FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher and FHA Action Lobbyist and Youth Coordinator Norman Woods traveled the very familiar road to Sioux Falls on Wednesday. Once again they were assisted by Sioux Falls FHA Representative LaVonne Fosness as we held a Sioux Falls area FHA Legislative Review Luncheon. Seventy-Four energetic guests filled the room at the Linwood Wesleyan Church as their lead Pastor Bob McHenry opened the event in prayer.
We were honored to have in attendance these elected officials: Senators Jim Bolin and Jim Stalzer, along with Representatives Steven Haugaard, Leslie Heinemann, Isaac Latterell, Sue Peterson, Marli Wiese and Larry Zikmund.
It was a treat to welcome Owen Shay, Constituent Service Representative for Congresswoman Kristi Noem (SD) to our event. Owen brought us up-to-date with some of the happenings and decisions made in Congresswoman Noem’s office.
A special treat for Dale was the presence of his sister Cheryl. Cheryl, and her husband Ernie, live in Sioux Falls and often attend FHA events but this day was special. Cheryl was celebrating her birthday and Dale surprised her with a birthday cake complete with candles. This only but goes to prove…the FHA is ‘Family’ in more ways that one 🙂
Once again this year two Rapid City area FHA Legislative Review Events were held to give our FHA friends and partners a “choice” as to which one best fit their schedules. The Cedar Canyon Wesleyan Camp was the perfect host location for these two events. Camp Manager Ben Sutton was more than accommodating as he helped us prepare the facility and serve a delicious meal to welcome our 120 total guests.
We were honored to have in attendance on Tuesday evening Rapid City Council Ward One Candidate Becky Drury, Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom, and Representative Taffy Howard. Wednesday’’s luncheon saw several more elected officials in the house including County Commissioner Mark DiSanto, Senator Phil Jensen, and Representatives Lynne DiSanto and ‘Chip’ Campbell.
Each year we are blessed at these two events to have the most splendid assistance of TeenPact Students and their Sponsors. Under the excellent leadership of SD TeenPact State Coordinator Joanne Woods these seven young people helped set-up, served and cleaned-up after the event. Joanne and Pastor Phil Shively, a TeenPact Class Director, shared with us the amazing results of a very successful TeenPact year. For more information on the TeenPact Program go to www.teenpact.com.
Wednesday’s event was video taped by Western Sky Media and will soon be up on our website.
Guest Writer: Pastor Joe Ganahl
As a pastor, I am passionately involved in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world and I am not ashamed of it. I am also not ashamed of being an American and I passionately love our country and her Christian values. I preached on “politics” for several weeks surrounding the November election… not necessarily on a particular candidate… but on each parties political platform and encouraged our people to vote on the platforms, not necessarily candidates. One platform was unashamedly Christian, while the other platform was filled with opposition to biblical values. They were some of the most powerful… and most informative… messages I had ever preached. Praise God that SD… and the rest of our nation… elected a party and people who share those biblical values… back to positions of power.
On February 7th… I was able to attend the FHA Action’s SD Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit in Pierre. It was the first one I had ever attended. I’d love to say I had a great time and can’t wait to go back… but for me, as an introvert… it was a little uncomfortable. I didn’t know anyone except Dale Bartscher… and he was a little too busy to babysit me all day!! However, as I walked around the Capitol and witnessed numerous State Representatives, Senators, and Cabinet officials boldly proclaiming their faith… God spoke to me about how they needed our support and our prayers.
I came back with a big project in mind. Personal prayer cards for every Representative, every Senator, and every Cabinet official… regardless of political party… based on 1 Tim 2:1-3…
“First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for everyone… for kings and all those in authority… so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity… this is good and it pleases God our Savior.”
That’s a tall task. Hundreds of envelopes had to be addressed and stamped… and hundreds had to be taken by our congregation and personally written in. My administrative assistants, Darlis and Sarah, did an amazing job of getting that ready in a short week and then preparing them for our congregation. We made an announcement on a Sunday morning… telling people what we were doing… and asking them to take at least one card, but possibly more… and write something in there encouraging our elected officials. By the end of the day… ALL the cards had been taken. God was using us to do exactly what He had planned. To pray for those in authority… all those in authority… even those we might possibly disagree with. We hope we were able to be a blessing and encouragement to those folks during an extremely difficult time… and to let them know there were people that supported them and were praying for them. It was a great privilege for us to be involved in this way.
It’s Official…Governor Dennis Daugaard has signed into law SB149 – The Faith-Based Adoption Agency Protection Act!!
From our nation’s inception, religious organizations have provided invaluable social services that have lifted people out of poverty, helped them heal, restored their families, and equipped them to one day make their own contributions to society. They do so because their faith teaches them to love and serve one another.
SB149 will now help accomplish that goal by ensuring that faith-based adoption agencies and foster care providers are not penalized under state or local laws because of their beliefs. In addition to secular agencies, and 1960 Attorneys who can facilitate adoptions, South Dakota is also 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. SB149 will now make sure that these agencies aren’t stripped of their licenses or threatened with closure based solely on their beliefs.
It is time that South Dakota lends a helping hand to faith-based adoption agencies and foster care providers to thank them for the helping hands that they have been to South Dakota for decades. We thank Governor Dennis Daugaard for having done just that in the signing of SB149 into law.
We would be amiss if we did not first say…To God be the Glory!!!!
- Psalms 107:1 – “O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”
Second…This was a TEAM effort!!!!
- We more than appreciate our Prime Sponsors in Senator Solano and Representative Haugaard who carried the day presenting the case for SB149 with a “flare of excellence”.
- We also so appreciate the 70 Legislators who supported SB149 as it made its way through the Senate and the House.
- Congratulations to these SD Faith-Based Adoption Agencies: Catholic Social Services, Bethany Christian Services and the New Horizons Adoption Agency!
- We thank Matt Sharp (Alliance Defending Freedom) and Troy Cummings (Bethany Christian Services) for crafting the precise language of SB149.
- The lobbying team of the Family Heritage Alliance Action (FHA Action) and Concerned Women for America (CWA) made for an effective ‘Boots On The Ground’ presence at the Capitol advocating for the passage of SB149.
- We so appreciate those South Dakotans who took the time to PRAY for this decision and those who engaged their Legislators and the Governor as well via emails and/or phone calls. We are also grateful for the assistance of our National Organizations who came to our aid in a number of ways: Family Policy Alliance, Focus On The Family, Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council. It makes a difference as we are stronger and better together!
- Finally, God Bless those children in need of loving families for they truly are the BIG WINNERS with the signing of SB149 into law!
Lastly…Please join me in thanking our Governor Dennis Daugaard for signing SB149 into law. Simply CLICK HERE and drop him a quick e-mail of appreciation.
SB149 will become law on July 1, 2017.
Yours For Faith, Family and Freedom,
Dale Bartscher, Executive Director
Family Heritage Alliance
P.O. Box 329
Rapid City, SD 57709
OFFICE: 605-718-5433 (LIFE)
The sun is beginning to set on the 92nd SD Legislative Session. After this Friday, March 10, all that remains is the Veto Override Day on Monday, March 27. This is a day when any bills the Governor may veto can be re-considered by the Legislature.
This morning we held our final Catacomb Caucus of this session and we concluded on a high note. The 35+ Legislators, Capitol staff, lobbyists and guests were blessed to be led in our devotional time by Trudy Qualm, wife of Representative Lee Qualm. Trudy has inspired all of us throughout this session in song and word as she used her talent on the guitar each Wednesday morning to lead us to the Throne in music. “Thank You, Trudy!”
We were more than gratified that the Senate concurred this past Tuesday with SB149, the ‘Faith-Based Adoption Agency Protection Act’. It was a strong Senate vote of 27 to 8. This now means that 70 of the 105 Legislators approved this good and right piece of legislation. Now it goes to the Governor’s Desk for either his signature or a veto. 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 call the Governor office today at 605-773-3212 and respectfully ask him to sign SB149 into law. This simply allows the Faith-Based Adoption Agency’s the right to continue doing what they have done for decades in the state of South Dakota – placing children in loving families.
In closing I want to extend an invitation to you to be our guests at one of three up-coming FHA Events. I, along with FHA Action Lobbyist Norman Woods, will be sharing a complete wrap-up of this Legislative Session at three different FHA Events (March 21, 22 and 23). For more information and/or to register for one of these FREE informative events please go to our website at….FamilyHeritageAlliance.org and click on the EVENT you are most interested in.
It has been my honor to have spent some time with you in these FHA Action Capitol Blogs over the last 8 weeks. Together we are better and stronger!
Last Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity of filling the pulpit at the two services for the Community Bible Church in Pierre. Their Lead Pastor Harvey Friez, had to be out-of-town that morning, but he was gracious enough to allow me to put up our Family Heritage Alliance Display and then take a few minutes in the service to give a brief mission’s update. What a great morning of fellowship and inspiration with the CBC family.
On Sunday afternoon I spent some time enjoying the great outdoors as I walked around Capitol Lake. I more than enjoyed stopping at various memorials and simply recalling the truth that “Freedom Isn’t Free”. The Combat Wounded Veterans Memorial was of particular interest to me as it is dedicated to those soldiers who have received a ‘Purple Heart’ in their service. Well, my father was one of those soldiers and standing there yesterday caused me to remember and be thankful and that’s a very good thing.
Today we are gratified that both HB1143 and HB1101 passed in our SD Senate and are now on their way the the Governor’s Desk. HB1143 is an Act to revise certain provisions regarding underage prostitution and HB1101 is an Act to increase the penalty for performing an abortion of an unborn child capable of feeling pain. Senator Brock Greenfield did a masterful job in pitching HB1101 to the full Senate. He took a barrage of questions and answered each of them with excellence. I am so grateful South Dakota remains ever committed to enhancing our ‘Culture of Life’.
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 Senator today and ask him/her to vote YES on the concurrence of SB149.
Please follow the work of the FHA Action by regularly going to www.FHAaction.org and click on ‘Legislative Radar’.
“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
and leave a message for him/her to:
Respectfully ‘Vote Yes to Concur’ with SB149.