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The 2020 Legislative Session started on Jan. 14.  This is my sixth year in the South Dakota Senate and I will be again serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee as vice-chairman and on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  In addition to those legislative committees during the ses…

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The 2020 legislative session started Tuesday, January 14. I was sworn in by Chief Justice David Gilbertson as the new District 19 senator. It has been an honor to serve as a District 19 representative.  

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In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we offer you the text of King’s legendary “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963:

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Let’s raise a glass in toast of a milestone, for today (Friday) is the 100th anniversary of the 18th Amendment going into effect, which gave America the great socioeconomic experiment known as Prohibition — the outlawing of the sale and consumption of most non-medicinal alcoholic beverages a…

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A mountain lion turned up on a motion camera in residential Yankton last month — one of a number of sightings in the last several months — and, since seeing is believing, there has been heightened concerns that the number of mountain lions in the Yankton area is increasing.

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As the good people of Yankton County strive to understand the difficult issues related to zoning, I would encourage everyone to please stick to the facts.

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In an apparent shifting of gears on the eve of the start of the 2020 legislative session, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem surprisingly laid out a road map last week for industrial hemp to become a legal crop in the state.

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The start of the New Year means the start of a 2020 legislative session. I am back in Pierre as your state representative. I am looking forward to it. Over the past couple of months, I have been meeting and listening with people in Yankton to learn what issues are important to you. I even pu…

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Over the last year, we’ve had a long conversation about industrial hemp. I’ve been grateful to talk with folks about the topic and hear different perspectives at town halls, coffee shops, basketball games, and everywhere in between.

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I’ve been there before, and I was there again Tuesday night.

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At the very least, a public meeting held in Irene Saturday on the possibility of several townships seceding from Yankton County was perhaps the clearest display yet of the frustration that some people here have toward county government and operations.

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My first year as a county commissioner proved much more challenging than I expected. Openings in the zoning office with our administrator on medical leave led right into spring flooding, horrible road conditions and financial uncertainties for the county. All of these obstacles required extr…

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To be honest, it’s awfully easy for many people to pay little notice to local governing entities when they engage in long-range planning and visioning. Because it is such a long-term, seemingly open-ended exercise whose successes are not immediately seen — and whose original goals are often …

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The 2020 Legislative Session will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 14, for the majority of the legislators. However, for the Joint Appropriations Committee their 2020 work began in December after the Governor’s Budget Address.

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Sometimes it seems that breaking New Year’s resolutions are as much of a tradition as making them. We commit ourselves to getting in shape or quitting bad habits, but by Jan. 15, many have already strayed. It’s easy to blame this on self-discipline or holiday leftovers, but research suggests…

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While concentrating the past few weeks on the busy end of another year, I have to confess that I never gave much thought to it also being the end of the decade. (Mathematically, it really isn’t, but it’s hard to win that argument with anyone.) As I think about it, it’s probably because Y2K (…

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Year three of the man-child administration was much like his first two, only more so. But before you compel yourself, for the sake of your sanity, to forget so much of what you saw and heard, perhaps you can be tempted to test your smarts on this year’s most memorable rhetorical sewage. Give…

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As we close out what’s been by many measures a difficult year, there is a bit of consolation in knowing that some hardships also served as valuable learning experiences.

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Families across South Dakota have started taking down Christmas trees and kids are getting ready to start a new semester at school. With another holiday season nearly behind us, I want to take a moment to reflect on the many things we’ve accomplished this year.

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As 2019 comes to a close, I’ve had time to reflect on the past year. As a state, we celebrated the commissioning of the USS South Dakota, a Virginia-class nuclear submarine designed to fulfill 21st century mission requirements. We also worked to secure Ellsworth Air Force Base as the locatio…

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“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.” — Roy Batty, a replicant (artificial human) in the 1982 movie “Blade Runner,” which took place in the bleak dystopian future of 2019.

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I have heard numerous comments during the past week about the fact that the governor’s proposed budget did not include any inflationary increases for the “big three” items in the state budget: aid to K-12 education, Medicaid providers and state employees.

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Last week’s $1.4 trillion budget deal in Washington — which we touched on last week for finally funding research into gun violence — did something else that may well be very consequential.

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When this time of year rolls around, I’m always surprised, somehow. It’s not as if I didn’t know it was coming. It just seems like the years go a bit too fast these days and, all of a sudden, Christmas is here once again.

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As we celebrate the holidays with our loved ones, we are reminded of the true reason for the season: the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. His teachings remind us to be kind to others, share our gratitude for all the good things in our lives and give back to those less fortunate. Through thes…

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Did anyone else not watch the Democrat presidential debate on TV Thursday night?

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Many, many Christmases ago, I discovered something that has remained true through all the Yuletides since: I’d much rather give gifts than receive them. Perhaps that sentiment feels like a worn cliché, but so be it.

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I want to thank all of the school district patrons who have attended the opt-out meetings. Your questions and involvement have been greatly appreciated. There have been a total of 30 meetings held regarding the opt-out.  

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Believe it or not, there’s a lot more going on in Washington these days than impeachment hearings, which are getting most of the media attention and basically sucking the oxygen out of the American room, so to speak.

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South Dakota thrives when South Dakotans lead. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… Our people are our greatest resource, and it’s all of our responsibility to invest in each other and step into the giftings we possess.

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“History doesn’t repeat itself,” Mark Twain supposedly once declared, “but it often rhymes.”

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Perhaps money really doesn’t make the world go around — with apologies to “Cabaret” — but it sure does help keep the wheels of government moving.

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I served four years as chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which has jurisdiction over everything from planes, trains, and automobiles to the depths of the ocean and the heights of outer space. And no matter the subject, one of my favorite parts about s…

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Again this month, Congress is operating under a Continuing Resolution, or CR, that expires just a few days before Christmas. The intent is to back members of Congress and the White House into a corner, hoping they will be willing to accept a massive end-of-year spending package that they mig…

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On Dec. 3, I proposed my budget to the legislature for Fiscal Year 2021. Just like many folks are experiencing, money is tight for the State this year. But just as South Dakotans always do, we’re finding a way to be successful with the resources at our disposal. My proposed budget is structu…