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Controversial South Dakota lawmaker returns to chamber after censure

The South Dakota Senate on Wednesday censured and reinstated a Republican senator who was suspended final week amid allegations she harassed a legislative aide by telling the aide that she had harmed her youngster by getting him vaccinated.

The Republican-controlled Senate overwhelmingly permitted a report from an investigative committee that concluded Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller harassed a employees member of the Legislative Analysis Council, which assists lawmakers with drafting payments and analysis.

The aide, who has not been publicly named, filed a grievance final week alleging that Frye-Mueller turned aggressive when she requested about vaccines and informed the aide her youngster might die from them or have well being points.


In response to the grievance, the aide additionally mentioned Frye-Mueller requested her about breastfeeding. When the aide mentioned she wished she might breastfeed, Frye-Mueller allegedly recommended that the aide’s husband might “suck on my breasts” to get milk to return in, the grievance mentioned. The aide mentioned in her grievance — which was launched by the Senate’s investigative committee this week — that Frye-Mueller’s husband was within the room on the time and that he “smiled and nodded.”

Frye-Mueller mentioned she was voicing her opinion that individuals ought to be capable to select to get vaccines, and that the staffer introduced up breastfeeding. Frye-Mueller’s husband has mentioned he tried to depart the room when the latter problem got here up.

Embattled Republican South Dakota state Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller has been reinstated to her position in the legislative body after being censured.

Embattled Republican South Dakota state Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller has been reinstated to her place within the legislative physique after being censured. (AP Picture/Amancai Biraben)

“The language contained within the employees individual’s assertion was stunning and filthy and isn’t what I mentioned or conveyed,” the senator mentioned in a press release Wednesday. “That side of the dialog was solely fabricated. The everlasting injury accomplished to my fame and that of my household is a stain that won’t go away.”

The senator has sued the Senate’s management in federal courtroom, arguing that her suspension, which was made with out first holding a listening to, violated her proper to due course of and free speech and her means to characterize her constituents.

“The Senate committee, in adopting its report, has clearly made a press release that we consider” the aide, Republican Sen. David Wheeler mentioned. “We consider misconduct occurred and a few type of self-discipline is suitable.”


Just one senator voted towards adopting the report and its self-discipline: Republican Tom Pischke mentioned he disagreed with almost all the things the Senate had accomplished to self-discipline Frye-Mueller, that it had disadvantaged her of due course of and tried to solid doubt on the credibility of the aide.

Frye-Mueller, who’s allied with a right-wing group of Republicans, will probably be reinstated to the Senate however barred from interacting with a lot of the Legislative Analysis Council employees. She was allowed again on to the Senate ground Wednesday after the vote.

“I utterly disagree with the censure,” Frye-Mueller informed reporters. “The one purpose I’m going again in is to be a voice for the voters of District 30.”


Medical authorities say childhood vaccines are secure and assist forestall doubtlessly lethal ailments. They’ve have lengthy been celebrated as public well being success tales, however vaccination charges amongst kindergarteners have dropped nationwide in recent times.

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