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

Nov. 23, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal

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

    


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

Nov. 23, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


--Breeauna Sagdal

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

    


What Have South Dakota Citizens Said About Sales Tax On Food and Clothing?

As Governor Noem fights tooth and nail with her opponent Jamie Smith on whether or not to remove sales tax on food, we do have some precedent on what South Dakota Voters support, and do not support.

According to an Argus Leader article, quoting a S.D Legislator in response to the Governor's ploy to remove sales tax from food:

"My first reaction is that this is a desperate political stunt on the part of a political campaign who sees it's about ready to lose what many thought was a slam dunk race," Sen. Reynold Nesiba (D-Sioux Falls) said.

And, while the S.D Legislature claims it did have some support in the previous session (January through March 2022) to lift the tax from food and clothes, it is evident that the voters of South Dakota most likely do not support the removal of sales tax from food or clothes, as evidenced by two previous public votes held in S.D Elections.

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In a 1992 vote on reducing property taxes assessed to land owners and removing sales tax from food, clothing and utilities, 75% of South Dakota voters said “no”. Of course, the measure also included replacing the lost income with a statewide personal income tax and corporate excise tax in order to tax incomes, while redistributing the revenues to certain sects of the population.

So not only did the 1992 vote send a strong signal that voters did not support the removal of sales tax on food and clothes, but it also sent a strong message that they do not support a tax on people's incomes or profits at all.

Nearly a decade later, the issue returned for a second vote in 2004. Again people voted on whether or not to remove sales tax from food,and the voters overwhelmingly voted 255,855 to 123,210 to maintain a steady collection of sales tax revenues on groceries.

Democrat Candidate Jamie Smith says:

"We were able to work in the house in a bipartisan fashion to get this passed, but it was killed promptly upon its receipt in the Senate. Our governor has not supported this, nor did she support tax cuts in general throughout the last session."

Governor Noem, Jamie Smith and the S.D Legislature do not have the support of the people to remove sales tax from food, clothing, or even utilities. Twice the voters have indicated they are perfectly fine with taxing food, clothing, and utilities as the main source of statewide revenue.

In 2016, the voters even approved of the S.D Legislature expanding the "sales tax" collections across a larger base of citizens to include "online sales" which includes food and clothing purchased online.

Every time the voters had the chance to remove sales tax on food or clothing, they have rejected the option.

Does a 6.5% State and Local Sales Tax really hurt the pocketbooks of South Dakotans? According to the voting records, the people of South Dakota do not seem to think so.

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The People of South Dakota appear to support paying taxes on food, clothing, and utilities, so long as they do not have to pay taxes on their incomes or business profits.

As you go to the polls this November, consider whether the people really have an issue with paying sales tax across the state. The answer may be in those 1992 and 2004 Public Votes.

South Dakota does in fact help its poorest and most vulnerable citizens of the State. Whether they are seniors, disabled, or simply low income, as a State, they have the option to submit an application for tax reduction. This provides the most vulnerable with a 'tax rebate' or refund in order to help pay for food, clothing, rent, and utilities. All they need to do is apply for such a program.


--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-10-27 10:00:00Last Update: 2022-10-27 07:04:04

    


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

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

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

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

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

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


--Press Release

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

    


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

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

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

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

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

Representative Phil Jensen

District 33 State Representative

10215 Pioneer Ave

Rapid City SD 57702


--Representative Phil Jensen

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

    


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

October 07, 2022 For Immediate Release

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

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

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


--SDFRW

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

    


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


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

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

    


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

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

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

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

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

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

You can not amend to remove a power never granted!

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

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

Why have we not opposed these abuses of power?

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

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

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

Where does this free money or bribe money come from?

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

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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.



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--By Leah Southwell

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

    


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

October 03, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

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

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

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

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

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



Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

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

    


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

September 30, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

    


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