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South Dakota Legislative Update – Religious Freedom, Sex Trafficking, Powdered Alcohol and Academic Freedom

By February 27, 2017South Dakota
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Religious Freedom Bill

SB 149 will provide certain protections to faith-based or religious child-placement agencies. Under SB149, 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 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 passed in the full Senate on Wednesday, February 22, with a vote of 22-12. Check the votes here.  If your Senator voted “Yes,” please thank him or her. If he or she voted “No,” kindly express your disappointment.

SB 149 will now be heard in the House.

Please contact your two representatives and urge them to vote “YES” on SB 149. Use this example format when emailing:  You may provide a reason for your position.

In addition, phone the House lobby at (605) 773-3851 and leave a message for your two representatives.


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 full Senate and unanimously in the House Health and Human Services Committee. We expect it to receive a favorable vote in the full House as well.

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.

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.

HB 1143  will revise certain provisions regarding underage prostitution.
Any person aged sixteen years or older who engages in or offers to engage in sexual activity for a fee is guilty of prostitution. Prostitution is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Enforcement of HB 1143 will ensure that minors are removed from their sexual activity source and moved to a safe place where she/he can receive care.

HB 1143 passed unanimously in the full House and will now be heard in the Senate where we expect it to pass.


Powdered Alcohol Bill

SB 81 is a good bill to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or possession of alcohol in a powdered, condensed, or other concentrated form under most circumstances.  Yes, there is such a product as powdered alcohol, and SB 81 places a ban on it in South Dakota.  SB passed in the Senate 33-1.  It will now go to the House where we expect it to pass.


Academic Freedom Bill

The Academic Freedom Bill, SB 55, failed in the House Education Committee on Wednesday, February 22, with a vote of 6-9.  Check the votes here.

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

Please be in prayer for each of these important bills and ask that our God grants wisdom to those in leadership over us.

Thank you for your support of CWA of South Dakota and for your engagement on the issues! We couldn’t do it without you.

Linda Schauer
State Director
CWA of South Dakota