Pierre, S.D. (Aug 1, 2022) â€“ 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.
â€œSouth Dakota has nearly a half a billion dollars in reserves,â€ said Freedom Caucus Representative Tina Mulally, who also serves on the House Appropriations Committee, â€œand 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.â€
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 stateâ€™s economic conditions and will help with the economic uncertainty caused by the 40-year highs in inflation, which she says is being caused â€œby the Biden Administrationâ€™s heavy spending.â€ Governor Noem said in another public statement that she intends for the state to â€œspend taxpayer money wisely and responsibly,â€ and has publicly cautioned against â€œa reduction in our stateâ€™s tax structure.â€
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.
â€œThe Governor and her legislative allies need to remember this isnâ€™t our money,â€ said Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Aaron Aylward, â€œitâ€™s the peopleâ€™s money that weâ€™ve been entrusted for their benefit, not to hold on to or horde when people need it the most.â€
The South Dakota Freedom Caucus further pointed to expenditures totaling over $5 million under the Noem administration, which the Freedom Caucus publicly stated are â€œwasteful and unnecessary expenditures,â€ including the: Governorâ€™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.
â€œUsing public money for personal benefit, is not wisely spent taxpayer money,â€ said Mulally, â€œwhen the public never sees the benefit.â€
The South Dakota Freedom Caucus intends to make the issue a priority at the upcoming 2023 legislative session, which starts January 10, 2023.
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 stateâ€™s economy. South Dakotaâ€™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 Dakotaâ€™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 stateâ€™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 Dakotaâ€™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 stateâ€™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 stateâ€™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.
Do State Legislatureâ€™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 â€œbe prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.â€ U.S. CONST. art. I, Â§ 4. Yet barring this Courtâ€™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 Stateâ€™s General Assembly but rather by its courts. â€œThe Constitution provides that state legislaturesâ€â€”not â€œstate judgesâ€â€” â€œbear primary responsibility for setting election rules,â€ Democratic Natâ€™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 Constitutionâ€™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:
Does the North Carolina Court have authority to strike down, change, or deny the State Legislature of adopting newly aligned voting districts?
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?
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?
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.
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 â€œa republic,â€ but only â€œif we can keep it.â€
With the Mayor Giving his Recommended City Budget to the City Council on July 21, Should the City Council Also Provide One?
July 21, 2021 - it is that time of year again, where we as a community sit down at the drawing table to discuss the state of the City of Sioux Falls, and its Finances.
Each year, between August 1st and September 30th, the Mayor and City Council spend countless hours discussing how much tax revenue will be collected by the City over the incoming months, while they begin the process of making plans of how to spend that future revenue being collected. But while the Mayor provides to the people and their representatives his or her "recommended plan", the City Council fails to provide to the mayor their own "recommended plan". Leading to some in the community to question whose budget is it. Is it the mayor's plan, or is it the people's plan?
While the City of Sioux Falls Charter as per Section 5.02 stipulate the Mayor's Office must provide to the City Council a Financial Plan (a budget) by August 1st of each year, and this typically takes place between July 20 and July 31st of each year, the charter has been silent on the fact the City Council must present its own budget in return. This leads to some confusion. The city council itself has to accept the mayors plan with no clear power to set a financial plan of its own in place. The charter simply says:
The mayor's message shall explain the budget both in fiscal terms and in terms of the work programs. It shall outline the proposed financial policies of the city for the ensuing fiscal year, describe the important features of the budget, indicate any major changes from the current year in financial policies, expenditures, and revenues together with the reasons for such changes, summarize the city's debt position and include such other material as the mayor deems desirable. - Section 5.03
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Therefore, between August 1st and September 30th - the Mayor's Administration, the Finance Department, and all of the City Departments bring forth the City Council's reports of plans as supported by the City of Sioux Falls itself, based on the long-term vision of the current mayor at that point in time. While the City Council may offer suggestions, may at times make slight changes, or add things to the budget, the City charter makes it well known that the mayor's recommended budget is the predominant financial plan of city government.
South Dakota Codified Law simply says by it's first public meeting to be held September of each year, the Municipality must present to the public a list of projected revenues and expenses to be paid over the course of the next fiscal year, while it does not create a deadline other than a proposed list of taxes and expenses be adopted by ordinance, it does present a legal date to be December 31st of each year:
The governing body of each municipality shall, no later than its first regular meeting in September of each year or within ten days thereafter, introduce the annual appropriation ordinance for the ensuing fiscal year, in which it shall appropriate the sums of money necessary to meet all lawful expenses and liabilities of the municipality. The ordinance shall specify the function and subfunction as prescribed by the Department of Legislative Audit for which the appropriations are made and the amount appropriated for each function and subfunction, which amount shall be appropriated from the proper fund. It is not necessary to appropriate revenue to be expended from an enterprise or trust and agency fund if the fund is not supported or subsidized by revenue derived from the annual appropriated tax levy. However, an annual budget for these funds shall be developed and published no later than December thirty-first of each year.
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The City Charter, by means of Section 5.05 (c), goes beyond the Statutory requirement by demanding that the Mayor and City Council adopt a Fiscal Budget by September 30th of the current year so the residents of the municipality may review such a budget and raise questions.
As an advocate for better government, I recommended a proposal to the City's Charter Revision Committee in 2021 to revise, amend, and change Section 5.05 to allow the City Council to have more power over taxes, fees, the expenses each year by allowing it to establish its own recommended budget. I proposed that while the Mayor provides to the council his recommended plan by August 1st, the City Council should also provide to the people directly it's own recommended budget as well, and during the month of August, the two sides should then discuss both proposals, thus allowing the people to decide which one should be the preferred choice, let alone, making compromises between the two recommendations, by no later than September 10th, which provides necessary time for the Mayor and City Council to make changes leading up to September 30th, of each year.
Under my proposal, there would be a clear separation of power between the Mayor's Office and the City Council, while keeping in mind that the city council receives updated financial updates each month or even daily, and it has its own Internal Finance Auditor, Fiscal Committee, and means to review and track financial data. The City publishes its financial report as early as March of each year.
I would like to see Section 5 of the City Charter revised to read as such, giving the City Council more power over the budgetary process:
Charter, Section 5.05 - Section 5.05 City Council Action on Budget (changes in bold, underline)
(c) Adoption. The city council shall adopt the annual appropriation ordinance for appropriated funds for the ensuing fiscal year on or before the 30th day of September of the fiscal year currently ending. The annual appropriation ordinance shall make appropriations by fund and department or organizational unit. It is not necessary to appropriate funds to be expended from a proprietary or trust fund if the fund is not supported or subsidized by revenue derived from the annual appropriated tax levy. However, an annual budget for these funds shall be adopted by resolution on or before the 30th day 10th day of September of the fiscal year currently ending and published at the same time as publication of the annual appropriation ordinance. If the city council fails to adopt the budget by this date, the budget proposed by the mayor shall go into effect.
Within ten (10) days, the city council shall return to the Mayor a detailed list of ten items that should be added or removed from the proposed budget, and the Mayor shall submit to the city council a list of ten items that should be added or removed from the proposed budget. Ten days after that deadline, the Mayor plus two City Council Members shall call forth a Special Council Meeting to discuss the changes to be made to the budget in order to pass the annual appropriation budget. If the two sides cannot agree to an appropriation budget by joint resolution, the last agreed prior budget shall remain in full effect for next twelve months.
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â¦ IF the two sides cannot agree to a budget, then no new budget should be adopted.
â¦ IF there is no new budget, then the budget last voted on shall remain in effect and the city shall restrict itself to spending tax dollars based on a previously adopted budget.
By making this small change, you are allowing the Mayor to propose his recommended budget between July 20th and August 1st, while at the same time allowing the City Council to present to the public its own recommended proposed budget. During the month of August, they may discuss both proposals, hash out any differences and make changes to either one. By September 10th, they must agree to one or the other, or over the next twenty days, by joint resolution, adopt an agreeable budget that is acceptable to both the mayor and the city council.
If neither side should agree, then the PEOPLE have power as residents of the city to hold the city government to the last adopted budget from a previous year. They can enforce their right to ensure that city government cannot simply run over the people's wishes beyond their voluntary consent.
All Residents of the City of Sioux Falls may upon request from the City Finance Department copies of the last updated Annual Financial Report. This provides to the residents all revenue sources, past expenses of the city, statements of all accounts, funds, and programs of the city. It provides key data, statistics, and more, which becomes a useful financial tool of residents in establishing a plan to be adopted over the next twelve months. Three times each month the city council holds key informational meetings to discuss projected revenues, projects, and other data that warrant public discussion over the course of the next year.
As we, as the residents of the City of Sioux Falls, begin budget talks to determine how to spend our public taxes and revenues for the period between January 1st of 2022, to the end of December 31 of the year 2022, lets begin to enforce the public's right to to be part of the process, as well as pay attention to each and every detail that the residents may or may not want, as participants in the commercial activity of the city each year.
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Balancing your Checkbook is an important concept in our daily lives, and that concept does not simply stop at your front door. It involves all of us as residents who are required to pay taxes to the city itself.
Be part of the governing process, help make the City of Sioux Falls a much better place to live, and be part of the "budgetary process" each month. Help to shape the City long into the future by building better roads, infrastructure, citywide programs and services, and better means for the residents to go about their daily lives within the city itself.
Beginning on July 21st with the Mayor's Budget Address, you will have the ability to participate in public discussion to establish the next year's city budget, as well as the Five Year Capital Plan, which establishes a plan for building new roads, fixing existing roads, and repairing and building infrastructure, new bike trails, bridges, a new electric grid, and our water and sewer system. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
"To implement a budget is to apply one's ideas about life and spending to the real world."
â€• Zachariah Renfro
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, â€œcommon-sense solutionsâ€ with â€œbi-partisan support.â€
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, Â§ 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."
â€œWe are also willing and able to work with our Republican colleagues to find common ground on these issues,â€ said Smith, as he released the legislative concepts House Democrats planned to submit during the special session. Further adding, â€œAmong them, tax cuts for foster families and child care providers, funding for maternal health care, and proposed exceptions for rape and incest in South Dakotaâ€™s new trigger law.â€
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
â€œThis is not a political issue, this is a people issue. It doesnâ€™t matter where you sit on both sides of the aisle, this is a major concern that weâ€™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.â€
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
The wealthy countries that have chosen to go â€œgreenâ€ 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 worldâ€™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 â€œgreenâ€ 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 â€œenergy poverty.â€
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 Americaâ€™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 Bidenâ€™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 todayâ€™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 Newsomâ€™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
EVâ€™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
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."
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 youâ€™re paying for the product. And do it now.
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 â€” 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.
â€œBlame Health Authorities for Monkeypox Spread, Not Queer Menâ€
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 HÃ¸eg 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 HÃ¸eg and Makary,
"The NIHâ€™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 thereâ€™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.
State epidemiologist, Dr. Josh Clayton stated in a recent press release,
â€œThe number of monkeypox cases has grown substantially over the past two months in the U.S. and globally." Adding that, â€œprompt 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.â€
"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 doesnâ€™t mean that the disease is â€œgayâ€ or even that it is sexually transmitted â€” 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 â€œThis 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.â€ 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 HÃ¸eg, 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 HÃ¸eg 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 whatâ€™s politically palatable to people in Washington or to the Biden administration," with a "myopic focus on one virus, instead of overall health.â€
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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor and Health Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader
Sioux Falls, SDâ€“ 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 Novemberâ€™s midterm election. He is also the current minority leader in the state house. Smithâ€™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, â€œfor many in our state, the last month created uncertainty and confusion,â€ 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 â€œcommon-sense solutionsâ€ with â€œbipartisan supportâ€ 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 Dakotaâ€™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;
HB 1001 would amend South Dakotaâ€™s ban on abortions, which currently allows exceptions to save the motherâ€™s life, to also include exceptions for rape and/or incest. It would not repeal the trigger law on abortions, nor would it change the penalties for performing any abortions not included in those three exceptions.
HB 1002 would allow for a property tax break of up to twenty percent for properties used for family daycare and outlines the details of how that would be accomplished. HB 1007 makes similar proposals for foster care providers, and the tax breaks could potentially incentivize more families to take in foster children. HB 1003 proposes more grants for centers that help victims of domestic violence.
HB 1004 would establish an Early Childhood Learning Advisory Council for South Dakota, which would consist of twelve members appointed by the governor. Each of the twelve positions would have a specific requirement, such as â€œA Representative of the Department of Healthâ€, â€œA Representative from Tribal Head Start programsâ€, or â€œTwo parents of a child under age sixâ€. The council would have roles that include assessing the quality of early childhood education, finding ways for child development programs to collaborate with each other, obtaining more funding sources for programs, and assessing ways to encourage more early childhood programs in higher education. Although HB 1004 subtly acknowledges that more teachers need to be trained because there is an ongoing shortage of teachers both statewide and nationwide, it does not directly address the current salary for early childhood professionals in South Dakota. Preschool teachers and staff members in South Dakota are paid $14.64 per hour on average, which is below the minimum wage in many states.
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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 Dakotaâ€™s ban on abortion and proposals for how to support women and families, insisting that it was â€œunnecessaryâ€ 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,
â€œIn 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 weâ€™re connecting them to the resources that we have.â€
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.
PIERRE â€“ 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.
â€œWhether 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,â€ said South Dakota Department of Social Services Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill. â€œPeople can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.â€
When South Dakotans call, text or chat 988, theyâ€™ll be quickly connected to trained crisis counselors who will listen to concerns, provide support and connect to additional resources as needed.
â€œThere are urgent realities driving the need for crisis service transformation across our country,â€ said Helpline Center CEO Janet Kittams.
In 2020, Congress designated the new 988 dialing code to operate through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifelineâ€™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.
â€œThe 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,â€ Kittams said. â€œPlease join us in sharing this important information about 988 and together we can continue to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction.â€
Pierre, S.D. (Jul 12, 2022) â€“ Governor Noem has recently started to walk back a call for a special legislative session after her statement last month that there was â€œmore work to doâ€ to â€œsave unborn lives in South Dakota.â€
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.
â€œThe recent Dobbs opinion was great,â€ said Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Aaron Aylward, â€œbecause in South Dakota, it enacted an excellent pro-life trigger law, but now we need to close the loopholes.â€ 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 Bidenâ€™s recent Abortion Access Executive Order signed last week, stating â€œGovernor 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.â€
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.