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.
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!
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!”
Today was a good day here at the People’s House. It was also good to welcome to the Capitol students and staff from two wonderful private Christian Schools from the opposite sides of the state. The first was Calvary Christian School of Rapid City. I am pictured here with one of their students and a personal friend, Faith Ellingson. I also had the blessing of meeting and speaking with some of the students from Volga Christian School, Volga, SD. This school, established in 1949, heralds Proverbs 22:65 as a text verse to what they are all about saying, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
We were grateful today to see THREE bills, supported by the FHA Action, make it now through both Chambers and are on their way to the Governor’s desk for his anticipated signature. They are:
- House Bill 1118, an Act to eliminate the need to prove the use of force, fraud, or coercion in the human trafficking of minors. We believe that the scourge of human trafficking of minors must be eradicated and the elimination of this burden of proof will aid in the successful prosecution of those who would exploit young and impressionable youths. Today it passed on the Senate floor on a vote of 33 to 0.
- Speaking of the dark side of Human Trafficking the FHA Action supported the passage of Senate Bill 102. It is An act to require that the name and telephone number of an organization fighting to end sex trafficking be given, in writing, to any woman seeking an abortion. It passed on a vote of 66 to 1 by the full House.
- Lastly, Senate Bill 81, is an Act to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or possession of powdered alcohol in South Dakota. This is a good bill which passed on the House floor today on a vote of 56 to 11.
On a lighter note I was excited to see that today was “School of Mines and Technology Day” at the Capitol. I took a moment, out of a very busy schedule, to have my photo taken with their school’s Mascot.
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.
The FHA Action applauds our Attorney General Marty Jackley’s statement supporting President Trump’s Rescinding of the Obama’s Administration’s Mandate Regulating Public School Bathrooms and Locker Rooms.
The last thing that should be on a student’s mind when going to school is whether their safety and privacy will be protected. That’s why the Family Heritage Alliance is glad common sense has prevailed and President Obama’s constitutionally challenged and dangerous mandate on schools regarding bathroom, locker room, and shower use has been rescinded.
Simply put, the federal government has no business regulating neighborhood school bathrooms.
Schools are able to provide a safe environment for all students – including transgender students – without compromising the security and privacy of other students. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration was threatening Districts with the loss of federal funds if they didn’t allow, for example, biological boys to use the girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms.
We are deeply grateful Secretary Betsy DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the Trump Administration rescinded the mandate and are putting the safety of our students before a political agenda.
It was also great to meet up with former SD Representative and friend, Bill Peterson, at the Capitol this week. Bill serves as the Vice President/ Development and Foundation at Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota. His claim to fame today is that he’s married to SD Representative Sue Peterson.
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.
Well, we are down to our closing two and a half weeks in this Legislative Session. Today is what’s called ‘Cross Over Day’ which simply means that all the bills and resolutions which have started in one chamber must cross over to the other chamber to be discussed and voted on.
Hot on our front burner is Senate Bill 149. This is an Act that would ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are free to continue placing children consistent with the agency’s convictions. Faith-based adoption agencies in SD are at risk of closing if the state or a state agency forces them to place children in homes that are inconsistent with their mission. We were thrilled when yesterday the full Senate voted on this bill and passed it on a solid vote of 22 yeas and 12 nays. Senator Solano of Rapid City, pictured here on the Senate Floor, introduced and carried this bill with a flare of excellence. Now, please join us in contacting your Representative today and ask for their support of Senate Bill 149 and thus protect our faith-based adoption agencies.
It was a treat this week for Norman and I to invite to dinner, at our Pierre residence, several friends and co-laborers of the Family Heritage Alliance. From left to right you will find: Linda Schauer (CWA State Director), Cindy Flakoll (CWA volunteer lobbyist), Norman Woods (FHA Action Lobbyist), Mark Chase (NetCasters President), and Debbie Pease (SD Right to Life and Birth Matters Lobbyist). A BIG shout-out of appreciation to my wife, Jan, for baking our main course for the evening – LASAGNA 🙂
It is always a thrill to see Pastors and Ministry Leaders come to the Capitol, the People’s House. So it was great to welcome Pastor Dan Ebbens, of the Aurora Reformed Church, and Dan Hargreaves, past President of the SD Right to Life.
The South Dakota 92nd Legislative Session is well underway and Senate Concurrent Resolution 4 – Recognizing Pornography as Public Health Crisis – was a front and center priority for the Family Heritage Alliance Action. This historic resolution passed unanimously through the South Dakota State Senate (35-0) and House of Representatives (65-0). SCR4 was drafted by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. The FHA Action’s lobbyists, Dale Bartscher and Norman Woods, introduced, secured Legislator signatures and promoted this Resolution. The passage of SCR4 would not have happened without the assistance of two highly capable sponsors: Senator Jenna Netherton of Sioux Falls, SD, primed this Resolution and is pictured here with FHA Action Executive Director Dale Bartscher. Representative Taffy Howard of Rapid City, SD, sponsored it on the House floor. These two South Dakota Legislators spoke with a flare of excellence in their
designated chambers to the need of passing SCR4. Their passion for this issue won the day.
This SD resolution not only raises awareness about the harm of pornography and the need to protect children from early exposure, but it also serves as a guidepost for leaders concerning possible future policy decisions.
BTW – Have you contacted your Senator and respectfully asked him or her to support SB149 – 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 today simply click here. SB149 will likely be voted on the SD Senate floor this coming Wednesday, February 22, so we need your HELP NOW!