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    The South Dakota Senate has suspended a Republican state senator in a rare move that stripped her of legislative power while keeping the allegations against her a secret. Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller told reporters earlier Thursday that she was being punished following an exchange she had with a legislative aide about vaccinations. The Republican-controlled Senate voted to form a committee to investigate Frye-Mueller’s conduct and suspend her from voting or holding other rights of an elected official. Republican Sen. Michael Rohl, who initiated the motion to suspend Frye-Mueller, said in a statement that it was based on “serious allegations” and the need to ensure a safe working environment for employees. Frye-Mueller has opposed vaccination requirements in schools.

      Some participants in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection are taking their case that the 2020 presidential election was stolen to sympathetic audiences, including elected officials, in red states. In South Dakota, Republican lawmakers on Wednesday welcomed Trennis Evans III as he urged them to pass a resolution encouraging “humane and fair treatment” of those, like himself, who faced or are facing federal charges related to the deadly siege. The resolution failed — but the hearing underscored how sympathy for the Jan. 6 attack resounds among the grassroots of the GOP’s right wing. Republicans willing to confront such rhetoric face pushback.

      South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, along with the state’s Republican attorney general, say the state will prosecute pharmacists who dispense abortion-inducing pills. The Food and Drug Administration recently implemented a rule change that broadens access to the pills. The rule change’s impact has been blunted in states like South Dakota by laws limiting abortion broadly and the pills specifically. The Republican governor and South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley released a letter to South Dakota pharmacists saying they are “subject to felony prosecution” if they procure or dispense abortion-inducing drugs. The state bans all abortions except to save the life of the pregnant person.


      A Native American tribe in South Dakota says several of its members died when December storms buried their reservation in snow and left them stranded. Leaders of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe said this month that the deaths could have been prevented had it not been for a series of systemic failures. Tribal members are expressing anger at many people, including Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and the Indian Health Services — saying the little help that was offered came too late. A 12-year-old asthmatic boy who spent days struggling to breathe was among the dead — because an ambulance couldn't get to his home in time to help him.

      Gov. Kristi Noem is demanding the U.S. Department of Justice investigate why her family's social security numbers were leaked when Congress released its findings in the Jan. 6 investigation. The House Select Commission on the Ja. 6 Investigation's final report in December included White House logs of visitors in December 2020. About 2,000 people's social security numbers were included in the report, including numbers for Noem, her husband, her three children and her daughter's husband. Noem visited the White House in December 2020 and met with former President Donald Trump in her official capacity as governor.

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