SB115 Withdrawal

Many of our friends across the state have been following our efforts to pass Senate Bill 115 – our Student Privacy Act.

Protecting the privacy and dignity of all students while under the care of our public schools is a high priority for the FHA Action. Thus, SB 115 would ensure that every South Dakota elementary and secondary public school student is guaranteed a baseline of privacy while using the most intimate areas: public school locker rooms, showers and other changing facilities. All this while still permitting local schools to craft accommodations that suit the needs of their student body.

This year the school restrooms were intentionally left out of SB 115. This was done as a good faith compromise to Governor Daugaard who last year vetoed a like bill…HB1008. We were in sincere hope that our Governor would take an honest second look at the merits of this bill but unfortunately he chose to immediately call a press conference and publicly rejected SB 115 before we had the opportunity of defending it in his presence.

Thus SB115 was to go before a very reluctant Senate Education Committee this past Tuesday morning. So, due in part to the Governor’s promised Veto, the Prime Sponsor of SB115 chose to WITHDRAW the bill rather than put the bill through a possible Senate smoke out attempt and a veto override battle. The FHA Action remains committed to addressing this issue across the state of South Dakota because protecting the PRIVACY of every South Dakota Student must be assured and is a priority. So … stay tuned as this issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

We more than appreciate the Prime Sponsors for SB115: Senator Lance Russell of Hot Springs and Representative Tom Brunner of Nisland. They are champions who truly believe in protecting the privacy of every student and were fully committed to the passage of the bill.

We want to encourage you to follow our work at the South Dakota Capitol during this 92nd Legislative Session by going to FHAAction.org and click on LEGISLATIVE RADAR.

Governor Daugaard Details Medicaid Expansion Plan to FHA Team

By John Dennis and Ed Randazzo

sizedDSC_0235On Friday August 12, Governor Dennis Daugaard, two staffers, and Kim Malsam-Rydson, South Dakota Secretary of Health, made their way to the Rapid City offices of Family Heritage Alliance.  The purpose of the meeting was a cordial and informal informational discussion, between the Governor and FHA Board Members and Staff regarding, the proposed expansion of Medicaid in South Dakota, between the Governor and FHA Board Members and Staff.

The Governor presented almost an hour and a half of information detailing the complexities of health care, and the financial impact it has on the state. He explained his view of the benefits of Medicaid Expansion which include, among others, additional and improved health care for some of the neediest in our state, improving payments to some providers, and reducing the state’s portion of payments in Medicaid cases.

For the board and staff of FHA, this was a fact finding mission only.  The FHA team listened intently to the Governor’s presentation, pausing only occasionally to ask questions.

To continue to research and better understand the complexities of this issue, Dale Bartscher, FHA’s Executive Director, has already reached out to “Americans for Prosperity”, requesting a similar meeting to examine this issue from another perspective.  Ben Lee, Executive Director of AFP was quoted as saying, “consider it done.”

Family Heritage Alliance is deeply honored that Governor Daugaard and team would take time to travel from Pierre to Rapid City to discuss this very complicated issue with us.

Stay informed and in touch with us here for further updates on this important issue for South Dakota.  Much discussion is yet to be had before this issue possibly comes before South Dakota legislators in the 2017 session.

For more pictures from this event, check out our Facebook post.  Click here.

SD Governor’s Veto Consideration Day

signing2-jasonflatactOn Tuesday, March 29, FHA Public Policy Analysis Ed Randazzo, FHA Lobbyist Norman Woods and I made our way to Pierre for the Governor’s Veto Consideration Day.  It was a FULL day, which began with Norman and I being invited to stand in a photo shoot as the Governor signed two of the bills we supported into law.

The First was the signing of SB129 – the Suicide Prevention Bill.  South Dakota has become the 17th state to pass the Jason Flatt Act.  Matt Walz of the Keystone Treatment Center, Canton, SD, said of SB129,

Today, supporters from across the state attended a bill signing ceremony with the Governor. The passage of the Jason Flatt Act in South Dakota is an exciting step toward reducing the ‘Silent Epidemic’ of teen suicide.

The Jason Flatt Act – South Dakota, will require teachers and certified public school personnel to complete at least one hour of training on youth suicide prevention and awareness per certification cycle. Teachers are on the front lines of suicide prevention and if given the right tools, they can identify a teen who may be considering suicide and refer appropriately. 

Teacher training is proven to be one of the most impactful policy strategies a state can adopt to prevent teen suicide, said Clark Flatt, President of the Jason Foundation.

signing1The Second signing was of SB72 – the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Bill.  Representative Fred Deutsch, who also serves as the President of the SD Right To Life, wrote of those gathered for this photo shoot:

(We are) Grateful to work with these fine people to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain.

When it comes to the subject of ABORTION Pope Francis was wise in having said: “Abortion is a death sentence for unborn children.”  This bill – the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act – supports South Dakota’s long-standing tradition of upholding a “culture of life.” 

dale-martyIt was a good day of connecting with a number of our FHA Legislative friends and meeting some NEW Legislative candidates as well.  One such friend is our Attorney General Marty Jackley.  We are looking forward to working with him and fellow Legislators as we prepare legislation for the 2017 92nd Legislative Session in Pierre.

Governor Signs Senate Bill 159 School Choice Bill Into Law!

2016radar_icons_educationGovernor Dennis Daugaard has signed SB159  “School Choice Bill” into law.

SB159 was both well written, and well meaning.  This School Choice bill will now provide the opportunity for certain lower-income families to send their children to a non-public school of their choice. A choice that is most often not available for these families. SB159 will improve the entire education system in South Dakota in two ways:

(1) Every student learns in his or her own way, and every family operates in their own way. Allowing more students more options will always help to ensure that a student is getting the best possible education.  SB159 allows for an education that specifically fits their needs.

(2) Allowing more students the opportunity to attend a non-public school, will infuse a higher level of competition within the different schools in South Dakota. Within the free market, when there is healthy competition, each competitor will strive for excellence in every way possible.

One thing should be made clear, neither the reasons listed above, nor any of the other supportive arguments for SB159 are meant to say that the public school system is a poor system as it most definitely is not. The School Choice Bill will simply bring into South Dakota what its name implies: an increased ability for School Choice.

Finally, we at Family Heritage Alliance Action want to thank all those who put in a tremendous amount of work into the passage of SB159:  Our Governor for his signature; Senator Phyllis Heineman and Representative Brian Gosch (the Bill’s Prime Sponsors); The supporting Legislators, the stakeholders, and the parents. Your desire to help students receive the best possible education is admirable and noble. We at FHA will continue our support of this concept, and those that champion it, as we watch this plan of action unfold in the coming years.

FHA Action Responds to Passage of SB72

10440918471161CDPscaledThe “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (SB 72) becomes law in South Dakota on July 1, thanks to the overwhelming support of our compassionate legislators and Governor Dennis Daugaard. South Dakota has become the 13th state to take this step toward life and the sanctity thereof!

Medical research shows that unborn babies can experience pain at some point in time around 20 weeks gestation.  Now, South Dakota has joined 12 other states in humanely prohibiting abortions after the 20-week mark.  “While in South Dakota an exception is made in the case of medical emergency, this statute gives specific guidance to medical professionals advising pregnant women on the effects of abortion on the unborn child.  It also provides for a detailed reporting of the care women receive in medical procedures involving terminating the life of an unborn child“, noted Jennifer Utter, FHA Legal Advisor.  “Such detail aids law enforcement in evaluating cases involving illegal actions by medical professionals.  As stated, there is no criminal penalty involving the patients,” Utter continued.

The Family Heritage Alliance Action believes that all abortions deny a human his or her right to life and does other grievous damage to the mother. However, the Legislature and Governor Daugaard’s enactment of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is clearly a step in the direction of advancing the culture of life in our state, our country, and our civilization as a whole.

We want to thank our constituents across the state who emailed and called in support of this bill. Certainly, our sincere appreciation is extended to the legislators who fought for this bill, our governor who signed it, and all of those who opted for civil discourse on both sides of the issue.

Dr. Patrick Clinch
FHA Action Board Chairman

 

2016 Legislative Session Day 34 – Bridge Builders

Pierre BridgeLast week Norman Woods, FHA Action Lobbyist, and I were down by the river and Norman took this photo of the Pierre Bridge.  I like it!  It is a great reminder of the fact that in our work here at the Capitol we had better be Bridge Builders if we expect to influence Legislators in the passage and/or defeat of certain bills and/or resolutions.

On this truth the wisdom of Solomon shines through in Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one, because they get more done by working together.”

The FoursomeIt was a pleasure for Norman and I to have worked together so closely this session, on several bills, with Representative Scott Craig (pictured far left) of Rapid City, District 33 and Matthew Sharp of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).  We made for a great team as we focused on doing what was right on bills like HB1008 (Student Physical Privacy Act) and HB1107 (Government Nondiscrimination Act).

day34We were encouraged throughout this session to welcome to the Capitol a number of FHA friends and family like the FHA Board Members pictured here.  Seated with me is Dr. Patrick Clinch, FHA Action Board Chair [PHOTO] and standing with me is FHA Board Member, Dr. Brent Bradley.

This session has certainly had its UPS and DOWNS when it comes to those bills the FHA ACTION either supported or opposed.

It was disappointing to see HB 1008…the Student Physical Privacy Act…vetoed by our Governor.   The aim of this bill was as well meaning and void of malice as it was accommodating for people on both sides of the issue.  It genuinely sought to address what likely is going to be a prolonged debate in the not-so-distant future in our state.

We sincerely believe that the Governor missed an opportunity to get out in front of this issue and help accommodate both sides in a peaceful and respectful manner.  All this bill sought was to protect the physical privacy of 100% of our public school students.

We appreciate the seventy-eight Legislators who stood on principle and voted in support of HB10-08.

We are thankful to all those who called or emailed their Legislators and the Governor asking for support, and for all those on both sides of the debate who opted for civil discourse in the discussion of this issue.  So stay tuned, as this issue is not going away.

We are grateful for the passage in the HOUSE this week of the following bills, which will now need the Governor’s signature.   They are….

SB159 that is a bill that empowers lower income families, who choose to provide a private school education to their children, to be able to afford it. Sixteen other states have adopted this method successfully to provide more parental choice in the education of their children.

SB129 now being called “Jason’s Law” would require that Teachers be given one hour suicide prevention training as a part of their teacher re-certification process.

SB26 will revise certain provisions concerning sex offender registration and will require an offender to notify law enforcement of intended foreign travel.  Currently, here in South Dakota we have 3,448 sex offenders on our registry.  This bill will simply help law enforcement track their whereabouts in our state.  Typically at any one time 25 of them would be out of compliance.  So that means that we have an amazing 99% compliance rate in SD.  SB26 will only but improve that already remarkable rate.

SB72 will prohibit the abortion of an unborn child who is capable of experiencing pain and provide a penalty thereof.  It is called the ‘Pain Capable Bill’.  It has been well documented that unborn babies experience pain during abortion.  Because the unborn child’s pain inhibitors have not been fully developed, their pain is even more excruciating.  Although we believe abortion at any stage of development is a monumental injustice to the unborn, the pain capable prohibition is set at 20 weeks gestation.

SB72 has had several amendments and currently needs the Senate to concur on the House amendments.

The pro-abortion lobby is pressuring the Governor to veto the bill.  Your calls and e-mails are needed to the Governor asking him to sign SB72, the Pain Capable Bill.

ACTION:   To email Governor Daugaard urging him to sign SB72, the Pain Capable Bill, click here right here, and follow the instructions.  In addition phone his office at (605) 773-3212 and leave a quick message.  You can do this!

We are also grateful for the passage in the SENATE this week of the following bills which will now need the Governor’s signature and they are….

HB1110, which will provide pre-natal medical care for certain non-citizen mothers.

HB1157 will require that a doctor provide a woman additional information as a part of informed consent prior to performing an abortion.  It has become known as the ‘Informed Consent Bill for Chemical Abortions’!  This bill simply provides the mother with better decision-making options.


postcard-front-March-Leg-ReportDownsized

Friends, in closing, you are invited to attend one of our three, upcoming, Legislative Session Debrief Events sponsored by the Family Heritage Alliance.   Please make plans now to attend one Tuesday – Thursday, March 15-17.  Sharing a wrap-up of this year’s 91st South Dakota Legislative Session – the good, the bad and the ugly – will be FHA Lobbyist Norman Woods along with myself.  For more information and/or to register go to click here!

Until Next Time….Keep looking up and forward my friends!

2016 Legislative Session Day 27

Well TODAY is the 27th day of the South Dakota Legislative Session’s 38 days.

handsraisedMany of you have been following, and rightly so, the process whereby we hope and pray that House Bill 1008, a bill that is designed to protect the privacy of ALL of our public school children – becomes law.  HB 1008 has now been delivered to our Governor Daugaard’s Desk.  It is our understanding that by midnight on Tuesday, March 1, he must sign this bill into law, veto this bill, or simply allow it to become law without his signature.

This bill, which was passed with the support of 75% of our Legislators, will require every elementary and secondary public school in the state to protect the privacy of boys and girls by ensuring that boys and girls do not use the same restrooms, locker rooms, or shower rooms together.

We, the people of South Dakota, are legitimately concerned about safety and privacy, especially when it comes to children, but we are also concerned about treating everyone fairly, including people dealing with gender dysphoria. Our South Dakota legislators have struck a balance that respects all concerned and shines a clear path out of a tricky issue.

We certainly anticipate HB 1008 will come off of the Governor’s Desk with his Signature because it’s South Dakota Common Sense.  Please, take a moment, CALL Governor Daugaard (605-773-3212) and respectfully ask him to SIGN HB 1008 into law.

Senate Bill 129 now being called “Jason’s Law” has passed off of the Senate Floor with a unanimous vote.  This bill would require that Teachers be given a one-hour suicide prevention training as a part of their teacher re-certification process.

Senate Bill 159 also flew out of the Senate and we are grateful.  This bill empowers lower income families who choose to provide a private school education to their children, to be able to afford it. Sixteen other states have adopted this method successfully to provide more parental choice in the education of their children.

We were pleased recently to give testimony for and see passed on the Senate floor two bills, which will directly protect our children in a greater way.  They are:

Senate Bill 168, which seeks to protect juveniles from being victimized by the criminal activity of Human Trafficking.  In this bill a person, usually called the John, who pimps a child into this DARK lifestyle will now be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

And then there is SB 169 a bill, which seeks to revise our child pornography laws.  Although this is a ‘baby step’ of a bill….it is a step in the right direction as it moves the selling of child pornography from a Class 2 charge to a more serious….Class 4 charge.
summit2As I close I’d like to share that our SD Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit held on Monday, Feb. 22 here in Pierre at the State Capitol was a terrific success.   Our keynote speaker, Mark Gonzales (Black Robed Regiment) blessed the 120 Pastors and Ministry Leaders who converged on the Capitol for a day of prayer, information, inspiration and influence.  I am so grateful to an FHA Staff that goes above and beyond the call of duty to help execute an event such as this.  Yes, it was “all hands on deck” and all our hard work paid off as all were blessed!

Until NEXT TIME please keep looking up and forward my friends!

summit1

2016 Legislative Session Day 8

2016day8aAn annual highlight of the Legislation Session every year is the honor of attending the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.  This year a 150+ were in attendance and enjoyed the event’s theme from Acts 2:42 “Teaching, fellowship, breaking bread and prayer.”  Yes, it was good to reunite with friends from last year’s event and rub shoulders and hearts with SD Legislators who purposed to rise early for this time of encouragement.  Down through the centuries, it has become apparent that great things happen when a few people who love God and love people become bound together in a common commitment with a great love for one another.  Ordinary people become extraordinary when such a relationship exists.

This year’s Keynote Speaker was Doug Burleigh, Associate for the Leadership Development Foundation and formerly with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  His message was thoughtful and inspiring as he pronounced, “Our agenda here today is not a religion but a person!

2016day8bIt was also gratifying to spend a few quality moments with our South Dakota US Senator Mike Rounds.  I am always appreciative of those times when we gather to honor our God and we have many of our elected officials in the room simply because they share our Faith in Him.  Such was this event as it was also hosted and attended by our Governor Dennis Daugaard.

2016day8cFollowing the breakfast it was time to head back to the Capitol for a FULL day of positively influencing our Legislators when able to do so.  FHA Action Lobbyist Norman Woods, as pictured here, gave supporting testimony to House Bill 1013.  This is a Dept. of Education Bill supported by the SD Homeschoolers and the FHA Action.  BTW – it past out of the House Education Committee on a vote of 13 to 0 🙂

Until NEXT TIME please keep looking up and forward my friends!