Board of Regents Free Speech Hearing

During the hearings for HB1073 and SB198 this last legislative session, it was mentioned several times that the policy fixes being discussed should be taken care of at a more local level. Namely, the Board of Regents policies and several of the South Dakota University policies. Thursday was the first significant step towards that goal. Near the end of the committee hearing on SB198 Senator Soholt explained that she would be voting against the bill, but that the Board of Regents needed to take a serious look at the policies and practices of our universities. Senator Bolin made similar remarks, explaining that in South Dakota we are in the habit of letting local control work the problems out.

The free-speech hearing was added into a two-day board meeting by the Regents on the campus of South Dakota State University. They gave opportunity for testimony from University faculty, students as well as national experts. The overall flavor of the hearing: let’s tweak what we have and get it right. The Chicago Statement was mentioned by several of those giving testimony, as well as several board members as a good standard to glean from. One concept outlined in the statement that was discussed throughout the hearing is that the proper response to a message someone deems offensive or even abhorrent is more speech, not censorship.

Blake Meadows with Alliance Defending Freedom outlined 5 common miss-steps they have seen by universities: Misunderstanding who qualifies as a State actor, granting too much power to administrators, vague or unconstitutional policies, speech zones and limiting equal access or expressive association. Tyler Coward with The F.I.R.E. recommended ensuring that all university harassment policies are in line with Davis v. Monroe.

A few other key points made during the hearing:

-Many messages are controversial, but the right to express them must be protected if we value free-speech.

-Controversial speakers and events may result in the need for significant security costs. It was expressed that charging the student groups or the speaker an extra security fee because of this fact may be a barrier to that groups right to present their message.

-Universities in South Dakota aren’t significantly hampering free speech on their campuses, but they are modifying the definition of it and have policies that may prove unconstitutional.

-It is not the role of a University to shield students from views or messages.

-Security fees should be charged based off a viewpoint-neutral standard, and allowing campus and local police the ability to act will often times reduce the potential for a problem.

-Actions that cause damage are illegal, but words, no matter how offensive, are not actions.

-We should not wait until we have a significant event that outlines problematic policies, we should fix them beforehand.

-Including an explanation of free-speech rights in student orientation may be a low-cost way to increase understanding on the issue.

The next step is for the Board to examine their policies and compile possible fixes. They expressed a desire to send the verbiage changes to the major stakeholders for input/advice before they finalize the new policies.

SD Right to Life Scorecard

South Dakota Right to Life has release their 2017/2018 Legislative scorecard!

“Our legislative scorecard is out for the 2017-18 sessions just in time for the primaries. Feel free to print, copy, cut, paste, quote, and use the resource however you see fit. Make sure voters in your district know how your legislators are voting, and thank your legislator for standing up for LIFE! Don’t have a pro-life legislator? You can donate to South Dakota Right to Life PAC, 342 N. Sunset Dr., Mina, SD 57451. Specify which district race you want your funds used in. Questions about the scorecard? Email spencercody@hotmail.com”

SD RTL Scorecard

TeenPact Leadership Week

With 48 energetic and informed students the 2018 South Dakota Teen Pact took to the state capital for a week of activities. These included a mock legislature with bills written, presented and argued by the Teens according to Capitol protocol, prayer walks in the Capitol, key issue debates, praise and worship, quizzes, fun food, senator and governor elections, spiritual challenge, and a healthy dose of camaraderie.

The Teens heard from our own Attorney General Marty Jackley, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, and FHA Lobbyist Norman Woods. If you could only hear the questions that our teens are asking of our elected officials, you would be amazed.

For the last eleven years, during our State legislative session, South Dakota Teen Pact has given teens the opportunity to learn the legislative process, personally meet our government officials, and build leadership skills. The growth that occurs during this concentrated program greatly impacts our teens in understanding and living out their civil stewardship as Christians in the United States.

Read more about TeenPact across the United States on the TeenPact Leadership Schools website.

Click here for the South Dakota TeenPact details

Click here for the SD TeenPact Facebook page

“Port Yankton” Asks For Gambling

The city of Yankton is looking to use the Legislative process to put on the ballot the ability for the proposed “Port Yankton” entertainment complex to have roulette, keno, craps, limited card games and slot machines. The legislation proposing this constitutional amendment is SJR9, which if passed by the Legislature would be placed on the 2018 ballot.

There are several reasons we believe the measure should be defeated, here are three of them:

  1. There are many secondary negative effects of gambling, and one doesn’t need to look very far to find someone who has been impacted by a gambling addiction. Increasing the availability of gambling increases the potential for addictions.
  2. The constitutional amendment allows for only one location to carry these forms of gambling. (the proposed “Port Yankton” entertainment complex) If we allow this one complex in one city to offer these games, will it not be a matter of time before more locations on more cities are asking as well?
  3. In 1987 the city of Deadwood approached the Legislature and asked for the issue to be put on the ballot. The Legislature told them to go back to the people of SD and get the signatures instead. Yankton should follow the same path as Deadwood was required to follow.

 

Click here to email your Senator!

We have provided a sample email, but please rewrite it and make it your own!

Ministry Leaders Capitol Summit – Another Successful Year

Here is what people said regarding the 2018 Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit in Pierre:

What was the most rewarding part of the Capitol Summit in Pierre?

“Ushering prayer into the capitol”

“Praying with the legislators”

“Dr. Kenyn Cureton was a wonderful speaker.”

“Meeting State Officials”

“Filling the capitol with praise to God as we sang three songs on the steps in the rotunda”

“Meeting with like-minded believers”

PASTORS, as an encouragement to you, here is what people said regarding their pastors not being able to come:

“… I want to know from my pastor, where our church stands on the issues…”

“As Christians, we may not “like” politics or government, but we cannot afford to not be involved, concerned & engaged.”

“…it is important for leaders who are Christians to gather in Pierre and let their legislators know how they should vote in light of morals and values.”

“Do not fear, come to Pierre!  You have influence! Come put [it] into action at the Capitol.”

“Your role is important in our country.”

“Need to be involved and concerned in what is happening legislatively in the State. Need to understand what your support means to the legislators.”

“Come fight for our State and country through the power of the Lord.”

On February 6th Pastors and Ministry Leaders from across the state converged on the Capitol for a day of education and encouragement.

The day began with a light breakfast in the Rotunda including a quick briefing on capitol protocol and a list of what was on the legislators’ agenda for the day. Teen Pact alumni gave a Capitol tour. Our guests were then able to connect with their legislators, to pray with them, and to see part of the legislative process. Before leaving the capitol the whole group met on the Rotunda steps for a picture with the governor and for singing in that great hall. What an amazing sound!

 

Community Bible Church provided lunch for our whole group as well as several legislators. Thank you again for your hospitality!

 

Dr. Kenyn Cureton from Family Research Council brought a great challenge to the legislators focusing on the godly legacy of Ronald Reagan (his birthday was February 6th) and his implementation of godly morals in every area of government. Dr. Kenyn also encouraged the Ministry Leaders to live out “I am a Soldier of the Cross, Here I Stand!”

 

God is doing an incredible work in our State. He is giving the church the opportunity to impact our culture with His Love and Truth. We want to take every opportunity to shine as a city on a hill.

-Phil Shively

Culture Impact Teams – Time to Shine!

Culture Impact Teams make a difference any time of year, but right now is their time to shine. With the legislative session now in full swing, your church’s CIT can truly shed light on pertinent issues in Pierre. As your CIT networks with Family Heritage Alliance and with other CITs, we can understand the bills and resolutions coming this session and have a voice with our legislators and governor.

If your church already has a Culture Impact Team, please contact them and see how you can be involved. If your church does not yet have a CIT and you would like one or if your Team would like help with further direction for your CIT, Phil Shively is in Sioux Falls this week, January 15-19, to help you! He will also be scheduling trainings in Rapid City the week of January 29. He is available for anything from a 5 minute introduction to a 2 hour training to get your CIT rolling. Please contact Phil at 605-718-5433.

Let’s not miss this opportunity to let the true light shine before men so that God is honored in our State.