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Weekly Round[s] Up: February 27-March 5, 2023

After a short in-state work period back home in South Dakota, we hit the ground running in Washington as we prepared for our next five weeks in session. Now that our Capitol and Senate office buildings are back open, we’re seeing pre-pandemic levels of visitors in DC. And let me tell you – it is good to have regular South Dakotans here advocating on behalf of issues that affect South Dakota. I had lots of South Dakotans in my office this week, talking about everything from veterans to rural energy to radio and TV broadcasting. We also snuck in a couple hearings, classified briefings and speaking engagements, as well. Here’s my Weekly Round[s] Up: 

South Dakota groups I visited with: Members of the South Dakota American Legion, Missouri River Energy Services, South Dakota’s Disabled American Veterans chapter, South Dakota’s NASA Space Grant Consortium and NASA EPSCoR Program, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Ryman LeBeau, South Dakota Broadcasters Association, South Dakota Department of Transportation Secretary Joel Jundt and the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol. 

Meetings this past week: Gen. Paul Nakasone, Commander of US Cyber Command. I also spoke at the National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals Convention, as well as the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) Task Force.

I attended our weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast. Former South Dakota Senator Larry Pressler was our speaker this week. While our prayer breakfast is mainly comprised of current members of the United States Senate, we also keep the door open for former members of the upper chamber as well.

Met with South Dakotans from: Aberdeen, Beresford, Blackhawk, Brookings, Chamberlain, Chester, Dell Rapids, Eagle Butte, Garretson, Gregory, Milbank, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Spearfish, Vermillion, Watertown and Yankton.

Topics discussed: Opportunities for partnership between tribes in South Dakota and the federal government, artificial intelligence’s impact on the broadcast journalism industry and the ways Congress can help South Dakota’s veterans.

Legislation introduced: A bipartisan group of my colleagues and I introduced the DAIRY PRIDE Act this past week, a piece of legislation that would combat the unfair practice of misleading labeling of non-dairy products using dairy names. You can read more about that here.

I also introduced bipartisan legislation to expand veterans’ access to assisted living services. The Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act would create a pilot program for eligible veterans to receive assisted living care paid for by the VA. You can read more about that here.

Votes taken: 15 – most notably was our vote on Wednesday to eliminate a rule that would encourage fiduciaries of retirement investment plans to consider environmental, social and governance factors when making investment decisions. I voted to repeal this rule.

Hearings: I had four hearings: One was in the Banking committee, titled “Advancing National Security and Foreign Policy Through Sanctions, Export Controls, and Other Economic Tools.” I had the opportunity to ask the witnesses about the threat of foreign ownership of American farmland and the need for my bipartisan legislation the PASS Act. You can watch a clip of that here.

I also had a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Ukraine, as well as two hearings in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Classified briefings: I had two classified briefings: Our bi-weekly cyber education briefing and a Senate Armed Services Committee briefing.

My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Fort Pierre, Kadoka, Mitchell, Piedmont, Rapid City and Wall.

Steps taken this week: 56,891 steps or 25.87 miles.

Photos of the week