Google Agrees to Nearly $400 Million Settlement with 40 States over Location-Tracking Probe

Google agreed to a $391.5 million settlement with 40 states after an investigation found that the tech giant participated in questionable location-tracking practices, state attorneys general announced Monday.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong called it a “historic win for consumers.”

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Commentary: With States Hands-Off, Homeschooling Takes Off

South Dakota epitomizes the rapid growth of homeschooling in America. Guided by the principle that parents, not the government, have the right to determine what and how their kids are taught, homeschooling families have overturned existing rules and batted down attempts over the last decade to impose new ones in many states, including South Dakota. 

What’s left in much of the United States today is essentially an honor system in which parents are expected to do a good job without much input or oversight. The rollback of regulations, coupled with the  ill effects of remote learning during the pandemic, have boosted the number of families opting out of public schools in favor of educating their kids at home.  

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Ohio Among the 20 States Freed from Federal Transgender Sports, Bathroom Guidance

A federal judge in Tennessee ruled in favor of Tennessee, Ohio, and 18 other states in their effort to block federal guidelines on transgender athletes and school locker rooms.

The lawsuit, brought by Tennessee, challenged guidance from the United States Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that would allow athletes who were marked as males on their birth certificates to compete in girls and women’s sports. The federal guidance also would have prohibited student shower and locker room access from being determined by birth gender and provided guidance on required pronoun use.

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New Study Shows Red States Handled COVID-19 Better Than Blue States

A new study by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity found that states led by Republicans did a better job than Democrat-led states at managing the coronavirus and keeping their states from slumping into an economic and social recession.

As reported by The Daily Caller, the three states that ranked the worst in mortality, economy, and schooling during the COVID pandemic were New Jersey, New York, and California, all of which had implemented some of the strictest lockdown measures in the nation. By contrast, the states that ranked the highest were Utah, Vermont, and Nebraska.

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New Poll Shows South Dakota Sen. Thune in Deep Trouble with Republican Voters

A new survey of Republican primary voters in South Dakota suggests that Sen. John Thune’s (R-S.D.) reelection chances were severely damaged by his public spat with former President Trump after the 2020 election.

The poll, conducted by pollster Fabrizio, Lee & Associates for the political action committee American Potential Fund, found that Thune, who just announced his reelection campaign on Saturday, would probably lose a primary challenge by Gov. Kristi Noem, or Dusty Johnson, a popular South Dakota U.S. representative. The survey also found that former president Donald Trump remains very popular with GOP primary voters (RPV).

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Commentary: The First Step to Rightsizing Education Spending Is Reforming Teacher Pensions

In the past year, Congress has rushed more than $204 billion in federal emergency funds to states to support K-12 schools. 

But 23 states had fewer incoming students this fall. This declining enrollment is likely in part due to pandemic-related trends but is also a symptom of changing birth rates and families geographically relocating.

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13 States Sue Biden Administration, Demand Ability to Cut Taxes

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

Thirteen states sued President Joe Biden’s administration over an American Rescue Plan provision prohibiting states from cutting taxes after accepting coronavirus relief funds.

The 13-state coalition argued that the provision included in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package preventing states from cutting taxes if they accept relief from the federal government is unconstitutional. The coalition, led by Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday evening in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

“Never before has the federal government attempted such a complete takeover of state finances,” Morrisey said in a Wednesday statement. “We cannot stand for such overreach.”

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Commentary: Governor Kristi Noem Strikes Out

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“I’m just worried about our perception, said State Senator Reynold Nesiba, a Sioux Falls Democrat, “because I think, generally, South Dakotans are a welcoming people.” 

Nesiba was speaking to reporters about South Dakota House Bill 1217, a measure intended to limit transgender participation in sports. The measure would be uncontroversial in saner times, or at least those during which most people were still aware of the basic physical differences between the sexes. But we no longer live in sane times. 

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21 States Sue Biden Admin for Revoking Keystone XL Permit

A group of red states sued President Biden and members of his administration on Wednesday over his decision to revoke a key permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, The Hill reported.

The lawsuit is led by Montana and Texas, and backed by 19 other states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

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Bikers Flock to the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with Few Signs of Pandemic

The coronavirus may be changing the world, but there aren’t many signs of the pandemic at the massive annual motorcycle rally being held this week at a small city along Interstate 90 in western South Dakota.

The scene Saturday at the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was familiar to veterans of the event, with throngs of maskless bikers packing the streets.

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Commentary: It Was a Magnificent Speech

Donald Trump did not mention Lincoln’s First Inaugural address in his speech commemorating the spirit of American Independence at Mount Rushmore on Friday night. But the president’s speech—perhaps his most forceful and eloquent to date—vibrated with the same energy and existential commitment that fired Lincoln in March 1861. 

Lincoln came to office at a time of crisis. His election had precipitated the secession of seven Southern states. His inaugural address was both a plea for conciliation and unity as well as a warning that violence would be stopped with force. “We are not enemies, but friends,” Lincoln said. 

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As Americans Gather at Rushmore to Hear Trump, Protesters Set Roadblocks

President Donald Trump planned a fiery Mount Rushmore speech Friday night including denunciations of protesters he says are trying to “tear down” the nation’s history. He’s adding the condemnation of those who pull down statues to a big fireworks show and his more traditional July Fourth praise of America’s past and values.

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As Trump Prepares for Independence Day Visit to Mount Rushmore, Tribal Leaders Say They Want It ‘Removed’

President Donald Trump will kick off Independence Day weekend with an event at Mount Rushmore, which has prompted some local leaders to call for the removal of one of the nation’s most iconic monuments.

Several groups led by Native American activists are planning protests for Trump’s July 3 visit. The event is slated to include fighter jets thundering over the 79-year-old stone monument in South Dakota’s Black Hills and the first fireworks display at the site since 2009.

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