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.
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!
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.
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.