Neal Tapio

South Dakota Voices for Justice Celebrates the Defeat of SCR 13

February 7, 2018 State Senator Neal Tapio introduced a concurrent resolution last week that aimed to identify Islamic terrorism as the root cause of the global war on terror. In a statement he released regarding the resolution, he accused anyone who opposed the resolution as “an enemy of the state.” Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 was debated and ultimately defeated on the Senate floor by a vote of 16-19.

“Our mission is to empower South Dakotans to fight Islamophobia and immigrant/refugee bigotry,” said Taneeza Islam, executive director of South Dakota Voices for Justice. “The amount of community engagement – South Dakotans calling and emailing their senators to vote no on SCR 13 – has been truly inspiring. We won yesterday by a slight margin, 16-19, but we know our work is far from finished. We will continue to educate legislators on the blatant falsities included in legislation/resolutions which perpetuate dehumanizing propaganda about South Dakota’s Muslim, immigrants and refugees.”

After failing to receive a majority vote of the members present, similar to his failed resolution last year, SCR 15, Senator Tapio motioned to reconsider–a motion that has been ultimately ruled out of order per the joint rules of the South Dakota Legislature.

“Although we prevailed in defeating SCR 13, there is still more work to be done,” Samantha Spawn, policy and communications director stated. “We will continue our work to provide accurate information about Muslims, immigrants, and refugees, and we will continue to hold our elected officials accountable. At the end of the day, the majority of the Senate was able to see Tapio’s resolution for what it was: a cheap shot at a campaign talking point at the expense of a vulnerable population in South Dakota. South Dakota Voices for Justice thanks those who voted down SCR 13 and rolled up their sleeves to solve the real problems facing South Dakota.”
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Sioux Empire Podcast 094 Remedy Brewing Co. and The Seal HB1102

This podcast contains adult content, listener discretion advised.

Greetings fellow though criminals.  This week the dangerous deviants of the Sioux Empire Podcast (Robert Mehling, Natasha Estes, and Seth Glover) are joined by Matt Hastad from Remedy Brewing Co.  He gets Rob buzzed on some samples of amazing Remedy local brews so that he’ll tell us what he really thinks of Sue Peterson’s anti-free speech bill HB 1102.  This episode is brought to you by Sioux Falls Sno Jam Comedy Festival celebrating comedy and…Snow! That’s right there is no other comedy festival like it. Thirty comedians from around the country will be traveling to Sioux Falls, SD to perform in various venues across the city. Over the course of three days they will perform in both stand up and themed showcases, not only testing their comedy wits but their endurance to the cold. All the while supporting a good cause. Net proceeds will benefit the Special Olympics of South Dakota. A Berry Stable Genius is my new favorite beer name.

Remedy Brewing Co.

Sno Jam Comedy Fest


State Sen. and Watertown village idiot Neal Tapio disrupted an interfaith prayer by religious leaders in the capitol rotunda on the state legislatures’ second day in session.  The faith leaders prayed for tolerance and religious acceptance.  Can’t imagine why they would think those ideas are under threat…

Centurylink Tower in Downtown Sioux Falls voted South Dakota’s ugliest building.  The 11-story, 174-foot tall structure is also the tallest building in South Dakota.

The Federal Government is shut down which I think is hilarious other than the fact that it hurts a lot for regular working people not involved in congress’s pissing match.  In particular, the troops who won’t be paid for their time until after the shutdown ends.

And Finally, Your humble host has become embroiled in a legislative hullabaloo over the first amendment.




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South Dakota Voices for Peace and Justice call on Senator Tapio to Denounce Trump’s “Shithole” Countries Comment

January 12, 2018 Following yesterday’s comments from President Donald Trump referring to certain countries in Africa and the Caribbean as “shithole countries,” South Dakota Voices for Justice and South Dakota Voices for Peace call upon State Senator Neal Tapio, (R-Watertown, SD) and former South Dakota state director for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, to denounce President Trump’s statements as racist.

“On Tuesday, January 10, Senator Neal Tapio abruptly disrupted a group picture during Interfaith Day at the Capitol. After being asked to join the picture Senator Tapio shouted at those gathered that he ‘didn’t like being called a racist’, then proceeded to say that ‘interfaith dialogue and refugee resettlement is a war on Christianity…’ ” said Taneeza Islam, executive director for South Dakota Voices for Peace. “If Senator Tapio wants to change the public’s perception of his words and actions, denouncing President Trump’s comment denigrating immigration from African and Caribbean countries as less preferential than majority white countries, such as Norway, is an easy step to make that distinction clear.”

South Dakota Voices for Peace (501(c)(3)) and South Dakota Voices for Justice (501(c)(4)) mission is to empower South Dakotans with accurate information to fight Islamophobia and immigrant and refugee bigotry in order to nurture informed, inclusive, and civically engaged communities.

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Senator Tapio Doesn’t Have Unilateral Authority

January 8, 2018 State Senator Neal Tapio released a statement today announcing his intention to create a “legislative working group” to review state legal immigration and refugee resettlement. South Dakota already has a law on the books passed in 2017 that provides the information Senator Tapio is seeking now–SB 124 was co-sponsored by Senator Tapio and signed into law by Governor Daugaard March 17, 2017.

“Senator Tapio doesn’t have the unilateral authority to create a “legislative working group”; he has to propose a bill or resolution that fully funds this type of study before it can take place,” said Samantha Spawn, policy and communications director for South Dakota Voices for Justice. “This is duplicative of last year’s passage of SB 124, which Sen. Tapio was a co-sponsor of, and we are confident that legislators will see it as such and not support funding a study where similar information from the state’s only refugee resettlement agency is being provided.”

At a September 2017 event in Aberdeen, which featured identified anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant/refugee speaker, Shahram Hadian, Senator Tapio boldly explained to the audience that last year Muslim Brotherhood and terrorists were in Pierre, with the help of the mayor of Aberdeen and Aberdeen Economic Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce, to defeat his resolutions. He also said this year he was “building an army” to “take our country back”.


(Tapio speech starts at 2:23:00)

“Senator Tapio was not on a ‘listening tour’ through South Dakota, he was a sponsor of spreading xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-immigrant and refugee bigotry across the state. Throughout 2017, Tapio endorsed speakers like Shahram Hadian and Trevor Loudon, who are identified hate speakers by various think tanks and organizations around the country,” said Taneeza Islam, Executive Director of SD Voices for Peace. “The facts are immigrants, refugees and Muslims add value and contribute significantly to South Dakota’s culture and economy.  In 2014, immigrant led households in the state paid $58 million in federal taxes and $32.6 million in state and local taxed. Undocumented immigrants in SD paid $5.3 million in state and local taxes. Rhetoric like Sen. Tapio, an elected official in our state, mobilizes his base and puts immigrants, refugees and Muslims in real danger.  We have received complaints of SD Muslims being threatened on social media, receiving hate messages, and DREAMers told they would be reported once DACA expires.”


South Dakota Voices for Peace (education arm) and South Dakota Voices for Justice’s (lobbying arm) mission are to empower South Dakotans with accurate information about Islam, Muslims, immigrants and refugees to fight Islamophobia and anti-immigrant bigotry in order to nurture informed, inclusive, and civically engaged communities.


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