Right-wing South Dakota state senator loses committee assignments

A Republican South Dakota state senator had her committee assignments stripped Wednesday in a rare punishment in the Legislature.

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South Dakota state Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller was stripped of her committee assignments after repeated clashes with her party’s leadership.

The move to strip Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller of her seats on two legislative committees was announced during the Senate’s session on Wednesday, but legislative leaders in the Republican-controlled chamber refused to comment on what led to the move. Frye-Mueller, who is aligned with a group of contrarian, right-wing Statehouse Republicans, has had the occasional run-ins with legislative leadership during her four terms between the House and Senate.

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Both Republican Sens. Lee Schoenbeck, the chamber’s pro tempore, and Casey Crabtree, the Republican leader, declined to comment on why Frye-Mueller was stripped of her committee assignments. Frye-Mueller also declined to comment.

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Republican leaders did not make it clear whether the punishment was temporary or permanent.