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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.



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--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."

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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
puc.sd.gov.



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.

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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?

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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.

CONTINUE READING HERE...


--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.

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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.



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--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


--SDPB

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."

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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?

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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
stateseven colonies – got together all of the time to solve problems throughout US history in order to solve problems?

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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.

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"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.

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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."

This
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."

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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.

Many
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.



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--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.

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"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

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.

DROUGHT

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).

HIGH COST OF INPUT

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.

HOW HAY IMPACTS FOOD SECURITY

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.

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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."

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"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.

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*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.



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--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.



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--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.

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“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."



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--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:

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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.

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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.

SITE DESCRIPTION: LAND USE AND COMPREHENSIVE PLAN ANALYSIS:

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.

Sincerely,

South Dakota Freedom Caucus

REMOTE MEETING LINK HERE.



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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.



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--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.

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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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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.”

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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."

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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.



We are a member supported publication. Please consider a monthly donation to help us continue South Dakota based policy news!

--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.

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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.



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--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.”

CONTINUE READING HERE...

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.

Now,
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.

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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.



The Dakota Leader is Member Supported! We Cannot Do This Work Without Your Financial Support! If you cannot afford to donate, please make sure to share our content by clicking the links below. Thank you

--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.

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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.”


--SDEA

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.

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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.

CDC
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

    


DEUCES CASINO PLANNING MAJOR CASINO IN SOUTHERN SIOUX FALLS, SD
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?"

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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.

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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).

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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)

CONTINUE READING THE ARTICLE HERE....
--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]

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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.

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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.

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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?

Furthermore,
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.

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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.

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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.



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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

    


THE HISTORY OF THE LONG LOST SECOND ISLAND ON THE BIG SIOUX RIVER
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.

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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.

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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

    


Policy Maker’s Op-Ed “TAX BREAKS FOR SOUTH DAKOTANS”
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.

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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



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--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!

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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.”

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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

    


“Lucky Thirteen” – A List of Thirteen Gas Saving Tips!

1. Never pump when the fuel truck is refilling. As doing so, causes air to fill in the tank and will result in less fuel per fill.

2. Never top off. That will cause added air in the tank.

3. Never gas up when the ground is HOT.

4. Keep the tank full, and gas up before your tank reaches the half-way point. I know that’s hard now, but payout will be less.

5. Use Premium when possible; this costs a bit more but you will get better gas mileage.

6. Keep tires inflated properly. This saves gas, and each tank will go farther due to the added efficiency.

7. Keep the trunk empty! Added weight lowers fuel efficiency.

8. Maintain the vehicle; change out air filters, use high grade oil, and keep wheels aligned.

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9. When traveling on the freeway; keep steady speed at 65 mph. Do not speed or continually accelerate. Use the cruise control when safe to do so.

10. Plan out errands and routes to avoid backtracking and unnecessary driving.

11. Avoid excessive acceleration and abrupt stops. This creates wear-and-tear on the foot brake and may cause you to be rear ended. To save on gas and brakes, try this… When approaching an intersection - about 100 yards in advance – start early to slow the vehicle by letting off the accelerator (gas pedal) let the car/truck slow on its own and upon approach of the stop light, apply the foot break gently, and gradually come to a safe stop. No need to race up to the light, or the car ahead of you in line, only to slam on the brakes.

12. Do not leave the car/truck on idle for long periods of time.

13. Use the air conditioner only when needed, this can help reduce fuel consumption by 5-20%.

Let me know how you’re doing, click HERE to Ask Mare.

Enjoy the ride!

-Mare
--Ask Mare

Post Date: 2022-08-02 11:12:13Last Update: 2022-08-02 11:33:44

    


Freedom Caucus Urges Tax Breaks for South Dakotans
Press-Release SD Freedom Caucus

Pierre, S.D. (Aug 1, 2022) – Governor Kristi Noem recently announced a $115.5 million state budget surplus, and today the South Dakota Freedom Caucus responded to that announcement in a public statement calling on Governor Noem to give the money back to the citizens.

“South Dakota has nearly a half a billion dollars in reserves,” said Freedom Caucus Representative Tina Mulally, who also serves on the House Appropriations Committee, “and this is not the time for the state to be hording money when people are struggling to fill up their gas tanks or buy groceries.”

The $115.5 million surplus was transferred into the state budget reserves, which now totals $422.6 million dollars.

Governor Noem claimed in a recent press release that the large reserves are a positive sign of the state’s economic conditions and will help with the economic uncertainty caused by the 40-year highs in inflation, which she says is being caused “by the Biden Administration’s heavy spending.” Governor Noem said in another public statement that she intends for the state to “spend taxpayer money wisely and responsibly,” and has publicly cautioned against “a reduction in our state’s tax structure.”

But the South Dakota Freedom Caucus sees the large reserves as a clear sign of over-taxation and reckless spending priorities by the Noem administration.

“The Governor and her legislative allies need to remember this isn’t our money,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Aaron Aylward, “it’s the people’s money that we’ve been entrusted for their benefit, not to hold on to or horde when people need it the most.”

The South Dakota Freedom Caucus further pointed to expenditures totaling over $5 million under the Noem administration, which the Freedom Caucus publicly stated are “wasteful and unnecessary expenditures,” including the: Governor’s new private jet; Governor Mansion security wall & redecoration costs; a personal tv media studio; and a still undisclosed amount of taxpayer funds that were spent on political campaign related activities.

“Using public money for personal benefit, is not wisely spent taxpayer money,” said Mulally, “when the public never sees the benefit.”

The South Dakota Freedom Caucus intends to make the issue a priority at the upcoming 2023 legislative session, which starts January 10, 2023.

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--SD Freedom Caucus

Post Date: 2022-08-01 09:54:56Last Update: 2022-08-01 10:02:36

    


Cautiously Optimistic- South Dakota’s Finances and the Future
Press-Release Gov. Kristi Noem

July 22, 2022

Earlier this week, the State of South Dakota closed the financial books for fiscal year 2022 with a record-breaking $115.5 million surplus. This historic surplus was a combination of revenues unexpectedly being $72.3 million above what was adopted by the legislature this past session and the general fund budget for state government operations having expenses $43.2 million less than budgeted.

For starters, the growth in our revenues reaffirms the strength of our state’s economy. South Dakota’s personal income growth led the nation again in the first quarter of 2022, and we have been a leader in this metric since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. People continue to move to South Dakota as our net inbound migration was ranked second in the nation. South Dakota’s 2.3% unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation and lower than before the pandemic. For their part, state agencies displayed tremendous fiscal responsibility throughout the year and, at my direction, brought state expenses in under the appropriated budget.

While this surplus may lead individuals to call for a reduction in our state’s tax structure, I offer a word of caution. Our state is in a great financial position thanks to our structurally balanced budget and strong reserves, but we must be prepared to weather any economic storm that may come our way. It will be difficult for our state to maintain the unprecedented growth as our citizens struggle with the highest inflation in 40 years.

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Over the past few years, the national economy has been artificially supported by the trillions of dollars that Congress provided to states, businesses, and individuals because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was a predictable one: historic inflation. Until President Biden reverses the policies that have caused inflation to skyrocket, the strain of inflation will continue to be an obstacle to South Dakota’s fantastic growth. There will come a time when our economy is no longer boosted by these stimulus dollars, and we must be prepared for the impact that will have on our state’s finances.

In addition to an unknown economic climate, there are key investments our state needs to continue to make in education, healthcare, public safety, and our state workforce. As many of your wallets have felt the impact of inflation, our state’s budget will also feel this increase.

As always, we will turn these challenges into opportunities for South Dakota to continue to thrive. We will spend taxpayer dollars wisely and responsibly and save where we can. South Dakota is financially stronger than ever. I am committed to ensuring our state continues to invest in our people, workforce, and infrastructure while continuing to have as low of a tax burden as possible.


--Governor Kristi Noem

Post Date: 2022-07-26 11:53:15Last Update: 2022-07-26 12:02:15

    


SCOTUS Will Soon Determine Election Authority, Democrats Race to Add New Justices
Do State Legislature’s have the Sole Authority to Create Rules Considering Federal and State Elections?

The U.S Supreme Court will soon hear North Carolina Supreme Court v the North Carolina General Assembly, case related to Article 2, Section 2-5 of the constitution. The question before the high court is a constitutional matter, related to the State of North Carolina. The general assembly has alleged that the State Court superseded its authority by nullifying the legislature's decision on redistricting based upon future, federal and state districts, per the 2020 Federal Census.

The U.S Constitution specifically gives full authority to the numerous State Legislatures, the very bodies to whom directly represent American Citizens of the several State Republics. The only delegated power given to Congress, is to ensure the proper process is being followed within all Fifty (50) States. Each state has the sovereign right to adopt their own election laws, rules, and procedures regarding time, place, and manner.

The argument being stated in
Supreme Court Case #21-1271 is a pending controversy between the North Carolina Supreme Court and the North Carolina General Assembly. The court overruled, or "nullified" the legislature's facts, findings, and decision on how to align the state, by means of redistricting. The North Carolina General Assembly states that it waited for more than twelve months in obtaining the 2020 U.S Census. Then per the state constitution, held public hearings, allowing all citizens of the state to participate in redrawing their district boundaries, while debating various proposals from the redistricting committee.

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Article 2, Section 1 lays out the entire process of how federal elections for the President and Vice President shall be constructed, while emphasizing the fact the State Legislature's have the sole, direct, authority in adopting laws, rules, and procedures for how to govern that process. This includes aligning the state in federal districts, and establishing rules and procedures for how to elect the presidential electors. It's also important to note that this section outlines rules regarding time, place, and manner of voting, to ensure that only 'born citizens' of the state, who are properly vetted, domiciled, and registered, can vote in the federal election.

By bringing this matter to the U.S Supreme Court, the North Carolina General Assembly asserts the following,

"TO THE HONORABLE JOHN G. ROBERTS, JR., CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES AND CIRCUIT JUSTICE FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT: The federal constitution expressly provides that the manner of federal elections shall “be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.” U.S. CONST. art. I, § 4. Yet barring this Court’s immediate intervention, elections during the 2022 election cycle for the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina will be conducted in a manner prescribed not by the State’s General Assembly but rather by its courts. “The Constitution provides that state legislatures”—not “state judges”— “bear primary responsibility for setting election rules,” Democratic Nat’l Comm. v. Wisconsin State Legislature, 141 S. Ct. 28, 29 (2020) (Gorsuch, J., concurring in denial of application to vacate stay), and this Court should intervene to protect the Constitution’s allocation of power over this matter of fundamental importance to our democratic system of government."



Per the landmark Supreme Court case cited, Democratic Nat'l Committee v Wisconsin State Legislature

"Elections must end sometime, a single deadline supplies clear notice, and requiring ballots be in by election day puts all voters on the same footing. 'Common sense, as well as constitutional law, compels the conclusion that the government must play an active role in structuring elections,' and States have always required voters 'to act in a timely fashion if they wish to express their views in the voting booth.'"

In Democratic Nat'l Committee v Wisconsin State Legislature, the Supreme Court upheld that the State's Legislature has the sole authority to adopt election laws, rules, and procedures, and to officially establish a firm 'date' of which the presidential election is to be held on, and ballots collected by. The court further asserts that this authority shall not be delegated to the courts, without express permission or request from the legislature.

The North Carolina General Assembly, by this request to the U.S Supreme Court, asked for and was granted preliminary relief, ahead of the 2022 Elections. This preliminary relief may now give the state enough time to adopt rules and procedures for the looming elections, and resolve potential controversies ahead of the 2024 Presidential Election. However, there are still arguments to be heard that could shape the future of the country via precedent.

Pending Arguments to be Heard:
  1. Does the North Carolina Court have authority to strike down, change, or deny the State Legislature of adopting newly aligned voting districts?
  2. Did the North Carolina Court have the right to rule in favor of a private political group, honoring their request to strike down a law adopted by the legislature?
  3. Does a state court have the authority to compel the state legislature to report remedies or data used to determine the process of re-districting?
  4. Is it constitutional for a state court to further delegate authority, as the North Carolina Court has done, when appointing political scientists to determine proper procedure of district alignment?
At stake, pending this Supreme Court Case, is the matter of who has the "authority" to govern, manage, and set the laws regarding Federal and State Elections.

There is no doubt that Supreme Court Case #21-1271, will play a huge role in determining how future Federal and State Elections will proceed going forward. This single case has the potential to reshape the future of the country. Stakes are currently so high, that Democrats have unveiled a plan to stack the Supreme Court with four new Supreme Court Justices, in an effort to overrule the current majority.

Our democracy is under assault, and the Supreme Court has dealt the sharpest blows.

To restore power to the people, we must
#ExpandTheCourt.

That's why I'm introducing the Judiciary Act of 2021 with @RepJerryNadler, @RepHankJohnson, and @SenMarkey to add four seats to SCOTUS. https://t.co/iW0hlmIpwk

— Rep. Mondaire Jones (@RepMondaire) April 15, 2021


With allegations of fraud and abuse during past elections, many believe it is now more important than ever, to reassure the American public that the election process can be trusted. Election security is vital to prevent violent uprisings like January 6th, and also reaffirm trust in our democratic republic.

As Senator Amy Klobuchar reminded, in the aftermath of violent events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, we have “a republic,” but only “if we can keep it.”



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-07-25 10:42:36Last Update: 2022-07-25 12:38:55

    


Gov. Noem Challenges Smith's Political Capital
Playing Politics with Life

Current Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, may have used the issue of abortion to challenge her November opponent. Representative Jamie Smith (D- Sioux Falls), who is running against Noem this November, recently held a press conference ahead of a July 24, 2022 scheduled special session, to share legislative concepts from the Democratic party. Although Noem cancelled the special session on Friday, July 15, it is believed that her administration was made aware of her opponent's intentions for the following Monday. Now insiders are speculating that Noem is playing politics with life, by placing the matter of a special session, firmly in the hands of the Democratic party.

During the press conference, Smith described Democratic party policy proposals as, “common-sense solutions” with “bi-partisan support.” It's now rumored, within political circles, that Noem has cancelled the special session in order to challenge Smith's ability to unify both sides of the aisle.

If Democrats and Republicans unite behind Smith, and wish to hold a special session, the legislature can call a special session any time between now and November 1, 2022. Smith would also need to unify bicameral leadership support, gaining two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. If successful of convincing his peers to call a special session, Smith could prove impressive leadership skills to voters.

The State Constitution under Article 3, Section 31 - allows for the South Dakota Legislature, giving to it, the authority to call forth a special session anytime it so chooses to discuss matters public interest.

"Convening of special sessions upon petition. In addition to the provisions of Article IV, § 3, the Legislature may be convened in special session by the presiding officers of both houses upon the written request of two-thirds of the members of each house. The petition of request shall state the purposes of the session, and only business encompassed by those purposes may be transacted."

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As reported by Dakota News reporter Kesia Cameron, regarding the press conference held on July 18, the South Dakota Democrat Party made several bold statements.

“We are also willing and able to work with our Republican colleagues to find common ground on these issues,” said Smith, as he released the legislative concepts House Democrats planned to submit during the special session. Further adding, “Among them, tax cuts for foster families and child care providers, funding for maternal health care, and proposed exceptions for rape and incest in South Dakota’s new trigger law.”

These statements run contrary to Noem's public policies to preserve, and protect the life of the unborn. Smith's vision for South Dakota also runs contrary to fiscally conservative principles of keeping taxes low, an issue that some say is at least honest.

"You might completely disagree with Jamie, but at least you know exactly where he stands, and exactly what you're going to get," an insider disclosed to The Dakota Leader.

The Democrat Party of South Dakota has now boldly placed itself out front and center, disclosing full intentions to take on the fights for legal Abortion, Medicaid Expansion, and Social Services as their leading issues.

Representative Linda Duba, a rising star within the South Dakota Democrat Party, stated

“This is not a political issue, this is a people issue. It doesn’t matter where you sit on both sides of the aisle, this is a major concern that we’ve had, one of our, our bodily autonomy rights taken away and we have no exceptions, other than the health of the mother and that is not very clearly defined.”

However, with Kristi Noem's strong position of maintaining women's rights in the work place, to protecting females in the bathroom and in sports, this fight for women's rights will ultimately boil down to ideological lines this November. For now, it remains to be seen if Smith has the political clout to unify both parties and both chambers of the legislature, needed to govern this state.
--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-07-22 12:12:47Last Update: 2022-07-22 10:55:31

    


OP-ED- Poorer Countries Have Lower Costs for Gasoline
The wealthy countries that have chosen to go “green” have the highest cost of gasoline and electricity.

The political class's obsession within wealthy countries to lower emissions by subsidizing expensive and utterly unreliable breezes and sunshine to generate electricity, and divesting in fossil fuels, have already put the cost of electrical power and fuel out of the reach of the poorest in the developed first world countries.

The healthy and wealthy countries of the United States of America, Germany, the UK, and Australia representing 6 percent of the world’s population (505 million vs 7.8 billion) could literally shut down, and cease to exist, and the opposite of what you have been told and believe will take place. Emissions will be exploding from those poorer developing countries.

Simply put, in these healthy and wealthy countries, every person, animal, or anything that causes emissions to harmfully rise could vanish off the face of the earth; or even die off, and global emissions will still explode in the coming years and decades ahead over the population and economic growth of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, and Africa.

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Richer countries now have higher gasoline prices, while poorer countries and countries that produce and export oil have lower cost for fuels. A review of global petroleum gasoline prices per gallon in U.S. dollars shows the international intelligence and trends of gasoline prices of the wealthy countries that have opted to go “green” at any cost, compared with poorer countries and countries that produce and export oil.



While gasoline nationwide is at or near all-time highs, California gasoline prices tend to be more than a dollar higher than the USA national average due to excessive State taxes and costly environmental compliance programs, which are dumped onto the posted pricing at the pumps.

When we look outside the few wealthy countries, we see that at least
80 percent of humanity, or more than six billion in this world are living on less than $10 a day, and billions living with little to no access to electricity, politicians are pursuing the most expensive ways to generate intermittent electricity. Energy poverty is among the most crippling but least talked- about crises of the 21 st century. We should not take energy for granted. Expensive electricity and fuels are being borne by those that can least afford living in “energy poverty.”

Before Biden became President, for the first time since Harry Truman was president 70 years ago, we had more crude oil exports than imports. Through the fracking boom in the years before Biden, the U.S. attained crude oil independence status meaning we were no longer held hostage to unstable Petro-powers and the vagaries of foreign energy supplies. Under President Trump, America had an aggressive pro-domestic energy policy, which allowed America to become not only energy independent, which politicians have talked about for decades, but energy dominant.

Rather than expand oil exploration in America to restore America’s oil independence, President Biden is focused on ridding America of fossil fuels, and is off to visit OPEC nations seeking more oil exports to America. The USA was an oil exporter before Biden took office, but under Biden’s direction, this wealthy country now IMPORTS crude oil from unfriendly foreign countries to meet the demands of the American economy.

California, a state that was virtually independent of imported crude oil from foreign countries in 1995, today is the only state in contiguous America that imports oil, now at more than 60 percent of the needs of the fifth largest economy in the world. At today’s price of crude oil well above $100 per barrel the imported crude oil costs California more than $150 million dollars a day, yes, every day, being paid to oil-rich foreign countries, depriving Californians of jobs and business opportunities, and drivers to pay premium prices for fuel.

Biden appears to be self-motivated to clone the direction that California has taken over the last few decades. Rather than significantly increase oil production in America, Biden is following California Governor Newsom’s efforts toward further reductions of in-state oil production and placing greater than the current more than 60 percent dependency on oil rich foreign sources, that also have significantly less environmental control than California. Newsom promotes more costs for Californians and more generated emissions for the world.

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The poorer countries that cannot subsidize themselves out of a paper bag, and the countries that produce and export oil, have lower costs for gasoline and may also be less incentivized to seek EV’s for their cost-effective transportation needs.

Shockingly, just to reduce emissions to supposedly stop climate change, President Biden is following the lead of Germany, UK, Australia, and California that now have among the highest costs for electricity and gasoline along inflation being borne by all.


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

Post Date: 2022-07-21 11:47:42Last Update: 2022-07-21 12:12:47

    


Sioux Falls Residents Treated to Pre-Biden Era Gas Prices Yesterday Afternoon
#TrueCosts #GetMorePayLess

The people of Sioux Falls, SD were ecstatic to receive some much-needed relief at the pump yesterday afternoon. Sinclair gas station on Potsdam Ave, partnered with Americans for Prosperity Tuesday afternoon to deliver $2.38* gallon gas, roughly the price of gasoline prior to Biden taking office. Cars lined-up and wrapped around the gas station, waiting to fill-up, while volunteers with Americans For Prosperity handed out water bottles and policy leaflets.



The event was hosted in an attempt to educate the public on various policy reforms, that once implemented, "would reduce inflation, lower gas prices and make life affordable for all Americans."

The campaign titled, The True Cost of Washington, launched in May, and is touring the country in hopes of educating Americans on the driving factors of inflation, along with solution strategies.

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Melody Seney, the general manager of Sinclair on Potsdam Ave, has worked for the station for 18 years. Seney tells The Dakota Leader that gas prices have increased daily, and in her 18 years of working with Sinclair, she's never seen prices this high. Sinclair was bought out by CCFS retail and Harms oil company last year, and offers competitive pricing with ethanol renewable blends, produced in South Dakota.

"I'm proud to serve our community like this," Seney tells TDL. "I've been here for 18 years because it's a great company to work for."

Sentiments expressed by employees, run contrary to the Biden Administration's narrative of greedy gas station owners. Biden recently tweeted,

My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril.

Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.

— President Biden (@POTUS) July 2, 2022


However, gas station owners are hardly in control according to Mike Bailey, chair of the Wyoming Petroleum Marketers board of trustees. Bailey states, "contrary to the public’s perception — and perhaps the president’s — gas station owners’ price setting flexibility and profit margins are limited."

In a statement, Jeff Lenard V.P of Strategic Industry Initiatives for the National Association of Convenience Stores, (a global trade association for convenience stores and fuel retailers) wrote that fuel retailers see closer to .10 - .15 cents per gallon in profit, as opposed to public perception of nearly 2.00 per gallon. The majority of these cost at the pump go towards state and federal taxes. Experts explain that government, not private industry, is actually the largest benefactor of fuel sales.

Additionally, operating costs are increasing with inflation, and only a select few seem to be benefiting most. With the closure of the Keystone XL pipeline, created originally to
decrease America's dependence on "dirty crude" from Venezuela, Warren Buffet's BNSF Railway has been the largest beneficiary of the closure. BNSF is currently picking up the slack in the wake of the Keystone XL closure.



But it's more than just the closure of pipelines and refineries. Everything from
ESG Scores (Environmental Social Governance Scores), taking place of traditional FICO scores and hindering U.S oil production, to the increase of taxes, and supply shortages are impacting the costs of fuel today.

Sioux Falls resident Bob Muhf, says he's just glad to see the return of gas prices to where they aught to be, even if it's only for a few short hours. Muhf who drives a pick-up truck, says he's paying in excess of $100.00 per fill-up these days. Yesterday however, Muhf was happy to pay $35.00 dollars total to fill his truck. "I'm going to take advantage of the cost while I can," Muhf told The Dakota Leader.

Lisa Nolen of South Dakota Americans For Prosperity, says that 62 percent of American households believe their income has fallen behind due to inflation, with another 83 percent of voters citing hardships due to increased costs. "Our goal is to see good, bi-partisan policies that benefit all Americans," Nolen says. "Inflation is costing the average American household $430 per month — essentially an additional tax of $5,200 this year," Nolen shared.

Volunteers spoke with many waiting in line to fill up yesterday. Stories of hardship, loss, and frustration were shared, but mainly people said that if gas prices were lower again, that money would be going to feed their families, or paying bills.

Americans For Prosperity, on its website, says that the American Dream is still attainable with common sense policy reform. To review the full list of policy ideas, and solutions to bring back prosperity,
visit the AFP website here.

*Editor's note- A prior version of this article incorrectly stated gas at $2.34 cents. The correct amount was $2.38, and has since been updated.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-07-20 09:35:20Last Update: 2022-07-21 11:46:50

    


CDC Exodus After CV-19, Now Harming LGBTQ Community As Monkey Pox Spreads
“Blame Health Authorities for Monkeypox Spread, Not Queer Men”

A mass exodus at the CDC, and even the FDA are fueling concerns for the LGBTQ community as monkey pox rates increase. According to Dr Marty Makary M.D., M.P.H. and Tracy Beth Høeg M.D., Ph.D., doctors and scientists at the top levels of the NIH, FDA and CDC are frustrated, exasperated and alarmed about the direction of the agencies, to which they have devoted their careers.

Top level doctors and scientists at the NIH, and CDC are complaining of low morale and lower staffing. From a recently published Substack article by Doctors Høeg and Makary,

"The NIH’s Vaccine Research Center has had many of its senior scientists leave over the last year, including the director, deputy director and chief medical officer. 'They have no leadership right now. Suddenly there’s an enormous number of jobs opening up at the highest level positions,' one NIH scientist told us. (The people who spoke to us would only agree to be quoted anonymously, citing fear of professional repercussions.)"

Burn out and low morale within U.S regulatory agencies are now hampering proper education, testing and vaccine availability, which many are saying has a direct and negative impact upon the LGBTQ community.

According to Dr. Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist with UCLA, the "outbreak of Monkey Pox in the U.S was completely avoidable, but warning signs were ignored", she told NPR in a recent interview.

For those
aware of the AZT scandal, and Dr Anthony Fauci's sordid history of profits over people, it might come as no surprise that the same NIH, and CDC that authorized the use of minority foster children in Washington Heights, Boston, for medical experimentation, has yet again failed to protect marginalized communities.

Now,
on the heels of Pride Month, infections are popping up across the U.S..

According to the South Dakota Department of Health, the first case of Monkey Pox has been confirmed on July 14, 2022. Though the state is not disclosing exactly where the individual is from, or how he came into contact with the virus, the state did disclose that the individual is male, in his 30's and from eastern South Dakota.

State epidemiologist, Dr. Josh Clayton stated in a recent press release,

“The number of monkeypox cases has grown substantially over the past two months in the U.S. and globally." Adding that, “prompt identification of the characteristic monkeypox rash by patients and clinicians is necessary to curb the transmission of this virus, although more cases are anticipated before the number of new cases slows.”



While anyone can get Monkey Pox,
cases have occurred disproportionately in the gay community, amongst gay and bi-sexual men.

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Outrage, concerns and frustrations are being expressed within the LGBTQ+ community, as testing capabilities and vaccine supplies are limited.

Trevor Hoppe, who writes for Michigan based Pride Source,
stated in a July 13, 2022 op-ed,

"As it was for so many epidemics before this one, it seems like queer men are left holding the bag to fend for ourselves. And to be clear, nearly everyone contracting monkeypox right now is gay, bisexual, or a man who has sex with men (MSM). A recent report out of England showed that 151 out of 152 of the men interviewed with the disease were MSM. That doesn’t mean that the disease is “gay” or even that it is sexually transmitted — it means that the disease is spreading rapidly through our sexual networks."

This is only the most recent failing within our regulatory agencies, strained after what top scientists refer to as "the mishandling of COVID-19." The exodus of top scientists and doctors is leaving a vacuum in place of public health, now more concerned with what is politically appealing, rather than what is accurate or correct. Experts are expressing frustrations that education within the LGBTQ community, is taking a back seat to concerns over stigma, and political correctness.

In New York City, where the virus is spreading fastest,
NYC Council Member Erik Bottcher stated “This is yet another example of a public health failure. And consider what we just went through with COVID-19, we should be much more prepared.” Bottcher also criticized the CDC, saying it is failing the LGBTQ population, and the city of New York.

According to Dr. Marty Makary, who is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the author of The Price We Pay, and a medical advisor to Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, and Dr. Tracy Beth Høeg, an epidemiologist affiliated with The Florida Department of Health, colleagues used to be proud to say they worked at the CDC, now they're just embarrassed.

Dr Markary, and Dr Høeg share that officials complain their heads of agencies are using weak and flawed data to make critically important public health decisions. Decisions, they say are "being driven by what’s politically palatable to people in Washington or to the Biden administration," with a "myopic focus on one virus, instead of overall health.”



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

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

Post Date: 2022-07-20 09:10:06Last Update: 2022-07-20 08:53:59

    


Jamie Smith Holds Press Conference Regarding Canceled Special Session on Abortion

Sioux Falls, SD– On Monday, July 18th at 3:00pm, South Dakota Representative Jamie Smith held a press conference at EmBe to discuss proposed bills which would affect access to abortion in South Dakota. Jamie Smith is currently the Democratic candidate for governor and will be challenging Kristi Noem in November’s midterm election. He is also the current minority leader in the state house. Smith’s platform, outlined on his campaign website, expresses a desire for unity across the political aisle, economic growth, marijuana legalization, medicaid expansion, and pushing back against corruption in the state government.

Smith opened the press conference by acknowledging that, “for many in our state, the last month created uncertainty and confusion,” further stating that he wanted to "assure South Dakotans that their leaders are hard at work looking to find solutions to problems, and a plan for the future."

The House Democratic Caucus had planned to release several bills during a special session which has now been canceled. Smith described the bills as “common-sense solutions” with “bipartisan support” concerning maternal health and child welfare, including tax cuts for foster care, funding for maternal healthcare, and proposals for rape and incest exceptions in South Dakota’s trigger ban on abortions. He emphasized the need to find common ground with Republican lawmakers on these issues, in order to work together.

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The conference packet, provided at the press conference, outlines details regarding legislative concepts the Caucus intends to pursue;

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HB 1005 and HB 1006 would both expand healthcare coverage for pregnant mothers. HB 1005 would give pregnant minors, with the mental capacity to consent, the ability to access any medical procedure needed for prenatal care. Healthcare providers would still be required to make a reasonable attempt to obtain consent from parents and guardians. This could potentially enable minors who have been the victim of rape and/or incest to obtain an abortion if HB 1001 also passes, but would also cover any necessary healthcare to bring the pregnancy of a minor to term. HB 1006 would expand Medicaid coverage to mothers up to 180 days after they have given birth.

On Friday, July 15th, Kristi Noem canceled the proposed special session to discuss the details of South Dakota’s ban on abortion and proposals for how to support women and families, insisting that it was “unnecessary” to move forward with it. The cancellation of this special session, has prompted calls from both sides of the aisle, now seeking to "close the loopholes," and provide firmer legal boundaries codified in the state's statutes.

Noem had originally called for the special session to take place on June 24th, in response to the Supreme Court's ruling of
Dobbs v Jackson. In an interview with Laura Ingraham, Noem stated,

“In South Dakota, we had a trigger law already in statute. And what it said was that abortions would be illegal, except to save the life of a mother at the moment that Roe v. Wade was overturned. So as of today, that trigger law goes into effect. And we are focusing a lot on supporting mothers, on supporting individuals who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy or crisis situation and making sure that we’re connecting them to the resources that we have.”

Prior to Dobbs v Jackson taking effect, the last abortion clinic in South Dakota had closed its doors, in anticipation of the SCOTUS ruling. Kristi Noem has encouraged women and families to seek support through life.sd.gov, which connects clients with various resources and organizations that can help with prenatal care, financial assistance, adoption, and courses on parenting skills.

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--Anna Cole, Associate Editor

Post Date: 2022-07-20 09:00:00Last Update: 2022-07-20 09:20:01

    


Press-Release

PIERRE – A new three-digit dialing code, 988, will launch on Saturday in South Dakota connecting those experiencing mental health distress to compassionate, accessible care and support.

“Whether it is thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said South Dakota Department of Social Services Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. “People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.”

When South Dakotans call, text or chat 988, they’ll be quickly connected to trained crisis counselors who will listen to concerns, provide support and connect to additional resources as needed.

“There are urgent realities driving the need for crisis service transformation across our country,” said Helpline Center CEO Janet Kittams.

In 2020, Congress designated the new 988 dialing code to operate through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s (1.800.273.8255) network. The caring and professionally trained staff of the Helpline Center have been answering the Lifeline since 2005.

In South Dakota, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, but is the leading cause among ages 10-19. Additionally, drug related deaths in South Dakota have increased from 56 in 2011 to 84 in 2020.

“The Helpline Center, in collaboration with the South Dakota Department of Social Services, remains steadfast in our work to provide help and hope to individuals when its needed most,” Kittams said. “Please join us in sharing this important information about 988 and together we can continue to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction.”


--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-19 09:01:38Last Update: 2022-07-19 09:10:06

    


Speaker Nathan Shackelford of First Liberty


--Hosted by Patriot Ripple Effect

Post Date: 2022-07-15 09:41:11Last Update: 2022-07-15 08:30:34

    


Press- Release South Dakota Freedom Caucus

Pierre, S.D. (Jul 12, 2022) – Governor Noem has recently started to walk back a call for a special legislative session after her statement last month that there was “more work to do” to “save unborn lives in South Dakota.”

Now the South Dakota Freedom Caucus is calling on Governor Noem to keep her word to call the special legislative session, noting that numerous covert abortions are performed every year in South Dakota under the auspices of another medical treatment or procedure that can cause the abortion of an unborn child.

The SD Freedom Caucus pointed to dilation and curettage, or commonly referred to as a D & C, procedures that are done to remove abnormal cells in the uterine lining, noting that this was a common practice to perform covert abortions before 1973, when the Roe v. Wade decision made abortions legal.

“The recent Dobbs opinion was great,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Aaron Aylward, “because in South Dakota, it enacted an excellent pro-life trigger law, but now we need to close the loopholes.” Aylward noted that currently D & C procedures can be performed without any requirement for a preoperative pregnancy screening, allowing the procedure to be done without classifying it as an abortive procedure.

The South Dakota Freedom Caucus said in their release today that they have legislation ready to close these gaps and expand the legal protection of unborn children in South Dakota.

Vice-Chairman Representative Tony Randolph explained that additional legislation may be required in response to President Joe Biden’s recent Abortion Access Executive Order signed last week, stating “Governor Noem was right when she said that there is more work to do, and we look forward to working with her in this fight for the lives of our unborn citizens.”

No date for an emergency session has been set by Governor Kristi Noem.

###


About South Dakota Freedom Caucus

South Dakota Freedom Caucus is founded by elected officials who believe in freedom and liberty for the people of South Dakota. We are the voice of citizens who want bold action to protect life, strengthen families, defend our constitutional rights, limit government, and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in the state of South Dakota.


--SD Freedom Caucus

Post Date: 2022-07-15 08:32:47Last Update: 2022-07-15 08:46:13

    


Press-Release Council on American Islamic Relations

In 2021, CAIR received the highest number of civil rights complaints in our history. Fighting these violations in court is important, but that's not enough. We must prevent them from happening in the first place.

That’s why our mission to build understanding between communities, encourage civic engagement, and advocate for policy change is so critical. The results of the midterm elections and new laws passed by political leaders may have long-lasting effects on our lives as Americans.

Your voice matters. We are standing united in defense of faith and freedom alongside friends of all faith backgrounds. As we build our future together, we’re grateful to have you walking alongside us.

Thank you for standing with CAIR to advance justice for all Americans and people around the world, insha Allah.

With thanks,

Your CAIR team


--CAIR- Re-published by The Dakota Leader with Permission

Post Date: 2022-07-15 08:16:50Last Update: 2022-07-16 09:01:38

    


The other side of the story....

By Mike Zitterich July 14, 2022 -

The City of Sioux Falls voted to allow Paramedic Plus Ambulance Company to increase their rates by as much as 8.6% from a year ago. As per city ordinance, the city has the authority to enter into an exclusive right to contract with one company at one time, but with a growing city, and the cost of inflation, is this still an effective way to manage the service today?

According to South Dakota Codified Law, counties and cities can enter into as many agreements as necessary to provide to the residents the emergency services of using a local ambulance service.

"Any county or municipality may provide ambulance service and enter into agreements with other governmental subdivisions and with other persons for such services. Any county or municipality may appropriate funds for such purposes and may enter into an agreement with such other governmental subdivision or any competent person to furnish funds for such purposes on an annual basis as may mutually be agreed upon. The funds shall be paid to such person or political subdivision when a claim has been duly filed, audited, and allowed by the county or municipality. Any county or municipality may license and regulate persons providing such services." - SDCL 34-11-1

The law itself would allow for the City of Sioux Falls to not only enter into one contract with a specific company, but to also work in conjunction with, and to collaborate with, other subdivisions.

A deeper look however shows that a city ordinance, passed in 2007, only allows for the City to enter into one exclusive ambulance service at a time.

City ordinance 124.081, reads as follows:

"The city shall grant an exclusive franchise for providing ground ambulance transport services within the city as the official policy and regulatory scheme of the city for ground ambulance services."

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Trevor Mitchell of The Argus Leader, recently reported;

"The Sioux Falls City Council has approved an 8.6% increase in ambulance service rates for PatientCare EMS. The rate increase is required by contract as long as PCEMS hits benchmarks such as response times, which they did during the past 12 months. The increase is either 3%, or the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is higher.

Mitchell's report does not necessarily reflect the over-all viewpoints of the city council however, as certain members have told The Dakota Leader, they're beginning to second guess the 2007 ordinance.

Furthermore, the Argus Leader reported that Councilman Pat Starr was the only dissenting vote against the ordinance, quoting Starr as having stated, "the contract was bad for the city and worse for residents". Out of context, the statement alone does not reflect the overall viewpoints of the collective council, as the contract was agreed to prior to Mayor Paul TenHaken becoming mayor, and prior to many of the current city councilpersons having been elected.

Councilman Pat Starr told The Dakota Leader, "It's a bad deal for residents. Not only did the city agree to partake in exclusive rights to negotiate a contract with only one company, it had locked out all other ambulance companies such as Jay Masur's Med-Star Rescue Services."

In 2007, when the ordinance was created by previous city council members, the city entered into an arrangement that shut out competition in pricing. Since then, the ordinance has directly tied the hands of policy makers to follow.

Recently elected City Councilor, David Barranco confided to The Dakota Leader that the Argus story was frustrating to read. - "The Argus story gives readers the false impression that I don't care about the price increase. In reality, I'm upset that patient costs jumped, but there's no point throwing a temper tantrum. Big bureaucratic ships don't turn on a dime. Moving to a more efficient, productive model requires time and research. In the short-term, we can't risk any interruption of emergency services, and we must honor legal obligations," Barranco shared.

The current ordinance may have the hands tied of Mayor TenHaken, along with the current City Council. However, as the current City Charter Section 2.12 reads, the City Council has the right to agree to any such contract with any private or public organization.

It's worth noting that there are various ambulance services through the Sioux Empire. Between private companies, and rural township fire and rescue outfits, that could very easily help provide additional services within city-limits.

However, as David Barranco shared, the terms set forth in the contract, and in the manner the city code is written, in order to avoid disruption in ambulance services, they really had no choice but to give in to the 8.6% rate increase. Instead of an ordinance that utilizes the word "exclusive", is it possible to build an ordinance that uses the word "inclusive," opening the door to free market solutions?

As Barranco states, it will take time to solve, but for now the most important thing for the City Council and the Mayor is the interrupted services the residents of Sioux Falls depend upon.



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--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-07-14 09:26:26Last Update: 2022-07-14 11:41:11

    


Is it possible to subsidize the cost of co-pays, and premiums rather than expand single payer health?

By Staff Writer, Mike Zitterich July 14, 2022.

As the General Election approaches this coming November, the topic of Medicaid Expansion is heating up. Medicaid expansion will be on the November ballot, for every South Dakota voter to decide upon.

Overview of article;
  • The total tax revenues collected by the South Dakota Government over the course of a twelve month period.
  • The current budget for Social Services.
  • Estimated costs for expanding current Medicaid programs in South Dakota.
  • Cost vs Benefits of Medicaid Expansion.
According to the 2023 South Dakota Annual Budget, recommended by the Governor and adopted by South Dakota's Joint Appropriation Committee, during the 2022 legislative session, which ended on March 30, 2022;

The stated mission of "Social Services" is as follows-

"Strengthening and supporting individuals and families by promoting cost effective and comprehensive services in connection with our partners that foster independent and healthy families."

As per SDCL 1-36-37 of South Dakota Public Law -

"The Department of Social Services shall cooperate with and support each county in the development and maintenance of a statewide centralized resource information system accessible to any resident of this state. The resource information system shall be accredited by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems and shall provide information for and referrals to resources for a person in a crisis or disaster; resources for social services, human services, legal assistance, financial assistance, or for other related needs; and assistance for mental health, physical health, or substance abuse."

Within the State of South Dakota, Social Services is divided by nine sub-divisions, listed below:
  1. Administration
  2. Economic Assistance
  3. Medical Services
  4. Children Services
  5. Behavioral Health
  6. Board of Counseling Examiners
  7. Board of Psychology Examiners
  8. Board of Social Work Examiners
  9. Board of Addiction and Prevention
The Department itself has an annual stated budget for FY 2023 of over $2 billion dollars. While the State contributes roughly half of that figure in general taxes collected by the state, and appropriated by the legislature each year, the Federal Government contributes the rest.

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The State of South Dakota is projected to receive gross tax revenues of roughly $1,975,868,924 dollars from a collection of a variant list of public taxes paid of and by the citizens of the state. The list of taxes included are - Sales and Use Taxes, Lottery Taxes, Contractors Excise Tax, Insurance Company Tax, Unclaimed Property Receipts, Tobacco Taxes, Bank Franchise Tax, Other Misc-Taxes (paid by Game, Fish, Parks to the Building Authority, Board of Regents Lease Payments to the Building Authority), One-Time Receipts, Transfer from Budget Reserves, Obligated Cash Carried Forward Funds, and Prior Period Adjustments.

Currently, none of these listed taxes are derived from, or collected by, the Department of Transportation, Game, Fish, or Parks other than for recorded "lease payments" paid to the Building Authority.

With a growing number of people arguing that we must expand Medicaid in South South Dakota, fiscal conservatives are concerned that the costs outweigh the benefits. Currently half of the state budget goes towards social services ($1,975,868,924), while the other rough half goes towards education, it is well known that taxes will need to be increased in order to expand Medicaid in South Dakota.

Per the 2023 state budget, tax revenues will be spent between July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 as follows-
  • $1,179,349 to Social Services to encourage and promote and help Individuals and Families to foster independent and healthy families.
  • $106,954,255 to Social Service in the name of Economic Assistance which goes to help assist in supporting 'self sufficiency' of families, children, individuals, individuals, elderly, and persons with disabilities by providing to them medical, nutritional, and financial services.
  • $749,006,970 is directed to Social Services to provide medical assistance to eligible South Dakotans under Title XIX of the Social Security Act in order to provide access quality medical services.
  • $127,410,531 is directed to Social Services to provide parents financial means to support their children, to protect children by keeping children away from unsafe, harmful, neglected people.
  • $163,575,754 directed to Social Services to strengthen and support children in regards to Behavior Healthcare through prevention type services to foster healthy families.
  • $107,041 directed to Social Services to counsel families in order to keep and maintain quality marriages to keep families together.
  • $77,882 directed to Social Services to govern and manage the Psychology to foster better families by dealing with complaints.
  • $186,310 directed to Social Services to provide a foundation of managing addiction and prevention type services.
Slightly more than 50% of revenues come from federal taxes, collected through Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid Programs. This 15.3% tax, is paid by South Dakota taxpayers to the federal government each year, under "net adjusted taxable income."

A total Annual Budget of $2,324,000,000 billion is dedicated to South Dakota individuals, families, and children, with the stated purpose of "keeping families together, to provide healthcare services, food services, and to foster strong and independent families."

Total South Dakota tax revenues projected for 2023 are estimated at $1,975,868,924, or nearly 50% for social services.

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The anticipated cost of expanding Medicaid services, is expected to be an additional $301,800,000 (million) per-year. Over the first seven years, the Federal Government has promised to cover 90% of that expansion cost. After that time, the state would have to determine how to fund the program(s) going forward.

These figures do not include the state's Enterprise Funds, such as; the Department of Highway, or the Department of Game, Fish, and Parks—which collect most of their revenues from user fees. Nor do they include property taxes collected by the sixty-five counties within South Dakota, prior to appropriations to each school district, county, or municipality.

All together, the State of South Dakota has total tax revenues of roughly $4.5 billion dollars. Currently, the Federal Government is contributing another $5.0 billion towards federal programs, services, and institutions. The state is then obligated, or contracted to maintain and manage those federal programs, services, highways, etc. as outlined by the federal government's guidelines.

Some argue, that by taking money from the federal government, certain guidelines could supersede state laws, preventing actions such as Gov. Kristi Noem's trigger law on abortion. As recently witnessed with school lunch programs, and ARPA funds, requiring facilities to strictly adhere to transgender bathroom policies, and the CDC's COVID-19 guidelines.



According to The Legislative Research Council, the total annual increase for Medicaid Expansion is estimated at $301,800,000 million with 20 million of that coming from state tax increases.

Considering how the budget is currently appropriated, the state would have to either cut current programs, and services, like public education spending, teacher salaries etc. or quickly create and increase new, and existing taxes and fees.

Medicaid Expansion would allow an estimated 42,500 newly enrolled patients into the program.
According to "HowMuch," South Dakota has amongst the lowest health insurance rates in the nation, with some of the highest tax refunds. According to HealthPlans.org, monthly premiums in South Dakota start at 30.00 a month for Silver plans. Families with children receive larger tax rebates, and pay as little as 45.00 a month for a family of four, through the marketplace.

Conversely,
according to the HHS's (Health and Human Services) 2016 compilation of state data, regarding impacts of Medicaid Expansion, South Dakota's rate of uninsured individuals dropped by 2.2%, from 12.4% in 2010, to 10.2% in 2015. While 19,000 new people were eligible for Medicaid enrollment after the Obama-care Act passed, private employers in South Dakota insured an additional 449,000 (nearly half-a-million) new people.

Final Thoughts

Moving forward, South Dakota citizens will need to determine if Medicaid expansion is worth the costs associated.
In states that have already expanded their Medicaid programs, studies show that health outcomes are significantly lower, or unchanged, while disproportionately and negatively impacting the poorest, as the cost of private health insurance increases for everyone else. According to The Harvard Pilgrim, healthcare costs are on the rise due to chronic illness, and an aging population. Regardless of Medicaid Expansion passing this November, or not, bipartisan efforts are needed to find viable solutions to this long-term problem.

"Focusing on strengths is always important in social work. Studying and observing the problem rather than working with others toward a solution is a fruitless endeavor. Social workers conduct research, create strategies to resolve social issues and play their role as part of the solution." — Edward Everett Hale, U.S. author, historian, and clergyman, best remembered for his short story in support of the Union's Civil War effort, "A Man Without a Country"

Question for the audience- Is it possible for South Dakota Lawmakers to help subsidize co-pays and monthly premiums, for less than Medicaid Expansion would cost?



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--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-07-14 08:29:41Last Update: 2022-07-14 09:03:43

    


America has chosen to meet society’s demands for products by continually increasing supplies from foreign sources, but those choices are backfiring on the American economy.

Shortages of the following may be leading to the new norm of shortages and inflation:
  • Neon -the gas crucial to manufacturing electronic chips.
  • Urea – the ingredient to make the EPA required Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) additive for all diesel vehicles.
  • Refineries – projections of 20 percent closures over the next 5 years of these aging infrastructures will result in less manufacturing to meet growing demands.
  • Oil – The U.S. is following California to be totally dependent on foreign countries to meet the demands within its borders.
NEON

Neon is an important component in the lasers that etch semiconductors. Like krypton and xenon, it is a by-product of steel manufacturing. Steel producers separate air to control levels of oxygen and nitrogen delivered to the blast furnace. This involves the fractional distillation of liquid air.

Neon is important to the manufacture of semiconductor chips but is not present in the chips. It doesn’t directly touch the silicon during manufacturing. Neon helps make the deep ultraviolet (DUV) light used in the photolithographic process that patterns semiconductors. Neon plays a vital role in excimer lasers.

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Ukraine produces around 70 percent of global neon gas exports, and a purified version of that gas is so crucial to the semiconductor industry that the Russia-Ukraine war threatens to disrupt supplies and make the ongoing microchip shortage even worse.

With a lack of excitement in America to get back into steel manufacturing, chip shortages may be the new norm with limited neon from a reduction of steel manufacturing in Ukraine.

UREA

If you are not a trucker, RV owner, or farmer, you may not even know what DEF fluid is. It is
Diesel Exhaust Fluid. Every diesel vehicle made since 2010 is required by the EPA to use it. It is a product made of 67 percent Urea fertilizer and 33 percent distilled water.

A worldwide shortage of the primary ingredient of urea in DEF
(Diesel Exhaust Fluid), is looming. And while this may not sound important, it could have a significant impact on America’s trucking, RV industry, and agriculture.

Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is an emissions control liquid required by modern diesel engines. It is injected into the exhaust stream. DEF is never added to diesel fuel. It is a non-hazardous solution of 32.5 percent urea in 67.5 percent de-ionized water. DEF is clear and colorless and looks exactly like water. It has a slight smell of ammonia, like some home cleaning agents. DEF is used by
Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology to remove harmful NOx emissions from diesel engines.

Modern diesels require the injection of DEF — diesel exhaust fluid — into the exhaust stream to meet current exhaust emissions standards. Unfortunately, the main component of DEF is urea (along with de-ionized water), a byproduct of industrial ammonia production. And the largest exporter of urea is Russia, currently engaged in a war with Ukraine and, consequently, facing worldwide sanctions.

To make matters worse, urea also is a key ingredient in fertilizer, which has skyrocketed in cost due to the pandemic and shipping slowdowns. In fact, China — the previous No. 4 urea exporter — has at least temporarily stopped exporting the chemical to meet agricultural demands in its own country.

Shortages of trucking and new crops may be the new norm as Russia and China are two of the largest exporters of Urea by a wide margin. Both Russia and China have decided to no longer export Urea.

REFINERIES

In 2019, of the almost
700 oil refineries in the world, there were 135 refineries in the U.S. but five U.S. facilities were shuttered during the last two years.

In the last few years, two of those were in California (Phillips66 at Rodeo and Marathon at Martinez) that once manufactured many products, are now only focusing on renewable diesel. If the courts uphold the recent Bay Area Air Quality Management (BAAQMD) rule for a further reduction in particulate emissions, both the Chevron Refinery at Richmond and the PBF Refinery at Martinez have stated that they will shut down before spending one billion dollars to retrofit their refineries to comply with further particulate emission reductions.

With the potential loss of two more refineries, Northern California’s gasoline and jet fuel to supply military bases, major airports in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento will be imported from China, along with many other products that shuttered California refineries are no longer manufacturing.

Each refinery location is a business that needs to make business decisions. Consequently,
one in five oil refineries are expected to cease operations over the next five years. One in five is 20 percent, or more than 20 refineries expected to be shuttered just in the U.S. resulting in a decline in the products manufactured to meet the ever-increasing demands from society.

There are over 100 new refineries under construction, with most of them in Asia with 88, Europe with 12 and North America with 10. Asia is the region with the greatest number of future petroleum refineries. As of 2021, there were 88 new facilities in planning or under construction in Asia.

With a lack of excitement in America to construct new refineries to replace the aging ones being shuttered,
China is on track to succeed the United States as the country with the greatest oil refinery throughput.

Since crude oil is useless unless it can be manufactured into something usable, shortages of refineries to manufacture crude oil into fuels and products may be the new norm.

OIL

Presiding over this growing collection of catastrophes and climate hysteria in America is 79- year-old president, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. A year before being inaugurated President in 2021, Biden professed that
“we are going to get rid of fossil fuels." Before the recent inauguration, America achieved for the first time since Harry Truman was president about 70 years ago, to finally become crude oil independent and no longer held hostage to unstable Petro-powers and the vagaries of foreign crude oil supplies. 79-year old John Kerry, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate recently said “we absolutely don’t” need to drill for more fossil fuels.

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America, under current leadership, is attempting to clone California and be almost totally dependent of foreign suppliers for its crude oil demands but restricting the supply of crude oil to be manufactured to meet the increasing demands of society is a guarantee to be the new norm for shortages and inflation.

America has chosen to meet its society’s demands for products by continually increasing its dependency on foreign sources, with no contingency plans for supply replacements for: neon for chips, urea for DEF fluid, products manufactured at refineries, and crude oil, but those choices are backfiring on the American economy.



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--By Ronald Stein- Contributing Writer to The Dakota Leader, Pulitzer Prize nominated author, and Policy advisor for The Heartland Institute on Energy

Post Date: 2022-07-12 14:37:09Last Update: 2022-07-12 11:18:31

    



Brookings, SD– On July 9th and 10th, Pioneer Park was transformed into a large-scale art festival featuring hundreds of visual artists displaying and selling their work, historical re-enactors demonstrating historical crafting techniques, and an array of food vendors and natural products. Good Morning Bedlam, Lily B Moonflower, Mama Said String Band, The Gypsy Cowbelle, Contae Loch, and Mission Essential Brass entertained festival goers with an engaging, upbeat series of performances on the main stage throughout both days of the festival.



Making her first Brookings Summer Arts Festival appearance, Lily B Moonflower gave an energetic, heartfelt performance of songs from her recently released debut album,
Moonflower. Lily B Moonflower is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who describes her style as “folk n’ roll with a twang”. She has found joy in writing songs and playing music since childhood and puts a new spin on a classic style of music. Her band also features Jake Keegan on the steel guitar, Noah McNair on the upright bass, and Colby Allen Walter on guitar, mandolin, and melodica. Lily B Moonflower is from Kansas City, KS and has an upcoming performance in August at Kaw River Roots Fest in Lawrence, KS. She is working towards releasing a second album soon in addition to touring at more festivals.



Good Morning Bedlam gave festival-goers a preview of their new song “Sticks and Stones” by enthusiastically welcoming the audience to dance and sing along with them. “Sticks and Stones” will be officially released on streaming platforms in August 2022. Good Morning Bedlam has been playing shows together for seven years, and 2022 was their second year performing at Brookings Summer Art Festival. They previously played at BSAF in 2018. The band originated with childhood friends Isaak Elker, who plays guitar and sings, and Sophia Byer, who sings and plays the violin, jamming together when they were twelve years old. They were later joined by Dawson Redenius, who plays the trumpet and keys. Before recording albums, they performed by busking in addition to having jam sessions to develop their unique sound, which they describe as "furious folk". Their first album,
"Prodigal" was released in 2016 and followed by "Like Kings" in 2018.

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In 2019, Good Morning Bedlam played over 200 shows on their tour alongside artists such as Shakey Graves, Sam Bush, Jason Isabell, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Trampled by Turtles. They won first place at the John Hartford Memorial Festival Band Competition and were finalists at the NWSS band competition in that same year. The shutdown of the live music industry in 2020 abruptly paused their plans to continue touring on the festival circuit, but they used that time to write new music together. GMB released their album “Lulu” in 2021, with Tori Elker, Isaak Elker’s wife, learning to play the bass for that album. The recording and release of “Lulu” was made possible by their fans around the world contributing to a Kickstarter fund. GMB has returned to the busy touring schedule they had in 2019 with an ambitious series of shows lined up throughout the Midwest and the South through summer and fall 2022. They aspire to participate in festivals such as Hinterland, Bonaroo, and Austin City Limits and perform in stadium-size venues such as Red Rocks in Denver, CO and Madison Square Garden in New York, NY in the future.

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--Anna Cole, Associate Editor

Post Date: 2022-07-11 18:40:00Last Update: 2022-07-11 16:35:49

    



Marie McClintic learned needle-working skills from her grandmother as she was growing up. The artistry of raising lambs, sheering them and turning their wool coats into yard, would later become a passion for McClintic, who has inspired many with her period appropriate attire and demonstrations.

McClintic shared her story with The Dakota Leader, during the Brookings Art Festival, something many artists refer to as a "rendezvous." In 1972 Marie McClintic bought her first sheep to raise, and by 1985 she had purchased her first Ashford, a hand-crafted wooden spinning wheel from New Zealand. By 1989 McClintic started her own guild, which is thriving today as the Prairie Fiber Arts Guild.

Marie and her daughter Kelly Knispel, travel to various art festivals and historical reenactments to bring the art of spinning fibers to others. Marie and Kelly both raise their own sheep. They then shear and spin he hand-spun wool yarn using natural dyes from plants or "Landscape and Gaywool" for bright vibrant colors. In addition to using natural dyes, derived from copper, onion skins, hollyhock, indigo, and madder root, modern chemical dyes are also used on occasion.

The mother daughter duo, enjoy dressing in period appropriate attire, donning bonnets, long skirts and aprons popular during the early American colonial era. Marie says she decided to add the period appropriate clothing to her spinning demonstrations, after participating in a
historical re-enactment at Fort Sisseton in 1989.

When not at art festivals, or giving spinning demonstrations, Marie and Kelly work together at
The South Dakota Natural Colored Wool Studio in Groton, SD. The mail order business sells wool products along with spinning wheels and equipment, patterns and books on spinning and weaving, raw fleece and sheep pelts.

If you missed their demonstration at the Brookings Art Festival, they will be at the
North County Fair September 16-18, 2022.

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-07-11 10:40:29Last Update: 2022-07-11 14:37:09

    


“This is the moment to bring kindness and civility back to South Dakota”

The South Dakota Democratic Party held their convention over the weekend, officially nominating Jamie Smith and Jennifer Keintz to the ticket of Governor and Lt. Governor. Smith and Keintz will face off with current Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem and her Lt. Governor, Larry Rhoden during this November's general election.



In both acceptance speeches, Keintz and Smith touched on issues of corruption, kindness, and division with the dominant republican party of South Dakota. Over the last legislative session, Gov. Kristi Noem and Senate Pro-Tempore Lee Schoenbeck (R-Watertown) heavily criticized fellow colleagues, blocking various pieces of legislation, and then impeaching Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg on the basis of two misdemeanor charges. Noem and Schoenbeck then raised thousands of dollars to fund attack ads, and the primary opponents of South Dakota's most conservative lawmakers. These actions have led to a rift within the SDGOP, which political insiders are saying could lead to an unexpected win for Democrats this November. If Smith/Keintz win, they would be the first democratic gubernatorial ticket to win South Dakota in over a decade.

Jamie Smith, in his speech highlighted the need for kindness and civility, stating “This is the moment to bring kindness and civility back to South Dakota.”

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The platform of Smith/Keintz includes Medicaid Expansion, a well regulated medical and recreational marijuana industry, working with farmers and ranchers, supporting teachers to teach "without being vilified," making it known that everyone is welcome in South Dakota from immigrants to the LGBTQ+ community, working with tribes as, "the first people of South Dakota," and "combating corruption."

Smith also touched on Governor Kristi Noem's inability to keep staff around along with the lack of decorum shown. Smith pointed to Amendment C as an indicator that a win is possible. Amendment C failed during the primary election, and would have required 60 percent of voters to agree on tax increases via ballot measure. The measure was defeated after millions of dollars were donated by the National Education Association, and the largest hospital systems in South Dakota,
urging a "no" vote through varied and often confusing messaging.



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-07-11 09:35:53Last Update: 2022-07-14 09:26:26

    


Columbine Student



Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee.

The following is a portion of the transcript:

"Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

"The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain's heart.

"In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA — because I don't believe that they are responsible for my daughter's death.

"Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel's murder I would be their strongest opponent.

"I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.

Your laws ignore our deepest needs, Your words are empty air. You've stripped away our heritage, You've outlawed simple prayer.

Now gunshots fill our classrooms, And precious children die. You seek for answers everywhere, And ask the question "Why?"

You regulate restrictive laws, Through legislative creed. And yet you fail to understand, That God is what we need!

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"Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc.

"Spiritual presences were present within our educational systems for most of our nation's history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence.

"And when something as terrible as Columbine's tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

"As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools.

"Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your own heart before casting the first stone!

"My daughter's death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!”



— Darrell Scott



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--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-09 09:54:36Last Update: 2022-07-09 10:01:04

    


ESG – A Made Up Globalist Grading System

The term ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) has become increasingly prominent in the “green movement.” ESG is a rating system used to score companies based on their performance in the realms of environment, social, and governance. This system is presented under the façade of being a means to hold companies accountable for their practices and to help people invest “responsibly.” In reality, ESG is just another manifestation of the globalist movement, which poses a dire threat to our nation’s food production, food security, and overall freedoms. ESG Creates Rewards—and Punishments

The very nature of investing has historically allowed people to invest their money in the way they best see fit, according to their financial goals and/or personally held beliefs. For example, certain religious groups might choose not to invest in companies dealing with alcohol or tobacco. In the 1960s and 70s, the term “socially responsible investing” emerged. This was partially in response to apartheid in South Africa, and for ethical reasons, many investors moved their money away from companies doing business there. However, ESG puts a nefarious, agenda-driven spin on so-called “socially responsible” investing by creating a reward/punishment situation.

This essentially weaponizes financial systems against those that don’t march in step with the globalist agenda.

In 2019, World Economic Forum (WEF) founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab wrote:

“‘Stakeholder capitalism,’ a model I first proposed a half-century ago, positions private corporations as trustees of society, and is clearly the best response to today’s social and environmental challenges... We should seize this moment to ensure that stakeholder capitalism remains the new dominant model."

The further developed concept of ESG surfaced with the United Nations’ 2006 Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Later on, a series of metrics were created and structured to align with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The fact that ESG and its underlying tenets came directly from the globalist movement is very alarming, especially when the intended trajectory of ESG is revealed.

ESG Mirrors China’s Social Credit System

ESG has certainly gotten a strong foothold in the world of business but is also gaining traction as a means of rating individuals based on their lifestyle choices—just like the social credit system implemented in China. In China’s system a citizen’s ability to participate in society, and even meet their own basic needs, depends on their personal choices and behavior. Merrill Lynch has already started assigning personal ESGs to customers based on their investment portfolios.

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This is nothing less than terrifying. In the varying turmoil of recent years, certain protestors and influencers have had their bank accounts locked or had donated funds confiscated because their actions did not align with the ideology and agenda of the powers that be.

There has even been a plan introduced by S&P Global to rate states, which would essentially force businesses to leave states that have “bad” ESG scores, like those that produce fossil fuels, for example. Companies that don’t abandon those states would thus be effectively barred from doing business.

ESG Scoring is Far from Objective

ESG scores are assigned to companies by several third-party research and analysis agencies and firms—most of which have direct ties to globalist interests. The following chart from www.ethics.org illustrates the factors taken into consideration for ESG scores.



One example of how ESG can be used against people and businesses that don’t align with the agenda is Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla. The company was recently removed from the S&P 500 index of companies with strong ESG-related performance. This happened during Musk’s contentious bid to buy the social media giant, Twitter, after Musk’s very public criticism of the company for censorship and the suppression of free speech. Despite Tesla’s overall mission and stellar records in environment ratings, the bump from the list was blamed on alleged racism in one of Tesla’s factories, an issue that interestingly hadn’t surfaced before Musk’s move to buy Twitter. American Agriculture Threatened by ESG

It is easy to see how ESG can be weaponized against businesses and even entire industries. Sadly, American agriculture has fallen into ESG’s proverbial crosshairs.

Farming is already heavily regulated at the local, state, and federal levels. There are also numerous existing programs that facilitate conservation and sustainability. Nevertheless, the US’s Security and Exchanges Commission (SEC) is proposing an ESG-centered rule that would place an immense and unworkable burden on small family farms and ranches. This rule would effectively block them from doing business with public companies and would intentionally undermine the basic structure of American agriculture.

Small Farms Will Be Harmed the Most

Titled "Enhanced and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors,” the proposed rule would require public companies to share the amounts of greenhouse gases their operations emit. This would then trickle down to the small farms and ranches that sell crops or livestock to those public companies.

While large companies have fully staffed compliance departments for matters like ESG, small farms and ranches do not due to cost. Under the proposed rule, the ability of a producer to grow and sell high-quality, nutritious, and necessary products could be negated by the farm perhaps using some older equipment that might not meet newly invented emissions standards. Congress Signs Letter to SEC in Opposition

Rep. John Rose (R-TN), penned a letter to the SEC that has been signed by well over 100 house members.

The letter states: “The time and energy put into complying with this new regulation will divert American farmers away from their primary goal of producing our nation’s food, fuel, and fiber.”

Further, the letter states: “Bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. – specifically un-elected SEC staff – who have no jurisdiction over environmental policy and who have never stepped foot on a farm should not have such influence over how farmers take care of their land…Imposing these additional reporting requirements could disqualify small, family-owned farms from doing business with companies which could lead to more consolidation in the agriculture industry.”

Indeed, further consolidation and limitation of American agriculture is one of the main goals of the globalist movement. The centralization and control of food production will mean increased control of the people. This leads to food choices being made for you, not by you. High ESG Scores Don’t Always Equal Actual Environmental Benefits

Interestingly, studies have shown that high ESG scores don’t necessarily correlate with better environmental or labor rule compliance. It has even been pointed out by prominent progressive Michael Moore that even while green technology companies might garner high ESG scores, they don’t necessarily provide net environmental benefits. This is partly because green technologies are notoriously inefficient, require rare minerals that must be mined, and rely on tax subsidies.

ESG Aims to Transform Society as a Whole

Justin Haskins is the director of the Socialism Research Center and editorial director at the Heartland Institute. He was quoted as saying: “The point of it (ESG) is to transform all of society, not just to transform what happens inside the walls of some big corporation. They believe that we need to move to a new kind of capitalism, one that doesn't just look at profits and losses and traditional business metrics, but that looks at what's in the best interests of the collective."

The problem is that the definitions of those “best interests” are determined by organizations such as the UN and WEF.

What Can You Do About ESG?

We need to ensure our voice is heard by our representatives on this issue. ESG is going to impact every industry in our country and will hit our small farmers the hardest. Reach out to your state and federal leaders and let them know your opinion. The first step in fighting back is to stay informed and inform others. The more knowledge we have, the more power we have to stand together united for our rights and freedoms.

LINKS FOUND HERE AT PROTECT THE HARVEST



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Protect The Harvest- Republished With Permission

Post Date: 2022-07-08 09:37:52Last Update: 2022-07-08 09:54:36

    


Let’s Take a Look at Why and What You Can Do

The impact of a stressed economy, rising fuel prices, supply chain struggles, public policy issues, and the strain on America's farms is beginning to have a direct effect on the food supply in the country, not just for humans but for the animals we love as well.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced cycles of supply shortages. Those earlier items that impacted consumers were toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and 91% rubbing alcohol. But, as the ripple effect of a once shuttered economy continues to make waves, the food supply for all living creatures is at risk of a coming Tsunami. During this time, the public became aware of issues farmers and ranchers had been warning about for years. The catalyst for these shortages was COVID-19, but the foundation of issues was built on decades of bad public policy and over-regulation. Pet owners, farmers, animal sanctuaries, and zoos all feel the impact and share a growing concern over the nutritional needs of their animals.  

What is Happening to Pet Food?

In June 2021, the Pet Food Institute (PFI), representing America's primary pet food makers, sent public comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), outlining supply chain and manufacturing woes impacting the industry. According to PFI, those same issues continue to plague manufacturers and consumers in 2022.

"As the entire food system faced incredible disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. pet food makers were also forced to address new ingredient sourcing and transportation challenges," said Dana Brooks, president, and CEO of PFI. "These ingredient shortages have not abated as the pandemic began receding. PFI members report all ingredient costs have risen 8-20%, with dramatic price increases for corn and soybean derivatives, which are key ingredients in many dog and cat food formulations," PFI said. Brooks went on to note that PFI has asked the Biden administration to "identify policy solutions that will help further strengthen all of American food and agriculture for the future."

The impact is being felt across the animal care industry, from pet stores, animal shelters, livestock farms, and more. In California, many PetSmart locations have reported they are out of canned food for dogs and cats alike. According to FOX 13 Tampa, the Tampa Bay Humane Society (TBHS) in Florida saw a shortage of some canned foods, a cause for concern for the animals in their direct care.

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The Cost of Feeding Animals in Today’s World

The cost of these foods has risen as well. Sam Moline, a Minneapolis native, noted that the special needs animals she cares for require very specific types of dry food. That food has been more scarce, and when she can locate the food, she is paying as much as four times the regular price. She also pointed out that ordering food online was often undependable because e-commerce stores could not guarantee delivery when needed.

Moline said, "Amazon was asking $24 for the $8 bag of dry food. WITH NO DELIVER BY DATE!!”

According to a recent report by Reuters, Minnesota pig farmer Randy Spronk has been forced to reformulate feed rations due to a shortage of the widely used ingredient lysine. Lysine is an amino acid that helps livestock grow.

Supply-chain disruptions are hitting America's meat producers and sending them scrambling for alternatives as they seek to care for farm animals and keep down costs. Competition for raw materials between people and animals as the COVID-19 pandemic shifted and inflation spiked, although ongoing demand has disrupted the usual marketplace. Add to that shipping logjams and port bottlenecks due to labor shortages, and farmers and feed producers are experiencing a hard time finding the supplies they need.

As grain prices surge, American chicken giant Perdue Farms Inc. bought soybeans, an American staple, from rival Brazil. The move raised Purdue's feed cost by no less than 30%. It impacts the cost of the goods they sell, and chicken often becomes a primary ingredient in foods for other animals. The result is a rising cost of food for all animals, even those who will become part of the food source for others.

Unintended Costs Now Hitting The Industry

Now other factors are just beginning to show up in the industry. Sanctions on Russia, one of the world's top producers of fertilizers, have resulted in a spike in the cost of the farming staple. For many, the increased cost of fertilizer is over 100%. When fertilizer costs increase, the cost to produce essential crops such as wheat, corn, and soybeans also increases. It is not the only cost increase affecting the bottom line. The cost of fuel has risen more than 38% in the last year. Diesel fuel recently set a record of more than $5 per gallon. This increase affects the cost of farming and transporting the raw materials used to produce foods. The rising fuel costs also affect organizations like sanctuaries and zoos that care for animals who need whole protein food sources. The price of shipping fish, rodents, and poultry to feed exotic animals has risen by more than double. And, when the source of those items has trouble feeding their animals, the available stock is reduced. All of this impacts the availability of food sources for the animals being cared for across the country.  

What Is Driving This Shortage?

Simply put, we feel the long-term effects of an economy shuttered for nearly a year under the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the workforce has yet to return, specifically in manual labor and manufacturing jobs. The underlying issues that allowed for such an impact on the supply chain come down to the regulations and policies that have harmed our farmers, ranchers, and supplies of natural resources. When the raw materials and foods we and animals need to survive are impacted, everything else in the supply chain gets impacted.

The economy is experiencing record inflation, the highest we have seen in more than 40 years. The costs of items related to food sources and manufacturing have increased, transportation costs have increased, and labor costs have increased to stay on pace with inflation. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the cost of goods and services has risen by 8.6% for the year. But when you take a closer look at the data, you will see certain industries that have seen even higher rates of impact. For instance, poultry, fish, and eggs increased the most among food items, rising by 14.2%. Fruits and vegetables saw an increase in cost at 8.2%. The energy index rose 34.6% over the past 12 months. The gasoline index increased 48.7% over the last year. The index for fuel oil more than doubled, rising 106.7%, the most significant increase in history. These cost increases, supply chain struggles, labor shortages, and rising demand have resulted in a food shortage. And sadly, we are just starting to feel the most significant impact.

This growing season will be the first in many decades when fertilizer is less abundant and more expensive. The struggle will be coupled with spiking labor costs and fewer workers. For many, such as Archer-Daniels-Midland, who has often supplied lysine and other food items, they will reduce or even cease production.



The end result is a food shortage, rising prices, and the concern that many animals will face hunger, malnutrition, or starvation. One animal sanctuary in Ohio, Union Ridge Wildlife Center, has reported numerous struggles in securing food consistently for many of the animals in its care. While they have been successful, it now comes with more effort and much more advanced planning. Items such as frozen fish, chickens, and rodents used to feed the raptors, otters, lions, and other carnivores have become harder to secure. So, when the items are available, the sanctuary must purchase as much as possible to ensure an ongoing food supply.

What Can We Do?

There are a few steps that every person can take to help. First, the most practical step is to stock your shelves. When you can secure the usual food items for your animals, make sure you purchase enough for a few weeks. Be practical, don't overdo it, but ensure you have sufficient supply in case a supply shortage causes a lengthy delay in getting food.

Second, reach out to your state representatives. Ask them to take action to ease regulations and approve resources that could help local farmers, retailers, and manufacturers access resources and labor to ensure a more reasonable recovery for the nation's economy. You can find the contact information for your representative by following the link below.

Finally, support your local farmers, small businesses, and animal shelters. Buying local helps to continue the flow of resources for your community. It empowers local farmers to gain access to the funds and resources they need to continue the crucial work of supporting the nation's food supply. Donate food items to your local shelters, ensure their animals are well cared for, and expand their resources to care for animals in need.

ALL ASSOCIATED LINKS CAN BE FOUND HERE, AT PROTECT THE HARVEST.



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--By Michael Robison for Protect The Harvest. Re-Published With Permission

Post Date: 2022-07-08 09:05:03Last Update: 2022-07-08 09:37:52

    



Brookings, SD– The weekend of July 9th and 10th will be Brookings Summer Art Festival, which is the largest two-day arts festival in South Dakota and features hundreds of artisans and entertainers. The festival began with a small group of organizers creating a festival that involved the entire town in 1972, and it is now hosted by a committee of about thirty to forty people from all walks of life and attended by about 75,000 guests every year.

Brookings Summer Arts Festival will provide a wide variety of offerings for the thousands of festival attendees. Over 200 artists will display their work featuring a wide range of techniques and materials. There will be fifteen different categories of visual art on display, and three of the featured artists will win awards from the BSAF Awards Committee. Food will be available from 38 different artisanal food booths with an array of cuisine to suit all tastes. The Edibles and Naturals area will have food to take home in addition to natural skincare and cosmetics. In the children's area, families can find fun and educational crafts and entertainment provided by local organizations. The Living History area will feature crafts and events that help preserve the history of South Dakota in a visual, hands-on way with re-enactors and reproductions of historical artifacts. There will also be antique vendors from around the country with collector's items of all types. The festival will also feature three stages with singing, dancing, and storytelling performances throughout the entire weekend.

Detailed information about the various attractions can be seen on the Brooking’s Summer Art Festival webpage and in their brochure.

Brookings Summer Art Festival will be open from 10am to 7pm on Saturday and 10am to 5pm on Sunday, and admission is free.

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--Anna Cole, Associate Editor

Post Date: 2022-07-07 20:30:00Last Update: 2022-07-07 18:19:25

    




--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-07-07 09:54:23Last Update: 2022-07-07 13:05:03

    


Not the Oil Companies!

Drivers should be aware of the reality that every time they add 16 gallons of fuel to their vehicle, they are contributing $20 per tank to government programs.

California Governor Newsom should look in a mirror and stop biting the hand that feeds the State. As consumers are now contributing more than $75 million dollars per day, (more than $27 BILLION dollars a year) in taxes at the pump, and for the fuel consumption of the state's ‘mobile fleet.’ The estimated impact of California taxes, fees, and costs for climate programs are a whopping $1.30 a gallon:



California drivers, currently paying $6.50 a gallon, are contributing 20 percent of each gallon to the government. If, and when, the cost of crude oil ever comes down, gasoline may get back to $4.00 a gallon. At that time, California's government would receive an even larger share, at a whopping 30+ percent per gallon.

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Even more pain at the pump just occurred for Californians under Senate Bill 1, enacted in 2017. The State Excise Tax amount is raised every year, in part to keep pace with inflation. The programmed annual gas tax hike occurred on 1 July 2022, with an increase of 5.6 percent, which takes it to 53.9 cents per gallon, a jump of 2.8 cents.

According to the California Energy Commission, there were 29 million registered vehicles in California in 2015. The fuel consumption, on a daily-basis, for California’s mobile fleet was 48 million gallons per DAY of gasoline and 10 million gallons per DAY of diesel. A total of 58 million gallons of fuel daily, making the state one of the largest users and procurers of fossil fuels.

With California collecting $1.30 per gallon for taxes, fees, and costs for the states’ climate programs, those 58 million gallons of fuel being consumed daily is more than $75 million dollars a day or more than $27 BILLION dollars a year for government spending pleasures.

So, who is the real profiteer from fuel sales? Yes, it’s the government.

Governor Newsom is doing everything possible to rid California of oil, from his continuous efforts to reduce in-state oil exploration, and his mandate to not purchase internal combustion engine vehicles starting in 2035. Since he won’t be around in 2035, he remains silent about what new taxes would be needed to replace the billions of dollars that will be diminishing from the coffers, as fuel consumption decreases with his mandate to buy EV’s.

California Governor Newsom recently asked the California Energy Commission to investigate fuel costs. Following Newsom’s request for an investigation by the state attorney general to investigate fuel costs, California Democrats to Investigate Cause of High Gas Prices.

As a result of the lack of transparency, as to why Californians are paying more than a dollar a gallon for fuel than the rest of the country, I met with Senator John Moorlach. A few years ago (in 2018), Moorlach sponsored Senate Bill 1074, titled the “Disclosure of government- imposed costs,” bill. The bill would have required gas stations to post (near each gas and diesel pump) a list of all those cost factors like taxes, as well as the costs associated with the state’s numerous environmental regulations being imposed on the manufacturers.

Back in 2018, both the Senator and I testified in support of the Bill for transparency of government-imposed costs, at a hearing before the State Senate Finance Committee. The Democrat controlled committee was adamant they did not want the public to see all the costs included in the posted pump price, and killed the Bill from future consideration that would have made gas pricing transparent to the buyer. Today, we are hearing the same concerns that Senate Bill 1074 would have remedied. Today, the dance continues.

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On a national basis, and from a historical perspective, Investor’s Business Daily article (2008) as noted in Mark Levin's book "Liberty and Tyranny," shows;

"From 1977 to 2004, according to Tax Foundation data, US oil companies cleared $630 billion after taxes while paying $518 billion in federal and state corporate taxes at an average rate of 45%. Over the same period, an additional $1.34 TRILLION in excise fuel taxes was collected from consumers by the oil companies and turned over to various governments."

It's embarrassing that the same California Democrats, who were adamantly against transparency, are
now seeking profit transparency from California oil refineries, as to why California's gas prices are consistently the highest in the country. It’s time to turn the mirror around at the Governor and Sacramento.

In the last few years, California has shuttered two refineries, Phillips66 at Rodeo and Marathon at Martinez. Both refineries once manufactured many products, but are now only focusing on renewable diesel.

If the courts uphold the recent, Bay Area Air Quality Management (BAAQMD) rule, for a further reduction in particulate emissions, both the Chevron Refinery at Richmond and the PBF Refinery at Martinez have stated that they will shut down before spending one-billion dollars to retrofit their refineries or comply with further particulate emissions.

With the potential loss of two more refineries, Northern California’s gasoline and jet fuel supply to military bases, and major airports in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento, will be imported from China. China would also be given the contracts to make thousands of products that California refineries are no longer capable of manufacturing, as China does not have the same EPA standards or regulations.

We need transparency and accounting of all government costs dumped onto the protested price at the pump, not an investigation of the diminishing number of suppliers. Governor, California taxpayers deserve an explanation.

Ronald Stein, P.E.​ Ambassador for Energy and Infrastructure

Ronald.Stein@PTSadvance.com

http://www.energyliteracy.net/


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

Post Date: 2022-07-06 10:00:30Last Update: 2022-07-06 10:54:23

    



Forward; Knife River Corporation is a construction company employing thousands of people, across the U.S. Recently, Clark Meyer, Knife River's President, made a 65 million dollar cash offer to the County of Minnehaha, to purchase the land and mineral rights occupied by the William H. Lyon Fair Grounds. The offer is indicative of rising costs, and a need to cut out the middle man, but it also has some raising their eyebrows. Mike Zitterich of The Dakota Leader, goes into detail, regarding who has the right to sell.

By Mike Zitterich

It is all moot if, the County does not own the land? The land in question is owned outright by the Lyons Family. This "Homestead Land" is protected by a patent, which was purchased under the 1841 Preemption Act sometime between 1890 and 1902. Keeping in mind that, the S.D State Constitution is quite clear on who has the right to sell the land, where there is a land grant (or patent) involved. Since the land was merely 'gifted' to the county, with very specific terms, the County is not the seller of the land, nor does it have a clear pathway to selling the land as Minnehaha County Commissioner, Jean Bender has stated.

Article 22, Section 2 of the South Dakota Constitution could restrict the sale of this "land," depending on the interpretation of the following clause:

"All such lands which may have been exempted by any grant or law of the United States, shall remain exempt to the extent, and as prescribed by such act of Congress."

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Keeping in mind that, "property tax" has never been collected on this land, under the terms of the 1841 Preemption Act, which is federal law. The Lyons Family, at the time, claimed the land (which was part of 320 acres) for personal use in order to "build a home, or family farm, with the goal to work the land for profit." Under the Preemption Act, the state of South Dakota could not collect any such 'tax' on the land. In addition, the family owns clear right to all minerals, natural resources, and anything of value, as it relates to the land itself. The only stipulation as per the law itself, was the family owed the Federal Government a 20% Imposition Fee (tariff), on any such profits made off any financial transactions of commercial activity related to the land, as outlined in the land patent process.

Under federal laws adopted by Congress, any American previously had the right to move out west, and "squat" on the land, with the intent to purchase or build. If the stated goal was to prosper from the land itself, any American citizen could make application, after five years, and apply for a land patent (or grant).

Land "grants," once approved, would be signed by the President of the United States. As such, lands, previously granted in this manner, do not lawfully fall within the jurisdiction of the State. As expressed in Article 22, Section 2 of the State Constitution, the land must have clear surveyed boundaries, and is legally, sovereign territory, which bars the State from collecting property tax on the land itself.

As defined; "A land patent is a form of letters patent assigning official ownership of a particular tract of land that has gone through various legally-prescribed processes like surveying and documentation, followed by the letter's signing, sealing, and publishing in public records, made by a sovereign entity."

Technically speaking, the "land" was never legally sold, nor transferred from the Lyons Family, meaning the patent "rights" are still held by the family heirs, and only the Lyons Family may determine the 'asking price' or value of such land. Not the County, and certaintly not Knife River's President, Clark Meyer.

This means, the $65,000,000 million dollar offer, while certainly inciting, is essentially a moot point as The County does not own the land.

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Jean Bender is a Minnehaha County Commissioner, and former employment attorney with Davenport-Evens. Bender claims that if the County were to move forward, and allow Knife River Corporation to buy the land, the county could potentially be setting themselves up for future lawsuits.

"That land was a gift to the county, and that gift is very tightly constrained, and the risk is if we sell that property that that property would go back to the heirs, and the county would get nothing," she said. "So there are very significant legal impediments, which is why it hasn't been done in the past," Bender stated.

Minnehaha County, so far, has not put forth such a proposal to invest in, or expand upon making the "fairgrounds" more profitable. A point that Meyer was all too quick to point out, in a recent statement.

"We believe that under the fairgrounds is a large deposit of high-quality construction aggregates," Clark Meyer said. "We have requested access to verify these reserves but have been denied." He also went on to assert, "It (the county) also struggled to develop an operating business model that made the fair self-sustaining and no longer continually dependent upon county subsidies as it is today."

In addition, Meyer told The Argus Leader, “Knife River is not only interested in ‘Saving the Fair,’ but we are passionate about creating modern, state-of-the-art agri-tourism facilities, with a long-term, fiscally responsible, and sustainable plan that will benefit the entire Sioux Empire and yet continue the legacy of the Lyon family.”

However, the situation has some concerned who remember the 1999 resolution to completely destroy a Racetrack, and put up a parking lot. Similar claims were used during that time, to detour attempts made by public and private NGOs, citing that any improvement to the track itself would be a detriment to the county.

As some have pointed out, Knife River does not need to negotiate with Minnehaha County for the sale of the land. A deal made directly with the Lyons Family Heirs must be reached first, for the right to take over the legal claim. Once this process is done, then Knife River Corporation would need to discuss rezoning and legally placing the land within the county, in order to quarry the rock, or find minerals underneath. The fact that a direct offer was made to the county, has some skeptical about their true intentions.



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-07-05 09:30:34Last Update: 2022-07-05 18:09:22

    


Human Rights Set on Back Burner for Climate Change

The farmer revolt began last week, after the E.U implemented a World Economic Forum nitrogen-zero policy. E.U leaders recently admitted, "the honest message … is that not all farmers can continue their business.” The acknowledgment of reduced business, has sparked outrage, fueling concerns that European Nations will soon share the same fate as Sri Lanka.



At one time, Sri Lanka had been amongst the largest exporters of grains, but now
the country is facing starvation and economic collapse. The Rajapaksa government, which gained control after declaring independence in 1948, has recently implemented "green" policies by banning chemical fertilizers over-night. Additionally, the country is facing diesel shortages and power outages, currently exasperating the farming deficit. The total economic loss is estimated to be nearly 425 million USD, equivalent to 153,000,861,483.96 Sri Lankan Ruppees.

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On June 22, 2022, the European Union implemented the latest phase of the WEF created (World Economic Forum) carbon-neutral, Green Deal policy. The Nature Protection Package, is only the latest "green" policy to be implemented since the E.U adapted the Green Deal in December 2019. The package calls for a complete elimination of nitrogen, used by farmers, with a 50 percent reduction by the year 2050.

While the
wealthiest individuals on the planet rush to purchase as much land as possible, in an effort to "conserve" biodiversity, human rights' activists are sounding the alarm.

Mandeep Tiwana is the chief programmes officer at CIVICUS, and
in February of 2019 Tiwana wrote, "This January, the UN organised a much-needed dialogue in Geneva on the link between human rights and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development."

"Four years since the adoption of rights affirming language in the
‘Future We Want’ founding document of Agenda 2030, a full embrace of the notion that human rights and sustainable development are inextricably linked remains a work in progress," Tiwana lamented.

In March 2018, the Human Rights Council
adopted resolution 37/24 on the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Unfortunately, the plans for biodiversity and protecting the planet, run contrary to owning private property, or farm lands. The smart homes of the future largely consist of 800sqft-1,200sqft "stack-em, pack-em" apartments on the smart grid infrastructure. At this point, it's unclear how commercial farming, as we know it, will remain at the operating capacity that it has, feeding the world's population.

As more people face food shortages, and are pushed out of their homes, businesses, and made to trade in their way-of-life for hunger and uncertainty, it's almost a guarantee that more revolts and protests will take place.... Unless a balanced approach to policy can be agreed to.



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-07-05 08:51:53Last Update: 2022-07-05 16:30:34

    


Community Spotlight

The town of Howard, SD was established in 1882. For over half-a-century, the Howard Fire Department has held a long-standing tradition of celebrating America's Independence, by putting on a spectacular, family friendly event for all who attend.

Fire Chief, Kevin Feldhaus tells The Dakota Leader the all-day event, is a way to give back to the community.

"The Howard Fire Department has been doing this for 50 plus years now," Feldhaus shares while flipping hamburgers over a large grill. "The event is our way to give back to the community, but we welcome everyone to attend."



Miner County Sheriff, Robert Eggert was also in attendance and helping to grill up the July 4th feast. Sheriff Eggert, like many, had the day off, but spent it helping to organize the day's festivities.

A large inflatable water slide, and dunk tank were hauled-in for kids of all ages. Live music was also provided, and piped through all of Leo Park from the back of a flat-bed trailer, hauled in just for the day.



Heather Poulson, of The Miner County Pioneer, tells The Dakota Leader that Howard is an amazing place to live.

"The community is a thriving and wonderful place to call home," Paulson shared. "One of the perks working as a reporter, is getting to know everyone involved in our local government, and I've got to say, these people are really amazing."

As soon as the sun set, a professionally choreographed firework show began, lighting up the hot night sky. A live band played the National Anthem and the Star Spangled Banner as the community of Howard collectively held their breath, reminded of the bombs bursting in air, which granted every American their right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

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Editor's Note: In these, seemingly, fleeting moments of national pride where we're reminded of the things that unite us as humans and Americans, we're also reminded that it's the people of every community across America, who will ultimately define our future as a nation. After celebrating our Nation's Independence in Howard, SD, this Editor's heart is certainly filled with hope, for how that future will be defined. Here's to another 50 plus years of a long-standing, and wonderful tradition. Great work Howard, SD!



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Do you live in an amazing community? Would you like to spot-light your town in a "Community Spot-light" segment? Invite us to attend your next event, and The Dakota Leader will share with our readers what makes your hometown such a special place. Editor@DakotaLeader.com
--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-07-05 07:57:16Last Update: 2022-07-04 22:51:53

    


To Ponder Why the Universe Exists At All...

The Large Hadron Collider will resume operations over this Fourth of July weekend, at 13-14 TEV (Trillion Electron Volts). This is drastically higher from the LHC run 2, that ended in 2018. In order to pull off this drastic increase in energy, thousands of superconducting magnets in the LHC, which direct the proton beams, will need to "learn" to adjust to stronger currents. According to CERN, this will take about 12,000 individual tests as part of what CERN calls "magnet training."





While
U.S power companies brace for this summer's "energy crisis," scientists at CERN will use the equivalent to a year's worth of electricity, searching for theoretical dark matter, and "why the universe exists at all."

"If there is new physics out there, we'll find it," says a CERN scientist on the "Teaser" video, courtesy of YouTube.



From Live Science, "The new run could finally reveal the long-sought "right-handed" versions of ghostly particles called neutrinos- find the elusive particles that make up dark matter, which exerts gravity but does not interact with light; and even help to explain why the universe exists at all."

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Meanwhile, the mid-west is expected to experience rolling black-outs this summer due to low winds, record high gas prices, and a stark reduction of traditional fuel sources.

June 3 (Reuters) - "The power grid in the Central United States could be forced to impose rotating blackouts on some of the hottest days of the summer due to rising demand and plant retirements, federal energy officials said in an online energy comment on Friday"....."In addition to the shutdown of coal and nuclear plants over the past year, the Midwest's summer generating capacity is threatened by planned maintenance and forced outages, as well as seasonal factors like low wind conditions. The region's grid operator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), has already warned of potential capacity shortfalls and other reliability concerns in the north and central regions of its coverage area."

Midcontinent is urging homes and businesses to conserve energy, while warning individuals who rely on electricity for medical devices, to be prepared with a generator back-up. The company has also stated that they are training for the worse-case-scenario, and prepared to take action to maintain grid stability. Actions, such as; limiting power plant and transmission line maintenance during heatwaves and, if necessary, imposing rotating blackouts.



News- For Those Who Dare To Question

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-07-01 14:35:03Last Update: 2022-07-01 15:57:16

    


COUNTERSPEECH with Constitutional Law Professor Deana Sacks



Dana Wefer and Deana Pollard Sacks discuss the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood in Dobbs v. Jackson on June 24, 2022. The decision was 6-3, with Justices Thomas, Kavanaugh, Barrett, and Gorsuch agreeing with the majority opinion written by Justice Alito. The Chief Justice, Roberts, authored an opinion concurring in the judgment but departing from the majority opinion that Roe v. Wade had to be overruled to uphold the Mississippi law at issue in Dobbs v. Jackson. Three justices dissented: Justices Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan.

A special thanks to Professor Sacks for allowing The Dakota Leader to share "COUNTERSPEECH," with our audience. To help support the litigation costs, and expert legal services of Professor Sacks, and Dana Wefer, DONATE HERE



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--COUNTERSPEECH

Post Date: 2022-07-01 11:00:57Last Update: 2022-07-01 14:35:03

    


OP-ED - The lithium supply chain for electric vehicle batteries may be in question as well as insurability of cargo ships to bring EV’s to America

There are a couple of dark clouds hanging over the optimistic growth of electric vehicles (EV’s) that may decimate the supply chain of lithium to make the EV batteries, and how to safely transport EV’s across wide oceans.
  1. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is expected to classify lithium carbonate, chloride, and hydroxide as dangerous for human health. The decision is expected to be reached by early next year.
  2. The recent (March 2022) sinking of a cargo ship with 4,000 vehicles, from a fire where electric-vehicle batteries were part of the reason, may be imposing an insurmountable insurance problem to bring those foreign made vehicles to America.
The first dark cloud is the supply chain for lithium to build EV batteries: Lithium’s pivotal role in electric vehicles makes it an important commodity in meeting global targets to cut carbon emissions, and it was added to the EU’s list of critical raw materials in 2020. However, the European Commission is currently assessing a proposal by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to classify lithium carbonate, chloride, and hydroxide as dangerous for human health.

The EU proposal doesn’t ban lithium imports, from developing countries where the same lithium carbonate, chloride and hydroxide are currently NOT categorized as dangerous for human health. But if legislated will add to costs for processors from more stringent rules controlling processing, packaging, and storage. The decision is expected to be reached by early next year.

Adding lithium salts to the list of materials hazardous for health may prompt the revision of a range of projects in the industry. Stricter rules mean higher costs, so any lithium ore processing plant project would need to be given a second look regarding its environmental impact and feasibility.

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If lithium carbonate, lithium chloride and lithium hydroxide are classified as dangerous, it would complicate the import procedure, production, and handling of the materials. The top lithium producer in Germany, Albemarle Corp (ALB.N), may have to shut its Langelsheim plant in Germany if the metal used in electric vehicle batteries is declared a hazardous material by the European Union..

Like America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the European Union has been making its environmental and climate rules stricter for decades. The administration in Brussels wants to make the entire continent carbon neutral by mid-century. At the same time, it is striving to achieve the highest level of protection from pollution in the world.

Initiatives to open mines and ore processing plants such as the ones in Serbia and Portugal have caused a public uproar as environmentalists and the local population are fearful about the impact on nature and people’s livelihoods. In other projects, engineers are trying to make the extraction of lithium from geothermal waters cost effective and harmless, without any mining. Currently, Portugal has called off a lithium project amid EU’s scramble for battery materials.

The second dark cloud is the insurability of future cargo ships to bring EV’s to America:

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, 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?

On the positive side, there are sodium-ion batteries that are the main pretender to the throne for EV’s.

Chinese giant CATL’s first generation of sodium-ion batteries are entering the market in 2023. If the company makes up for the lag in energy density, the new technology may become more competitive than lithium-based solutions.

The sodium-ion technology has better integration efficiency, performance at low temperatures and charging speed. Experts noted that sodium-ion batteries can be charged only 1,500 times compared to between two and four times more in the case of lithium variants. Thus, longevity of the sodium-ion batteries still needs development work.

Lithium-ion batteries are dominating the global energy storage market including electric vehicles. However, the sector’s rapid expansion is fueling price growth and drastic shortages are possible as soon as next year. Also, quality lithium ore is scarce and producers across the world are under fire for extensive water consumption in the process and other environmental impacts. Currently, sodium-ion batteries are the main pretender to the throne.

Until something like an alternative sodium-ion battery comes along to replace the lithium-ion batteries, to meet the projected growth of the EV population, the industry will be monitoring the dark clouds hanging over the industry for a reliable lithium supply chain for electric vehicles, as well as methods to transport those EV’s safely and cost-effectively to America.



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--By Ronald Stein- Contributing Writer to The Dakota Leader, Pulitzer Prize nominated author, and Policy advisor for The Heartland Institute on Energy

Post Date: 2022-06-30 15:36:28Last Update: 2022-06-30 16:00:57

    


An OP-ED on Artificial Intelligence in Sales

Make it easy. Make it work. And make it right. These critical imperatives could easily be the customer service mantra of many business professionals – including sales reps and sales leaders. They can also sum up the goals, benefits, and evolving impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in sales. But as AI continues to spread its influence on the buyer's journey, what does the role of AI in sales look like – and what does the future of AI hold for sales processes and for sales organizations as a whole? Consider the following:

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Simply put, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human-like intelligence, including patterns of thought and predictable action, via software, by machines – most commonly computers and/or connected computer systems. With AI, these machines utilize large data sets and also may continuously "learn" from direct interaction with human users or operators, to predictively simplify, enhance, automate, and/or accelerate the interactive experience. Advanced search engines, recommendation systems, predictive text, voice recognition and response tools, self-driving cars, and other similar technologies use some level of artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence in the Sales Process

Artificial intelligence is already making it possible for sales organizations to develop and utilize adaptive sales processes to simplify and enhance the buying experience. Regarding how AI is changing sales, the Harvard Business Review reports that "companies that have pioneered the use of AI in sales rave about the impact, which includes" a 50 % "increase in leads and appointments..." as well as "cost reductions of 40%–60%, and call time reductions of 60%–70%."

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Specifically, sales automation and AI productivity using the machine learning capabilities and functionality of AI can benefit sales in these areas (and many more):

Integrating with various media and focused platforms to optimize buyer awareness of products, services, and alternatives
  • Lead generation, putting interested prospects directly into the pipeline
  • Qualifying and ranking prospects via intelligent lead scoring using large data sets from multiple sources, both historical and real-time
  • Generating expert recommendations regarding prospect targeting, optimal sales methods, pricing, cross-selling, and up-selling opportunities and timing
  • Improved depth and accuracy of leading and lagging sales forecasting indicators for more effective and strategic sales initiatives.
  • Increasing sales team efficiency and productivity by automating time-consuming tangential tasks that do not effectively leverage the selling skills of the salesperson
The Future of Sales

So, what will be the big-picture impact of artificial intelligence and automation on the sales industry? AI in sales is here to stay and will continue to expand as an influential component of the sales process. Why? Because AI can transform sales team responsibilities and make the sales process more effective and efficient. Does that mean that sales reps will become obsolete? Not at all. Despite the growing impact of AI on sales, significant sales job losses are unlikely. And although buyers will likely appreciate a more efficient and relevant sales process, they still tend to prefer engaging with a human being, especially in long-term B2B relationships. In this way, AI automation can actually enhance the role of the salesperson and the connection to the customer. How? By making it possible for sales professionals to spend more time doing what they do best: engaging with buyers as real people making real connections and providing real solutions. And there's nothing artificial about that!

About John Lee- I implement sales infrastructure, process and accountability to drive aggressive growth for owners ready to change. I help EOS Implementer's fill the Sales Leader ROCK. Sales Consultant & Trainer, to learn more contact John HERE or email him today johnjleejr@comcast.net



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--John Lee CSL- Contributing Writer

Post Date: 2022-06-30 15:11:09Last Update: 2022-06-30 15:36:28

    


Advocates Call Ruling “A Big Win”

June 27, 2022 - the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the religious freedom to publicly pray. In this landmark case, Justice Thomas, and concurring Justice Alito, both agree that Coach Joseph Kennedy's first amendment rights were violated when the school district suspended him without pay for allegedly promoting public prayers as a government employee.

In its ruling the court determined, that while Joseph Kennedy led many of his prayers at the 50 yard line after games, he did so in private as part of his own religious beliefs, and not in the role of a government employee. While it was true, that some of his players often joined him, it was concluded they did so voluntarily, not by force, and not by means of expressing any such expression of the school district.

At issue, was how the First Amendment was to be interpreted - the court ruled that the first amendment only applied to the federal government. It was concluded that the first amendment alone does not supersede state rights, as each state has the right to its own "religion" and "belief system".

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievance." - First Amendment

Since it was the "States" whom formed and established the federal government, the states (acting as free republics between 1787 to 1789) drafted and adopted the Constitution along with the Bill of Rights. Thus reserving to themselves, the ability to form and establish their own "religion" in the name of a "Free and Sovereign People".

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However, as part of the Supreme Court Opinion today, it was also discovered that the Fourteenth Amendment (adopted shortly after the Civil War) transferred the First Amendment to the States. State governments, though technically sovereign, are restricted in the same way that the federal government is, with regard to the first amendment.

In South Dakota e.g, the state constitution clearly outlines religious freedom in Article 6, Section 3;

"The right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed. No person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or position on account of his religious opinions; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse licentiousness, the invasion of the rights of others, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state. No person shall be compelled to attend or support any ministry or place of worship against his consent nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship. No money or property of the state shall be given or appropriated for the benefit of any sectarian or religious society or institution.

The Free Exercise clause provides that "Congress shall make no law . . . prohibiting the free exercise" of religion. Amendment 1. "This Court has held the clause applicable to the States under the terms of the Fourteenth Amendment. The clause protects not only the right to harbor religious beliefs inwardly and secretly." - Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U. S. 296, 303 (1940).

By making its official opinion on this matter, the Supreme Court led by Justice Thomas ruled that:

"The only prayer Mr. Kennedy sought to continue was the kind he had 'started out doing' at the beginning of his tenure—the prayer he gave alone. He made clear that he could pray 'while the kids were doing the fight song' and 'take a knee by [him]self and give thanks and continue on.' Mr. Kennedy even considered it 'acceptable' to say his 'prayer while the players were walking to the locker room' or 'bus,' and then catch up with his team. In short, Mr. Kennedy did not seek to direct any prayers to students or require anyone else to participate. His plan was to wait to pray until athletes were occupied, and he 'told everybody' that's what he wished to do. It was for three prayers of this sort alone in October, 2015 that the District suspended him." - Justice GORSUCH



"In 'striking the appropriate balance' between public employees' constitutional rights and 'the realities of the employment context,' we have often considered whether the asserted employee right implicates the basic concerns of the relevant constitutional provision, or whether the claimed right can more readily give way to the requirements of the government as employer... In the free-speech context, for example, that inquiry has prompted us to distinguish between different kinds of speech; we have held that 'the First Amendment protects public employee speech only when it falls within the core of First Amendment protection'... the Court also does not decide what burden a government employer must shoulder to justify restricting an employee's religious expression because the District had no constitutional basis for reprimanding Kennedy under any possibly applicable standard of scrutiny."

This ruling by the Supreme Court, is a huge win for advocates of religious liberty. The Family Heritage Alliance, who signed onto an amicus brief, stated

"This is a monumental victory for religious freedom throughout the United States. This decision will protect teachers who bow their heads to give thanks during lunch in the cafeteria, or school employees who wear a cross or religious symbol, as the opinion specifically mentions. This is a critical protection that will not only help preserve a free and diverse society, but uphold human dignity, which is inseparable from the freedom to express one’s deeply held beliefs."





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--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-06-28 00:14:42Last Update: 2022-06-28 15:11:09

    





WATERTOWN, SD– The three-day-long SD GOP Convention concluded on Saturday June 25th, with a contest for the position of Lt Governor between incumbent Larry Rhoden and former Speaker of the South Dakota House of Representatives, Steve Haugaard. Haugaard previously ran against Governor Kristi Noem in the June 7th Republican primaries for the position of Governor, and Noem won with 71% of the votes. Haugaard filed his bid for Lt Governor on Friday, when the convention had already been in session for a day.

The record-setting 687 delegates present settled the nomination with the last vote of the convention, and
Rhoden won with 56% of the votes. He was also Noem's original choice of running mate. Once the convention had concluded, the South Dakota chapter of the Freedom Caucus met in a restaurant in the Ramkota Hotel, a few rooms away from the theater where the Lt Governor's nomination had just been announced. About one hundred fifty people were present at the meeting.

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Rhoden made an unexpected appearance at the Freedom Caucus meeting after officially becoming Noem’s running mate in the 2022 general election. He was not previously associated with the Freedom Caucus Network. Rhoden was criticized by one meeting attendee who pointed to him as an example of a RINO-- in other words, a Democrat masquerading as a Republican. Freedom Caucus supporter Mike Austed explained this characterization of Rhoden by saying that, "he is a leadership follower" and "anyone who (knew) Rhoden for the last fifteen years or what his voting record or his personality or his background (is) would not have to question what he is really about", but did not specify further why he feels that Rhoden is a RINO.

After the meeting, Rhoden defended his position as a strong conservative, saying that in 2017, he was ranked as the most conservative politician out of 105 Republicans legislators. When asked about property taxes and sales taxes in relation to his position as a small government conservative, he explained that, “property taxes are not a function of state government” but agreed that the state legislature has chosen not to lower sales taxes, although it has not increased them either. He also said that those matters are not decided by the Governor’s office.

This impromptu debate happened after convention chairman Reid Holien had concluded the official proceedings by saying that, "We are a family of Republicans. Families fight," and encouraged everyone present to work together towards their shared goals.


--Anna Cole, Associate Editor

Post Date: 2022-06-27 13:00:00Last Update: 2022-06-29 22:42:02

    


This time, in front of a crowded room



Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden has had a history of aggression and threatening behavior, when faced with opposition. Recently, Rhoden was recorded by colleague, Senator Phil Jensen (R-Rapid City), during the impeachment trial of former Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg on June 21, 2022. Jensen, upon seeing the approach of Rhoden, hit record on his cell phone, and captured the idle threats of the Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota. "You're lying well enough to get your a#$ kicked in the old days," Rhoden threatened Jensen, in relation to allegations of drinking at the home of pharmaceutical lobbyist Dean Krogman, the night of March 30, 2020 - Veto Day.

The Lt. Gov. is a large and tall man, who many say, speaks closely and emphatically. Sources tell The Dakota Leader that Rhoden often uses his stature to gain the upper-hand in conversations. Others have stated that Rhoden has flat out threatened them, their career's, and at times, their well-being.

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During the recorded incident, which occurred during the launch of the South Dakota Freedom Caucus, Saturday June 25, 2022 in Watertown, SD, and on the heels of the SDGOP Convention, Rhoden can clearly be seen exhibiting these behaviors.



SYNOPSIS-

Attendee, Mike Austad had asked during the press conference, what the vetting process would look like, to become a member of the Freedom Caucus, when Cindy Konopasek made a comment about infiltration from people like, and then pointed to Larry Rhoden, without continuing her statement. Konopasek left shortly after her comment, leaving Rhoden to confront Shamra Johnson (seen in the video).

Rhoden can be seen placing his hands on Johnson, when she recoils. Mike Austad, standing behind her can be heard saying "get your hands off of her, get your hands off her, get your hands off her, what are you going to do, start a fight?"

Rhoden then puts his hand in front of Austad, to silence him. In a video captured from another angle, Rhoden can then be seen putting his finger to his mouth to shush Austad, after Austad says "I'm friends with her, what are going to do, call me an bleep?"

The conversation continues on, in a heated debate about taxes, and why individuals are frustrated with the Governor and Lt. Governor. Altercations aside, a growing consensus of voters are pulling away from the current, special interest backed, establishment GOP, and seeking representation within new avenues. Insiders tell The Dakota Leader, if things do not change quickly, Representative Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls) could have a clear shot at beating Kristi Noem this November, to become the first Democratic Governor of South Dakota in decades.



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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-06-27 10:34:04Last Update: 2022-06-27 11:48:37

    


By Associate Editor Anna Cole, Edited by Breeauna Sagdal- Editor at Large







The Freedom Caucus Network is a new organization on the conservative political landscape and was launched in part by former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Meadows stated, "I knew it would be a game-changer in advance of limited government and conservative values. And it was. Now it's time to take it to the states and the State Freedom Caucus Network is going to help make it happen.” There are currently six states within the Freedom Caucus Network, with South Dakota now being the most recent addition.

Following the SD GOP Convention,
Steve Haugaard, former Speaker of the House, and challenger for the nomination of Lt. Gov., was greeted by attendees with a standing ovation. Haugaard spoke briefly, thanking the crowd for their support. After which, Andrew Roth, President of the State Freedom Caucus Network, took to the podium, sharing the vision for the future of conservative values in South Dakota, amidst an eager and crowded room.

"The criteria for becoming a member of the Freedom Caucus Network," Representative Aaron Aylward (R-Harrisburg),and new Freedom Caucus Chair shared, "is to demonstrate a commitment to limited government, pro-life policies, protecting medical freedom, and following through on one’s word while in office." The Freedom Caucus considers these traits to be the hallmark of a true conservative, and told press, Saturday evening that they have a vetting process to decide who qualifies as a member. Three South Dakota representatives were named to positions of caucus leadership, during the launch –
Tina Mulally, Co-Chair Tony Randolph, and Chair Aaron Aylward. Each gave an introduction speech, to share their role in the caucus, and goals for the upcoming legislative session.



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While both the established Republicans, and the new wave of conservatives, appear similar from an outsider's perspective, the conservatives backed by the new Freedom Caucus are passionate about specific issues and believe that a faction within the party does not go far enough when it comes to being transparent and honest.

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Trust in government has been low in the US since the beginning of the 21st century, and it has continued to decline throughout Biden's presidency. Republicans especially, poll low in terms of trust in government. Only 7 percent of republican respondents in the Pew National Election Study, agreed that they can trust the government to do what is right, most or all, of the time. Trust in established government leaders was at a similar level during the Great Recession, leading to the Tea Party gaining momentum in 2009 and Occupy Wall Street emerging onto the political landscape in 2011. Both were considered populist, grassroots movements that sought to challenge the establishment.

Mistrust of government in the late 2000s and early 2010s was largely driven by economic anxieties, and the same economic stressors have resurfaced and grown more urgent in recent months as people scrutinize
the role that government-mandated lock-downs played in the current inflation crisis. This mistrust is a global trend not limited to South Dakota or to the US. Even the notorious World Economic Forum, often the target of anger due to their proposed "Great Reset", has taken note of the low levels of trust and asked how it can be remedied.

Intense competition and heightened emotions between politicians and voters within South Dakota's Republican party could be seen as a reflection of this larger pattern taking shape in the world. Many Republicans in groups such as the Freedom Caucus feel that their personal finances and freedoms are currently at stake, and many are wary of government leaders who can be seen in any way as complicit in causing their current predicament. Some people feel they have been marginalized first by lockdowns and the related mandates and now by the effect of inflation on their ability to provide for themselves and their families. This sense of oppression is likely a factor in the motivation of the grassroots conservative organizations that have brought such fierce competition against the establishment.



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--Anna Cole - Associate Editor

Post Date: 2022-06-27 10:00:00Last Update: 2022-06-27 10:34:04

    


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