Gun control measures have been gaining ground in some places around the nation in recent years. In the more urban areas of the country and along the coasts, people are more wary, and perhaps fearful, of guns. That may be why some states pass very restrictive gun laws. For instance, in New Jersey a citizen cannot even own a handgun, rifle or shotgun without a permit or Firearms Purchaser Identification Card. In some states, obtaining a concealed carry permit can take months. In Maryland and California, an individual has to prove a need to be granted a concealed carry permit.
South Dakota is a state that respects the Second Amendment. A great many of our citizens own pistols, rifles and shotguns. Here, guns are as common as saddles and pickups. Many of us grew up hunting or on farms or ranches where we needed to be able to handle a gun. Most importantly, we understand that law-abiding individuals should be able to defend themselves.
Since I was young, I’ve loved to read. At home I have a six-foot wide, floor-to-ceiling shelf overflowing with books. As an adult, however, reading for pleasure has become one more thing vying for my time and it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
In step audio books.
A few years ago, I discovered Overdrive — the electronic book collection available for free from the state library through the local library. Here, you can check out digital books as well as audio books. If you like ebooks or listening to audio books, definitely check out Overdrive by asking at your local library. I like audio books so well because I can listen while doing chores or traveling.
Being governor is a serious responsibility, and I’ve never taken it lightly. Sometimes, it means making a difficult decision that is necessary, but unpopular to some.
In my first year in office, our state faced a large budget deficit. There was not an easy or popular solution. As a new governor, I proposed ten percent cuts to eliminate the deficit. Many legislators supported me in making that tough decision. There were also those who criticized aspects of the plan, without proposing a workable alternative. That is the luxury of being in opposition – one can rely on the majority to make the difficult decisions.
During the summer after my freshman year in high school, my dad found a job for me working on a farm, hoping it would teach me work ethic. I remember hard physical work, long hours of hauling and stacking bales, and profound loneliness while painting farm buildings.
At the time, it was the most stressful experience of my young life, bringing me out of my lackadaisical youth and a tad closer to the world of a responsible adult. I have often referred to that time as the period in my life when I realized the value of hard work. It was a tough summer brought upon me by my dad and a kindly farmer, and I became the better for it. Of course, this was nothing compared to what some farm kids experience, but I learned that summer stress and hard work could be a good thing.
On Friday, Jan. 20, I was in Washington, D.C., among the many who attended the inaugural ceremonies for our 45th President. As governor, I was provided a seat on the platform, among other governors, former presidents, Supreme Court justices, senators and members of Congress. For someone like me, who grew up on a small farm, and attended a one-room school, being among those seated behind President Trump was both surreal and humbling.
In recent years, the regulations and unfunded mandates imposed by the federal government have been a concern. Under the EPA alone, the last eight years have seen 4,000 new rules, requiring an estimated 33 million hours of paperwork and a price tag of $334 billion in compliance costs. Under the Affordable Care Act, another 3,852 new federal regulations were adopted, with an annual price tag of more than $116 billion.
I recently heard a story about a young man who was exposed to meth as a child. The young man, named Chris, grew up around meth and the violence that the drug brings. Like any normal kid, he wanted attention from the adults in his life. But while most kids are trying to gain approval by getting good grades, making the basketball team or winning a role in the school play, at 12 years old Chris began to use and deal meth to receive that attention. Using and dealing led Chris to get into fights and to start stealing. At age 17, Chris overdosed. Meth is a problem in South Dakota. Like other states, we are seeing an increase in methamphetamine trafficking and more meth-related arrests and convictions. To address the epidemic, we need to stop meth from coming into our state, prevent meth use and help those who are addicted.
Percolating...that's the term I would use to describe this second week of the legislature. Very slowly, some would say. Several of my committee meetings were canceled this week for lack of proposed bills. But things ARE happening. Legislators and lobbyists and department heads are getting to know each other, bills are being "pitched," or discussed, between the legislators of the two political parties, the legislative and executive branch, and legislators and lobbyists. And the Legislative Research Council is madly trying to mold all these ideas into bills as quickly as possible. Hot topics floating around are "fixes" to Initiated Measure 22 (Yes, it does need fixing), juvenile justice reform, waterfowl hunting licenses, small school fixes to last year's funding formula.
I’ve been contemplating marriage. Not getting married. I took care of that task years ago. I’ve been contemplating marriage as in the concept of. My daughter recently tied the knot and I’ve been reminiscing about my own newlywed days – and some of the lessons learned since way back then.
The first day I met Amiel Redfish, a physician assistant, we discussed the overuse and overreliance on medicine in modern society, how great changes in longevity, through the years, came instead with proper sanitation, clean water, and the discovery of antibiotics. Although there have been great strides in health care throughout the years, none have resulted in such significant drops in the overall death rate as those. Redfish also expressed the value of the vigorous lifestyle of traditional American Indians and a diet closer to what was found in a hunter/gatherer’s world like roots, vegetables, berries and fruit, eggs, and wild game.
My colleague is a true Sioux Indian medicine man, a class act, and a dear friend. But despite the sagacity, insight, and traditional perspective he represents, I dare say there are those who, not knowing him, would look at his original American Indian features and prejudge him.