Politics

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

United States Senator John Thune spent part of his Tuesday talking with young professionals in Sioux Falls. The lawmaker first spoke to members of the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce before the smaller Q&A. People who work in energy, banking, business, and other industries are asking the lawmaker questions and explaining their concerns.

It may be a roundtable discussion, but young professionals in Sioux Falls line a long, rectangular tabletop to ask questions of United States Senator John Thune.

Erin Mairose

With over 17 Republicans seeking their party’s nod for the presidency, things are bound to get confusing.  Minnehaha County Republicans gathered Thursday to watch the first GOP debate.

Reactions to the Republican presidential debate were as mixed as the 17 candidates themselves. Minnehaha County Republican Jim Stalzer says for him the debate didn’t lend a clear front runner.  

“I’ve been impressed with most of the field today, I like at least half of them and I don’t think anyone has messed up tonight that has lost anything,” says Stalzer.

Thune Decries Carbon Reduction Plan As Arctic Sea Route Opens

Aug 5, 2015
NSIDC

U.S. Senator John Thune joined the rest of the South Dakota congressional delegation and several industry groups in condemning a White House plan to reduce carbon emissions.

The Obama Administration is proposing a cap on carbon emissions from coal fired power plants in an effort to reduce global warming.   

The debate comes as arctic ice has melted back early enough so a sea route is open over the polar ice cap.

Democrats have their first candidate for the U.S. House. Two-term state Representative Paula Hawks of Hartford announced her candidacy on Monday for the seat held by Republican Kristi Noem. Hawks says her experience in the legislature makes her a good candidate for Congress.  She wants to focus on seniors, farmers and ranchers, equality for women, education and student loan debt.

Jonathan Ellis, reporter/columnist for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, and Seth Tupper, enterprise reporter for the Rapid City Journal, joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed hardball tactics by opponents to a proposed ballot initiative capping payday loan interest rates at 36 percent; Democratic state representative Paula Hawks' possible candidacy for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Kristi Noem; and newly-released FBI files revealing that late South Dakota U.S.

South Dakota Legislative Research Council

Since first being elected in 2010, Republican State Representative Steve Hickey has been an outspoken champion of social conservative causes. He's opposed abortion and same-sex marriage. But he’s also worked with Democrats on abolishing the death penalty and establishing a truth and reconciliation commission to address problems between Native Americans and whites. He’s also been working with openly gay Democratic strategist and Sioux Falls businessman Steve Hildebrand to collect signatures for a 2016 ballot measure capping payday lending  interest rates at 36 percent.

Nate Wek SDPB

Two laws passed by the legislature this year won’t go into effect today, but instead will go before voters next year. Senate Bill 177 established a youth minimum wage at $7.50, a dollar less than that set by voters in 2014. Senate Bill 69 is an election reform package that includes a provision preventing members of registered parties from signing petitions of independent candidate.

Three people who represent South Dakota in the nation’s capital are reacting to a US Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. Thursday six of the nine justices agreed that people are still eligible for insurance subsidies using a federal health insurance exchange. Thirty-four states do not have state-run marketplaces.

U.S. Senator Mike Rounds

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling any day now in King v. Burwell. The ruling will answer the question of whether health insurance subsidies are limited to those states with their own exchanges. If subsidies are limited to the 17 states that established exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, 6.4 million people could lose their insurance subsidies, including some 19,000 South Dakotans.

ACLU leaders have filed a federal lawsuit over a new election deadline for third-party candidates. The lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota says an earlier date for new parties to get on the ballot violates Constitutional rights. The case is filed Libertarian Party of South Dakota versus Krebs.

South Dakota lawmakers approved a measure that sets the date a candidate must turn in signed petitions a month earlier than it used to be. In January Secretary of State Shantel Krebs explained to lawmakers that an earlier deadline offers more time for scrutiny. 

Charles Michael Ray SDPB

Jon Hunter, publisher of the Madison Daily Leader, and Seth Tupper, enterprise reporter for the Rapid City Journal, joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed Tuesday's elections in Rapid City and Mitchell that saw losses by incumbent mayors; municipal election turnout; former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth's conviction on election law violation charges; and U.S. Senator Mike Rounds' first speech on the Senate floor.

Federal Judge Moves Wanblee Voting Case Forward

May 4, 2015

A federal judge has ruled in favor of some Pine Ridge residents who allege unequal access to the polls in Jackson County.
 
In 2014, early in-person voting opened at the county courthouse in Kadoka. A similar office did not open in Wanblee and some community members cried foul.
 
Voting rights groups say they want to ensure that in 2016 residents of Wanblee have the same easy access to the ballot box as residents in the county seat of Kadoka.

Victoria Wicks SDPB

Madison Daily Leader publisher Jon Hunter and KELO-TV Rapid City reporter Kevin Woster joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed the state Public Utilities Commission's delay in the Keystone/XL Pipeline evidentiary hearing; the state legislature's summer studies; a bill introduced by Senator John Thune that requiring collaboration between federal and local officials before a prescribed burn on federal lands when fire danger is high; upcoming Rapid City elections; and determining Platte's next mayor by luck of the draw.

Lake Area Technical Institute

Sioux Falls Argus Leader reporter and columnist Jonathan Ellis and Watertown Public Opinion managing editor Roger Whittle joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed President Obama's upcoming visit to Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown; a new marketing campaign comparing South Dakota to Mars; and the legacy of  "gentleman politician" Walt Conahan who died over the weekend.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Madison Daily Leader publisher Jon Hunter and Rapid City Journal enterprise reporter Seth Tupper joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed the announcement that President Obama will visit Watertown next month; the possibility of 2016 presidential candidates visiting the state; the likelihood of Republican Senator John Thune running unopposed in his re-election bid; and the rise of registered independents.

KELO-TV Rapid City reporter Kevin Woster and Black Hills Knowledge Network and South Dakota Dashboard editor Denise Ross joined Dakota Midday and discussed the latest in state politics. Topics this week included new leadership for state senate Republicans; controversy over the new 80 mph interstate speed limit; Democrats search for a candidate to oppose Senator John Thune in 2016; and the state congressional delegation's opposition to the listing of the Northern Long-Eared Bat as a threatened species.

Student Leaders Share Opinions on Issues

Apr 1, 2015
Cara Hetland SDPB

This week in Pierre, the South Dakota High School Activities Association hosted the State Student Council Convention. Over 900 of South Dakota’s best and brightest high school students gathered in the state capital. As aspiring future leaders many of the students are keeping an eye on what’s happening in politics at the local and national level. 12 students shared their opinions on major government issues at the state and national level, including new youth minimum wage legislation, education funding and transgender policies.

Sioux Falls Argus Leader reporter and columnist Jonathan Ellis and Watertown Public Opinion managing editor Roger Whittle joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed veto day which wrapped up the 2015 session and the resignation of Senate majority leader Tim Rave and assistant majority leader Dan Lederman. Other topics included South Dakota’s status as the only state President Obama hasn’t visited during his six years in office and an invitation to Watertown.

Effort Started To Put Two SD Senate Bills On Ballot

Mar 30, 2015
Kealey Bultena

Two bills passed by the legislature this session could see a challenge from voters in 2016 if the efforts to put them on the statewide ballot succeed.

Opponents to Senate Bills 69 and 177 submitted their intent to circulate petitions to the Secretary of State.
 
SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray reports that the issues deal with the minimum wage for teenagers and independent candidates who want to run for office.

Nate Wek SDPB

Madison Daily Leader publisher Jon Hunter and Rapid City Journal reporter Seth Tupper joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed the petition reform and youth minimum wage bills signed into law by Governor Dennis Daugaard. Other topics included FAA approval of a plan expanding a bomber training area and a new political action committee formed by former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland.

South Dakota lawmakers passed a $4.3 billion budget late Friday night. Despite lower than expected revenue projections, the budget provides for increases in Medicaid reimbursements, state employee salaries and education funding. Lawmakers also passed a bill that increases funding for roads and bridges. It raises the gas tax by six cents and raises license fees and license plate feed by 20 percent. Lawmakers return to Pierre on Monday, March 30 to consider any gubernatorial vetoes.

South Dakota lawmakers passed a 4.3 billion dollar budget late Friday night. Despite lower than expected revenue projections, the budget provides for increases in Medicaid reimbursements, state employee salaries and education funding. Lawmakers also passed a bill that increases funding for roads and bridges. It raises the gas tax by six cents and raises license fees and license plate fees by 20 percent. Lawmakers return to Pierre on March 30 to consider any gubernatorial vetoes.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota now has an interim United States Attorney this week after Brendan Johnson left office. Randy Sieler is leading the office for now. Multiple factors contribute to the appointment of a new permanent federal prosecutor.

The process of replacing a United States Attorney lies in the hands of the White House Administration. Sandy McKeown is an assistance professor in political science at the University of South Dakota. She says the president fills the US Attorney position with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Charles Michael Ray SDPB

Rapid City residents go to the polls on Tuesday to decide a proposed $180 million expansion of the  Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. If approved, the renovations would amount to the largest single expenditure of city funds ever undertaken. Supporters say it’s an investment in the city’s future that won’t raise property taxes. Opponents say the price tag is too high and alternatives need to be more carefully considered.

Voters To Decide Rapid's Civic Center Expansion Tuesday

Mar 9, 2015

On Tuesday voters in Rapid City go to the polls to make a $180-million dollar decision.
 
A municipal election is set to decide the proposed expansion of the Rapid City Civic Center arena.  If approved the renovations would amount to the largest single expenditure of city funds ever undertaken.    
 
Proponents say it’s an investment in the future that will pay itself back in increased sales tax revenue and visitor spending.  But opponents say the price tag is too high and the city needs to consider alternatives.

You can hear the story by clicking play below.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Watertown Public Opinion managing editor Roger Whittle and Rapid City Journal reporter Seth Tupper joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed proposals before state lawmakers, including bills exempting youth from the minimum wage hike, allowing cities to impose additional sales tax, and establishing water management districts in the northeastern part of South Dakota. Other topics included the selection of Pam Roberts as the new Republican state party chair and next week's election on expanding the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City.

Dakota Political Junkies

Feb 25, 2015
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Madison Daily Leader publisher Jon Hunter and KELO-TV Rapid City reporter Kevin Woster joined the Dakota Political Junkies this week. They discussed President Obama's veto of a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the debate over transportation funding in the state legislature, the defeat of several concealed weapons bills, and Rapid City's upcoming vote on expansion of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Dakota Politcal Junkies

Nov 26, 2014
Rick Weiland

Could former U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland be the next chairman of the state Democratic party? That's one of the questions discussed by Rapid City Journal reporter Seth Tupper on the Dakota Political Junkies. Other topics included the future Republican U.S. Senator John Thune and the latest in the unfolding EB-5 saga.

Nate Wek / SDPB

Along with victories by Dennis Daugaard, Kristi Noem and Mike Rounds in a Republican sweep of statewide races Tuesday, the GOP will also maintain their dominance in the state legislature with supermajorities in both houses. State Senate Majority Leader Tim Rave and State House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff joined Dakota Midday with their perspectives on yesterday's election results and what they mean for their respective parties.

Dakota Midday: Post Election Analyisis

Nov 5, 2014
Nate Wek SDPB

Around 54 percent of South Dakota's eligible voters went to the polls yesterday for the midterm elections. In the most closely watched race, former Republican Governor Mike Rounds won his bid to become South Dakota’s next U.S. Senator. He replaces retiring Democrat Tim Johnson. Rounds’ win last night helped Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate.

Republican Kristi Noem won a third term as the state’s lone representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. Governor Dennis Daugaard was re-elected as part of a Republican sweep of all statewide offices.

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