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Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., heralded the Senate version of the farm bill, passed Monday, saying it contains long-sought reforms and payment caps. On the other side of the aisle, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., found enough objectionable provisions to push him into the first "No" vote on a farm bill of his career. Topping Johnson's list are a cap on payments to farmers, something he has long sought.
South Dakota's U.S. senators are working to defend what they believe are crucial parts of a would-be new farm bill as it faces a barrage of amendments on the Senate floor this week and possibly into next week. Both men ticked off a list of programs they support, but Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., identified country-of-origin meat labeling as a top priority and Sen.
Sen. Tim Johnson voiced his support for Rick Weiland's U.S. Senate candidacy Wednesday. "Rick Weiland has a good opportunity, and I've encouraged him to run. All I can say is that I and (former) Sen. (Tom) Daschle have encouraged Rick to run," Johnson, a Democrat, told reporters during a regularly scheduled conference call. Johnson's support came a day after a national story in Politico reported that the U.S. Senate's top Democrat does not support Rick Weiland, the only declared Democratic candidate for the retiring Johnson's Senate seat. At the same time, Sen.
Congress needs to pass a farm bill this summer -- not only to support agriculture, but to ensure national independence and self-reliance, Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said Thursday. "I believe we have a national security interest in ensuring we can produce our own food in this country. This farm bill is going to be a key part of that," Noem told reporters in a conference call.
More than a third of South Dakota's jobs are rated as "low-wage" and nearly two-thirds of the state's children live in single-parent households. Those two factors lead the reasons why 42 percent of the state's children live in low-income households, including 18 percent who are in poverty, said one expert. South Dakota State University's Mike McCurry, the state demographer, said that when there is one low-paid adult who is solely responsible for maintaining a household and raising children, poverty or low-income status is likely.
RAPID CITY -- The very family dynamics that have Stephanie Herseth Sandlin thinking about passing on a run for the U.S. Senate are also what's driving her in the direction of a revived political career. In short, she wants to run for the U.S. Senate to find ways to support working families and young children. But she wants to nurture her own family and 4-year-old son at a critical time in their lives. "I continue to struggle with the decision," Herseth Sandlin said Wednesday. "I love my family life.
All of America's veterans should feel welcomed at VA facilities, and that makes a display of confederate flags inappropriate, said Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D. "I believe the VA hospital should be an environment where every veteran of any background feels comfortable and welcomed. So I'm concerned that these flags may jeopardize that," Noem said during a routine conference call with reporters Thursday. The two flags were removed from historical displays at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Hot Springs last week after two black patients said they were symbolic of racism.
South Dakota's senators aren't happy that the U.S. Air Force has grounded the B-1 bombers at Ellsworth Air Force Base under the budget cuts known as sequestration, but they're more worried about the potential long-term effects. Taking B-1s out of service, even temporarily, could negatively affect the base's standing during any future rounds of nationwide base closures. Such BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) procedures involve an all-or-nothing package of changes to restructure the nation's military. Congress typically votes to accept or reject the entire package. Sen.
Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., isn't interested in expanding federal background checks for gun-buyers. Background checks would not have stopped recent violent, public gun deaths, she said, and existing laws are not being enforced. "I believe we've got federal laws right now that aren't being fully enforced. We need to enforce the laws on the books before we pass more," Noem said in a conference call Thursday with reporters.
LEAD -- Researchers working in the old Homestake gold mine could be on the verge of discovering dark matter, a scientific event that would put South Dakota on the tips of many tongues around the world. In their quest for such a breakthrough discovery, scientists ride a rough "cage" elevator daily deep below the Black Hills, just as gold miners did for decades. The search these days is for subatomic particles, not gold, and the mere presence of the researchers is as noteworthy for locals as the hoped-for dark matter discovery would be. When the owners of the Homestake gold mine a