Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller's suspension tied to 'childhood vaccine, breastfeeding' comments

PIERRE — The South Dakota Senate has named nine senators who will make up a the committee to investigate Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller's, R-Rapid City, conduct that led to her suspension this week from the Senate.

Sen. David Wheeler, R-Huron will chair the Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion, which will hear the complaint against Frye-Mueller and make a recommendation to the full Senate.

The other senators appointed are Jim Bolin, R-Canton; Sydney Davis, R-Burbank; Helene Duhamel, R-Rapid City; Red Dawn Foster, D-Pine Ridge; Brent Hoffman, R-Sioux Falls; Liz Larson, D-Sioux Falls; Tim Reed, R-Brookings; and Dean Wink, R-Howes.

Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller, R-Rapid City, was stripped of her committee assignments on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller, R-Rapid City, was stripped of her committee assignments on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

Senate Majority Leader Casey Crabtree, R-Madison, also revealed in a press release more details about what led to Frye-Mueller being stripped from her committee assignments Wednesday, and ultimately suspension Thursday from her duties in the Senate.

Senate leadership learned of comments and harassment-style behavior Frye-Mueller made toward a legislative staffer Wednesday.

More:Lawmakers suspend Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller pending investigation of incident with staff member

More information came to light Thursday when Senate Republicans received a detailed report from an LRC staff member alleging the inappropriate behavior “related to private maternal matters, including childhood vaccines and breastfeeding, which took place in the LRC office inside the State Capitol Building,” according to the release.

Comments Frye-Meuller made in a discussion with Senate Republican Leadership on Wednesday were inconsistent with the report made by the staffer and by Frye-Mueller’s own public comments.

"It has come to my attention that the issue may involve a conversation I had with staff, where I promoted my well-known stance on medical freedom and the ability of individuals to choose the best courts of medical treatment for themselves," she also told press Thursday morning.

More:Rapid City Senator Julie Frye-Mueller stripped of committee assignments

Crabtree said all parties would receive due process in the release, and that the committee hearings would be heard in the public during the fourth legislative week, slated to begin Monday when the Senate votes to adopt the rules.

“Our goal is to create a safe work environment for staff and legislators, and an environment where employees feel safe bringing concerns forward,” Crabtree said in the release. “All allegations of harassment must be taken seriously.”

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Julie Frye-Mueller suspension tied to vaccine, breastfeeding comments