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Outstanding South Dakota Bills that Need Your Support Concerning Religious Freedom, Education, Abortion and Sex Trafficking

By February 21, 2017South Dakota
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SB 149 would provide certain protections to faith-based or religious child-placement agencies. Under SB 149, no child placement agency may be required to provide any service that conflicts with or provide any service under circumstances that conflict with any sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction of the child placement agency.

Agencies around the country have been forced to shut down rather than place children in homes that violate the stated beliefs of the agency.

SB 149 will ensure that faith-based child placement agencies can continue to serve the families of South Dakota the way they have been doing for years.

SB 149 will be debated and voted on in the full Senate Wednesday afternoon, February 22.

Email your Senator and put “Vote YES on SB 149” in the subject line.  Use this format when emailing:  You may provide a reason for your position.

In addition, phone the Senate lobby at (605) 773-773-3821 and leave a message for your Senator.  They will not be in session Monday, February 20.

Academic Freedom Bill

The Academic Freedom Bill, SB 55 will be heard early in the House Education Committee TOMORROW, February 22.

The purpose of the Academic Freedom Bill is to protect the rights of teachers to teach controversial scientific topics in an objective manner without having to fear reprimand or possibly even removal.

  • SB 55 allows teachers to objectively discuss the scientific strengths and weaknesses of scientific topics that are already a part of the curriculum.
  • It does NOT allow teaching of creationism or any other religious viewpoint.
  • It helps students develop debate and critical thinking skills.
  • It enables the students to inquire and disseminate ideas in science.

SB 55 will now move to the House Education Committee this week and, assuming passage, it will go to the full House.

Please contact your two state representatives and urge them to Vote Yes on SB 55, the Academic Freedom Bill.

To email them, click here, putting “Vote YES on SB 55” in the subject line.  When emailing, use this format: You may provide a reason for your position using one of the above talking points. In addition, call the House lobby and leave a message for your two representatives at (605) 773-3851.  They will not be in session on Monday, February 20.

 Assessment Opt-Out Bill

SB 85 would provide for the exemption of certain students from the requirement to take certain academic assessment tests.

SB 85 passed 4-3 in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday morning, February 14.

  • SB 85 clarifies parental rights regarding testing.
  • Too much testing takes from valuable instructional time.
  • The Constitution guarantees the right of parents to direct the education of their children, even public school children.
  • Parents have concerns about the collection of personally identifiable data which is allowed under the weakened Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Email your senator and put “Vote Yes on SB85” in the subject line.  You may give a brief reason for your position.  Use this format when emailing:

In , phone the Senate lobby and leave a message for your senator at (605) 773-3821.  They will not be in session on Monday, February 20.

Sex Trafficking Bills

SB 102 will 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.  As part of the informed consent given to women seeking an abortion, SB 102 requires that any woman who might be in a sex trafficking situation be given a telephone number that will assist her in being rescued or helped.

SB 102 passed unanimously in the Senate and it will soon be heard in the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Note: New information brought by our own Lisa Gennaro, Assistant Legislative Liaison, who is a member of the South Dakota West River Human Trafficking Task Force, shows that a text message would work better than a phone call for a woman to get assistance when she wishes to get help. We expect the bill to be amended to include that information.

HB 1118 will eliminate the need to prove the use of force, fraud, or coercion in the human trafficking of minors.  HB 1118 is another bill intended to rein in the crime of sex trafficking.  HB 1118 passed unanimously in the House Judiciary Committee and passed unanimously in the House.  It will now proceed to the Senate where we expect it to pass.

Pain Capable Penalty

HB 1101 is a bill to increase the penalty for performing an abortion of an unborn child capable of feeling pain. You may remember that we passed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act with a penalty of a misdemeanor last year.  HB 1101 increases the penalty to Class 6 felony, making the penalty consistent with the severity of the crime and also consistent with penalties relating to other abortion statutes.

HB 1101 passed in the House this week with a vote of 58-8.  Check the votes here.

It will now be heard in the Senate.

Please pray for our legislators to have wisdom as they vote on these important bills.

Thank you for your prayer and action!

Linda Schauer
State Director
CWA of South Dakota