South Dakota Senator: “It is a sad day in America when advancing freedom becomes a crime.”
south dakota, meet 1984
If it can happen in South Dakota, it can happen anywhere.
While California tries to silence it’s doctors, South Dakota is silencing it’s legislators, depriving an entire voting district of it’s voice.
Senator Julie Frye-Mueller - one of South Dakota’s fiercest advocates for medical freedom - has been stripped of her legislative duties, removed from two committees and even blocked from legislative e-mails pending investigation by a special committee comprised of nine senators.
It is rumored that her “offense” was a private conversation that took place between Senator Frye-Mueller and an LRC (Legislative Research Council) staff member, who asked the Senator for her advice on vaccines and breastfeeding. Details of the allegations, however, remain shrouded in mystery.
Republican legislative leaders refused to comment Thursday on the allegations that led to them suspending the Senate rules and stripping their colleague of her ability to represent her constituents…
..Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, who serves as the Senate's president, also opposed the move, cautioning against the precedent of suspending an elected representative without due process. But his objections were overruled in a two-thirds majority vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.
This is very concerning.
From the “Matters of the State” segment:
Host, Brian Allen
Another interesting week in Pierre. However, a most significant development wasn’t a bill, but rather a vote to suspend a state senator. The fallout began Wednesday when Senate pro tem Lee Schoenbeck removed Julie Frye-Mueller from two committees.
On Thursday the Senate voted 27 to 6 to strip the Rapid City republican of her privileges indefinitely and form a special committee to investigate her conduct. No details were given at the time of either decision leaving many, including Frye-Mueller, to speculate on the reasoning. *emphasis mine
(clip of Senator Julie Frye-Mueller)
“It has come to my attention that the issue may involve a conversation I had with staff, where I promoted my well-known stance on medical freedom and the ability of individual to choose the best course of medical treatment for themselves instead of politicians or employers that would suggest otherwise. I never brought up the subject of a COVID-19 vaccine…
It is a sad day in America when advancing freedom becomes a crime.”
In a news release late Friday, Senate Majority Leader Casey Crabtree provided a few more details on this situation. Senate leadership was notified Wednesday about an allegation involving Frye-Mueller and a Legislative Research Council staff member.
According to that allegation, Frye-Mueller was accused of inappropriate behavior and harassment about a private conversation about maternal matters, including childhood vaccinations and breastfeeding. Crabtree says Frye-Meuller spoke with leadership later that day, but her comments did not match what was in the report.
Meanwhile, Crabtree also announce the formation of a select committee on discipline and expulsion. Here’s a look at the nine members of that committee, which will be chaired by Senator David Wheeler of Huron. The committee is expected to adopt the rules tomorrow and provide a report by the end of the week. Committee hearings will be open to the public and the final report will be a public record.
Statehouse reporter Austin Goss:
She had a bit of an unsavory conversation, supposedly, about vaccines to some extent, with this staffer and now as a result the people of District 30 do not have a voice in the State Senate.
How unsavory could this conversation have been that it would rise to the short-term level of Frye-Mueller being suspended from the State Senate, and in the long-view, who knows what? We have what sounds like a quasi-trial coming up. The interesting this for me is you have this kind of floor debate and this issue was completely talked around. There was urgency that she needs to be suspended, that the State Senate as a body needs to take a look at this. Nobody though offered any type of clarity as to what the issue is, what it involved, and why it rose to this level.
That’s exactly right…Senator Casey Crabtree, Senator Lee Schoenebeck, those who brought this resolution say this is the utmost important thing and we need to get her off the floor immediately, but, hey, we can’t tell you what’s going on.
You have people on that chamber as recently as last year who had DUIs. You have others in that chamber who have laced profanities and thrown those around at other members. You have others in that chamber who have called people “pond scum” and as recently as last year called people “monkeys”, so I guess if the measure of people getting thrown off the floor is decorum, I’m just kind of confused, and I guess everybody watching, including Lt. Governor Rhoden, who did a great job defending the Constitution and the rule of law in the chamber on Thursday… I think a lot of us are standing here wondering, where does decorum start and end?
… We’re taking away the representation rights of an entire district for an extended period of time, an indefinite period of time during legislative session, at the peak of when legislation is beginning to make its way through the chamber, but hey, you get a DUI, you’re good. You call people “pond scum”, you’re good…Being outlandish is not a good reason to kick someone out of the senate. Julie Frye-Mueller is a bit of an outlandish person by her own admission. That doesn’t mean that you just get to kick her out without letting her defend herself or even hear the allegations against her. (emphasis mine)
These allegations were discussed in the Senate caucus meeting, which she was kicked out of on Wednesday, on Thursday. So she doesn’t even know what’s been alleged against her…. You can’t help but wonder if it’s political. And it sure looks like it.
If you live in South Dakota, you may want to reach out to these legislators and let them know how you feel. Here are the contacts for the special committee members:
firstname.lastname@example.org, (605) 773-3821
and Senate President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck: Lee.Schoenbeck@sdlegislature.gov, 605-773-3821
Let’s make South Dakota stand by its stated commitment to “keeping government open and honest.”
You can also sign this petition. https://mailchi.mp/2dbc599e5a3b/protect-due-process-in-the-south-dakota-state-senate