September 3rd where we, as the people’s representatives, and with an open invitation to the Governor to help us address issues or concerns any of our elected county public officials may have in serving the public’s interest and right in overseeing their elections at that time. We would appreciate you considering joining us in-person or remotely via Microsoft Teams on Friday, September 2nd, at 1 pm at the State Capitol building in Pierre, South Dakota.

In addition, we would welcome the chance to hear from Governor Noem on her vision to strengthen our elections, and to restore the trust and transparency in the process as she’s alluded to. Like our Governor, we will work diligently to hold our elections to a higher standard than what previous administrations and their Secretaries of State have, and to restore the trust of the public in their elections.

We look forward to the timely response to our invitation and hope our County Auditors will join us in working for the people of South Dakota.


South Dakota Freedom Caucus


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--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-01 15:25:02Last Update: 2022-09-02 12:53:30


SD Republican Party Leaders Attempt To Terminate Voting Rights Ahead of Next Convention
Division is growing in the South Dakota Republican party

UPDATED* September 01, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

A recent audio recording has been sent to The Dakota Leader of an SDGOP (South Dakota Republican Party) meeting, which occurred on August 27, 2022. The Republican party's Central Committee is apparently upset about recent shake-ups that took place during the Convention, held earlier this summer.

Secretary of State, Steve Barnett was replaced as the republican nomination for the office, going into the November general election. In addition, Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, and Gov. Noem's choice for Attorney General, Marty Jackley, narrowly won their nominations. This has many within the current establishment republican party, frustrated and looking for ways around the party's by-laws.

Currently, the South Dakota republican party hosts a convention, once every two years, in which the by-laws read

"2. Delegates

A. County Delegation: The delegates to the state convention shall consist of the following from each county:
  1. The county chairman, county vice chairman, county secretary, county treasurer, state committeeman and state committeewoman;
  2. Not to exceed three at-large delegates elected in the primary election preceding the convention, who need not be members of their County Central Committee but must be registered Republican voters in their county; and
  3. Each precinct committeeman and precinct committeewoman.
Of these by-laws, #3 is what is being proposed for termination, "each precinct committeeman or precinct committeewoman." Precinct Committee People, also known as delegates, nominate candidates. Nominations determine who will run in the general election for the state-wide constitutional offices. The Central Committee is made-up of each county's executive leadership, along with the state party leaders, such as chair Dan Lederman.

Ahead of the last convention, the republican party saw a large increase of grassroots involvement, where many new Committeemen and women were elected as delegates to the convention. The new PCPs, fed-up with the current status quo, attempted to nominate new candidates for the November general election. The status quo on the other hand, feels frustrated that these efforts may hurt the party going into the general election.

Criticism has been heard far and wide, regarding "candidate quality," with many stating the grass-root selections are too "far-right." Grassroots efforts have been growing all over the country. In South Dakota, these efforts are not as wide-spread as in other states. However, those who feel the current party is too moderate, or too "left-leaning," are beginning to organize in ways that are upsetting to the current power structure.

As more kitchen table voters take a hands-on role in civics, and most importantly the dominate republican party, those currently in power are looking to change the rules and stem, or outright prevent, losing control.
On August 27, 2022, certain leaders within the SDGOP Central Committee proposed terminating the voting rights of duly elected Committee People, at all future conventions.

Editor's Note- We apologize that a former version misstated the organizational structure of the party. A huge thank you to our audience for quickly notifying us of corrections, and helping our writers to understand important details. If you spot a correction that needs to be made, please contact us at Editor@dakotaleader.com. Thank you

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-01 08:36:14Last Update: 2022-09-01 21:13:25


Lack of Competition and Increasing Food Prices Impact Rural South Dakota
Health Outcomes Suffer As A Result of Rising Food Costs, Especially in Small Towns Across South Dakota

In many smaller towns across South Dakota, residents have one grocery store to shop at. Due to internal politics and pressure on various City Councils to prevent competition in the marketplace, those unable to travel long distances to grocery shop are suffering both financially and health wise.

According to a recent University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute study, Lake County South Dakota ranks as the healthiest county in South Dakota. However, Lake County also has a 29% obesity rate compared to the least healthiest counties nation-wide at a 30% obesity rate. South Dakota in general has a 33% obesity rate, higher than the national average.

One reason for this, according to the study, is access to affordable and quality food. While Lake County is a popular summer destination for its many lakes, and has 60% access to physical activities, some of the smaller towns within Lake County have only one grocery store.

A study conducted by Oxford University, finds that price level for food products falls with city size.

"This article uses detailed barcode data on purchase transactions by households in 49 U.S. cities to calculate the first theoretically founded urban price index. In doing so, we overcome a large number of problems that have plagued spatial price index measurement. We identify two important sources of bias. Heterogeneity bias arises from comparing different goods in different locations, and variety bias arises from not correcting for the fact that some goods are unavailable in some locations. Eliminating heterogeneity bias causes 97% of the variance in the price level of food products across cities to disappear relative to a conventional index. Eliminating both biases reverses the common finding that prices tend to be higher in larger cities. Instead, we find that price level for food products falls with city size."

The Dakota Leader conducted a sample basket of the same items from The Madison, SD Sunshine Foods (the only grocery store in Lake County's city of Madison) against Wal-Mart in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (the nearest large city). The price variation for 21 items was 84.31 to a respective 77.88. While a $6.43 difference might not seem like a big deal for two meals, milk and some breakfast items, the largest cost disparity came in the form of fresh produce. For example, at the Madison Sunshine each apple is priced at .75 cents, as opposed to the Wal-Mart where apples are 2.50 per pound, or approximately .62 each. Similarly, we found that fresh dairy items like yogurt, milk and creamer were nearly double the cost at the small town grocery store.

Various factors are impacting food costs today, from fuel prices to supply chain interruptions. However, one of the largest impacts according to researchers, is competition. When a town only has one grocery store, items tend to be more expensive, limiting the ability of many to purchase fresh produce and opt for healthier items. Instead, people tend to buy more cost-effective, shelf-stable items and forgo the fresh produce, if its even available.

According to
data recently released by the Federal Reserve, “supply chains remain disrupted, in some cases to an even greater degree than earlier in the pandemic.”

Forbes recently reported that, "the Covid shutdown wiped out the advantages of just-in-time inventory management, so some companies are opting for “just-in-case” inventory, ordering further ahead than usual," according to a report on DigitalCommerce360.com, an ecommerce media platform.



This is causing fresh food items like produce, to become more expensive for consumers in general. However, in smaller towns where prices can differ drastically, it's becoming a health and equity issue according to Policy Matters. "Recent research has found that in the United States, limited access to healthy food is associated with a lower consumption of fruits and vegetables, and a higher probability of obesity and other dietary related health problems. Areas with limited food access and low average incomes are often referred to as food deserts."

The USDA defines a food desert by low-income and low access. The federal government is now creating grants to assist with grocery store start-ups, and even mobile food trucks.

As Medicaid Expansion comes to the November ballot, lawmakers are requesting more information on the costs of healthcare in South Dakota, and what is driving various metrics of health outcomes. Under
Universal Healthcare, the government could limit the amount of sugar obese, and diabetic people intake per month, or implement food bans in general. Policies such as this, could go a long ways towards helping to increase overall health outcomes, according to the CDC "Healthy People 2030" framework. However, the issue of equitable access to healthy foods, would still remain an issue to be solved.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-08-31 13:04:15Last Update: 2022-08-31 11:48:41


Judge Orders Counties to Preserve Election Data
A Victory For South Dakota Residents and Lawmakers

Wednesday August 31, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

Circuit Court Judge John Pekas, ordered today that County Auditors must preserve the Vote Cast Records, and Ballot Drives from the 2020 federal election. The materials in question, were set to be destroyed this Friday September 02, 2022, 22 months after the last federal election. The order comes after residents across the state filed public records records, that have been denied in every county.

Recently, County Auditors have announced they would be hosting a private informational meeting with lawmakers who might misunderstand their role as auditors. In response, The South Dakota Freedom Caucus announced they would host their own informational meeting at the Capitol for the public and auditors alike. Chairman of the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, Representative Aaron Aylward (R-Harrisburg) stated their support for election integrity has nothing to do with former President Trump, or concerns for the 2020 election.



Aylward says his caucus's main focus is keeping public records, public.

“Whether or not issues or incidents occurred in the previous elections is immaterial to our request to uphold the inherent right of the citizens of our great state of South Dakota to oversee their elections,” a statement from the Freedom Caucus reads.

This is part of an on-going story, covered by The Dakota Leader. Please see yesterday's article regarding Gov. Noem's response to a letter sent by South Dakota state Lawmakers.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor and Health Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-08-31 11:48:41Last Update: 2022-08-31 13:36:14


Gov. Noem Responds to Letter from SD Lawmakers

Governor Noem responded to a request from approximately one-third of South Dakota's state lawmakers Monday, August 29, 2022. As previously reported by The Dakota Leader, a bicameral call-to-action was drafted by the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, requesting that Gov. Noem, and acting Attorney General Mark Vargo intervene on behalf of South Dakota citizens, whose records' requests have been denied.

Ahead of the 2020 election, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) owned by Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg, donated $400 million dollars to Secretaries of State for ballot drop-boxes. The ballot drop-boxes were used in many states for the first-time, due to cited concerns over the possible transmission of COVID-19 during in-person voting. In exchange for allowing the drop boxes, counties were required to keep and maintain video surveillance of the drop-box sites for the twenty-two months following federal elections.

Last session, the South Dakota legislature made it illegal for the Secretary of State to take third party money, dubbed "Zuck Bucks," for election assistance. While many in the state legislature say it's a step in the right direction, many believe it doesn't go far enough to stop the use of drop-box sites.

Republicans, and some democrats contend that the ballot drop-boxes, and cash infusion by a third party, created an environment for ballot harvesting, and fraud. A concern further promulgated after the release of the documentary "2000 Mules," which allegedly shows illegal activity at drop-box sites. The documentary filmmakers obtained the video surveillance of drop-box sites from County Auditors who followed the law. However, whether or not these drop-boxes were actually recorded by South Dakota counties is one of the motivating factors for public records requests.



Citizens of the state of South Dakota have been working toward transparency for over a year, in an attempt to uncover these videos, and create a post-election audit. According to federal law, September 2, 2022 marks the twenty-two month sunset date, where materials like the video surveillance of these drop-box sites, and the vote tabulation information can be destroyed.

Citizens and lawmakers alike, have expressed concerns that the counties might not have recorded the drop-box sites as required, after public records requests were all denied. After the first round of public records requests, County Auditors took additional measures like hiring outside legal counsel to prevent disclosure.

Gov. Noem in her response to The Freedom Caucus letter, has stated that her team is actively researching potential legislation for the upcoming legislative session, to "further guarantee free and fair election in South Dakota."

Chair of the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, Representative Aaron Aylward (R-Harrisburg) tells The Dakota Leader,

“I’m thankful for the letter that the Governor sent, yesterday, as it shows that this is an issue important to her. Myself, and many others, look forward to working with her on election law. However, the goal of the 24 legislators who signed the letter to the Governor and the AG, was to put pressure on the counties to release the publicly held information before it gets destroyed. I pray that more auditors decide to do the right thing before the end of the week!”

For those who have worked hard towards transparency, like Jessica Pollema of SD Canvassing, the response from Gov. Noem was a disappointment. Pollema tells TDL, "While Gov. Noem’s comments sound nice, she did not address the contents of the letter such as the preservation of records, ongoing investigations, and the release of the public records. Future legislation does not address the immediate need for intervention on these issues."

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor and Health Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-08-30 10:19:50Last Update: 2022-08-30 14:04:15


Leaders of Industry Op-Ed- “Inflation Reduction Act Will Hinder EV Growth”
Dependance on lithium mining in America to qualify for subsidies, will further negatively impact the lithium supply chain for batteries and stagnate the mandated transition to EV’s.

After his mandate to transition to EV’s, President Joe Biden then signed The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that requires EVs to contain a battery pack and other parts built in North America with minerals mined or recycled in America. With the chance of strip mining for lithium in America being slim to nil, no EV’s will qualify for the tax credits in the IRA.

Biden’s goal of 50 percent EV sales by 2030 will test lithium supply chains and the economic strength of the American society to meet those projections without any subsidies to procure those vehicles.

While the race is on to produce more lithium in the United States as the supply chain for the major component of EV batteries, lithium, is already being compromised internationally. The following international dark clouds on the lithium supply chain may be a prelude to an American rejection of strip mining in the most environmentally regulated and controlled communities in the world: Due to potential fires, the FAA prohibites in checked baggage, spare (uninstalled) lithium metal batteries and lithium-ion batteries, electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. They must be carried with the passenger in carry-on baggage. Smoke and fire incidents involving lithium batteries can be mitigated by the cabin crew and passengers inside the aircraft cabin.



Since you’ve probably read about EV fires, here’s a site that keeps tabs just on the TESLA EV fires https://www.tesla-fire.com/, Tesla Fires as of 8/19/2022 were 97 confirmed cases and Fatalities Involving a Tesla Car Fire Count were 38. Shockingly, while the Feds are banning lithium batteries in checked luggage on planes due to potential fires, Biden is pushing them for vehicles.

The actions of the Biden government and the
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) divesting in fossil fuels movement are currently supportive of jumping onto the EV train, but Biden and the ESG’ers may be oblivious that EV’s have a very dark side of environmental atrocities, and the non-existing transparency of human rights abuses occurring in other countries, both of which are directly connected to the mining for the exotic minerals and metals that are required to manufacture wind turbines, solar panels, and EV batteries.

The Pulitzer Prize nominated book 
“Clean Energy Exploitations - Helping Citizens Understand the Environmental and Humanity Abuses That Support Clean Energy," does an excellent job of discussing the lack of transparency to the environmental degradation and humanity atrocities occurring in developing countries mining for those exotic minerals and metals to support the “green” movement. The subsidies to purchase EV’s are financial incentives to encourage further exploitations of yellow, brown, and black skin residents in developing countries. Are those subsidies ethical?

Amid tougher emissions regulations worldwide, established automakers are racing to add more EVs to their lineup. A Reuters analysis found that global automakers such as Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Fiat, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Daimler, and Chrysler plan to spend a combined U.S. $300 billion on EVs over the next decade as car companies are betting big on EV’s. Most of the EV’s will be manufactured in foreign countries far removed from American ports.

China came from zero production in 1950, to 2019 where it now produces more cars than the USA, Japan, and India collectively. The 6-minute video of the automobile manufacturing “needle” shows how the foreign manufacturing dominance occurred over the that 69-year period.

Automobiles Manufactured Per Year

Bringing those foreign built cars to America may be an insurmountable insurance problem.
The Felicity Ace, a 650-foot-long cargo ship carrying hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of luxury cars sunk in March 2022. The salvage crew working on the burning ship said electric-vehicle batteries were part of the reason it was still aflame after several days. The estimated market value of the Felicity Ace was $24.5 million, while the total value of the 3965 vehicles could be over $500 million.

With potential fires from EV batteries in vehicles, who’s going to take the insurance responsibility for their safe passage from the foreign manufacturers to American ports, the cargo ships, or the manufacturers?

How dirty is lithium strip mining? Since the mineral contains dangerous substances, the mining process also contaminates the local water basins. Lithium extraction exposes the local ecosystems to poisoning and other related health problems. How many Americans want strip mining for lithium in their backyard to view the
environmental degradation from leach fields which are part of the extraction efforts?

The number of electric cars on the world’s roads at the 
end of 2021 was about 16.5 million, or just slightly more than one percent of the 1.4 billion vehicles in the world. With lithium production being setback internationally, EV growth will be hindered as locals’ revolt over lithium mining impacts on water supplies and environmental degradation in their communities.

Independent Publications Like The Dakota Leader Depend on Community Support. Please Donate Today!

--By Ronald Stein Pulitzer Prize nominated author, and Policy advisor for The Heartland Institute on Energy

Post Date: 2022-08-29 08:55:41Last Update: 2022-08-27 10:41:14


Can Cities in South Dakota Adopt “Ranked Choice Voting”?
What is Ranked Choice Voting? Is it fair? Is it legal in S.D?

Ranked Choice Voting is a new idea being explored in several states currently. Ranked Choice is a form of voting that gives voters more direct democracy. Now, Ranked Choice Voting is being circulated through South Dakota, by those who favor the idea.

Former Attorney General Jason Ravsnborg, published written legal opinion 2022-01, in response to a special request by Janet Brekke, the former Chair of the Sioux Falls City Council. Brekke, on behalf of citizen lobbyist Jeanell Lust, asked the A.G to determine whether or not Ranked Choice Voting is legal for the City of Sioux Falls to implement, as a "home rule charter."

The purpose of Ranked Choice Voting, according to those who support such a method, is to "cancel out, and protect the voters from block voting." It allows voters to vote for their first, second, third and so on, choice of candidate regardless of party affiliation, or district.

Similar to current voting, if a candidate in the general election wins more than 50% of first-choice votes, they win the race outright. However, if no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, Ranked Choice eliminates the candidate with the least amount of first-place votes and then redistributes votes to the candidates with the most first and second place votes. Then the scores would be recalculated, over and over again, until one of the candidates finally won a majority as the second, third, or even fourth choice of voters.

In the end, a voter’s ballot might wind up being cast for the candidate he ranked far below his first choice. A candidate, for example, that the voter might have strong political objections to, and for whom they would not have voted for in a traditional voting system.

For example, during the 1992 Presidential election between Bill Clinton (D), George Bush Sr.(R), and third party Independent candidate Ross Perot, voters would have been asked to vote for all three candidates ranked by first, second and third choice. Being that Ross Perot only brought in 18.9% of the vote, he would have been eliminated under a Ranked Choice system, with his 19.7 million votes redistributed between his supporter's second choice candidate. If, for example, 10 million people had Bill Clinton as their second choice, and the other 9.7 million had George Bush Sr. as their second choice, those votes would have been redistributed towards the overall totals for Clinton and Bush.

Those in favor of ranked choice, argue that downed ballot candidates dilute the voting power of one partisan candidate over the other. In a ranked choice setting, candidates would instead benefit from voters who backed a third party candidate, getting those votes if the third party didn't get the majority vote. However, others argue that this is another tactic by reformists, to rig the system and disenfranchise voters.



In 2016, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill to expand ranked choice voting in his state, saying it was “overly complicated, confusing” and “deprives voters of genuinely informed choice.” Brown added that such a system would present many opportunities to rig the electoral system.

In 2018, the first-ever general election for federal office in our nation’s history was decided by Ranked Choice Voting in the Second Congressional District of Maine. Jared Golden (D) was declared the eventual winner, even though incumbent Bruce Poliquin (R) received more votes in the first round. There were two additional candidates in the race, Tiffany Bond and William Hoar. However, the Maine Secretary of State, Matt Dunlop, “exhausted” or threw out a total of 14,076 ballots of voters who had not ranked all of the candidates. see Baber v. Dunlap

A study published in 2015, reviewed 600,000 votes cast using ranked choice voting in four local elections in Washington State and California. The study found that “the winner in all four elections receive[d] less than a majority of the total votes cast.” This is due to a phenomenon known as "ballot exhaustion," where voters only list their top two or three candidates, particularly when there are candidates on the ballot for whom they would never even consider voting. Thus, if a voter only ranks two of the five candidates and those two are eliminated in the first and second rounds of tabulation, their choices will not be considered in the remaining rounds of tabulation. This ballot exhaustion leads to candidates being elected who were not the first choice of a majority of voters, but only a majority of “all valid votes in the final round of tallying.” Thus, “it is possible that the winning candidate will fall short of an actual majority,” eliminating the influence of many voters over the final outcome.

As of July 2022, 55 cities, counties, and states are projected to use RCV for all voters in their next election. These jurisdictions are home to over 11 million voters, and include 2 states, 1 county, and 52 cities. In addition, military and overseas voters from six states are set to cast RCV ballots in the next federal election runoff.

In Alaska, voters approved a measure titled "Alaska Better Elections Implementation," as a statewide method of conducting public elections. As of August 23, 2022, the process of electing a replacement for Congressman Don Young's term (Alaska's lone U.S House Seat) will not be concluded until election officials finalize the transitioning vote counts from the other candidates to the remaining candidates, until 50% plus-one can be determined.

As it takes extra time to go down each ballot and reapply votes,
it's possible Alaskan voters will not know who won the special House election for awhile. On election night, and for the 15 days after, the state will only report first-choice results. If none of the three candidates, running to serve the remainder of Young's term have exceeded the 50% threshold, the state will apply the ranked choices, eliminating the last-place candidate and redistributing their ballots. State officials have said they will report the results on, or about Aug. 31, nearly two weeks after the election date.

The topic of Ranked Choice Voting has been brought up in South Dakota on numerous occasions. Most recently, Jeanell Lust of Sioux Falls brought the issue before the City Council's Charter Revision Commission on December 8, 2021, asking that it be placed on the agenda.

As part of her proponent testimony, Lust highlighted the fact that the city is a "home rule charter" form of government, which allows the executive, and legislative branch to adopt any such legislation it deems necessary, in order to self govern. In Lust's expressed opinion, the law allows the city to adopt Ranked Choice, because by law the people have the right to 'express' themselves, and establish any such electoral method, that voters approve.

Lust went on to highlight the 2010 City Election, where Mike Huether and Kermit Staggers did not get more than 26% of the vote, while four other candidates shared in the remaining balance, providing evidence that none of the candidates had a clear majority. She also pointed out that run-off elections can cost city residents up to $80,000 dollars per occurrence. Commissioner Carl Zylstra inquired about previous research done on this topic and whether or not state law already addressed ranked choice voting in the past. Soon after, Commissioners quickly voted to not move forward with the proposal, electing instead to ask the Attorney General for a legal opinion.

On May 04, 2022, that legal opinion was issued.

"In your response to your inquiry, I find that both ranked choice voting and approval voting present electoral systems that lead to the candidate with the highest number of votes – as cast according to the voting requirements of each system – declared the winner of the election. This is in accord with the provisions of SDCL 9-13-25. Further, I have determined that approval voting, as described in this opinion, does not conflict with state law concerning municipal elections found in SDCL 9-13-25 through 9-13-27.1. A home-rule-chartered municipality may adopt approval voting for its municipal elections. However, it is my opinion that ranked choice voting conflicts with the statutory requirements concerning runoff elections found in SDCL 9-13-26.1 and 9-13-27.1. I conclude that home-rule-chartered municipalities may not adopt ranked choice voting in that it conflicts with state law." - Legal Opinion #22-01

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--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-08-29 08:40:13Last Update: 2022-08-28 22:07:40


Will Abortion Access Turn The Republican Tide?
South Dakota’s Democratic Party Could See Landslide Victories in The Following Elections

South Dakota Democrats appear to be using a multi-pronged strategic approach for winning the November general election. Gubernatorial candidate, Jamie Smith is running on Medicaid Expansion, and access to abortion services. Medicaid expansion will be on this November's ballot via initiative petition, and it appears access to abortion will soon follow.

On August 24, 2022, James Leach Attorney for Dakotans For Health, filed an Initiative Petition with the Secretary of State, on behalf of the group, this time for access to abortion in the state. Dakotans for Health is the same group running the Medicaid Expansion measure, and run by former Democratic U.S Senate candidate Rick Weiland. Weiland is a major player in the South Dakota Democratic Party, and has worked for years to flip South Dakota from red to blue. Going into this next election, Weiland might just see his work coming to fruition.

In 2006 the Republican-led legislature passed an abortion ban, signed by then Gov. Mike Rounds. The issue was challenged by referendum, a process that refers the issue to voters. The voters overturned the legislature's abortion ban by 56-44, by 2008 the voters overturned another attempt at banning abortion by 55-45. A margin that might not seem that impressive, however, it shows that the political dynamics in the state are changing.

During the last primary, the legislature proposed Amendment C, a measure that would have required 60% of voters who show up at the polls to agree to tax increases. This time, the voters shot it down by a wide margin of 67 percent, sending shock waves through the establishment party.

Republicans, perhaps feeling overly confident, were outspent and
out advertised by money from out-of-state groups, like the National Teachers Association. Advertising was strategic, well crafted, and geared towards non-affiliated voters, airing on social media and multiple streaming platforms to a younger audience.

Republicans, who were previously picking up mid-left, and centrist-voters due to vaccine mandates, have now lost that momentum after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade to the states. A fear over rights to bodily autonomy, appears to be driving political strategy today as non-affiliated voters and democratic voters combined, outnumber republicans in the state of South Dakota.

In a statement to Kelo News, Weiland divulges the impact of that combined voting block.

“I think that the voters have demonstrated time and time again, most recently with their rejection of the legislature’s effort to put a minority rule amendment on the primary ballot,” Weiland said. “And Amendment C was rejected by 67%. I think that says a lot about the people of South Dakota and how much they have come to appreciate the opportunity to exercise a more direct approach to public policy.”



It's also clear that the Democratic party is closely eying results from Kansas, a red state that recently defeated an abortion ban at the ballot, by a landslide. “I am optimistic that the voters are going to weigh in, and that they will turn out like they did in Kansas,” Weiland said. “But with a Supreme Court’s decision, you know, the people of South Dakota are gonna have a chance to weigh in, and I think that’s the way it should be.”

The abortion ban wasn't just defeated in Kansas however, it also turned out a record high percent of Democratic voters during a primary election.

In Kansas’ 2018 primary, 473,000 people voted for governor, which equates to a 26% turnout. During the Kansas primary, on the other hand, turnout swelled to 750,000 for governor, which equates to a 39% turnout. From a partisan turnout perspective, Democratic turnout increased 81% relative to the 2018 primary, while Republican turnout only increased by 48%.

Pundits and political analysts are calling this a "blue wave." CNN reported about the defeat, “a thunderclap victory on abortion rights in Kansas gives Democrats a potent midterm issue.”

According to Ring of Fire a show on The Young Turks, the Kansas primary results are a clear indication that an overwhelming majority of republican, and non-affiliated voters, disagree with banning abortion.

While some within the republican party argue that "it was just a blip," democrats don't seem to agree. Amidst a fractured SD republican base, should the abortion issue turn out typically dormant non-affiliated and centrist voters, for the democratic party, democrats could flip the red state of South Dakota blue, over the next two years.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor and Health Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-08-29 08:16:42Last Update: 2022-08-28 22:19:50


Federal Judge Finds State Violated Voting Rights of Native Americans
Election Integrity Continues to be an Issue in South Dakota

A Federal Judge ruled on May 26, 2022 that the State of South Dakota has violated the voting rights of ingenious tribes. Judge Lawrence Piersol has now given the South Dakota State legislature forty-five days to fix the issue, and put a remedy plan in place ahead of the 2022 General Election, if not, Piersol has said that he will do it himself.

In 2020 the Rosebud and Ogala tribes brought forward a lawsuit against Secretary of State Steve Barnett. The tribes argue that the Secretary of State has not adequately addressed The National Voter Registration Act, which requires state agencies to help voters register to vote whenever they interact with government agencies for other services such as the DMV, or public assistance.

The National Voter Registration Act requires states to provide training to state agencies in order to assist residents with voter registration and alterations at time of address change. Whether an individual is obtaining a new drivers license, updating their address or applying for public assistance in a new area, the act states that agencies shall update voter registration once notified of residency changes.

However, Judge Piersol argued that the Secretary of State’s Office had not provided adequate information to county auditors and the other state agencies, to properly comply with federal law.

Piersol also ruled that DSS (the Department of Social Services) was not complying with the Act, after learning the agency was not changing voter registration when people notified the department via phone call that they had moved. In fact, Piersol found that multiple state agencies like the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Social Services were failing to properly transmit accurate voter registration to the county auditors, stating the failings were due to improper training from Steve Barnett.

“The court finds the secretary of state, as the chief elections officer responsible for implementation of NVRA, contributed to these failings through inadequate training and oversight, and therefore grants summary judgment to plaintiffs on this issue,” Piersol wrote.

Election integrity issues are not new in South Dakota however. In 2001 the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of four Native American voters, "after the state legislature drew a new legislative district map that packed Native Americans into a single district."



As a result of that redistricting plan, District 27 was created, which encompasses the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian reservations. The ACLU contends that the legislature, by packing the district, created a "supermajority" of 90% Native American voters in one district, which they say diluted the voting power of indigenous peoples. In addition, the ACLU argued that packing the two reservations into one district disenfranchises Indian voters under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits abridging the right to vote on account of race or ethnicity.

According to Bryan Sells, lead attorney for the ACLU "if the state had drawn districts more fairly, Native Americans would have been a majority in two districts instead of a 90 percent supermajority in only one," Sells said. "The people on those reservations deserve to have at least one more person fighting for them in the legislature."

U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier sided with the ACLU, and wrote in her ruling that the "current legislative plan impermissibly dilutes the Indian vote" and "denies Indians in Districts 26 and 27 an equal opportunity to access the political process."

Ironically, these are some of the exact same arguments being made by Monae Johnson who recently bumped off Steve Barnett during the SDGOP Convention, winning the nomination 61% to 39%. Johnson, whose children are Native American, has been ridiculed by some within her party for her stance on voter equality and election integrity. However, having served eight years under former Secretaries of State, Johnson seems to be ahead of the curve in her understanding of the issues and the ability to take corrective action. After the convention, The Dakota Leader caught up with Johnson and her new campaign team. With a new campaign manager and a complete rebrand, Johnson has expanded her advisory team with experts who say they're actively engaged with understanding and finding solutions to the issues facing South Dakota's election process. It appears that Johnson, and her team, are highly focused on the trans-partisan challenges facing the Secretary of State's Office, and wants to be an effective change agent.

By all accounts, it would seem that simple fixes like; training agencies, auditors and hosting post election audits would remedy many of the concerns expressed by individuals across the political spectrum. However, getting there seems to be a continuous and uphill battle.

A group called SD Canvassing
recently released a media kit, showing voter roll anomalies, and the extent of outdated voter rolls within the state of South Dakota. The group has requested public records from county auditors, which have all been denied.

In response to voter suppression and election irregularities, The South Dakota Freedom Caucus
just released a statement, after nearly a third of the state's legislature signed onto a letter. Lawmakers are now calling upon Gov. Noem and acting Attorney General Mark Vargo to address these time-sensitive issues, ahead of this November's general election.

The issue of who is able to vote, according to the South Dakota state constitution, will ultimately be determined by how the state defines
"domicile" and residency requirements. Indigenous peoples, having been granted nation-states, are considered citizens of that sovereign nation. However, the Native American Voting Act of 1924 establishes that Indigenous peoples are American citizens first, and therefore have the right to vote in federal elections. Like any American who chooses to move to another state, the ability to vote in state elections, is determined by their primary residential address. The creation of state districts and representation, is based upon federal census data, making the process confusing for many. To further compound the issue, South Dakota's local elections are overseen by each county, or school district (for school board seats).

For similar reasons, the issue of knowing how to file voter registration can be difficult, as a streamlined process has not yet been created throughout agencies. According to Judge Piersol, it is imperative that agencies and auditors alike are given the proper training and tools to ensure equal access at the ballot for all South Dakota residents. Going forward, the next Secretary of State will require working knowledge of this process, the challenges, and a solid plan for how to address them.

By visiting the
SD Secretary of State's website, residents of South Dakota can check the status of their voter registration, and ensure that information is accurate ahead of the next election.

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--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-08-26 08:33:15Last Update: 2022-08-26 11:55:41


“Castration” Trending Today as FDA Reveals Puberty Blockers Not Approved
LGBTQ Activists Say Puberty Blockers are a Form of #Castration and Conversion Therapy, in an Attempt to "Trans Away The Gay"

The trending topic of castration is flooding social media today, amidst concerns for off-label puberty blockers prescribed to children. Upon the announcement of the Tavistock Institute closing in the U.K., former clinicians are speaking out about their experience, and it's coloring the debate of puberty blockers in adolescence, with a new perspective.

Five former clinicians at Tavistock speak out for the first time in a Times article published on August 8, 2022.

"So many potentially gay children were being sent down the pathway to change gender, two of the clinicians said there was a dark joke among staff that 'there would be no gay people left'."

“It feels like conversion therapy for gay children,” one male clinician said. “I frequently had cases where people started identifying as trans after months of horrendous bullying for being gay,” he told The Times.

“Young lesbians considered at the bottom of the heap suddenly found they were really popular when they said they were trans.”

Another female clinician said: “We heard a lot of homophobia which we felt nobody was challenging. A lot of the girls would come in and say, ‘I’m not a lesbian. I fell in love with my best girl friend but then I went online and realized I’m not a lesbian, I’m a boy. Phew.’”

Clinicians also disclosed that referrals for puberty blockers were occurring after three hour sessions, without proper disclosure or informed consent. Studies show that the vast majority of youngsters who begin puberty blockers go on to have irreversible hormone treatment as early as age 16.

The five clinicians speaking out, have since left the institute, ahead of its closure. All five have expressed concerns about informed consent regarding fertility impairment, citing that it was considered "taboo" to discuss the impact of medical intervention on later sexual function in such a young cohort.

People have taken to twitter and other social media platforms, expressing outrage at the homophobia and "chemical castration" of gay and lesbian children.

Chemical castration to avoid having a gay kid. "Trans away the gay" is conversion therapy. https://t.co/TakwGTFf1p

— Tom (@TomSaysGoDawgs) August 24, 2022

The LGBTQ community appears divided on the issue, with some arguing that "pink boys" should be accepted without rushing towards reassignment surgery. "Some pink boys may benefit simply from meeting a swishy gay man—or better yet, two or three such men who can show them you can grow from being a pink boy to a pink man and have (dare I say it?) a fabulous life," reads an excerpt from an article written by Alice Dregar, a trans activist and professor of medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.



Dregar had received an email from the mother of a "pink-boy" after she had published the Hastings Center Report called "Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood: Inconclusive Advice to Parents.

Dregar writes,

"It's worth keeping in mind that in North America, some of the advocates of the "therapeutic" approach to childhood gender dysphoria have had a very negative view of sexual minorities, and so they've sought to "cure" children who might otherwise turn out gay, lesbian, bi, or transgender. That's changed to some extent, and thank goodness. But now I really think we are seeing a problem coming in on the other end, namely that strong advocates of the accommodation approach are, I worry, too quick to conclude that a gender non-conforming child is destined to be transgender. The move toward transitioning children early may look progressive, but if you step back, you have to wonder why the Samoan approach (a cultural reference to boys wearing dresses) isn't the most progressive.

"I actually had a (truly) progressive pediatric endocrinologist at one of my talks express just this concern to me a few months ago—the concern that kids are being sent the route of sex-change too quickly. What we know about gender dysphoria in childhood suggests that we don't actually know that much. Outcomes vary wildly, and it isn't clear what effects clinical interventions have, if any.

"In case it isn't obvious, sending a child the transgender route is not trivial. Lupron is typically used to delay puberty (to avoid unwanted pubertal changes), but this use of Lupron is off-label and poorly studied. Endocrinologists all over the country have worried to me about the long-term effects of this use. Surgical sex change will render a person infertile, in need of lifelong hormone replacement therapy, and carries significant risk to sexual function and physical health."

Reaffirming gender-stereotypes- Within the feminist community, the topic of transitioning is said to reinforce gender stereotypes of ultra-feminine women and super masculine men.

Gloria Steinem wrote In her 1983 book Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions;

"Transsexuals are paying an extreme tribute to the power of sex roles. In order to set their real human personalities free, they surgically mutilate their own bodies: anything to win from this biased society — where minor differences or hormones and genitals are supposed to dictate total lives and personalities — the right to be who they individually are as human beings."

Janice Raymond, another leader of the feminist movement writes;

"Instead of serving more lifesaving but often less lucrative needs for their surgical and hormone-therapy skills, some physicians are aiding individuals who are desperately trying to conform to an unjust society." Raymond refers to this pharmaceutical push as the transsexual empire, which has been labeled as tans-phobic rhetoric. Despite the pushback from transgender activists, neither have apologized or retracted their statements.

Transgender advocates feel very strongly that access to early intervention can save lives. While studies indicate that sex reassignment can save lives for adults who are transgender, the problem is that it's hard to tell if kids are transgender or simply non-conforming.

In a large percentage of children, gender appears to be a more fluid concept, with actual dysphoria dissipating with age. We also know that a significant number of gay men report having had interests in wearing typically-feminine clothes and doing traditionally-feminine activities as children. So the issue of labeling children as gender dysphoric; e.g when a boy wants to wear or a dress, or a girl wants to ride dirt bikes, becomes more complicated when deciding who will need an endocrinologist, or even a psychologist.

The issue is further compounded by the Biden Administration's new policy to affirm, which has
now become interwoven through Medicaid policies, and state laws.

Critics of the new policies say it's a way to create life-long patients for the pharmaceutical lobby. Others contend that the use of off-label puberty blockers in children causes irreversible damages. Activist say however, that it's a way to save the lives of transgendered teens and adults. Going forward, a balance will need to be struck that both; saves lives, and protects children from opportunistic drug companies.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Health and Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-08-24 13:31:44Last Update: 2022-08-25 20:30:45


“Combat Color Run” Mile Long Obstacle Course Kicks Off First DSU Home Game Thursday
Wednesday August 24, 2022 by Breeauna Sagdal

The DSU Ag Bowl, kicks off first home-game of the collegiate football season tomorrow evening.

Thursday August 25, 2022 at 7:00pm, The DSU Trojans will face off against rivals Wesleyan (SD) at the 7th annual Ag Bowl. The season kick-off starts at 7:05pm, and will be hosted LIVE on Midco Sports channel (channel 26 or 622 for Midcontinent Communication subscribers), with the gates opening at 5:30 p.m.

"The tailgate will start at 5 p.m. on the east side of the Trojan Football parking lot. The tailgate meal includes pork loin sandwiches, hot dogs, chips, cookies, and beverages. The Mustang Seeds 'Chuck Wagon Cooker,' provided by Terry Schultz, will prepare all the food. The tailgate is free to all ag producers with a ticket, (sent by mail) and all Trojan Athletics Club members."

This annual event will include a tailgate meal, skydivers, and fun for the entire family prior to the season-opening football contest. To celebrate, the Madison Community Center is putting on a "Combat Color Run" before the football game beginning at 5:30pm, with registration beginning at 5:00pm.

The "Combat Color Run" is an all-ages, one mile course that winds through color blasts as participants run, or walk, through a variety of obstacles. Families can sign up now or on the night of the event.

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--For early registration contact Kaylee Winrow at Kaylee.Winrow@dsu.edu.

Post Date: 2022-08-24 12:45:02Last Update: 2022-08-24 13:31:44


Legislators Call on Governor for Election Oversight
Press- Release South Dakota Freedom Caucus

Pierre, S.D. (Aug 22, 2022) – Today, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus released a letter, signed by twenty-four current South Dakota legislators submitted on Friday to Governor Noem, asking her to direct her administration to preserve election records and to allow related records to be evaluated by citizens reviewing this last election.

The letter indicates that a company, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), contracted by South Dakota counties for their ballot counting machines, notified county auditors that records of the votes tallied at the last election are proprietary information, and those County Auditors have refused to release such information to concerned citizens reviewing the elections.

Nearly a third of the current South Dakota legislature signed onto the letter, which argues that the ES&S contract’s provisions which would render election results to become proprietary information should be considered unenforceable. The letter stated that, “such agreement should not be the basis to obstruct or abolish the inherent right of citizens to oversee their elections.”

“Whether there are election issues or not, we stand united that the elections belong to the citizens and it is their right to oversee them to insure they are open, honest, and transparent,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Aaron Aylward, who was the first to sign the letter.

The letter applauded Governor Noem for signing SB 122 into law earlier this year, which banned the private funding of elections after 35 counties received nearly $380,000 since 2020 from Mark Zuckerberg’s Center for Technology and Civic Life. The letter argues that the contract with ES&S is similar in nature, as it is another private company exercising undue influence from private organizations and special interests over public elections.

The letter was signed by nearly a third of the current South Dakota legislature, from both the House and the Senate, calling on Governor Noem and acting Attorney General Mark Vargo to take action.

--South Dakota Freedom Caucus

Post Date: 2022-08-24 01:12:03Last Update: 2022-08-24 12:45:02


The Persistence of Covid Cruelty on Campus
Re-Published with permission from Brownstone Institute

When I entered the field of nationalism studies 35 years ago, it was characterized by a clear tilt toward two important ideological postures.

The first, a product of the rise of Marxist historiography in Western universities in the first three to four decades following the Second World War, was the belief that insurgent nationalist movements are, much more often than not, set in motion by mobilizations of the common people.

The second, product of the early 20th century invention of the discipline of political science—a project essentially designed to provide a rational-sounding and elite-friendly apologetics for the brute exercise of domestic and imperial power— was that the best way to understand the rise of such movements was to focus primarily on, what else?, the lives and actions of those who had spent their lives immersed in the world of elections, political parties and other “official” means of marshaling social power.

As luck would have it, however, this paradigm was in the process of being turned on its head as I got into the game, thanks in large part to the publication in 1983 of a remarkable book by the Cornell historian and specialist in east Asian cultures, Benedict Anderson. In his Imagined Communities, Anderson traces the development of the modern idea of the nation from its inception in the early 16th century up until the latter half of the 1900s.

Reading it, two things become crystal clear. The first is that the idea of creating new national collectives always manifests itself first in the minds of an often quite small lettered elite that imagines what the new entity will be like and that, in the hope of rendering it real, sets out to create and distribute its guiding myths.

The second, which flows axiomatically from the first, is that politics, understood in the way we now typically conceive of it, is almost always a distant trailing edge of these robust and quite consciously undertaken programs of new cultural production.

In the early 1990s the brilliant Israel scholar Itamar Even-Zohar seconded Anderson’s emphasis on role of elites and what he calls their acts of “culture-planning” in the creation and maintenance of nations, and indeed, all other insurgent movements of social identity.

Using his mastery of 15 languages and the access it gives him to the archives of many distinct national and/or social movements through time he sought to identify the tropes, cultural models and institutional practices that are common to the construction of virtually all such social projects, techniques whose central aim is always that of generating what he calls a state of “proneness” among the general population.

“Culture provides cohesion to both a factual or a potential collective entity. This is achieved by creating a disposition of allegiance among those who adhere to the repertoire [of cultural goods]. At the same time, this acquired cohesion generates a validated disposition of distinction, i.e., a state of separateness from other entities. What is generally meant by `cohesion’ is a state where a widely spread sense of solidarity, or togetherness, exists among a group of people, which consequently does not require acts enforced by sheer physical power. The basic, key concept to such cohesion is readiness, or proneness. Readiness (proneness) is a mental disposition which propels people to act in many ways which otherwise may be contrary to their ‘natural inclinations’. For example, going to war ready to be killed in fighting against some other group would be the ultimate case, amply repeated throughout human history.”


Thomas Harrington, Senior Scholar at the Brownstone Institute, is an essayist and Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies at Trinity College in Hartford (USA) where he taught for 24 years. He specializes in Iberian movements of national identity Contemporary Catalan culture. His writings are at Thomassharrington.com.

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--By Thomas Harrington August 23, 2022

Post Date: 2022-08-23 12:19:41Last Update: 2022-08-23 12:35:32


Lawmakers Call Upon Gov. Noem to Release Public Records

The Dakota Leader was sent this letter, and given permission to publish it.

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--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-08-22 18:41:51Last Update: 2022-08-22 19:07:50


“Gov. Noem May Have Engaged in Misconduct”
GAB Refers Allegations to Noem Appointee, Mark Vargo

August 22, 2022- By Breeauna Sagdal

As previously reported by The Dakota Leader, Governor Kristi Noem pushed hard for the impeachment of former Attorney General, Jason Ravnsborg. Following the tragic and fatal collision with Highmore resident, Joseph Boever, Gov. Noem urged the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Prior to that tragic incident however, Ravnsborg had opened investigations into Gov. Noem for alleged "misuse of public funds," and "nepotism."

Ravnsborg had also launched an investigation into Noem's wealthiest donor Denny Sanford, after child pornography was allegedly found on his home computer, according to information provided by The Centers For Missing and Exploited Children. The case was dropped against Sanford, shortly after the impeachment of Ravnsborg.

Stephan Groves of the Associated Press shares the South Dakota GAB (Government Accountability Board) has found sufficient information that Gov. Kristi Noem may have “engaged in misconduct, when she intervened in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license, and it referred a separate complaint over her state airplane use to the state's attorney general for investigation."

The three retired judges who comprise the Government Accountability Board, determined that the case was partially closed and partially dismissed. The board voted unanimously to invoke procedures allowing for a contested case hearing that gives Noem a chance to publicly defend herself against allegations related to her daughter's appraisal license.

The board dismissed allegations claiming Noem misused state funds for personal use. In 2019, Noem upgraded the state's plane, and was later accused of jet-setting on taxpayer dollars to attend political events, and campaign for the re-election of former President, Donald Trump. Though South Dakota law bars state-owned airplanes from being used for anything other than state business, Noem says she was acting as a state ambassador, and has denied allegations of misuse or wrong-doing.

The matter has now been referred to acting A.G, Mark Vargo, whom Noem herself appointed after the impeachment of former A.G Jason Ravnsborg. Vargo,
who has had a past of publicly questioning then A.G Jason Ranvsborg, was also brought onto the prosecution team, against the wishes of the House Committee on Investigation. Senator Lee Schoenbeck later appointed Vargo to prosecute Ravnsborg in the Senate trial, which ultimately led to the impeachment of Ravnsborg from office.

Upon taking office, Vargo cleaned house, firing the top brass considered to be loyal to Ravnsborg. DCI Director David Natvig and Assistant Director Tim Borrman, were both let go without notice, and only days after the Republican Convention was held where Natvig challenged Marty Jackley (Noem's choice for A.G) for the Republican nomination. Vargo has said he has no intention of appointing a replacement director for the Division of Criminal Investigations.



The Dakota Leader's Editor Breeauna Sagdal, was sent a private text message from someone close to the situation, directly after Vargo was appointed by Noem. "How much do you want to bet that the investigation is referred to Vargo, and everything gets quietly swept under the rug? There's a reason he was appointed, and top brass cleaned out," the text reads.

Many within South Dakota's political sphere, report believing that Ravnsborg was impeached prior to being able to investigate Noem, and her long-time donor Denny Sanford, citing concerns over Noem's actions during the course of the investigation.

The House launched an investigation at the behest of Gov. Noem, to determine if Ravnsborg had acted in a manner that warranted impeachment per South Dakota law. During that time however, Gov. Kristi Noem was issued cease and desist orders for interference. Gov. Noem and her administration continued to publicly release sensitive and inaccurate information during the course of an on-going investigation. Noem's actions were considered erratic and unethical according to her colleagues, who allege she was also involved with a state-wide billboard campaign questioning the motives of political opponents.

Additionally, false information was leaked to the press during the investigation. Initially, it was reported that Ravnsborg had been distracted while driving, but in February of 2021, Michael Moore of Beadle County shared that both of Ravnsborg's phones were locked at least one minute and 15 seconds leading up to the crash, meaning he was not in fact on his phone as initially reported by the press. National media also falsely reported that Ravnsborg had been drinking when he hit Boever, and then fled the scene of the crime. These allegations were all proven incorrect after the 911 audio was released to the public, but the source of that information was never revealed.

Although the House Committee on Investigation found Ravnsborg not-guilty of charges warranting impeachment, the fully assembly voted 36-31 to impeach. Ravnsborg was later impeached after a short two-day trial in the Senate, led by prosecutor Mark Vargo. Ultimately, Ravnsborg was impeached for the two misdemeanor charges he had plead "no-contest" to, and not for violating the terms of his office, per state law.

Mark Vargo has been asked if he will recuse himself from investigating Gov. Noem, due to the conflicts of interest. Vargo said in a statement to the AP: “Based on the fact that this just happened, no decision has been made.”

Conversely, the board, while saying they have found sufficient information that Noem "may have engaged in misconduct," has stated that “appropriate action” could be taken against Noem for her role in her daughter's appraiser licensure. The board however, has not specified what, if any action that might be.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-08-22 10:20:41Last Update: 2022-08-22 20:36:56


Freedom Caucus Calls for Election Integrity
Press Release SD Freedom Caucus

Pierre, S.D. (Aug 1, 2022) – Just weeks before the 2022 general election begins, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus called on the Governor and fellow legislators to join them in taking immediate action in light of election integrity findings the caucus says they have recently become aware of.

The caucus has not disclosed the specific details regarding their findings, but stated that some of the issues are time sensitive and affect the oversight of the election process.

“In light of the information we have recently become aware of, we are seeking the strong leadership of our Governor and our fellow legislators to take immediate action to preserve the integrity of our process prior to the upcoming elections,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Aaron Aylward.



The caucus stated they will be looking to Governor Noem for her leadership and her administration, as she has been a vocal proponent of election integrity measures and earlier this year signed SB 122 into law, banning the private funding of our public election process.

That law came after dozens of South Dakota counties received nearly $400,000 since 2020, in what some are calling “Zuck Bucks,” which was funding from the Center for Technology and Civic Life owned by Mark Zuckerberg and have been publicly scrutinized by officials as having undue influence over the election process.

“But those weren’t the only issues that were seen in this last primary election,” said Freedom Caucus Vice Chairman Representative Tony Randolph, making reference to the wrong ballots issued by Minnehaha poll workers during the primary election this year.

The Freedom Caucus stated that they will be speaking with the Governor and Acting Attorney General Mark Vargo in the next following days to seek immediate action due to the time sensitive nature of the issue. The caucus said that they will provide further details of their findings at that time.

--SD Freedom Caucus

Post Date: 2022-08-19 15:43:19Last Update: 2022-08-19 10:46:57


SDEA Questions Age Appropriateness of Proposed Social Studies Standards
Press Release SDEA

The Department of Education released the proposed content standards for social studies for review and public comment. The following statement is the South Dakota Education Association’s (SDEA) response to the draft standards and can be attributed to SDEA Executive Director, Ryan Rolfs.

“Educators are committed to teaching students a full history, including the good and bad while helping them develop the critical thinking skills that enable them to be productive citizens who are committed to the great promise of our Country; that all men are created equal.

SDEA is working with our members to review the proposed standards to determine whether we believe they meet the necessary rigor to give students the education they deserve. One that challenges them to meet their fullest potential while having the freedom to learn in an environment that allows them to ask the questions that lead to higher-level thinking.

From its initial review, SDEA is concerned about the age appropriateness of the standards as presented. The lower-grade standards call for a level of memorization that is not cognitively appropriate for our state’s early learners, and the upper-grade standards fail to challenge students’ critical thinking skills through standards that encourage analysis and evaluation of the world around them. SDEA will be submitting comments to the Board of Education Standards in the coming days, and we encourage educators and parents to review the proposed standards and let their voices be heard as well.”


Post Date: 2022-08-19 11:58:14Last Update: 2022-08-19 17:27:57


SD Citizens and Lawmakers Race Against the Clock to Obtain Election Materials Before They’re Destroyed

A large group of individuals across the state of South Dakota have filed Freedom Of Information Act requests in an effort to obtain video surveillance from absentee ballot drop-box sites, during the 2020 federal election. As previously reported, federal law requires election materials to be kept on file for 22 months before they can be legally destroyed. Within the next two weeks, that deadline will approach. Concerned citizens are now fighting against the clock, and their elected County Auditors, to obtain these records before time runs out.

Various County Auditors have now used taxpayer dollars to hire legal representation from South Dakota's top legal firms. Ben Kyte, Minnehaha County Auditor,
retained the legal counsel of Lisa Marso, President of the South Dakota Bar Association. Kyte, who respectfully requested the Office of Hearing Examiners to deny public records requests pertaining to the drop boxes, is now spending large sums of taxpayer dollars on legal counsel from Marso's law-firm.

Despite these well-funded attempts to block the disclosure of public records, sources close to the situation tell The Dakota Leader that some of the data requested, has been sent anonymously via internal leaks. That data, along with what is currently public,
has allowed SD Canvassing to map anomalies calling into question the election integrity of the state.



Now, the recently launched South Dakota Freedom Caucus has picked up the torch. Chairman of the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, Representative Aaron Aylward (R-Sioux Falls) is calling upon colleagues, and Governor Kristi Noem to address the time-sensitive issue.

“In light of the information we have recently become aware of, we are seeking the strong leadership of our Governor and our fellow legislators to take immediate action to preserve the integrity of our process prior to the upcoming elections,” Aylward stated in a recent press release.

The Freedom Caucus says that they will be speaking with the Governor and Acting Attorney General, Mark Vargo, in the coming days. Although the Freedom Caucus has not disclosed the exact nature of the information they have, they say that they intend to "seek immediate action due to the time sensitive nature of the issue." The Caucus says, however, that they will be providing details of that information at a later time.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor and Health Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-08-19 10:46:57Last Update: 2022-08-23 00:55:25


The CDC’s Ludicrous Makeover
#PublicHealth #Covid

Re-published from The Brownstone Institute.

announced that the institutes have done an external/self-study and proposed a makeover “to restore public trust.” Dr. Walensky said that she “plans to remake the culture to help the agency move faster when it responds to a public health crisis." She also wants to make it easier for other parts of the government to work with the CDC, and wants to "simplify and streamline the website to get rid of overlapping and contradictory public health guidance.”

The CDC’s announcement covers everything except the fundamental problem, to which the director and the external reviewer are blind: industry subservience and epidemiologic incompetence.

CDC has published numbers of fatally flawed study reports over the last two years in MMWR, its captive journal. No amounts of “moving faster” will fix this problem. It took the CDC two years to figure out that the vaccines are not an effective public health tool for reducing infection spread, something that I and numerous colleagues have been saying for more than a year.

The CDC has still not recognized that for Covid, masks are useless, distancing is useless, and that general population testing is virtually useless for managing the population pandemic.

That the CDC has reviewed itself and only found trivialities and not the systematic problems that caused it to produce repeatedly failing policies, shows that this review exercise was only window dressing. It was not a serious review.

The CDC needs a completely different independent external review to understand how it-as a public health agency with MD and PhD epidemiologists-could get so much science wrong for so long. The current makeover plans are ludicrous, will fool no one, and will not restore any of the large amount of public trust that has been lost by its poor performance over the last 2.5 years.

--Dr Harvey Risch. Dr Risch is a Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health.

Post Date: 2022-08-18 13:58:27Last Update: 2022-08-18 10:07:42


The City Council on August 16, 2022 Discussed a Conditional Use Permit that May Allow Deuces Casino to have 40 Video Lottery Terminals at One Location.

Back on July 6, 2022, the Sioux Falls Planning Commission approved of a plan to allow for Deuces Casino to locate a video lottery establishment at the corner of 69th Street, and Cliff Avenue. At the most recent City Council Meeting, held on August 16, 2022, it was made public that the casino intends to place four separate video lottery establishments at 6010 S. Cliff Avenue, which would account for 40 video lottery terminals total.

A brief look at Conditional Use Permit #16569-2022 shows that Deuces Casino is planning to extend upon a former permit, in establishing a large strip mall of casinos on the corner of 69th and Cliff Avenue.

According to state Law, only 10 video lottery terminals are allowed to be placed at any one location. In an effort to bypass these restrictions the owner of Deuces Casino is requesting side-by-side establishments. A plan that some on the City Council say, might create a precedent for the city to allow again in the future.

"We must slow this process down in order to discuss this matter further, if we proceed with this concept, it's going to be very difficult to scale back in the future due to the precedent we will have set", according to Greg Neitzert, of the Northwest District.

City Council-member Pat Starr, made a motion to defer the matter to a later date, sharing his own concerns regarding the proposal.

"At some point, this is way outside the boundaries of what the South Dakota Legislature had intended for when it adopted, and allowed for these types of establishments, the concept of only placing one video lottery location in one area." he went to say, "North Sioux City has set the precedent that they allow for up to 7 establishments in one building, what will stop us going forward, allowing the same?"



Even under the conditional use permit, any establishment offering gambling, or lotto services must be at least be 500 feet from public schools, churches, or any sensitive use areas.

Councilors cited concerns regarding the number of employees that would be available, floor planning, and what types of internal policies the business owner(s) would potentially utilize in order to ensure the public that safety, and the community will be protected. In addition to concerns over public safety, the issue of city ordinance enforcement was addressed, as it is possible that only one employee might be left in charge of all four establishments at a time. For now, the Council has tabled the issue, but is expected to address again soon. Pubic comments can be submitted via the city website.

--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-08-18 10:30:07Last Update: 2022-08-18 15:43:19


South Dakota Furries Gather in Falls Park
Who are the people behind the animal masks?

South Dakota Furs held a potluck in Falls Park on August 14th, and hosts monthly events for furries located throughout the Midwest. The furries who attended were well aware of the stigma surrounding their hobby, but still love to gather with each other to bond over their shared interest in anthropomorphic art.

In recent months, there have been claims by some concerned parents that school children are identifying as and acting like animals, and that schools have responded by putting
litter boxes in school bathrooms. Although that rumor has been debunked, an air of mistrust still surrounds the furry fandom.

Furries describe their own subculture in very simple terms: a celebration of anthropomorphic art in various forms, such as visual art, costumes, performance art, and interactive virtual reality spaces. As an art subject, anthropomorphism dates back at least 35,000 years to
the Lion-human of Hohlstein-Stadel, an ivory carving with the body of a human and the head of a lion. Anthropomorphic characters have been a literary subject for thousands of years, from Classical mythology to the short stories of Beatrix Potter, before gaining popularity in cartoons and video games. Many furries cite cartoons such as Disney’s “Robin Hood” or “Zootopia” as the catalyst for their interest in anthropomorphic art, and have surprisingly wholesome ways that they view their hobby.

“Kids can enjoy the furry fandom. It’s just an enjoyment of anthropomorphism,” says David, who is one of the event organizers for South Dakota Fur. “I like to draw anthropomorphic characters because they have more variation than human characters. I can be more creative.”

Miggs, who traveled from Edgerton, MN for South Dakota Fur’s August gathering, believes that “The litter box rumor is related to transphobia.” Miggs runs an online business designing and building custom fursuits that start at $4,000 each, and is familiar with the cultural backlash against furries. “It’s easier to hate someone with a weird hobby than to hate trans people,” she explained, noting that the furries are adjacent to the LGBTQ+ community, and that events like the potluck in Falls Park are a welcoming place for self-expression.

Most of Miggs’ fursuits take about two months to construct and are one-of-a-kind creations, although most of the requests are for wolves or other canines. Some of her custom built furry masks feature bendable ears, magnetic antlers, LED eyes, or squeaky noses. Each costume is built individually based on sketches of what the client wants the front, back, and side to look like. Her most time-intensive request yet has been a porcupine costume that took five months to construct. Some of the costumes require a special cooling vest and can reach 107 degrees inside, so many of the wearers take frequent breaks at events.



Although Miggs loves running her own business and is happy to be so successful at age 20, she feels that the stigma around being a furry can be hurtful at times. “The rumors about the litter boxes started with twelve and thirteen-year-old boys on Tik Tok saying that we think we’re really animals. We do not actually believe that. We all work normal jobs.” When not in costume, she says, some furries are IT specialists, doctors, lawyers, scientists, and even members of the military. “Two furries have been to space,” Miggs explained to illustrate how highly educated many of them are. “The inventor of the Moderna vaccine is a a furry” Miggs said. [Editorial Note- according to an Input magazine article, published 6/2/21, Dr Chise helped to develop mRNA technology and always wanted to be a Disney Character]

Shiloh, 22, who lives in Sioux Falls, says that the “after dark” aspect of furry culture has been exaggerated, and that not all furries partake in those activities. Online content creators are careful to tag certain pieces as “18+” and block minors from seeing them, and furry conventions are strict about carding and checking the ages of participants for their “after dark” activities.

Shiloh sees that “there’s a confirmation bias,” to what people believe about the furry fandom because “dressing in animal costumes seems surreal in concept”, and people are sometimes disturbed by that disruption of the status-quo. For some people, the unmoving eyes on the masks create an uncanny valley effect– kigu masks and mascot suits can have a similar effect, although they are intended to look cheerful and cute. Playing peek-a-boo while in costume can almost create the effect of the eyes blinking, but many people still find the uncanny valley effect of kigurumi masks and furry costumes unnerving.

All masks, whether a full animal head built over a bucket foundation or a simple piece of cloth, disrupt the ability of the person interacting with the wearer to fully grasp their emotions, expressions, and intentions. The inability to tell if there’s a threat behind the mask or not can cause people to intuitively assume that there is a threat.

For people wearing them, however, masks can be liberating. “I turn into a completely different person and feel more comfortable being silly,” Shiloh says, describing how fursuits can pull people who feel insecure and socially awkward out of their shells and help them grow more comfortable and expressive over time.

Jacob, 25, of Sioux Falls, also feels that costumes and masks can be socially liberating. “I’ve gotten compliments on my dancing, and I didn’t even know I could dance!”

He also credits the furry fandom with introducing him to his partner, because they initially met online. “I found Deviantart and met a lady who had a dragon drawing tutorial on there, and then found a community through that. Relationships can grow in virtual reality spaces because VR can close geographical gaps.”

Online experiences such as Furality grew in popularity during the covid-related closing of conventions as an alternative to in-person events, and the virtual worlds for furries became more immersive and convincing during that time. Even with in-person furry events resuming, Fureality is still a popular option because the graphics can close the gap between fantasy and reality in a way that the costumes cannot, such as making the eyes on the characters move. To be as inclusive as possible, the furry community helps people who are interested in participating in Fureality gain access to virtual reality spaces so that they can feel a sense of belonging even if they aren’t located near other furries or don’t have the financial means to travel to conventions.

“The furry fandom spreads positivity and acceptance. I didn’t have that growing up,” says Chibby, 19, who traveled from St Paul, MN and stayed with friends to attend the furry gathering in Falls Park.

“At first I was skeptical because of the rumors,” Jacob says. “But they’re wholesome, inclusive, and connected. Never once have I felt excluded or hated, and I have great memories of furry conventions. Hatred stems from not understanding, and not wanting to understand.”

Editorial Note: The term Furry refers to an individual who knows they are human, but likes to dress-up as an animal, similar to cosplay. An Otherkin refers to an individual who actually identifies as non-human, believing they are an animal, or another mythical creature trapped in the wrong body.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Anna Cole, Associate Editor

Post Date: 2022-08-17 19:00:00Last Update: 2022-08-18 16:54:15


Just The Facts- Media Kit Sent From South Dakota Canvassing Group

"Based on findings from canvassing and independent analysis by WE THE PEOPLE of South Dakota, it is imperative that before the November 8, 2022 general election the Secretary of State and the County Auditors update the voter rolls by removing voters that are deceased, have moved to another location, or have been inactive for two general elections."

November 3, 2020 Election Certified on November 10, 2020

SD Secretary of State website shows the following- During the 2020 election The Voter rolls dated 9/22/2021 show the following;

o 163 voters registered to vote AFTER 11/3/2020

o 552 voters registered on 11/3/2020 of which 49 voted

o 260 voters registered between 10/20/2020 and 11/3/2020

o 11 voters voted twice

o 256 voters over 120 years old

Voter rolls dated 12/29/2021 compared to voter rolls dated 9/22/2021

- 146 new voters voting on 11/3/2020, not previously recorded

- 601 voter records removed

- 36 new voters registered between 9/22/2021 and 12/21/2021, that voted in the November 3, 2020 election - 18 blank records that voted November 3, 2020

Voter Registration – SDCL 12-1-4 states, "For the purposes of this title (Title 12), the term, residence, means the place in which a person has fixed his or her habitation and to which the person, whenever absent, intends to return."... However, Door to door canvassing took place in Minnehaha, Lincoln and Pennington counties on February 5, 2022 and March 15, 2022.

The Brownstone Institute “They Thought They Were Free”
By Joshua Styles July 28, 2022

It’s been more than seventy-five years since the Nazis were defeated and Auschwitz was liberated. Seventy-five years is a long time—so long, in fact, that while many still learn of the horrors of the Holocaust, far fewer understand how the murder of the Jews happened. How were millions of people systematically exterminated in an advanced Western nation—a constitutional republic? How did such respectable and intelligent citizens become complicit in the murder of their countrymen? These are the questions Milton Mayer sought to answer in his book They Thought They Were Free.

In 1952, Mayer moved his family to a small German town to live among ten ordinary men, hoping to understand not only how the Nazis came to power but how ordinary Germans—ordinary people—became unwitting participants in one of history’s greatest genocides. The men Mayer lived among came from all walks of life: a tailor, a cabinetmaker, a bill-collector, a salesman, a student, a teacher, a bank clerk, a baker, a soldier, and a police officer.

Significantly, Mayer did not simply conduct formal interviews in order to “study” these men; rather, Mayer had dinner in these men’s homes, befriended their families, and lived as one of them for nearly a year. His own children went to the same school as their children. And by the end of his time in Germany, Mayer could genuinely call them friends. They Thought They Were Free is Mayer’s account of their stories, and the title of the book is his thesis. Mayer explains:

“Only one of my ten Nazi friends saw Nazism as we—you and I—saw it in any respect. This was Hildebrandt, the teacher. And even he then believed, and still believes, in part of its program and practice, ‘the democratic part.’ The other nine, decent, hard-working, ordinarily intelligent and honest men, did not know before 1933 that Nazism was evil. They did not know between 1933 and 1945 that it was evil. And they do not know it now. None of them ever knew, or now knows, Nazism as we knew and know it; and they lived under it, served it, and, indeed, made it” (47).

Until reading this book, I thought of what happened in Germany with a bit of arrogance. How could they not know Nazism was evil? And how could they see what was happening and not speak out? Cowards. All of them. But as I read Mayer’s book, I felt a knot in my stomach, a growing fear that what happened in Germany was not a result of some defect in the German people of this era.

The men and women of Germany in the 1930s and 40s were not unlike Americans in the 2010s and 20s—or the people of any nation at any time throughout history. They are human, just as we are human. And as humans, we have a great tendency to harshly judge the evils of other societies but fail to recognize our own moral failures—failures that have been on full display the past two years during the covid panic.

Mayer’s book is frighteningly prescient; reading his words is like staring into our own souls. The following paragraphs will show just how similar the world’s response to covid has been to the German response to the “threat” of the Jews. If we can truly understand the parallels between our response to covid and the situation in Hitler’s Germany, if we can see what lies at the end of “two weeks to flatten the curve,” perhaps we can prevent the greatest atrocities from being fully realized in our own day. But to stop our bent toward tyranny, we must first be willing to grapple with the darkest parts of our nature, including our tendency to dehumanize others and to treat our neighbors as enemies. Overcoming Decency

“Ordinary people—and ordinary Germans—cannot be expected to tolerate activities which outrage the ordinary sense of ordinary decency unless the victims are, in advance, successfully stigmatized as enemies of the people, of the nation, the race, the religion. Or, if they are not enemies (that comes later), they must be an element within the community somehow extrinsic to the common bond, a decompositive ferment (be it only by the way they part their hair or tie their necktie) in the uniformity which is everywhere the condition of common quiet. The Germans’ innocuous acceptance and practice of social anti-Semitism before Hitlerism had undermined the resistance of their ordinary decency to the stigmatization and persecution to come” (55).

Others have explained the link between totalitarian impulses and “institutionalized dehumanization” and have discussed the “othering” of unvaccinated persons in nations across the world. Mayer shows that such dehumanization does not necessarily begin with prejudice:

“National Socialism was anti-Semitism. Apart from anti-Semitism, its character was that of a thousand tyrannies before it, with modern conveniences. Traditional anti-Semitism . . . played an important role in softening the Germans as a whole to Nazi doctrine, but it was separation, not prejudice as such, that made Nazism possible, the mere separation of Jews and non-Jews” (116-117).

Even if many Germans did not harbor anti-Semitic prejudices (at least not initially), the forced separation of Jews and non-Jews created a devastating rift in German society, tearing the social fabric and paving the way for tyranny. In our day, the separation of the masked and unmasked, the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, has divided populations around the world like nothing we’ve experienced in our lifetimes. And the global scale of this separation has perhaps not happened in recorded history.

How has this separation been made possible? The immense power of propaganda, and particularly propaganda in the digital age. We think we understand how propaganda affects us, but we often don’t realize the truly insidious effects on how we view others until it is too late. Mayer’s friends explained this in great depth. On one occasion, Mayer asked the former bank clerk about one of his Jewish friends. “Did your memory of the peddler make you anti-Semitic?” “No—not until I heard anti-Semitic propaganda. Jews were supposed to do terrible things that the peddler had never done. . . . The propaganda didn’t make me think of him as I knew him but of him as a Jew” (124; emphasis added).



Is there anything we can do to mitigate the dehumanizing effects of propaganda? Mayer describes the power of Nazi propaganda as so intense that all of his friends were affected by it—changed by it—including the teacher who was more aware of such tactics. Nearly seven years after the war, his friends still could not be persuaded that they had been deceived:

“Nobody has proved to my friends that the Nazis were wrong about the Jews. Nobody can. The truth or falsity of what the Nazis said, and of what my extremist friends believed, was immaterial, marvelously so. There simply was no way to reach it, no way, at least, that employed the procedures of logic and evidence” (142).

Mayer’s conclusion is depressing. If we cannot persuade others with logic and evidence, how can we persuade them? How many of us have shared indisputable data that the vaccines carry risks? How many of us have shown videos where public health officials openly admit that the vaccines do not stop transmission and that cloth masks don’t work (and are in fact little more than “facial decorations”)? Yet the evidence does not persuade those who have been captured by propaganda; indeed, it cannot persuade them. This is because the very nature of propaganda does not appeal to logic or reason; it does not appeal to evidence. Propaganda appeals to our emotions, and in a world where many people are led by emotions, propaganda becomes deeply rooted in the hearts of those who consume it.

So what are we to do? Mayer relays a frustrating reality. But understanding how propaganda worked in Nazi Germany and how it works today is essential if we are to have any chance of persuading those who have been shaped by it. Moreover, understanding why many people tend to be led by emotions and to outsource or suspend their critical thinking is perhaps even more essential to forestalling greater tragedies. We cannot expect others to escape the tyranny of propaganda if they do not have time to think or are motivated not to think. Our Own Lives

Even without the dehumanization of those who were a “threat” to the community, most Germans were too focused on their own lives to consider the plight of their neighbors:

“Men think first of the lives they lead and the things they see; and not, among the things they see, of the extraordinary sights, but of the sights which meet them in their daily rounds. The lives of my nine friends—and even of the tenth, the teacher—were lightened and brightened by National Socialism as they knew it. And they look back at it now—nine of them, certainly—as the best time of their lives; for what are men’s lives? There were jobs and job security, summer camps for the children and the Hitler Jugend to keep them off the streets. What does a mother want to know? She wants to know where her children are, and with whom, and what they are doing. In those days she knew or thought she did; what difference does it make? So things went better at home, and when things go better at home, and on the job, what more does a husband and father want to know?” (48)

--With Express Permission to Re-Publish From Jeffery Tucker of The Brownstone Institute

Post Date: 2022-08-16 12:32:17Last Update: 2022-08-16 12:54:20


South Dakota Leads Nation With Newly Drafted Social Studies Standards
Politically Driven Pushback Begins....Updated 8/22/22

After months of collaboration, facilitated by former Hillsdale College professor William Morrisey, a team of state historians and Tribal Leaders have released a draft of proposed Social Studies Standards for South Dakota public schools.

The new standards are being hailed by Tribal communities, as the curriculum is the most expansive in the country, focused on the true story of Indigenous peoples.
The standards feature expanded South Dakota and Native American history and civics, representing the most robust emphasis on Native American history and civics of any draft standards to-date.

“I am glad that Native American heritage and culture will be well represented in these standards,” said Joe Circle Bear, member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and member of the Commission. “Governor Noem promised to tell our story as part of American history, and these standards do that.”

"I am very proud of the work we as a committee have put into the new Social Studies Standards,” said Stephanie Hiatt, doctorate in education, member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and member of the Commission. “The new standards offer a chronological history of the founding of America. With these new standards, I am confident South Dakota students will develop a historical appreciation that will foster hopeful and prosperous communities.”

In preparing the draft standards, the Commission focused on the four following goals: “I couldn’t be more thrilled with the new social studies standards. They are substantial and straightforward standards that emphasize our founding documents, our pursuit of freedom, and treat our nation’s history honestly,” said Representative Sue Peterson, Vice Chair of the House Education Committee.

The proposed standards provide many notable changes, and a new approach to American History. Rather than the current model which jumps around chronologically, a new spiraled sequence would allow students to build upon what they have learned previously. The content has been enhanced as to challenge familial units, and expand knowledge in every home as parents become a integral part of the learning process. Perhaps most important to many families, "streamlined identification," which allows students, teachers and parents to have full transparency and access to the content itself.

In addition, the standards return to an economic framework, beginning in high school. Prior to graduation, students will fully understand supply and demand, contract law, macro - micro-economic security through private ownership, the free market, trade and more.
[pg 84]



The committee was assembled in response to growing parental concerns related to Critical Race Theory, and various new curricula that are said to be replacing traditional academics in the classroom. Nation-wide un-enrollment rates have spiked this year, as families pull their children from public schools.

States like California are currently experiencing record high un-enrollment rates due to medical/genetic discrimination, public distrust, Critical Race Theory, and frustrations related to limited academics.

Even in the red state of Tennessee, core academic classes have been cut down to thirty minutes, accounting for a total of two-hours per day allotted for math, science, reading, and social studies.

Many believe that South Dakota, on the other hand, is now leading the way forward toward enrollment retention within K-12 public schools.

Not everyone agrees with the new Social Studies Standards however.
The South Dakota Education Association has recently stated its concerns for the age appropriateness of the new standards. The SDEA, is the South Dakota chapter of the NEA, the largest teacher's union in the country, which recently adopted Critical Race Theory into its platform.

Taneeza Islam, the former mayoral candidate for Sioux Falls, is the Executive Director of South Dakota Voices For Justice. Islam recently announced on social media that the group will be busing people to Pierre, to testify against the "CRT Ban."

Islam's post was shared by the South Dakota Democratic Party, South Dakota Teacher's Union, Healing Racism, Minnehaha Democratic Party, and more. The meeting was later postponed by the Board of Education.

Critical Race is a theoretical curriculum, spawned from Pulitzer Prize winning book The 1619 Project- A New Origin Story, authored by New York Time's Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones. Despite reservations from historians regarding factual inaccuracies, the National Education Association (the largest teacher's union in America), instituted CRT by adding the curriculum to its platform (2021-2022 Agenda Item 39). In states where the teacher's union dictates policy, CRT has become interwoven into every aspect of the classroom experience, placing a focus on slavery as the origin of the United States.

Critics of CRT, say that parents and families are being left out of the process, and have limited access to what their child is learning. Others contend that traditional academics are slipping away, and being replaced by Social Emotional Learning, which places a focus on emotion over facts. However, the most compelling arguments against CRT have come from Black and Latin families themselves, as they say that CRT actually perpetuates systemic racism rather than providing solutions to it.

Oregon's Department of Education implemented Critical Race Theory curriculum, and "ethnomathmatics," last year. Public outrage was sparked, when
Oregon school districts began segregating graduation ceremonies for "BIPOC" students. The state of Oregon, then moved to completely drop all graduation requirements, starting last year.

In this 82 page document, handed out to Oregon teachers
, by the ODE and NEA (National Teachers Association) it is now considered racist to teach Black, Latin and Indigenous students the correct answers to math, science and reading. In addition, the new curriculum prohibits teachers from requiring BIPOC students to show their work, because doing so "perpetuates systemic racism."

Updated 08/22/2022 to reflect correct meeting dates. A previous version of this article shared meeting times that have since been postponed.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor and Health Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-08-16 10:18:33Last Update: 2022-08-27 18:16:42


City of Sioux Falls Considers Aggressive Hiring Plan For FY 2023
Federal Grant Money Could Create New Police Powers- Council Focused on Employment Retention and Diversity Instead.

The city council held its second budget hearing this past week to discuss the proposed budget of $646,200,000 million dollars. The focus of council-members seemed to relate to the future needs of the city, population growth, the diversity needs of representing the total population, and how to retain employees - as to avoid currently high rates of turn-over.

The City of Sioux Falls has full-time staff equal to 66 persons per every 10,000 residents of the city. With that large of a staff, the ability of the city to maintain, and retain full-time employees over-time remains a dedicated focus of the Human Resources Department. The city is seeing a 9.8% rate in turn-over ratio however, which includes recent retirees or those soon to be retired.

According to Bill O'Toole, the city's HR Director, over the next five years (between 2021-2027), the city is expected to see 86 full-time employees become eligible for retirement. In an effort to prevent staffing deficits, the city is now considering a budget proposal to replace retirees, by hiring 30 new full-time employees this year.



However, many on the city council have voiced reservations due to high turn-over rates (about 6% over the last four years), the impacts of inflation on retirement pensions, and the economy. Many say they're concerned with the financial commitment of new hires, in light of these issues, and question if it's sustainable.

"My concern is maybe not specific positions," Councilman Curt Soehl said during the meeting. "But the overall general economy that the city is going into in the future, now starting a recession. I think we're going to take a close, hard look at all the positions and see where they're necessary."

Councilman Pat Starr stated during the meeting, "give me something." "Give me something to take back that says we're making progress somewhere in this budget."

Councilor Greg Nietzert has sat on the city council for six years (2016-present day), and also believes this is a big ask in uncertain times.

Of the thirty new full-time positions, the city is requesting between two-to-four new full-time staff members per year, and the Mayor is requesting to hire four new police offers. Initially, the new officer positions could be funded by a one-time federal grant, rather than local residents. It's unclear however, which exact grant will be utilized.

Police Chief John Thum told the council, the four new police officers will be paid for over the next few years by utilizing a federal block grant. However, when questioned by Councilman Pat Starr about the grant, Thum could not remember the name of the particular grant.

Oddly enough, the city council seems unbothered by the lack of clarity regarding funding sources, or what obligations they're potentially committing to by accepting particular grants.

Back in 2021, The Department of Justice announced more than $139 million in grant funding through the department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), COPS Hiring Program (CHP). Those awards provided direct funding to 183 law enforcement agencies across the nation, allowing those agencies to hire 1,066 additional full-time law enforcement professionals. The description can be found here on Justice Department's website.

“We are committed to providing police departments with the resources needed to help ensure community safety and build community trust,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The grants we are announcing today will enable law enforcement agencies across the country to hire more than 1,000 additional officers to support vitally important community oriented policing programs,” Garland stated in a press release.

That program has already ended for FY2022, and while President Biden allocated an additional 300 million to the program last year, nothing has been mentioned for FY 2023, as of yet. Additionally, the city of
Sioux Falls is not listed as an award recipient of the grant, nor is the city currently listed as an applicant.

However, there is a specific federal grant that was approved in 2021 called the "Mental Health Awareness Training Grant."

"The purpose of this program is to (1) train individuals (e.g., school personnel, emergency first responders, law enforcement, veterans, armed services members and their families) to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, particularly serious mental illness (SMI) and/or serious emotional disturbances (SED). (2) establish linkages with school- and/or community-based mental health agencies to refer individuals with the signs or symptoms of mental illness to appropriate services. (3) train emergency services personnel, law enforcement, fire department personnel, veterans, and others to identify persons with a mental disorder and employ crisis de-escalation techniques.(4) educate individuals about resources that are available in the community for individuals with a mental disorder. It is expected that this program will prepare and train others on how to appropriately and safely respond to individuals with mental disorders, particularly individuals with SMI and/or SED."

This "Grant" clearly sets a mandate for local units of government to hire and fund police enforcement positions that manage the mental health, and substance us disorders of the community, as well as fellow law enforcement officers.

Under the Grant, applicants (the city) can apply for a grant to fund a Mental Health and Behavioral Program for up to five years, providing cities a revenue stream of $625,000 thousand dollars, or $125,000 per year for new staff members, as long as the city meets requirements of the grant. That being said,
the grant also requires cost matching, which specifically states that the funds cannot come from another federal revenue source, meaning the city would be required to match whatever funds come from this grant.

While accepting federal grant money is certainly appealing, it's not a long-term revenue source for the city. Eventually the taxpayers of Sioux Falls will see these increases added to their property, gas and sales tax. Every new hire is also entered into the PERS (Public Employee Retirement System) fund, potentially making life-time recipients of taxpayer dollars out of every new hire. Meanwhile, the city will have instituted new programs, required by the federal government, as a condition of receiving certain grants.

The city will move forward with discussion on
the Mayor's recommended budget, to determine if an aggressive hiring strategy is needed, and if so, what type of federal obligations the city might be bound to if funded via grants.

The next budget meeting will be held tomorrow, Tuesday August 16, 2022 at 3pm.
The full schedule can be viewed here for meeting times, dates and public comment periods. If you have any questions please contact the City Clerk at (605) 367-8080 or email at clerks@siouxfalls.org.

--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-08-15 08:32:10Last Update: 2022-08-13 15:38:35


Essay From Pierre- “Is Medicaid Expansion Right For South Dakota?”
We Can Do Better!

Medicaid and Medicare were established in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson’s massive government expansion called the “Great Society.” Medicare was intended to be health insurance for the elderly who were not adequately covered by employee-based programs, and Medicaid was to be health insurance for the poor. Medicare is an actual health insurance program for the elderly. Medicaid, however, is a social welfare program.

In 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as “Obamacare.” That act required Medicaid to take on childless, able-bodied adults with income up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). According to the US Department of Health and Human Services website, the federal poverty level for a single adult is $12,880, which means those making under $17,774 per year, now qualify. In 2012, the Supreme Court found that mandatory Medicaid expansion was unconstitutional and would be left up to the states. Since then, only four states west of the Mississippi, out of 12 total, have resisted the siren song of federal money- South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, and Texas. Those four states have some of the lowest Medicaid enrollment numbers of all the states, and the 12 that have not expanded Medicaid have below average enrollment numbers.

The Medicaid.gov website says Medicaid covers “…eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities. Medicaid is administered by states, according to FEDERAL requirements. The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government.” Medicaid is the “SINGLE LARGEST source of health coverage in the United States.” [Emphasis added]

To receive federal Medicaid funds, certain groups and services MUST be covered in addition to OPTIONAL ones. South Dakota already goes beyond mandatory requirements by covering home and community-based services, organ transplant services, adult dental services, child dental services, Healthy Homes, transportation assurance, and more.



In my first year as a legislator assigned to the Appropriations Committee and Joint Committee on Appropriations, I came to picture Medicaid as a three-legged stool; Eligibles (those who qualify for Medicaid), Providers (those who give Medicaid services), and Benefits (what the state covers under Medicaid for eligible persons). That year we expanded two of the three legs by adding more providers and more benefits, which expanded the overall Medicaid program in our state.

Breaking traditional protocol, I spoke against the expansion of Medicaid in the general appropriation bill. More votes were cast against the ‘g-bill’ that year than probably ever in South Dakota's history. The bill still passed, and my speech didn’t win me any fans in the Daugaard administration, or in the South Dakota healthcare industry. Still, I will never forget the legislators and staff who thanked me afterwards for having the courage to speak the truth. Being a rookie, I didn't realize how rare that was, it was my first year after all. It’s simply not politically correct to criticize anyone for expanding government in our supposed “conservative” state.

So, what changes with Medicaid expansion? Single, childless, able-bodied adults who are not currently eligible will be added to the rolls. At present, a young adult receiving Medicaid must meet income guidelines and have dependent children, or be disabled and receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Medicaid is funded jointly by the state and federal government. The state’s share is determined by the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate, which changes every year according to that state’s per capita income compared with other states. The higher a state’s per capita income, the larger the state share of the payment, but the fed’s share can never fall below 50%. South Dakota’s current FMAP rate is about 57% federal (which does not include a 6.2% bump during the “public health emergency,” which was just extended another three months out to the middle of October), with the state picking up roughly 43% of Medicaid costs. In FY22, (the fiscal year that just ended) over $1.1B of our $5B state budget was spent on Medicaid. Almost 22 percent of our entire state budget was spent on this one welfare program - BEFORE expansion!

South Dakota had over 127,000 Medicaid enrollees by July 1, 2022, meaning that well over 14% of our population is already receiving Medicaid. If we add in the 18K on CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), that goes up to over 16% of our population receiving taxpayer-funded medical services in South Dakota.

In contrast, 25-37% of the population is enrolled in Medicaid, in many of the states that have already expanded. I should note that 47% of South Dakota medical service enrollees received some sort of covered medical service in the month of June. The total cost of those services was a whopping $110 million or just over $1,600 per recipient, in June alone. Now, we're expected to believe that by expanding services to 33 percent more people (42,500), we will only see an increased annual cost of $308 million dollars, after we just spent one-third of that, last month, on those currently enrolled?

The fiscal note on Amendment D (Medicaid expansion) shows the federal government would pay their regular FMAP rate for current enrollees plus an additional 5% for two years after expansion. For the added enrollees, the federal government would pay 90% and the state would pay 10%. Care for the incarcerated breaks down the same way, 90% federal/10% state. Any savings would be minimal, and by the end of the second year any savings we would still be receiving would be outstripped by a 3 to 1 ratio, due to the additional expenditures we would have, and it would only get worse from there.

The federal government is broke and can’t meet Social Security obligations beyond 2034 without drastic changes to the program. Our country is more than $30 Trillion dollars in debt, which averages to $243,000 PER TAXPAYER. Why would we believe that Medicaid obligations will be met?

Medicaid harms the poor, the Physicians and the Taxpayers according to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. According to a study published in the Annals of Surgery, Medicaid recipients had higher post-operative fatality rates compared to those on private insurance. And perhaps most damning, Medicaid is responsible for the worst health outcomes in Americans, with disparate and disproportionate impacts upon minority, and disadvantaged communities.

"Many politicians sell this as government compassion. However, it really means minorities disproportionately receive the worst healthcare, and have the worst health outcomes, in America," Study by Physicians For Reform.

Oregon has been considered the model for Medicaid expansion, after the legislature voted to expand it in 2008. However, Oregon is now leading the nation in overdose and deaths,
due to a lack of services. In 2015, the Oregon Health Plan (charged with overseeing Medicaid), decided to cut costs by removing opioid treatment from the list of covered services through contracted CCOs (Coordinated Care Organizations). Instead, the state moved Medicaid recipients to state-run methadone clinics, and daily dosing regiments. Stable patients went from 28 day prescriptions, to daily check-ins. With work obligations, and normal life, many relapsed. Just last year, the state decriminalized the use of all street drugs like heroine, methamphetamine, cocaine and more. In addition, the state reallocated 400 million dollars of marijuana taxes, from public education to fund treatment centers. At the last minute, Governor Kate Brown announced she would delay the funding of treatment centers. This directly resulted in the current surge of opioid related deaths, as facilities became over burdened and services became scarce.

There are better policy-based solutions that we should be considering. South Dakota currently has some of the lowest-priced private health insurance plans in the nation, the issue is out-of-pocket costs. If we instead, focused on solutions that actually help the people who need it, like moving to a premium-support or cash-assistance model, we could lead the nation in fiscal responsibility and better health outcomes for all.



By migrating the state's share of Medicaid expenses, we can start to think outside-the-box and re-imagine the entire concept of Medicaid as we know it—we can do better. Rather than placing more people into a broken system, we should be focused on creating ways to help people get the private insurance and better care we know is possible.

Currently, a patient who needs financial assistance must apply for insolvency through their county. The medical establishment then eats that cost, once an application for financial assistance is approved. However, the state could instead create a fund to reimburse health systems that waive patient balances. Thus we help people when they need it, rather than breed complacency through constant hand-outs.

For example, a business owner in my district hires ex-convicts and teaches them skills that would normally cost several thousand-dollars to learn at any technical school, saving them that cost via hands-on learning. Sadly, He told me that most of them do not stay past a few weeks, because "it’s easier for them to stay home and collect welfare." That’s just one anecdotal story, but an unfortunate reality. As our government seizes more collective wealth, to incentivize complacency and essentially pick winners and losers, the more harm it does to our state and nation.

Despite popular belief, socialism is not about workers getting together and starting their own companies. Socialism is when the government seizes the means of production, and in the case of Medicaid expansion, the means of production is our health. In light of an aging population, and chronically ill new generations, why would we pay more money for less services, and sub-standard care? If people truly want socialized medicine, they're free to create a cooperative in a laissez-faire capitalist constitutional republic. Conversely, once we give un-elected bureaucracies more power over our health choices, and means of producing health care, there's no going back. Socialism is coerced injustice by pseudo-intellectuals, thinly veiled as humanitarian policy.

Do we need a safety net? Yes, but, who is responsible for that safety net? Throughout history, family relied on family. When that wasn’t possible, the Church provided help. Today, the Department of Social Services has replaced family and faith communities, as a primary source of assistance. Government was always the last resort. After decades of expanding reliance upon the welfare state, government assistance has now become the first option, instead of the last. “Free government money” is never free…it’s always the product of someone’s labor. To return to the strong work ethic and independent spirit that made this nation great, we must find ways to decrease our reliance upon our failing federal-run systems, rather than expanding them. We can do better!

--Representative Taffy Howard served as an officer in the United States Air Force, and was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives in November 2016. Howard serves as vice-chair of the Appropriations Committee

Post Date: 2022-08-15 08:10:07Last Update: 2022-08-15 10:18:33


DSS Listening Sessions Scheduled For Day Care Dollars
$38 million can be used, but must meet federal requirements...

DSS has $38 million in discretionary funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to support child care. Funds can be used for any allowable use of federal Child Care Development Funds and must meet all federal requirements.

The Department of Social Services (DSS) is planning several opportunities for child care providers, community members, and families to give their input on how one-time funding for South Dakota’s child care system is spent. However,
as previously reported by The Dakota Leader, these funds could alter the way that state day care facilities are run.

The Department of Social Services will continue to host listening sessions through the end of August, in an effort to hear from families, and care providers across the state. Sessions will be hosted in-person and remotely in Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Aberdeen.

Privately run day care facilities will not have access to the one time funds, per the ARPA guidelines. State licensed day care facilities, that registered through an online portal last year, were initially allocated the first $30 million dollars. Now the state is seeking input from the community, prior to allocating the second round of funds.



During legislative testimony last session, DSS disclosed to lawmakers that out of nearly 3,000 state-wide day care facilities, less than 800 were licensed with the state. Representative Liz May (R-Kyle) asked of Secretary Lorie Gill, why day care facilities would choose to be private versus state licensed? Gill responded that she was unsure at that point.

Since then, The Dakota Leader has spoken with various day care providers to understand the issues better. One individual was willing to be quoted, but only if we kept her identity anonymous.

X runs a day care facility from her home farm, and told The Dakota Leader that staying licensed with the state only increased her costs, and anxiety level. She says that parents just can't afford cost increases today, and the anxiety became more trouble than it was worth.

"I stopped keeping up with the state license because it just wasn't worth it," X stated. "The state tends to get super picky, and wouldn't have allowed me to continue serving certain kids. The state wanted me to remove the outside play sets we have, which the kids love, and they showed up unannounced from time to time, it just became more trouble than it was worth. But my line in the sand was due to the kids here that have had vaccine reactions. These parents have been told by doctors not to proceed with the childhood schedule, while others have high needs," she trailed off. "I'm just not going to kick kids out, they all belong, and it's just not worth the federal money to have to run my home like the state wants."

In addition, she tells The Dakota Leader that keeping up with state guidelines increases her costs, and those costs end up getting passed onto to parents. "I have to make money, and while I don't make a ton, pretty much every dime I make goes right back into the day care, I also can't afford to do this for free either. So if it comes between a state license and keeping costs low, well, clearly you know my answer."

While the state of South Dakota currently allows for religious and philosophical exemptions to the childhood vaccination schedule for K-12, licensed day care facilities, "must require all age-appropriate immunizations, not including hepatitis B," according to state regulations.

In addition, everything from masking rules to play structure equipment, vaccination requirements etc. vary from county to county and town to town, across the state. Currently, mandatory masking is not being implemented for example, but some argue that might change after federal dollars are accepted. Buried within the federal requirements for acceptance of the funds, are guidelines to strictly adhere to CDC guidelines.
As previously reported, failure to abide by these guidelines would prompt a repayment process.

Mya Olson of South Dakota Health Freedom, says parents are concerned about what will happen this coming year, especially in light of the constantly changing guidelines from regulatory agencies, and a lack of clear local law.

"The parents of children in South Dakota, who choose to exercise their right to an exemption, are currently protected by state law. However, as we have seen over the last eighteen-months, that state law has not gone far enough in protecting South Dakota citizens. The federal regulations, although never legally enforced, caused businesses across the state to enforce guidelines that were created by the CDC and OSHA," Olson says. "This directly contributed to the loss of jobs and coerced vaccinations."

"We are already seeing this in South Dakota, where state-run agencies like the Oglala school district, are currently telling their parents and students they need the full series of COVID-19 vaccines to return to school. While the directive from Oglala is patently false, and contrary to state exemption laws, it's precisely this type of legal grey area that's causing concerns."

Olson tells The Dakota Leader, that many would rather remain private and forgo federal funds, than face the unknowns of future and ever-changing guidelines dictating how people are allowed to run their businesses.

"If these ambiguous, and ever-changing rules aren't followed after receiving ARPA funds, it could result in financial hardship, repayment, and the loss of state licensing. Especially as state and federal agencies continue to alter guidance, I can understand the concern from the owners of child care facilities. When you aren't sure what you're agreeing to, it makes sense that child care providers would opt-out, rather than unknowingly submit to loosely handled regulations and seemingly politically motivated indecisiveness. In light of the lack of local protections, or firm ground, being licensed with the state could mean handing over control of your business, and at times common sense."

There are only a few listening sessions left. Tomorrow, August 12th at the Ramkota Hotel in Aberdeen, and Monday August 15, 2022 at the Rapid City Convention Center. Sessions will be available for virtual attendance, and the link to register can be found here

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor and Health Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-08-11 21:19:11Last Update: 2022-08-11 12:27:22


Live Interview With The Dakota Leader’s Editor at Large, Breeauna Sagdal
COUNTERSPEECH with Constitutional Law Professor Deana Sacks

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has been characterized as a "RINO" (Republican In Name Only), by her opponents. Journalist and Editor of The Dakota Leader Breeauna Sagdal, and Law Professor Deana Sacks, dig into these allegations and the events that set it all into motion.

Join us as we discuss South Dakota political dynamics, Governor Kristi Noem's recent behavior, events and potential motives which are addressed within the broader context of a discussion concerning the loss of Americans' constitutional rights, including property rights, and rights to bodily autonomy.



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Deana Sacks is the host of Counterspeech on Revolution Radio, a Constitutional Law Professor and Attorney in California and Texas

Post Date: 2022-08-11 08:02:03Last Update: 2022-08-10 21:19:11


Letter To The Editor “RE- Scorecard Warning”
Submitted by Ken Delfino of Keystone

Lee Schoenbeck’s concern over an organization’s “scorecard,” that ranks him where he belongs, based on its beliefs is quite interesting. The South Dakota Citizens for Liberty (CFL) was created in 2011, along with hundreds of other Tea Party organizations to counter the actions of the Obama administration and keep an eye on government at all levels.

Schoenbeck’s inference that the CFL scorecard is tantamount to “voter fraud,” is a fraudulent statement in of itself.

The CFL scorecard was created to show the voting constituents (plus the pathetic 68% who don’t vote) how their lawmakers vote on issues that match the Mission Statement of South Dakota Citizens for Liberty. Contrary to the belief of many, it is not a popularity contest. If that’s called ‘cherry-picking’ then so be it. The bills change, but CFL’s Mission Statement has not.

If one does not like the CFL scores, then I suggest that you check the American Conservative Union scorecard, which grades all elected officials in every state.

Schoenbeck closes with credit to the governor. However, when will she publicly credit the 50 House representatives who trounced HB 1297 in 2020 in which SHE wanted state closure authority passed off to the HSS secretary...an unelected official?

--Ken Delfino

Post Date: 2022-08-11 00:34:18Last Update: 2022-08-11 00:48:29


How The City of Sioux Falls Came To Be

By Mike Zitterich

Once upon a time, the City Of Sioux Falls had two major islands within the main business district of the Town. The first, largest, and more famous of the two, was Brookings Island. Known today as Seney Island, which stands today below the Sioux Steel Property being developed into commercial real-estate. The second, and lesser known island was appropriately named, "Second Island".

Second Island, which received its name primarily because it was the second largest of the two islands on the river, as it passed through Sioux Falls proper, was located at the junction of where 9th Street and Second Avenue come together in Downtown Sioux Falls. It may have been the smaller island, but it was large enough to hold citywide events on it, and for more than eighty years, it did just that.

First, let us review the history of how the city came to be. Two companies came to the area between 1840 and 1850 to explore, settle, and search for land to build their commercial power house. The falls, on the Big Sioux River, became the center attraction. Western Town Company, which was a group of land surveyors from Dubuque, Iowa, would purchase roughly 160 acres of land under the 1841 Preemption Act. The Preemption Act allowed settlers to seek out and squat on a piece of land, with the intent to claim it, patent it, and develop it. By 1856, the company was able to purchase the rights to the land just south of the Falls, from 3rd Street south to 7th Street. For those who know this area, this is the same property which held Sioux Steel, Pitts Steel, Ravens Industries, and the Railroad Yard. This group of settlers would eventually occupy, and hold the land rights to Seney Island.



By 1862 a second group of investors, the Dakota Land Company, would come to the area with similar intentions. This became the second group of settlers to move to Sioux Falls with the intent to form a city. Eventually, The Dakota Land Company would claim the land between 7th Street, going south to 12th Street. For those familiar with a city map, this area would later be known as Downtown Sioux Falls, as the city grew in population. In addition, Dakota Land Company would occupy what became known as "Second Island." A fitting title, for the second company, or group of settlers to explore, and "settle" the area.

While the Western Town Company established it's town-site known as Sioux Falls in 1856, during the 1860's the two groups would work together to form Sioux Falls City. Combining their two settlements in order to form one big city, the Dakota Land Company agreed to build "Fort Sod," in an effort to protect the residents from the area's original inhabitants. That fort, is now a parking lot for the Great Western Bank building, directly southwest of Second Island.

Between 1881 and 1920, Second Island like its sister island to the south, was fast becoming a popular destination for residents, who oftentimes held picnics on the island. Second island, modeled after iconic boardwalks and Coney island, held a small building that doubled as a Dance Hall, Concert Venue, Roller-skating Rink, and Mess Hall.

The island itself had a small 'western channel' that went around its western boundary. The "west bank" of the Sioux River, as it passed through what quickly became Downtown Sioux Falls, was often times the lowest point along the river. It often flooded, which led to some desperate times for local businesses, homeowners, and all who claimed properties in that area of town. By the 1930's, plans were being put into motion to quickly re-develop and completely change this area for the future.

By 1936, work began on building the massive stone flood walls which you can see today. This would bring in with it tons and tons of dirt, gravel, and fill in order to fill in the land behind the wall. Yes, this meant the plan was to raise the land behind the wall, which would then usher in the newly adopted "Urban Development" of the 1940's. New buildings were erected, and in 1965 the river ramp was replaced. Gone was the island, but in its place now stands the 9th street extension, allowing traffic to connect to 2nd Avenue, heading southbound to 14th.

The picture below, is what Second Island appears like today. As you can see, a remnant of the Island is still there, if you know where to look. Located between the two Flood Gates in the wall, one located behind the former Western Bank building, and the other gate next to the Rock Island Railroad Bridge. The two gates mark the points of which the former western channel connected to the river, on both sides of the island.

From 1965 to 2009, the River Ramp which stood over the island itself, was again redeveloped to build the River Greenway Project. The ramp was removed, and once again the former island showed some signs of life, despite the fact it is 10 feet beneath the surface. But if you look closely, you can still see the island beneath the flood wall, a glimpse into the past. Behind the wall, however, you see the higher filled in embankment due to the Urban Development of the 1940's.

Although both islands are all but gone today, a well planned out Metropolis has come together around the Falls, the center attraction to the City of Sioux Falls. Today this area is a thriving financial commercial hub for the State of South Dakota.

Western Town Company (Company A)

"Wilmot W. Brookings. Brookings set out for Dakota Territory in June of 1857. He arrived at Sioux Falls on August 27, 1857, and became one of the first settlers there. He and his group represented the Western Town Company quickly formed and established the Sioux Falls City, along with many investors of the Dakota Land Company, quickly with the help of both groups, despite a small hiccup between 1866-1871, With the help of his dear friend Richard F. Pettigrew, Sioux Falls quickly became, the commercial hub of what became the State of South Dakota."

Dakota Land Company (Company B)

"Governor Samuel Medary approved the charter on 23 May 1857. Contemporaries portrayed the Dakota Land Company as a "company of gentlemen, principally residents of St. Paul,"' who "represented some of the leading capitalists of New England."* Listed among the incorporators were Samuel A. Medary, William H. Nobles, Joseph R. Brown, Alpheus G. Fuller, Jefferson P. Kidder, Samuel J. Albright, Byron M. Smith, Judge Charles E. Flandrau, James M. Allen, Franklin J. DeWitt, N. R. Brown, and James W. Lynd. Most were professional politicians active in Minnesota Territorial affairs, and several were destined to play roles in the development of Dakota Territory. All original incorporators of the Dakota Land Company professed strong Democratic convictions....The Dakota Land Company was quick to realize the profits available. With their political ties to the Democratic administration in Washington, company promoters thought territorial status could be achieved for this western area. Judge Charles E. Flandrau explained that the speculators hoped to "avail themselves of the advantages of being proprietors of the capital city and several lesser ones, that might become the seats of the university, penitentiary, and other public institutions."" There was also the matter of a host of appointive jobs that accompanied any new territory. The capitalists envisioned a monopoly, not just of land but of governmental offices as well, if they secured an organic act for Dakota Territory." From the book "The Politics of Land in Dakota Territory" [Early Skirmishes—1857-1861] written by Grant K. Anderson.

Together, Wilmont W. Brookings, Richard Pettigrew, Samuel Medary, all became the early leaders of what has become one of America's fastest growing "Cities' in the upper Midwest. And two uniquely positioned islands, Seney Island near Falls Park, and Second Island near 9th Street and Second Avenue, both played a huge role in the early development of the City of Sioux Falls today.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-08-10 09:44:21Last Update: 2022-08-10 11:29:28


South Dakota Hires Outside Counsel to Fight Citizens For Public Records
Your Tax Dollars Hard at Work...

In January of 2022, the Federalist and Just The News released a report regarding Georgia's missing video surveillance. Starting in February of 2022, three South Dakota women began filing Freedom of Information Act requests with their respective county auditors, to request the video footage of absentee ballot boxes, amongst other things.

On May 11, 2022, Therasa Pesce received a denial letter to her Freedom of Information Act request, from Minnehaha County. In response to her request for information, pertaining to the video surveillance and audit logs during the 2020 and 2022 elections, county auditor Bennet Kyte contacted ESS (Elections Systems and Software), the manufacturer of South Dakota's contracted voting machines. Kyte was
appointed to the position of Auditor after former Auditor, Bob Litz was accused of wearing his mask improperly during the 2020 general election. Litz tested positive for COVID-19 two days after the election, and later resigned. Kyte took over the office effective January 1, 2021.

According to ESS, release of the logs could compromise the cyber-integrity of their machines, and potentially disclose "proprietary information," listed under South Dakota state law as an exemption to public records. In addition,
Auditor Bennett Kyte wrote to the Office of Hearing Examiners to "respectfully request," the Hearing Examiners "deny the petitioner’s request for disclosure," of the public records.

On July 12, 2022 Linda Montgomery received a similar response from Aurora County State's Attorney Rachel Mairose, to a separate Freedom Of Information Act filed in February. Montgomery requested information pertaining to the government contracts and purchase agreements with ESS, as well as the audit logs. This request was also denied, citing the denial from Minnehaha county, in addition to stating that election materials may be destroyed within 60 days of a non-federal election, and 22 months after a federal election.

Upon receiving similar denials to their public records requests, the women filed an administrative appeal with the South Dakota Office of Hearing Examiners. In response to these appeals,
The Hearing Examiners consolidated the separate requests for information, into one response. According to the OHE, due to the fact that the requests were similar in nature, "a consolidation was appropriate and allowed."

In addition, the OHE determined that "pursuant to
SDCL 1-27-40, no good cause was offered or shown necessitating a hearing." Ultimately, OHE sided with the county auditors, and ordered the non-disclosure of public records to be upheld, arguing that the ESS machine logs and database materials are not to be considered public record. Meanwhile, the request for video surveillance went ignored.



The lack of evidence provided from the Office of Hearing Examiners, other than quoting ES&S (Elections Systems and Software out of Omaha NE) as the basis of their denial, emboldened residents from every county across South Dakota to file their own round of FOIAs. The second round of public records requests included a much broader list of records being requested, but especially record of video surveillance at the ballot drop box sites.

However, shortly thereafter every response became uniform, and cited the OHE denial, while ignoring the expanded list of records being requested, as seen here; Deuel county response, Hutchinson County response, and Codington County's response. Each county admittedly unable to reproduce the video footage of absentee ballot boxes, required to be kept for 22 months by federal law. Each county citing absurd dollar amounts for copies, and each county responding with the exact same, rubber stamped response.

Then the end of June rolled around, and with it came the
disclosure of privately hired legal counsel, on the taxpayer's dime. Each county is now lawyering up, with Minnehaha and Pennington County Auditors having hired the President of the South Dakota Bar Association, Lisa Hansen Marso, and her colleague at Boyce Law Firm, David Hieb.

While President of The South Dakota Bar Association, Marso has
represented large corporations like Avera Health. Last year, Marso and her colleague David Hieb, both now retained to represent Minnehaha and Pennington counties, fought a Doctor in a wrongful termination lawsuit against their client, Avera Health. In fact, when calling the Boyce Law Firm, the first thing mentioned is an internal conflict of interest report, to ensure the firm doesn't currently represent the opposition. Interestingly enough, many companies will retain larger firms, such as Boyce, so their tenants, employees and anyone seeking to sue them cannot access the legal services of such firms, due to a conflict interest.

Most notable, is the disproportionate political advantage of having the President of the Bar Association on retainer. The Bar Association creates the curriculum for law schools, and a Bar card is the difference between being able to practice law or not. Every judge in the state of South Dakota, is still answerable to the Bar Association. Many say that the Bar is so powerful, no lawyer in their right mind would oppose its officers.

Should the citizens of South Dakota persist in trying to get public records from County Auditors, they will now be faced with the full opposition force of the state, and the Bar Association. The question remains, why is the state using South Dakota taxpayer money, to fight the disclosure of records that belong to the people of South Dakota?

Public disclosure and transparency appears to be an important aspect of free and fair elections to many individuals, across the political spectrum. While the 2020 election has left many Republicans feeling uneasy or mistrusting of election integrity,
the 2016 Presidential election had similar impacts upon Democratic voters.

Regardless of where people stand on the issue of the 2016 and 2020 federal elections, in South Dakota there is bipartisan support for cleaning up voter rolls, and not having more than one precinct voting at any given polling place after the hiccups that occurred during the 2022 primary. Due in part to redistricting, the issues that occurred across the state during the last primary have resulted in trans-partisan unity and a recognized need for election integrity.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-08-09 11:11:32Last Update: 2022-09-07 10:19:12


An Opinion Editorial From Pierre

On July 18th, Governor Noem announced that South Dakota finished fiscal year 2022 with a surplus of $115.5 million, while claiming that “South Dakota operates conservatively.”

With $422.6 million of state reserves and the last four years of surplus being spent on pet projects, this is just simply over taxation of South Dakota citizens, it’s not being conservative or frugal.

Even with this excess, we must ask why many in the 2022 legislature refused to pass a food tax repeal, a sales tax reduction or even a gas tax holiday bill? By killing any proposed tax breaks like, Senate Bill 117 a bill to "revise the gross receipts tax on certain food," we missed the opportunity to save South Dakotans between $82 and $103 million dollars, when they needed it most.

HB 1327C is another prime example that would have reduced all sales tax by a half-cent, which is actually required by state law SDCL 10-64-9. Current law, as written in SDCL 10-64-9 states "the additional net revenue from such obligation shall be used to reduce the rate of certain taxes."[emphasis added]

Passing HB 1327C would have satisfied current state law, and saved the taxpayers $147 million dollars. Even if we had only reduced the sales tax by just a quarter-cent, we could have still saved taxpayers $74 million dollars, while still leaving a surplus of $41 million dollars at the end of fiscal year 2022.

In addition, a gas tax holiday was proposed for the three months of tourist season, that would have given a break on gas taxes of $54 million dollars, lowering the price at the pump for South Dakotans. Again, that bill never made it off the House floor.

Even worse,
Governor Noem stated on July 22, 2022,

“While this surplus may lead individuals to call for a reduction in our state’s tax structure. I offer a word of caution. We must be prepared to weather any economic storm that may come our way.”

Even if that were true, just last year, Governor Noem’s legislative allies killed
HB 1255. HB 1255 was brought forward, and authored by committee members on Appropriations as a ‘rainy day’ fund. Even though the state was being flooded with federal money at that time, this was an attempt at responsible, and long-term economic storm preparation for the state, that would have simultaneously provided South Dakotans the same luxury.

Instead of preparation, that proposed $200 million dollars in HB 1255 was spent as one-time monies instead of being saved. The reason given, according to the Assistant Majority Leader, “we can’t give future legislators more money than they need.” Which roughly translates to, "we can't give South Dakotans back, more money than they need," as evidenced by hoarding $422.6 million dollars of your money, rather than settling for the ample sum of $200 million.



Even if South Dakota's economy is better than the rest of the country, we still have the lowest wages nationally, while also dealing with inflation and supply-chain issues, like everyone else. That is what I would call an "economic storm."

The state needs to tighten its belt on spending and learn to live within its means. Especially when those who pay the bills are already strapped tight, with soaring housing prices and the Biden administration’s disastrous economic policies. South Dakotans know how to tighten their belt, and we have, but now it’s time that the bureaucrats in Pierre do the same.

It's time to stop over taxing the citizens of South Dakota! For this reason, I stand firmly with The South Dakota Freedom Caucus in urging our colleagues to provide fiscally-responsible tax relief to the people of South Dakota. Be it federal or state taxes, this money belongs to the people, and it's time to give it back!

Rep. Tina L. Mulally

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Rep. Tina L. Mulally

Post Date: 2022-08-08 08:22:19Last Update: 2022-08-06 11:11:32


OP-ED “Schoenbeck is The Pot Calling The Kettle Black”
Sen. Lee Schoenbeck’s Colleagues Fire Back

Senator Lee Schoenbeck’s recent op-ed in the Rapid City Journal is a feeble attempt to try and smear some of the state’s top conservative republican legislators. Lawmakers such as, Representatives Phil Jensen, Tony Randolph and Taffy Howard, with proven track records of defending the ideals outlined by those who elected them.

What's more, Schoenbeck has decided to use the left-leaning Elevate Rapid City scorecard as the basis for his assertions. Ironically, using this scorecard is the equivalent to Congresswoman Liz Cheney telling Americans which conservative republicans to vote for, based upon the democratic party's platform.

Congresswoman Liz Cheney, also happens to be someone who Schoenbeck admires for her “courage, in a room of wimps,” which he tweeted on May 12, 2021.

McCarthy is an embarrassment for real Republicans. Thank you Liz Cheney for your courage, in a room of wimps

— Lee Schoenbeck (@LeeSchoenbeck)
May 12, 2021

His assessment of Elevate Rapid City’s scorecard, as being a “fair scorecard … [that is] only about making your lives and your family's lives better [with] no political agenda,” is nothing but disingenuous. Elevate Rapid City actively opposed legislation to stop forced sex changes on children (2020: HB 1057) , and they consistently take taxpayer dollars for projects that could be easily funded by private enterprise and a free market.

But it should come as no surprise coming from the self-proclaimed “conservative,” Senator Lee Schoenbeck, who referred to Trump “as a con man” in his tweet on Mar. 1, 2016, while chiding those that supported President Trump as “fake conservatives infiltrating our party.”

Schoenbeck accusing real conservatives of supporting big government is also extremely hypocritical. He has voted to increase our state’s budget by $1.226 billion dollars since 2018 (2018: HB 1320, 2019: SB 191, 2020: HB 1294, 2021: SB 195 & 2022: HB 1340).

He actively fought against repealing the half-cent internet sales tax this year (2022: HB 1327), saying it was like “throwing money away.” This is the same tax that he “broke kneecaps” to impose, during the 2016 legislative session. He has also voted an exorbitant number of times to increase other taxes and fees during his time in the legislature, which began in 2015.

Perhaps worse of all, Senator Schoenbeck voted to expand emergency powers during the pandemic (2020: HB 1296), supported medical arrests (2021: SB 3) and supported President Joe Biden’s Executive Orders without review (2021: HB 1194).

Without a doubt, Schoenbeck is the proverbial pot calling the kettle black.

Schoenbeck consistently receives low scores from conservative organizations. He has even received a lower score than some Democrats, like former Sen. Craig Kennedy from Yankton, who scored higher than Schoenbeck on the Family Heritage Action’s 2020 scorecard. Meanwhile, Schoenbeck has received failing grades from the American Conservative Union Foundation (57% Lifetime Avg), The National Rifle Association (67% 2022 NRA-PVF), and even Americans for Prosperity (“F” 2020 & 2019).

With a liberal record like this, Schoenbeck and his Senate puppets should stop deceiving voters and just switch parties.

His support of big government aside, his recent outbursts against his colleagues is par for the course for Schoenbeck, who’s known for unprofessional behavior and demeaning rhetoric. In 2016, after referring to Republican Majority Leader Brian Gosch as a “coward,” “pond scum” and a “chicken,” which resulted in him being banished from the Republican caucus by the Majority Leader, Schoenbeck threatened to resign from his legislative seat early.

When it comes to scorecards, SD Citizen’s for Liberty scorecard is one of the best for showing how your legislators are voting in alliance with the Constitution and the South Dakota Republican party platform. Because of their strong scores, we would strongly encourage support for Representatives Jensen, Randolph and Howard. They are a few of the best conservative legislators, as nationally recognized by organizations like the American Conservative Union and other national groups, who are still fighting for your individual liberty and freedom.

Senator-elect Tom Pischke

District 25

Representative Aaron Aylward

SD Freedom Caucus Chair

District 6

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Senator Tom Pischke and Representative Aaron Aylward

Post Date: 2022-08-04 13:14:12Last Update: 2022-08-04 12:22:19


Leaders of Industry OP-ED “Before we rid the world of crude oil, is there a backup replacement?”
We know what the decarbonized world of the 1800’s was like, so how about proving the new parachute, i.e., the replacement for crude oil, works before we jump out of the plane?

Clean Energy is only Clean ELECTRICITY.

Those clean renewables, like wind turbines and solar panels, can only generate ELECTRICITY, and intermittent electricity at best from available breezes and sunshine. The indisputable science is that renewables CANNOT manufacture any of the oil derivatives that are the basis of the thousands of products that are the foundation of societies and economies around the world. In fact, these renewables cannot exist without crude oil as all the parts of wind turbines and solar panels are made with oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil.

Crude oil is useless unless it can be manufactured into something usable like the fuels for the heavy-weight and long-range transportation infrastructures of ships and jets and the derivatives that make the thousands of products that have made our lives more comfortable. But wind and solar cannot manufacture anything for society. Before we jump out of an airplane without a tested parachute, we need to be able to support the demands of all the infrastructures that exist today that did not exist a few hundred years ago.

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 30, 2022, dealt a major blow to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) power to regulate carbon emissions. Those clean renewables, like wind turbines and solar panels, can only generate ELECTRICITY, and intermittent electricity at best from available breezes and sunshine. The indisputable science is that renewables CANNOT manufacture any of the oil derivatives that are the basis of the thousands of products that are the foundation of societies and economies around the world.

Without a backup plan to replace crude oil, ridding the world of crude oil will be depriving citizens of the more than
6,000 products that were non-existent before 1900, made from the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil. Ridding the world of oil, without a replacement in mind is immoral and evil, as extreme shortages will result in billions of fatalities from diseases, malnutrition, and weather-related deaths.

The domino effects of tinkering with the supply chain of fossil fuels, is
supply shortages and soaring prices for not only electricity, but for the thousands of products that support the entire medical industry, all branches of the military, airports, electronics, communications, merchant ships, container ships, and cruise liners, as well as asphalt for roads, and fertilizers to help feed the world.

The major unintended consequence of divesting in crude oil that was responsible for the world populating from 1 to 8 billion in less than 200 years is that
efforts to cease the use of crude oil could be the greatest threat to civilization, not climate change.

Having confidence in humanity’s ability to adapt to climate changes, like they have done since the beginning of time, in my heart of hearts I dream of the day when the public recognizes climate change will not bring on an end of the world as we know it, or even a long-term net decline for human civilization.

However, efforts to cease the use of crude oil could be the greatest threat to civilization’s eight billion, and may result in billions, not millions, of fatalities from diseases, malnutrition, and weather-related deaths trying to live without the fossil fuels that have been benefiting society. Here is a reminder of what wind turbines and solar panels CANNOT manufacture, as these are all manufactured from crude oil. These manufactured items from oil did not exist before 1900. Most importantly, they are needed to support the growing demands of the world’s economy and for the health and well-being of the world’s eight billion residents.

Fuels for the; Life Without Oil is NOT AS SIMPLE AS YOU MAY THINK as renewable energy is only intermittent electricity from breezes and sunshine and NEITHER wind turbines, nor solar panels, can manufacture direct energy for society. Climate change may impact humanity but being mandated to live without the products manufactured from oil, will necessitate lifestyles being mandated back to the horse and buggy days of the 1800’s and could be the greatest threat to the planet's eight billion residents.

Everything that needs electricity, from lights, vehicles, iPhones, defibrillators, computers, telecommunications, etc., are all made with the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil. There would be nothing to power in a world without fossil fuels!



Banks and investment giants that are driving today’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) divesting in fossil fuels are all the rage on Wall Street to divest in all three fossil fuels of coal, natural gas, and crude oil. It is appalling that both President Biden and the United Nations support allowing the investment community to collude to reshape economies and our energy infrastructure.

Before divesting in all three fossil fuels of coal, natural gas, and crude oil, where is the replacement or clone for crude oil, to keep today’s societies and economies running in the healthy and wealthy developed countries?

--By Ronald Stein Pulitzer Prize nominated author, and Policy advisor for The Heartland Institute on Energy

Post Date: 2022-08-04 11:11:54Last Update: 2022-08-04 11:30:58


Out of Lockstep Prepares to Launch in Sioux Falls
Immersive Art Exhibit Tells the Story of "The Rest of Us"

“It feels like the whole paradigm of the world has shifted, changed gear, got colder and less unified....we are further from solving any global issues as love is being diminished daily, nothing left to trust in when your fellow man treats you like a pariah....” –Mollixillom, Australia

“The effects could be seen everywhere in the street. Especially when it came to Venezuelan refugees in the streets of Colombia, you could tell the situation was now much worse for them.” –Po, Columbia

“I no longer think the majority of people are good. I don't want to have friends anymore. I don't trust people. I can't believe how easily people have been brainwashed. After the Traffic Light System came into effect, I started having suicidal thoughts. I didn't want to live in this world anymore.” –Martz, New Zealand

“I believe the effects, psychologically and physically in people, has not hit us full force yet but god help us when it does,” –Jacob, Northern Ireland, UK

Out of Lockstep has been collecting pandemic stories and photographs from all over the world since February 2022. These stories will be featured in an immersive art installation along with other artistic representations of the pandemic zeitgeist – how the media stoked fear, what people were told to think and not think, what the effects on individual people were, and how we can find unity, resilience, and healing together. The exhibit will feature a variety of media elements and engage multiple senses through sound design, lighting, visual art, and interactivity.

Submissions for Out of Lockstep are open to anyone in the world who wishes to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, regardless of their background or political positions. Ameris Poquette, the Creative Director of Out of Lockstep hopes that “this project helps to bridge the gap between pro-mask and anti-lockdown movements, but I would settle for increased visibility around this issue and prompting important conversations. I’m excited to start a conversation, but even more so, I’m excited to tell the stories of many who were ignored or censored during the pandemic and mandates.”



However, some have been reluctant to share their stories with Out of Lockstep because they feel that it would contribute to an anti-lockdown message. While the project was initially conceived as a response to lockdown policies, the goal is to share a wide range of stories from different viewpoints in the same place, allowing the viewer to make their own decision. “When Anna explained the concept behind Out of Lockstep, I knew it had to happen,” Poquette explains. “While the construction of the actual exhibit presents its challenges, the biggest challenge to this project is perception. We’ve been programmed by the media into a binary of thought, prompting many to call this an anti-vax or right-wing project. Many seem to have lost the independent thought necessary to appreciate and consider a project like this in the spirit in which it is presented.”

Even among those who were against lockdowns and mandates, there is trepidation over losing friends, creating family conflicts, and attracting the attention of authorities. Several members of a Chinese subreddit who were invited to participate declined due to their concern that the CCP was trying to gather intelligence. While it may be easy to imagine this happening in China, the response from several members of an anti-lockdown Facebook group based in New York was eerily similar. Poquette described how her friend who is enrolled in art school in New York City expressed an interest in getting involved with creating pieces for Out of Lockstep, but decided against it due to fears of being kicked out of school for her participation. That same friend joked about how she “lost all her friends in the pandemic… but they are still alive!”

With these concerns in mind, people working on and submitting stories to Out of Lockstep have been given the option to remain anonymous. This means that some portraits will be done in an abstract style that captures the essence of the story while also being unrecognizable. It also means that some artists are working under pseudonyms, such as one Australian musician who refused to reveal even his first name out of fear of his government. “To succeed in our mission of giving a voice to those who were silenced, we have to protect their safety,” said John Healy, the project’s executive producer.



When asked about the divided political climate and how that could affect how Out of Lockstep will be received by the general public, Poquette answered, “It’s going to be a controversial piece. The point is to get people thinking, present them with facts, and allow them to come to their own conclusions. I believe this project will be appreciated by people on both the left and the right, so long as they are willing to consider the message.”

“The timing is also crucial,” Healy added. “While the pandemic is a contentious topic for many people today, it will become less so over time as people continue to heal.”

Out of Lockstep is inviting creative professionals to join the project and continues to collect stories from the public. The exhibition is expected to open in Sioux Falls in 2023.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Anna Cole, Associate Editor

Post Date: 2022-08-04 09:00:00Last Update: 2022-08-07 21:36:17


Graphic Documentary Honors Lives Altered, Lost and Devalued in Wake of Pandemic
“Their struggle, their pain, their deaths deserve to be acknowledged for what they are — the result of medical malfeasance, regulatory corruption and societal ‘mass formation’ insanity driven by media fearmongering and outright lies.” - Dr Joseph Mercola

“A common thread in these stories is the consistent dismissal by the medical community. Even in cases where the doctors do suspect a COVID jab injury, they still have no idea how the symptoms are caused or how to treat them, so they just send the victims home. Successful treatments appear to be extremely rare, which adds insult to injury,” stated Dr. Joseph Mercola.

The medical community is unifying and speaking out after alarming information has come to light. Many are now calling on lawmakers to pump the breaks on childhood covid shots, after disparities between clinical trial results, and documents submitted to the FDA, for the Emergency Use Authorization, show malfeasance. Approval for, never before used biologicals, was granted by the FDA to combat COVID-19. However, after FOIA requests were compelled by court order, it is now understood that both Pfizer and Moderna withheld vital information from their clinical studies, when presenting benefits vs risk to the FDA.[Full Report]

According to an analysis of the Pfizer documents, Robert W. Chandler, M.D., M.B.A shares, "but [the shot] did not all stay in the deltoid muscle. From the injection site in the deltoid muscle, mRNA/ Lipid Nanoparticles appeared in blood and plasma fifteen minutes after injection and persisted for the entire duration of the two-day study..."The major tissues that contained the drug concentration, aside from muscle at the injection site, were identified as being the liver, spleen, adrenal glands, and ovaries. The drug persisted in tissues throughout the duration of the study. The meaning and potential implications of the persistence in tissues was not addressed."



Dr Noami Wolf, via Daily Clout has covered the release of the FDA FOIA documents, and revelations that have come from hidden clinical trial evidence. Of particular concern, was the revelation that the shots created for children, contained 100 micro grams of mRNA, twice the level considered to be toxic during clinical trails.

According to
Indiana based life insurance company OneAmerica, the death rate is up a stunning 40% from pre-pandemic levels among working-age people.

“We are seeing, right now, the highest death rates we have seen in the history of this business – not just at OneAmerica,” the company’s CEO Scott Davison said during an online news conference. “The data is consistent across every player in that business.”

According to Dr. Lindsay Weaver, Indiana’s chief medical officer, "the number of hospitalizations in the state is now higher than before the COVID-19 vaccine was introduced a year ago, and in fact is higher than it’s been in the past five years," Dr. Weaver stated during a news conference with Gov. Eric Holcomb.

On June 17, 2022,
the FDA approved the Pfizer and Moderna shots for children 6 months of age and up. However, a recent survey from The Kaiser Family Foundation, shows that 43% of parents of children 6 months to 4 years old will “definitely not” get them vaccinated. Another 13% say they will only vaccinate their child if required to do so for school or daycare. Less than 4% of parents have vaccinated their children 6 months to 4 years old.

Parents, and even
college students are now saying they will leave public schools, and universities, rather than face vaccine mandates. With various social factors effecting public school enrollment, some say this could end up being the last line in the sand for parents, and a major issue for public school funding going forward.

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor and Health Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-08-02 11:49:10Last Update: 2022-08-03 13:14:12


Is Excellent Customer Service a Lost Art ?

Most adults grew up starting out in life working customer service jobs. That was the first thing kids learned after mastering how to ride a two-wheel bike and tying their own shoes. Customer service became the foundation for all their future careers, a financial starting point, and important lessons of interactions with customers, co-workers, clients, employers, and the public. Excellent customer service has always been the main driver of a business’ revenue. But what is happening in Sioux Falls?

As one shops around town in Sioux Falls and interacts with businesses on the phone, it’s become more and more noticeable that this valuable skill is nearly null and void, almost a lost art. Yet, the lack of good customer service may not always be the employee’s fault - let’s face it- unless employees are utilizing their own learned “common-sense” skills and “thinking outside the box”, the employer should still be providing customer service training to all new hires. Also, they should be providing ongoing customer service workshops and opportunities to existing employees so they can graduate to the next financial level. The employer’s #1 most important and valuable lesson is to…

Invest in Your Employees with the Proper Tools and Training!

Because most employers are not investing in their employees with the proper tools of customer service training. If they are expected to learn as they go, this sets them up for failure. Are they learning any new habits, good customer service phone skills, coworker non-bullying tactics, how to count back change, are they encouraged to cross train - so they become more valuable? If you answered ‘No’ to any of the above or you honestly don’t know, then that’s where the breakdown begins. The loss of customers and high employee turnover is on the business owner/employer not the employee.



Employers / Business Owners - Heed this Warning!

All employers and managers should inspect what they expect. Be alert and aware of ‘what’ your employee says to your customer and ‘how’ they say it -either in person or on the phone. This will determine your profits, return customers, new future customers, and help in avoiding the high cost of rehiring/retraining staff all over again!

If You Are Still Not Clear, Then Ask Yourself These Questions…

Question: When was the last time Human Resources (HR), management, or corporate checked the cost of the new hire on-boarding/orientation process to include drug testing?

Question: Is HR providing any mock customer service workshops or phone scripts?

Question: What can big corporations or small business do to fix their crumbling customer service dilemma and retain valuable employees?

Question: Is your HR and the hiring manager(s) keeping their promise or are their hours cut after on-boarding?

Question: What else are you doing to retain your employee -if raises are not an option? Answer: Click on this link to Ask Mare! Write to me, I’m here with a few solutions that may help save time/money.

--Ask Mare

Post Date: 2022-08-02 11:33:44Last Update: 2022-08-02 11:49:10


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