State of South Dakota to Join State Attorneys General Challenge to Federal Bathroom and Locker Room Mandate

Marty2-105-Edit-2.jpgFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:      Tuesday, June 7, 2016
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605)773-3215

PIERRE, S.D.-   Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that South Dakota will join other State Attorneys General in challenge to President Obama’s letter directive to school districts threatening both civil rights litigation and the withholding of educational funds to the States.

“As Attorney General it was and remains my hope that our country and state can find a solution to the transgender concerns without forcing children of the opposite sex into the same bathrooms and locker rooms. The President’s attempt to require children of opposite sex to share locker rooms and bathrooms under the threat of lawsuit and withholding of education funding is a one size fits all solution that goes beyond his constitutional authority.  It is my contention that federal law cannot direct local school districts on who can use locker rooms and bathrooms. These issues need to be handled as they have been for a long time- on the state and local level,” said Jackley.

In 1964, Congress enacted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, making it illegal for employers to invidiously discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 42 U.S.C.§ 2000e-2. Eight years later, Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX provides that “[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…” 20 U.S.C. § 1681. Title IX regulations issued by the Department of Education likewise expressly allow recipients of federal funding to “provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex,” provided that the facilities provided for “students of one sex” are “comparable” to the facilities provided for “students of the other sex.” The term “gender identity: does not appear in the text or regulators of Title IX.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Department of Education (DOE) contend that Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of “sex” extends to discrimination on the basis of “gender identity.” Jackley contends that the DOJ and DOE lack any authority to issue such direction. It is the duty of Congress to legislate and the duty of the Executive Branch, including DOJ and DOE, to administer and enforce the laws that Congress enacts. Through this joint letter, DOJ and DOE have unilaterally attempted to change the clear meaning of law passed by Congress and impose new obligations on covered entities.

A case was filed May 25, 2016 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Several Attorneys General anticipate filing an additional challenge to the President’s authority to issue the letter.   This filing may be separate from the Texas case or filed in a different district court.

The Family Heritage Alliance Voter Guide is Complete!

voterguide news2The Voter Guide team over at Family Heritage Alliance, made up of FHA staff and volunteers, has been hard at it for the last several weeks producing our first statewide voter guide. The printing is done and the brand new website is up and fully functional. We are pleased to announce the official launch of the SD 2016 Legislative Primary Voter guide. This guide is a resource to help you cast an informed vote on or before June 7. This non-partisan publication is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to influence a particular election or any particular legislation. It provides candidates’ positions on issues so that you can decide which candidates accurately represent your values. Candidates were asked to respond with a Support or Oppose vote for each of the issues on this guide. Uniform effort was given to contacting every candidate listed in this voter guide. Some candidates chose not to respond, others were unreachable. We urge you to call candidates who did not respond or visit their websites to find out where they are on the issues.

The entire project was designed around compliance with the IRS 501(c)(3) code for nonprofit tax-exempt organizations. Churches and other nonprofit organizations may distribute nonpartisan, unbiased, voter-education materials without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status. The printed publications have been reviewed by outside attorneys to ensure that they comply with the rules for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations.

The printed pieces are summaries of the overall data collected, omitting (for the sake of space) the comments from the candidates. The comments are included in the online guide. To make the guides a little easier to read, we broke the state up into four quadrants that factored in the geography of the state as well as including roughly the same number of candidates in each of the four guides. You can download printable pdf’s of the guides here on our new website.

pptslide_dakotavoterSpeaking of which, the new site has a very user friendly layout that makes it easy for you to locate the candidates in your district. The site is designed around ease of use for both desktop and mobile users. The site will reformat itself when visited by a mobile user and in that mode, will function much like a mobile app. Click here for the Dakota Voter homepage.

To the entire team, especially the volunteers who tirelessly worked long hours, calling candidates, and proofing data, we extend our appreciation. We are very pleased with the outcome.

We still have some of the printed guides on hand. If you would be interested in a packet of guides for distribution, please contact us at 605-718-5433.

Get informed! Vote your values.

2016 Legislative Scorecard Available Now!

2016 scorecard v1.4-1The 2016 legislative session was a hard one for faith, family, and freedom.  When it comes to the folks you sent to Pierre to represent your values, there were many who stood with FHA Action regardless of the cost.  To those brave souls, we extend our sincerest appreciation.  The big question is, was your legislative delegation to Pierre supportive of your values?

That’s a good question.  After crunching the numbers on this 91st Legislative Session, we thought it would be useful to you, to have in hand some real stats regarding the way your legislators voted on values.  We have prepared a concise scorecard that shows exactly that.  Use the link below to download the scorecard.  You are free to redistribute the document any way you desire.  We simply ask that you do not modify it in any way.

Click here to download your copy.

SD Elected Officials’ Lunch With an Olympian

2016electedleaderslunchWhat a perfect event!  Our S.D. Elected Officials’ Lunch was hosted by Pastor Greg Blanc and his Calvary Chapel team prepared a perfect menu and a perfect venue for the fifty attendees of this luncheon.

Our Executive Director, Dale Bartscher did a great job touching a few legislative bases before turning the microphone over to our keynote speaker, the Honorable Jim Ryun.  Ryun was the first high school athlete to run a mile in under four minutes. He went on to take the silver medal in the 1968 Summer Olympics in the 1,500 meter run. Jim also represented Kansas’s 2nd congressional district as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1996-2007.  Jim shared from his heart, the trials, difficulties, and victories of being politically engaged and doing so not from a party perspective but from a values perspective.  The presentation by Mr. Ryun included a special treat as his wife, Ann stepped up to the mic and added her thoughts and point of view.  It was an awesome day for FHA Action and all who were privileged to be there came away encouraged and energized.

Pastor Blanc, to you and your team, we extend a heartfelt “thank you” for all you did to make this event a success!

We will have a bunch of photos up soon on our Facebook page and we have one additional treat.  Normally, Mr. Ryun does not permit video recording of his events, but he granted us permission to record this one.  We have some post-production work to do on the video and we need to get Mr. Ryun’s approval once it is complete, but soon, we hope to be sharing this video with you, so stay tuned!

FHA Action Responds to Passage of SB72

10440918471161CDPscaledThe “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (SB 72) becomes law in South Dakota on July 1, thanks to the overwhelming support of our compassionate legislators and Governor Dennis Daugaard. South Dakota has become the 13th state to take this step toward life and the sanctity thereof!

Medical research shows that unborn babies can experience pain at some point in time around 20 weeks gestation.  Now, South Dakota has joined 12 other states in humanely prohibiting abortions after the 20-week mark.  “While in South Dakota an exception is made in the case of medical emergency, this statute gives specific guidance to medical professionals advising pregnant women on the effects of abortion on the unborn child.  It also provides for a detailed reporting of the care women receive in medical procedures involving terminating the life of an unborn child“, noted Jennifer Utter, FHA Legal Advisor.  “Such detail aids law enforcement in evaluating cases involving illegal actions by medical professionals.  As stated, there is no criminal penalty involving the patients,” Utter continued.

The Family Heritage Alliance Action believes that all abortions deny a human his or her right to life and does other grievous damage to the mother. However, the Legislature and Governor Daugaard’s enactment of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is clearly a step in the direction of advancing the culture of life in our state, our country, and our civilization as a whole.

We want to thank our constituents across the state who emailed and called in support of this bill. Certainly, our sincere appreciation is extended to the legislators who fought for this bill, our governor who signed it, and all of those who opted for civil discourse on both sides of the issue.

Dr. Patrick Clinch
FHA Action Board Chairman


What FHA is All About

DSC_0478compressedRegularly, I get the question, “what exactly does Family Heritage Alliance do?”  It is then my task to try to encapsulate the identity and mission of this organization in a ten second burst of information.  Why ten seconds?  Glad you asked.  My research has determined that ten seconds is about the length of time it takes for the inquirer to experience that overwhelmed, eyes glazed over, “sorry I asked” response.  I can say we are a faith and family valued advocacy group, but that only gets a little sliver of what we do.  I can say we are public policy think tank, but then again, that only covers a tiny portion of the FHA and FHA Action’s work, mission, and vision.  I can say we are lobbyists, but that only covers a tiny corner of our wheelhouse.   In defining FHA and FHA Action, it would be really cool if there was one event that, in a scaled down way, demonstrated everything that we are about.  Fortunately, as it turns out, such an event does exist.  Every year in February, as the South Dakota Legislative session is fully under way, FHA Action brings ministry leaders in from all over the state for a day at the Capitol in Pierre.  They are there to be educated and encouraged.  They are there to influence and encourage the legislators.  They are there to make a simple statement: “We are Christians, and we aren’t about to bow out of the public square.”  In a very real way, we intentionally collide two worlds that many assume cannot or should not coexist.  We intentionally mix the two things most experienced hosts know you don’t talk about at a family gathering.  Yes, yes we do intentionally mix politics and religion.  But before you make a judgement on this, be advised of the following.  We believe at our core that Jesus demands to be Lord of our life, not Lord of our life with the exception of certain areas which we or our society have deemed outside His domain.  So, pretty sure, politics and our involvement therein fits neatly in the territory Jesus rules.  If that makes folks uncomfortable, they will have to take it up with HIM!

The event, by the way, is called the S.D. Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit, and this year it happened on Monday, February 22, and was attended by over 150 ministry leaders, legislators, elected officials, and FHA Staff.  Our keynote speaker this year was Pastor Mark Gonzales, executive director of the “Black Robe Regiment”.  To say that he had the room on the edge of their seats is an understatement.  We also heard from FHA’s legal counsel, Jennifer Utter; Don Matolyak who was representing Franklin Graham’s “Decision America Tour”; and others.  As is often the case at FHA events, one brilliant show-stealer was the youngsters that were there.  Most of the youth there were FHA interns, admirable and quality folks everyone.  We are so thankful to Pastor Friez and his entire team at Community Bible Church in Pierre.  They always do such a great job.  LaVonne Fossness and Amy Willson worked on opposite ends of the state to bring this off flawlessly in the middle.  Ed Randazzo did a great job of photography and security.  Our lobbying team of Dale Bartscher and Norman Woods did a super job of guiding us through issues and protocol.  In all, it was just about a perfect day.  To all who came, our deepest appreciation.

I know it will take some time, but take a look at some of the video below.  It will help give you a sense of what the Summit is all about.  To see all the images of the event, take a look at our Facebook post by clicking here.

We are in the middle of a fund drive for FHA Action.  Now is the time to give if there ever was one.  We are fighting tooth and nail for the values you cherish.  Please consider giving right now by clicking on this link.