SD state senator responds to removal from committees

Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller (R-Rapid City) is responding for the first time after being stripped of her committee assignments by Senate leadership Wednesday.
Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller (R-Rapid City) exits the Senate during floor debate.
Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller (R-Rapid City) exits the Senate during floor debate.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 12:06 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. - A South Dakota State Senator is responding to a decision by Senate leadership to remove her from her committee assignments.

In a statement to Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory, Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller (R-Rapid City) accused Senate President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck (R-Watertown) of “stripping the people of District 30 of representation on important topics that effect our district.”

“To date, I have not received any formal written complaint or charge against me,” Frye-Mueller continued.

Frye-Mueller acknowledged that the reason for the controversy stemmed from a conversation that she had earlier this week with a Legislative Research Council (LRC) staffer, but said that that conversation did not revolve around the COVID-19 vaccine and it’s efficacy, as has been speculated in the State Capitol.

LRC Director Reed Holwegner declined to comment on the incident, or any subsequent investigation.

“That is a political issue,” Holwegner said.

“It is a sad day in America when advancing freedom becomes a crime,” Frye-Mueller said, vowing to keep the public updated on the situation.

In addition to being removed from her committee assignments, Frye-Mueller has also been barred indefinitely from attending Senate Republican caucus meetings, which happen every day of session before Senators go to the floor.

Both Schoenbeck and Majority Leader Casey Crabtree (R-Madison) have declined to comment on the matter.