Skip to content

Weekly Round[s] Up: May 6-12, 2024

Welcome back to the Weekly Round[s] Up. Our main focus this past week was Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization. We had a deadline of last Friday to pass this legislation before the previous one expired. We met that deadline and passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 on Thursday evening. This bill includes several important wins for both South Dakotans and air travelers all across the country. More on that later on. We were also busy attending meetings and introducing legislation. I traveled to Yankton and Sioux Falls for events this past Friday. All this and more in my Weekly Round[s] Up:

South Dakotans I met with: Members of South Dakota Realtors and South Dakota members of the American Land Title Association.

I also visited Yankton and Sioux Falls on Friday. In Yankton, I spoke with students at their high school and spoke at a lunch with service clubs from the area. In Sioux Falls, I attended a groundbreaking for Dakota State University’s Applied Research Lab. This facility is an important part of DSU’s expansion as they continue to be a leader in the cyber security industry. Having a hub like this in Sioux Falls also makes it easier for the talented graduates that come out of DSU to work right here in South Dakota.

Visited with South Dakotans from: Aberdeen, Belle Fourche, Brookings, Madison, Mitchell, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Vermillion, Watertown and Yankton.

Other meetings: Ken Fisher, Chairman of Fisher Investments; Lt. Gen. Heath Collins, Director of the Missile Defense Agency; Ben Schwartz, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel for Intuit’s Small Business and Self-Employed Group;  Norm Willox, CEO of Bluewater International; members of the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association; Shigeo Yamada, Japan’s Ambassador to the United States; the Secretary of the Army’s Cyber Strategic Seminar; Carl-Oskar Bohlin, Sweden’s Minister for Civil Defense; and Cameron Fowler, CEO of Early Warning Services. I had meetings with several of my colleagues this week on artificial intelligence (AI). I attended our Senate Prayer Breakfast, where Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma was our speaker.

I was on a panel at the AI Expo for National Competitiveness with my colleagues Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) to talk about the work we’re doing in AI in the Senate. While at this event, I was able to visit with DSU President José-Marie Griffiths and Andrea Thompson, CEO of DSU’s Applied Research Corporation.

Votes taken: 4 – most notably was our vote to reauthorize FAA for the next five years.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 passed the Senate by a vote of 88 to 4. I supported this legislation which includes several provisions to benefit South Dakota airports and airline customers. The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant limits are increased, from $20 million to $30 million, for non-hub and small hub airports like Sioux Falls and Rapid City. This creates additional opportunities for South Dakota airports to expand and accommodate those traveling both to and from our great state. The reauthorization also includes provisions to increase air traffic controller hiring and improve pilot training, which are critical to aviation safety. In addition, it supports airline customers by requiring cash refunds for certain airline delays and cancellations. This legislation makes certain that travelers in South Dakota and across the country will have access to safe, reliable air service.

Shortly after voting on the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024, we voted on a one-week extension of the previous FAA authorization. The House was already out of session by the time we passed the full bill, but they had voted on this one week extension, which makes certain that FAA authority didn’t lapse over the weekend. The House is expected to vote on the full FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 this week. 

Hearings: I attended one hearing this week with the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee. We heard from leaders from the Department of Defense about missile defense activities as we prepare to craft the FY2025 National Defense Authorization Act. You can watch a clip of that here.

Legislation introduced: This past week, I introduced legislation that would prohibit the Secretary of Agriculture from mandating the use of electronic identification tags in cattle and bison herds. South Dakota cattle producers don’t need DC bureaucrats telling them how to manage and track their livestock. You can read more about this legislation here.

My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Britton, De Smet, Sioux Falls, Webster and Yankton.

Steps taken this past week: 60,638 steps or 29.62 miles

Photo of the week:

SD Realtors

Meeting with South Dakota Realtors to discuss policies addressing affordable housing and paths to homeownership for South Dakotans.