Politics

Noem Invites Applications to Serve in Her Administration

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota Gov.-elect Kristi Noem is inviting the “best and brightest” to seek a job in her incoming administration. Noem’s transition website launched Monday. Noem and Lt. Gov.-elect Larry Rhoden will be sworn into office in January. Noem says the state needs good people in government who understand the role will be about producing “real results”…

Legal Groups Argue in Court Against Trump Asylum Ban

HOUSTON (AP) – Legal groups suing the Trump administration over its ban on asylum for anyone who illegally crosses the U.S.-Mexico border have argued their case before a federal judge in San Francisco. U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar did not immediately rule Monday on the groups’ request to stop the administration from enforcing the ban. President Donald Trump issued…

Iowa Doctors Hesitant About New Medical Marijuana Program

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Only about 325 of Iowa’s 7,000 doctors have certified people for the state’s new medical marijuana program, in part because many are uneasy about their role in the system. The Des Moines Register reports that doctors certify that patients have qualifying medical conditions but don’t prescribe medical marijuana products. Instead, five dispensaries will sell to…

US to Accuse Iran of Violating Chemical Weapons Treaty

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration is poised to accuse Iran of violating an international treaty that bars the production and use of chemical weapons. Two officials said the administration plans to announce next week that Iran is not complying with the Chemical Weapons Convention. They said the non-compliance finding doesn’t allege that Iran has used chemical weapons. Rather, it…

Thune Elects DSU President to National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Senator John Thune has chosen the President of Dakota State University for a national security commission. Thune selected Dr. Jose-Marie Griffiths to serve as a member of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The committee reviews advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning developments, and other related technology. Griffiths was testified multiple times in front of…

Senator Thune Focusing on Passing Farm Bill

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Senator John Thune says one of his priorities as the new Senate Majority Whip is passing a new farm bill. He discussed what it could take to get the legislation passed during a conference call today. Thune says on thing holding back the bill is stricter work requirements for food stamps, in a version passed by…

Dayton Remains Hospitalized a Month After Back Surgery

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) – Gov. Mark Dayton remains hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester after having back surgery more than a month ago. Dayton had an initial surgery on Oct. 12 and underwent a second procedure several days later. A spokesman for the governor said he was expected to stay in the hospital for several days. Minnesota Public Radio…

Thune Now Highest Ranking Republican Senator in State History

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Senator John Thune is now the second highest ranking member of the United States Senate. Senator Thune was elected today Wednesday by his Republican colleagues to serve as the Senate Majority Whip. The whip is tasked with working hand-in-hand with Senate Republicans to ensure critical legislation passes or nominations are confirmed. In his first statements in…

EU Trade Chief Says Hit List of US Products Being Developed

WASHINGTON (AP) – European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says that the EU is preparing a target list of American products it will hit with punitive tariffs if the Trump administration goes through with its threat to impose tariffs on European auto imports. After meeting in Washington with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Malmstrom reported no breakthroughs on resolving the…

Lawyers Want Iowa Case Stopped Due to Whitaker Appointment

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Lawyers for a Las Vegas man facing federal trial in Iowa want in his criminal drug conspiracy case stopped because they say President Donald Trump’s appointment of an acting U.S. attorney general is illegal. Attorney Michael Pariente said Wednesday that federal law covering cabinet vacancies doesn’t allow Matthew Whitaker to serve as attorney general, so defendant…

Acting AG Whitaker’s Failed Renovation Missed Affordable Housing Goal in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Des Moines official says a failed apartment-rehabilitation project by acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was a missed opportunity to preserve affordable housing in a gentrifying neighborhood. Chris Johansen, the city’s community development director, says the city didn’t lose money on the project that Whitaker abandoned in 2016. He says Whitaker sold the building to…

Senator John Thune Named Senate Majority Whip

WASHINGTON (AP) –  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been elected to another term as GOP leader. He won a new term by acclamation Wednesday. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the GOP whip, is being forced out by term limits. That allows Sen. John Thune of South Dakota to move up to the No. 2 spot. Sen. John Barrasso of…

US Awards Second Border Wall Contract in Texas

HOUSTON (AP) – The U.S. government has awarded a $167 million contract to build 8 miles of border wall in south Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the contract Wednesday. Construction will begin in February. CBP already announced a $145 million award for another 6 miles in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. Galveston, Texas-based construction firm SLSCO won both…

Justice Legal Opinion Backs Whitaker’s Naming as Acting AG

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department has issued an internal legal opinion supporting the legality of Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general. The Office of Legal Counsel’s opinion is aimed at addressing concerns from Democrats and even some Republicans that President Donald Trump violated the law by naming Whitaker over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Whitaker had been chief…

Trump Administration Holds Hearing on Rollback of Air Rules

DENVER (AP) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding its only public hearing on the Trump administration’s plans to roll back Obama-era rules for methane pollution from the oil and gas industry. Nearly 125 people have asked to speak at the daylong session in Denver on Wednesday. The EPA wants to replace a 2016 rule by the Obama administration…

Acting AG Whitaker Abandoned Taxpayer-Funded Project in Iowa in 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – While in private business, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker walked away from a taxpayer-subsidized apartment-rehabilitation project in Iowa after years of cost overruns, delays and other problems. That’s according to public records on the Des Moines project, which prompted the city to terminate an affordable housing loan Whitaker’s company had been awarded. Another lender began…

Court Challenge to Be Filed Over Appointment of Acting AG

WASHINGTON (AP) – Maryland is challenging the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as the new U.S. acting attorney general. A draft filing obtained by The Associated Press argues that President Donald Trump sidestepped the Constitution and normal procedure by naming Whitaker to the position in place of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Whitaker was appointed Nov. 7 after the White House…