SB149 Deserves To Be Passed & Signed

Dale Bartscher

“Leave your religious beliefs at home.” You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it…..a lot. That doesn’t make it true or even desirable. Our forefathers came to the New World with theirs. Their religious beliefs and moral convictions were in the forefront of their minds as they forged the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

Much has changed since those moral visionaries signed those documents, but our Judeo-Christian heritage, our Biblically based religious beliefs and moral convictions are unchangeable.

In the 2017 South Dakota Legislative Session 65 of 105 legislators voted to pass Senate Bill 149 (SB 149) into law. Only the Senate’s Concurrence and the Governor’s signature remain to make it so. Respectfully – the Governor should sign it!

Why? Because SB 149 stands firmly in support of the religious beliefs and moral convictions of privately owned non-profit adoption agencies.  The law would ensure that the State of South Dakota may not coerce them to abandon their sincerely-held religious beliefs or moral convictions in their placement decisions and the ongoing need for placement of children in safe nurturing homes will be served.

These faith-based adoption agencies do not currently receive any state funds for child placement services but without this protection, they are faced with a possible decision of closing their doors or failing their mission. While this has already occurred in other states, it should never happen here in South Dakota.

There are many adoption service providers in our state, including private and public adoption agencies, so that any family that is looking to adopt will be able to find a provider tailored to helping them.

South Dakota is blessed to have several religious agencies, like Bethany Christian Services, New Horizons Adoption Agency and Catholic Social Services that have helped countless children find loving homes.

Laws like this, which protect religious freedom, serve to encourage other faith-based organizations to volunteer their services, knowing that their freedom to exercise their religion will not be infringed simply for deciding to compassionately open their doors to help others. The net result is that South Dakotans get more options as more faith-based services can be assured of a safe environment to operate.

We anticipate the Senate will Concur this coming Tuesday, March 7, with the House version of SB149 and then that our Governor will sign it into law.

Please HELP US NOW by calling your SENATOR in Pierre at
605-773-3821
and leave a message for him/her to:
Respectfully ‘Vote Yes to Concur’ with SB149.

Or click here to use our email system

THANK YOU!!!

 

Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 32

Representative Haugaard on SB149

Today was a rewarding day for “Religious Liberty” in the People’s House of South Dakota! As I sat in the House Gallery I could feel the anticipation building for a BIG WIN as Representative Steve Haugaard, of Sioux Falls, stood to ask for a positive vote on SB149, the ‘Faith-Based Adoption Agency Protection Act’. In the end…43 Representatives said “Yes” to this monumental piece of legislation with 20 opposing and 7 excused.

Leave your religious beliefs at home.” You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it…..a lot. That doesn’t make it true or even desirable. Our forefathers came to the New World with theirs. Their religious beliefs and moral convictions were in the forefront of their minds as they forged the Declaration ofIndependence and the Constitution of the United States.

Much has changed since those moral visionaries signed those documents,but our Judeo-Christian heritage, our Biblically based religious beliefs andmoral convictions are unchangeable.

As of today 65 of 105 legislators have voted to pass Senate Bill 149 into law. Only the Senate’s Concurrence and the Governor’s signature remain to make it so. Respectfully – the Governor should sign it!

Chris Nelson at Catacomb Caucus

Why? Because SB149 stands firmly in support of the religious beliefs and moral convictions of privately owned non-profit adoption agencies. The law would ensure that the State of South Dakota may not coerce them to abandon their sincerely-held religious beliefs or moral convictions in their placement decisions and the ongoing need for placement of children in safe nurturing homes will be served. Let’s keep SB149 moving forward for the sake of our children and religious liberty!

This week’s Catacomb Caucus brought a familiar face to the front of the room as PUC Chris Nelson shared our morning’s devotional as we were once again led in song and closed in prayer. We also took the time to sign a “Thank You Card” to our Governor. It is a blessing to the 40 or so legislators, staff, lobbyists and guests, who meet each week for this spiritual time of encouragement and inspiration, to meet in the Governor’s large conference room. So collectively we say, “Thank You Governor!”

Please follow the work of the FHA Action by regularly going to www.FHAaction.org and click on ‘Legislative Radar’ to view those bills and/or resolutions we are tracking.

Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 29

We are now into our final two weeks at this year’s 92nd SD Legislative Session. We were grateful when today the Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed onto the Senate floor HB1118. Nation wide the issue of Human Trafficking is now off the back burner and onto the front burner and rightly so. HB1118 is a bill that will continue to protect the most vulnerable youth in our society – those under the age of 18 who have found themselves caught in the dark-entangled-web of Human Trafficking.

FHA Action Lobbyist Norman Woods and I have been busy promoting SB149, our ‘Faith-Based Adoption Agency Protection Bill’. We need your HELP in the passage of SB149 a bill that ensures that faith-based adoption agencies in South Dakota are free to continue placing children and making decisions that are consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions. The bill prevents the state from coming down with a “heavy hand” on any agency because that agency follows their convictions. Please contact your Representatives today and ask them to support SB149.

This afternoon at the Capitol a very special recognition took place in the House Chamber when Speaker Mickelson called to the podium Representative Dan Kaiser of Aberdeen and his family. His son, Jackson, a cancer survivor, received not one but two standing ovations from both the Chamber floor and a gallery of well wishers. Speaker Mickelson announced that Jackson may consider himself, from this day forward, an honorary legislator. Representative Kaiser took to the Speaker’s microphone and eloquently thanked the many from across the state who had kept his son in their thoughts and prayers last year as he struggled through the treatment program. This presentation by Speaker Mickelson was an encouraging, positive moment in the midst of some heavy legislative lifting.

Please follow the work of the FHA Action by regularly going to www.FHAaction.org and click on ‘Legislative Radar’ to view those bills and/or resolutions we are tracking.

FHA Action is “Boots On The Ground”

Author John Maxwell rightly wrote, “Leadership is Influence”.  He’s right and by God’s grace the FHA Action’s team of lobbyists, Dale Bartscher, Norman Woods and Ed Randazzo, are endeavoring to exercise that influence.  The 92nd Legislative Session is currently considering some 436 bills and resolutions.  Follow the work of the FHA Action by regularly going to www.FHAaction.org and click on ‘Legislative Radar’ to view those bills and/or resolutions we are either supporting or opposing.

SB149:  Faith-Based Adoption Agency Protection Bill

We need your HELP in the passage of SB149 an bill that ensures that faith-based adoption agencies in South Dakota are free to continue placing children and making decisions that are consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions. The bill prevents the state from coming down with a “heavy hand” on any agency because that agency follows their convictions.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW:  To contact your SD Senator simply click hereSB149 will likely be voted on the SD Senate floor this coming Wednesday, February 22.

An adoption agency in South Dakota that operates in accordance with their sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions is protected, in the passage of SB149, from adverse action in the following ways:

The State may not:
-Alter their tax exemption
-Financially penalize them
-Limit their ability to place children
-Alter the terms or conditions of a contract or license
-Deny a contract or license

 

SB149 does not:
-Allow for discrimination because of race, ethnicity, or national origin
-Allow actions otherwise deemed illegal
-Allow an agency to place a child into a dangerous situation

What Faith-Based Adoption Agency Leaders Are Saying:

“Catholic Social Services supports the Adoption Agency Protection Act because we would like to continue to offer our adoptive services to families of all faiths in a manner consistent with our long standing religious traditions as we have for over 40 years.  We know that this bill is needed because approximately five Catholic Charities nationally have had to cease offering adoption services because of changes in administrative rules or new laws at their state or city level.  Some other Catholic Charities are withdrawing from adoptive services in states as their capacity to work within their confines of their religious beliefs were challenged either by law or rules at the state level.”

– Jim Kinyon
Executive Director, West River Catholic Social Services

“New Horizons Adoption Agency, Inc. supports this bill.  Faith based agencies supply a great service to the faith-based community.  This bill allows a faith based agency to continue that service without fear of compromising the foundation of the agency or the community it serves.”

– Marlys Ubben
Executive Director, New Horizons Adoption Agency Inc.

“SB 149 is consistent with how the state of South Dakota has for decades partnered with private agencies to find homes for children.  It doesn’t restrict anyone from participating in foster care or adoption, but it does preserve for faith-based agencies the freedom to be faithful to our convictions while partnering with government agencies in supporting vulnerable children and families in crisis. We are hopeful that South Dakota lawmakers will continue to honor religious freedom and conscience as it has in the past.”

– Renee Eggebraaten
Branch Director, Bethany Christian Services of Western South Dakota

TAKE ACTION NOW:  To contact your SD Senator simply click here.  SB149 will likely be voted on the SD Senate floor this coming Wednesday, February 22.