This weekend President Trump will mark 100 days in the White House. What has he accomplished and what remains of his campaign promises?
Autumn Leva, director of policy and communications for Family Policy Alliance, talks about what’s been done and what’s left to do on life, family and religious freedom.
Urge your lawmakers to defund Planned Parenthood.
The post President Trump First 100 Days | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
Last July, Jim Banks attended Family Policy Foundation’s first Statesmen Academy as a state senator from Indiana. And a few weeks ago, as a freshman congressman, he took the speaker’s chair to preside over the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congressman Banks is one of several Statesmen attendees who are already stepping up to defend the family at new levels of leadership, thanks to the training they received through your generous support of Family Policy Foundation.
One of his 2016 classmates, Rep. Dean Arp from North Carolina, decided as a result of attending the Academy to run for Majority Whip in his state legislature. After winning that leadership race, he played a key role in stopping efforts to repeal North Carolina’s new law that protects the safety and privacy of women and girls in vulnerable places like bathrooms.
In Colorado, fellow 2016 Statesmen alum Rep. Patrick Neville was hesitant to run for a leadership position because of his young family. But his wife, who attended the Statesmen Academy with him, came away emboldened by the training and encouraged him to run. He’s now serving as Minority Leader of the Colorado House.
Meanwhile, Jim Banks calls the Statesmen Academy “outstanding” and encourages other rising legislators – and those called to run for office in the future – to attend. “I will be one of your best ambassadors for [your future] events.” Because of sacrificial gifts from you and other pro-family Americans, the next Statesmen Academy will be held the last week of July – training 40 rising leaders how to stand strong and lead effectively.
What do you think of when you hear the word “legacy”? Since you’re reading this, I’d be willing to guess that the word “legacy” brings to mind something along the lines of leaving your family a better future, a better America. An America closer to what our Founding Fathers sacrificed so much to give each of us. An America where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.
If I’m right about that, then I want to share a book with you that also deals with the topic of “legacy.” The book, Giving It All Away…And Getting It Back Again, was written by a ministry friend of Family Policy Alliance, David Green, with Bill High. You may not know David Green’s name, but I’m sure you’ve heard of his family’s company – Hobby Lobby.
And David Green is no stranger to the need to stand up for our families and our Christian values – and the family of believers – in the public square. In fact, his family has contributed greatly to that legacy of a better America through their courageous stand against the Obama Administration’s “contraceptive mandate” in Obamacare. Their case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where their victory for the conscience rights of business owners – to not be forced to pay for or provide insurance that includes potential abortion-causing medications – is truly a victory for religious freedom in our country.
I hope you’ll read this special excerpt from Giving It All Away…And Getting It Back Again.
Standing for the family of believers,
President and CEO
What I’ve Learned That’s Most Important
I love British cricketer and missionary C. T. Stud’s poem “Only One Life.” The one line that really gets me is “Only what’s done for Christ will last.” I have committed myself fully to this. I believe that God has placed us on this earth to work, to earn, and to care for those he has entrusted to us. Yet I also believe that we are put on this earth to give, to devote ourselves to a radical brand of generosity that changes lives and leaves a legacy. To paraphrase God’s words to patriarch Abraham, we are blessed so that we can be a blessing.
But what do we mean when we talk about being blessed? In our culture, this might be interpreted as financial blessing. And certainly finances can be part of it. I believe, however, that the blessing God talks about encompasses so much more. Since I have been exceptionally blessed in my life, I have determined to give exceptionally as well. And what about the other ways in which I’ve been blessed?
I could go on. I’m sure you could too.
When I consider all of the blessings I’ve been given, it’s hard for me not to pause and thank my Lord and my God. His heart is generous. His blessings are wide and rich.
People may know my name now, but I started out like any Joe. Humble beginnings, working hard. But, as God would have it, my story took a turn. It was a turn marked by a faith that pushed me to my limits. Through it all, I learned to trust, and that trust led me onto a path of generosity. I look forward to telling some of the story of this journey in the pages of this book.
My second purpose is to offer the lessons my wife, Barbara, and I learned while trying to fashion a legacy for those who come after us in our family.
And there it is: legacy. What is a legacy, anyway?
The dictionary gives two definitions. First, a legacy is an amount of money or property passed to someone in a will. Second, a legacy is a thing handed down by a predecessor. I want to use the second definition because I believe it includes everything—from belief to right action to finances. You and I possess so much to hand to our predecessors, things seen and unseen.
My story begins in the unseen things. God took me on a wild trip that landed me where I am today, in the land of seen things—my company, Hobby Lobby. But God has taught me that with great wealth and power comes great obligation to the next generation. Knowing this, I have worked through my legacy plan more than once and have finally landed here, writing you my thoughts on the matter.
This is the story I want to recount now. My hope is that others can learn from it and that perhaps our generation can begin doing what few generations before us have done well: pass a true legacy on to those who follow us.
David Green is the founder of Hobby Lobby, the largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer in the world. He is soft-spoken, passionate about his faith, and dedicated to his family.
In 1970 David Green borrowed $600.00 to buy a molding chopper, set up shop in his garage at home, and started making miniature wooden picture frames. As of 2015, Hobby Lobby employs over 32,000 people, operates 600 stores in forty-seven states, and grosses 3.6 billion dollars a year.
David & his wife Barbara are the proud parents of two sons and one daughter, grandparents to ten, and great grandparents to eight. David writes what it looks like to leave a lasting legacy in Giving It All Away..And Getting It Back Again (Zondervan).
Bill High practiced law for 12 years before becoming the CEO of the National Christian Foundation Heartland. His mission is to change the way people think about generosity and their practice of it. He is married to Brooke and they have four children, two son-in-laws, and one grandchild. He can be found at www.williamghigh.com.
Taken from Giving It All Away…And Getting It Back Again by David Green with Bill High.
Copyright © [2017 by David Green. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.
Should a federal judge have the power to change the plain meaning of a word in order to change a law to suit his preference?
That’s exactly what happened at the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard explores the impact of this devious method of legislating from the bench.
And he orders a cheeseburger.
Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center simply wanted to make its facility safer for the children who use it. That’s why the center applied for a state grant to get recycled tire products to resurface the playground.
But the state of Missouri rejected the Columbia school’s application, saying it would violate the separation of church and state.
Now the case has made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where arguments were heard Wednesday.
“The safety of children on Christian pre-school playgrounds is not less important than the safety of children on other playgrounds,” said Joel Oster, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom. “Providing grants for recycled tires to create a safe environment for children is not a government promotion of any religious doctrine. In fact, both the state Constitution and the U.S. Constitution prohibit this type of hostility to religion.”
Annette Kiehne is director of the Child Learning Center.
“We aren’t asking for special treatment,” she said on the steps of the Supreme Court after the hearing. “We are just asking to not be treated worse than everyone else. Whether you are a Jewish, Muslim, or Christian kid, or not religious at all, when you fall down on a playground, it hurts just as much at a religious preschool as it does at a non-religious one. We trust and pray that the Supreme Court will consider that carefully, and rule in favor of the safety of children everywhere.”
One of the key issues concerns the future of something called Blaine Amendments. These 19th century laws were designed to discriminate against Catholic schools and prevent money from going to them. Today that’s resulted in all Christian schools facing hurdles that other private schools do not.
“Family Policy Alliance believes that parents should be free to send their children to the school where they have the best chance of success,” said Policy Director Autumn Leva. “Blaine Amendments pose a serious barrier to that freedom. We will continue to work with our state-based allies to ensure that school funding is structured so that families are best able to send their children to the right school for them.”
The post Religious Freedom is Elementary in Playground Case appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
Family Policy Alliance partnered with an unlikely ally to protect the privacy and safety of women – a self-described radical feminist group called Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF). Together, Family Policy Alliance and WoLF filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court in the Gloucester case. The main issue in this case is whether the Obama Administration’s Title IX “bathroom mandate” should be enforced. Last year, the Obama Administration issues a letter declaring that public schools were at risk of losing federal funding unless they permit men and boys (who self-identify as female) to access girls’ locker rooms, showers and bathrooms. The Obama Administration ironically claimed the authority to do this through Title IX, the statute that ensures equal access to educational opportunity for women.
Family Policy Alliance and WoLF worked to persuade the Court that this bathroom mandate is dangerous – threatening the privacy and safety of women and girls. Even more shocking, the mandate could erase women from the law. After all, if the term “woman” means anyone who claims to be or feels like a woman, then the term no longer means anything.
We hope that the Court will see that when a Christian, family-centered group teams up with a radical feminist group, there must be something terribly wrong in need of the Court’s fixing! In fact, our unlikely partnership already has people talking – Tucker Carlson Tonight hosted WoLF on the show to talk about their work with Family Policy Alliance and the Gloucester case!
President Trump has rolled back the Obama Administration’s dangerous interpretation of Title IX, so the Supreme Court sent the Gloucester case back to the lower federal court for further consideration. This case will be ongoing for at least the next year.
Pat Trueman, president of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, tells us how simply enforcing obscenity laws already on the books could impact pornography and its effect on our culture.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed to enforce these existing laws. Family Policy Alliance and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation urge you to contact the AG’s office and thank Sessions for taking a stand on this issue.
Thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for being tough on pornography.
Your support is critical in making your voice—and the voices of families across the country—heard at the U.S. Capitol and your state capitol this legislative season.
At the federal level, Family Policy Alliance and our alliance of 40 state-based family policy groups sent a letter to President Trump and Vice President Pence asking them to sign a Religious Freedom Executive Order that would prevent the federal government from discriminating against or punishing people of faith. Family Policy Alliance also called on Congress to pass strong religious freedom protections into law, and to ensure that your tax dollars stop going to Planned Parenthood or to fund abortion in any way.
Every state, including yours, faces real threats to the family, or opportunities to strengthen the family, every legislative session. Did you know that your support helps track over 700 bills impacting life, religious freedom and family in legislatures across the nation right now?
You helped soundly defeat a bill that would have harmed religious freedom and forced girls in North Dakota to share their locker rooms, showers and bathrooms with men. In Kansas, you are protecting life by advancing bills that 1) strengthen the laws for what information a woman must be given in order to give informed consent for an abortion, 2) stand against assisted suicide and 3) enhance access to
quality care at the end of life.
Your support is helping our South Dakota ally advance a bill to ensure faith-based adoption agencies won’t be discriminated against by the government because of their beliefs. Our allies in many states—like Texas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington—are working to protect the privacy and safety of women and children in places like locker rooms, restrooms and showers.
One of the greatest threats to the family—assisted suicide—is still raging across the country, especially in Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire. Assisted-suicide bills are sold as a “medical, compassionate choice at the end of life” when someone is facing a terminal illness. In reality, assisted suicide sends the message that some lives are worth more than others—and those with serious illnesses or disabilities draw the short straw. Your prayers and support are needed to fight these attempts to rob those with terminal illnesses of quality medical care at the end of life. We need to work together to make sure our lawmakers know that every life is worth fighting for.
This past Sunday, you and I celebrated Palm Sunday in safety, recalling Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem two millennia ago.
Yet for our Coptic brethren in Egypt, that same celebration was marred by hatred and suicide bombers leading to the deaths of nearly 50 faithful followers and injuries to over 100.
The Egyptian government appears helpless to prevent these systematic, murderous assaults.
Here at home, radicals of a different stripe use the force of government to launch their assaults on the family of believers.
The apostle Paul—no stranger to physical abuse and eventual martyrdom for the Gospel—reminds us in Romans 13 that even amid persecution, we are to be in submission to governing authorities and to do good. He reminds us that all authority is appointed by God and for our good. Likewise, it is the role of government to do good for its citizens.
What happens when government stops doing good? The government works in contradiction to God’s mandate and all people suffer.
You and I are blessed to live here in America… a nation where—as a unified body of believers—our action or inaction directly determines how good our government is.
That’s why Family Policy Alliance exists—to empower YOU in helping the government do what it’s supposed to do… good. There is no other grassroots, state-based alliance working to elect good representatives, pass good laws and mobilize the family of believers to make their voices heard in state after state—for our common good!
And, when America strives to do good… we provide hope and inspiration to the rest of the world!
Please join me in praying for our nation to do good, and for our brothers and sisters in Egypt.
I’m also praying for a blessed Easter for you, your family and the family of believers worldwide.
President and CEO
Family Policy Alliance
The Arizona Legislature recently passed bills protecting the sanctity of human life and allowing parents unprecedented choice in where they send their children to school.
One of the bills, SB 1367, is a law that provides basic, humane medical care for babies born alive after abortions. Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy, one of Family Policy Alliance’s 40 state-based groups said the bill is just common sense.
“Babies who survive abortions could get a chance at life,” she said. “If Gov. Ducey signs this bill, babies would be given basic, humane medical care to save them.”
Arizona lawmakers also took steps to protect the conscience rights of health care workers who do not want to participate in physician assisted suicide. SB 1439 also protects those in the medical field from discrimination based on their faith beliefs.
“No one should be forced to participate in actions that violate their conscience,” explained Herrod. “This bill strengthens existing law to protect the rights of conscience of health care workers and also provides legal recourse if they face discrimination for exercising that right.”
And parents in Arizona got some good news when the Legislature passed a near-universal education savings account plan. The accounts allow parents to choose which school their child attends and the funds roll over from year to year.
“This groundbreaking school choice bill makes Arizona the first state to put in place a universal Empowerment Scholarship Account program,” said Herrod. “SB 1431 opens up eligibility to all Arizona students in a district or charter school. We’re grateful for the many lawmakers who took a bold stand for students and voted to pass this important legislation.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
To find one of Family Policy Alliance’s groups in your state, visit our website.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court made history today when Senate Democrats led the first successful filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee. Though the vote to end the debate over Gorsuch so that Senators could vote on his confirmation was bipartisan, Republican leadership was still forced to alter Senate rules in order to ensure Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation.
As of today, the Senate had required 60 votes to stop a filibuster. By using the “nuclear option,” Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell forced a rule change so only 51 votes were needed to the stop the stall tactic. The vote to confirm will likely happen on Friday.
“Senate Republicans did the right thing by changing the rules in order to ensure Judge Gorsuch’s nomination,” said Autumn Leva, policy director for Family Policy Alliance. “Judge Gorsuch repeatedly demonstrated his faithfulness to the rule of law and the Constitution while being grilled by Senate democrats during confirmation hearings. He is the type of objective, constitutionally minded judge we need serving in our highest Court.”
If confirmed, Gorsuch will serve in the seat vacated by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Many Democrats who voted against confirmation today were part of a unanimous vote to confirm when Gorsuch was nominated to the Appellate Court.
“Though we don’t yet know how Judge Gorsuch would rule on a particular case, it’s encouraging that his writings and lower court rulings have already affirmed that business owners don’t have to give up their religious freedom in order to earn a living, and that human life is sacred.”
The post Gorsuch Set to Be Confirmed to the Supreme Court Tomorrow appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
So, I flew to North Dakota. First time ever.
I learned something that they all know that we would all do well to know.
Took an Embraer 145 up from Denver. One of those tiny regional jets that makes us all tilt our heads to the left as we single-file down the narrow aisle. It has a single column of seats on the port side and two on the starboard. I like having an aisle and a window at the same time, so I settle into 19A.
We land in Bismarck at the municipal airport. I pile into a rented Chrysler van with my colleagues, and we drive to the Ramkota Inn. It’s a sprawling, well-worn hotel. On this day, the long hallways are dotted with clusters of teenage Future Business Leaders of America. Their faces reflect that giddy, sparkling expression of every-moment-of-this-day-is-a-totally-new-experience. And every-person-in-the-hall-is-a-potentially-new-friend.
I help unpack and set up displays for our Family Policy Alliance conference in a utilitarian ballroom: Two widely placed projection screens, a wood-veneer podium with chipped edges, and 40 round tables with carefully placed dessert plates of cheesecake, chocolate cake and what appears to be lemon cake.
I’m not on the program this time around. I’ve got my black Amazon Basics camera bag hanging from my shoulder with one Canon DSLR for still shots and another for video. On this night, I’m just that guy with a camera.
But I’m also an observer of the room.
Finding their numbered tables are hundreds of people still guided by Christian values and principles. When a volunteer prays aloud before the event, her friendly, casual cadence suggests that, to her, God is right there in the room listening and nodding his head with the rest of us.
And I realize that He is.
And I realize that this is America.
And I realize that though I’m a thousand miles from home in a place I’ve never been, these are my people. My family.
Over here, the new state senator, wearing the obligatory suit-and-tie uniform common to the 21-story, no-nonsense capitol building. He’s pinned a custom-made name badge to his lapel. Over there, a guy in jeans and a flannel shirt. I don’t need to look in the parking lot to know he drove here in a muddy pickup truck. Next to him, a young family with several blonde-haired children. It’s hard to tell how many. They keep moving.
Woven into the idle chatter, I hear the occasional, telltale “you betcha” and “dontcha know” of the Dakotas.
Sitting with the AV guys surrounded by electronics in the back of the room, I learn that in NoDak, when drivers pass on the lonesomely long, endlessly straight stretches of highway, it’s common to raise two fingers from the steering wheel as a greeting – the automotive version of “Hey der.”
I realize, and the audio guy next to me affirms, that underlying the gentle friendliness is a cold reality: Should you, in the dark and at 30 below zero, slide off an icy highway and spin into a snow bank with a muted crunch and explosion of white powder – that last wave may well be the person who interrupts his own plans that evening and stops to rescue you from hours stranded in the dark and cold.
Perhaps your last-ever hours in the dark and cold.
He stops, because the next time it may be him and his wife and several blonde-haired kids stuck in the frozen ditch.
If you fetch your nylon ND State wallet and offer to pay him for the trouble, he’ll say “Don’t worry about it.”
In a place where the population is sparse, the winter nights are long, and any random person can describe, in detail, being startled awake by the sound of a frozen lake cracking, there is an unspoken, underlying, unmistakable bond. A real sense that we need each other up here. We can’t go it alone. If we’re going to make it to next summer, we need reliable strangers.
I think our nation’s Founders understood that. Given the historical context of their lives, they must have had their own horseback-version of the two-finger wave. They knew the importance of having neighbors with a shared set of moral values and principles. And they understood the mortal danger if those values were lost.
It’s true for the rugged, self-reliant North Dakotans.
It was true for our farsighted Founders.
And it is true for America, today.
We need reliable strangers.
People guided by Christian values and principles. Allied in all 50 states. Working together to pull America out of the snowy ditch.
Sometimes it’s cold and dark out there, dontcha know.
Consider yourself waved at.
The post Reliable Strangers – a Reflection on North Dakota by Stuart Shepard appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
We travel to Bismarck and Fargo, North Dakota, to meet with hundreds of people who resonate with the idea that America should be a nation where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive and life is cherished.
Paul Weber, president and CEO of Family Policy Alliance, gets an update on recent successes in the Legislature from Mark Jorritsma, president of Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota. He also talks to keynote speakers David and Jason Benham, who lost their show on HGTV because they were not afraid to voice an opinion on important issues.
The post North Dakota Families Engaging the Culture | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
The North Carolina Legislature voted to approve a “compromise” that seriously harms HB 2, a law that was passed to protect the privacy and safety of women and children in private spaces such as restrooms, locker rooms and changing areas.
The NCAA and other groups used bullying tactics to get the lawmakers to agree to the “deal.” The NCAA threatened to not schedule any tournaments in the state until 2022 if the law was left in place as is.
John Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council, one of Family Policy Alliance’s 40 allied groups, was disappointed, but determined.
” House Bill 2 was the strongest bathroom privacy and safety law in the nation,” he said. “We will continue to urge our state lawmakers to stand strong and resist the threats of the NCAA and others who would willingly place our state’s women and children at risk.”
The compromise also drew criticism from groups on the other side of the issue. National LGBT rights group, the Human Rights Campaign and the ACLU of North Carolina opposed it, particularly the language that prevents local communities from passing ordinances for the next four years to regulate private employment practices and businesses.
”The real tragedy today is that North Carolina legislators voted for the bullying tactics of the NCAA over the privacy and safety of their own citizens who put them in office. They’ve angered both the Right and the Left sides of their constituencies, and no doubt North Carolina voters will remember that in November 2018.”
Texas is now the only state left with a privacy bill working in the works. SB 6 passed the Senate on March 14 and is now waiting for a vote in the House. If any state can stand up to the school yard tactics, it’s Texas.
“We call on the members of the Texas House to now consider the merits of the Texas Privacy Act,” said Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values, “which respects private business while making it clear that boys do not belong in the girls’ room in our public schools.”
Have you ever thought about the job description for a Supreme Court Justice?
What is it, exactly, that they are supposed to do? In his Stoplight® commentary, Stuart Shepard highlights two distinctly different views.
Ask your senators to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch.
Thank you for sharing Stoplight with your friends.
It’s hard to believe President Trump has only been in office for 60 days. Autumn Leva, policy director for Family Policy Alliance, tells us there’s good news and better news when it comes to the issues we hold dear.
We take a look at what’s been accomplished when it comes to life, marriage, family and religious freedom.
The post Trump Making Progress in First 60 Days | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
Hawaiians took action last week and succeeded in getting an assisted-suicide bill deferred in a House committee. Thousands of people called or emailed their legislators urging them to oppose any bill that would allow a doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to a terminally ill patient.
Eva Andrade, president of Hawaii Family Forum, said deferring the bill showed sound moral reasoning by lawmakers.
“In the recent hearing on the issue, led by Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Health Committee Chair,” Andrade said, “we saw the committee members raise serious concerns about ‘medical aid in dying,’ challenging those representing both sides of the issue. They asked difficult, but necessary questions. There were many unanswered or unsettling responses by proponents.”
Compassion and Choices, a pro-assisted-suicide group, is now working to get the bill out of committee to force a vote on the House floor.
Andrade said assisted suicide puts many people at risk of abuse, including the elderly, the mentally ill and those with disabilities.
“We know that the people of Hawai’i are ready and willing to unite to teach our keiki (children) that suicide is a never a solution,” she added, “and that our kupuna (elders) should be protected from potential abandonment, coercion and abuse. Caring for people at the end of their lives is true ‘aloha’ and that’s worth fighting for!”
The post Hawaii Lawmakers Table Assisted-Suicide Bill for Now appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
Even in left-leaning New York, many people hold pro-family and pro-life values.
Our Stuart Shepard helped out at a large event in Albany this week that was organized by our allies at New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation.
Stuart asked President Jason McGuire and keynote speakers David and Jason Benham how to effectively motivate Christian conservatives to influence legislation at state capitols.
Learn more about New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation.
The post Unleashing Citizenship in a Blue State | Family Policy Briefing appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
Paul Weber shares how you can be part of the important work of Family Policy Foundation’s Statesmen Academy. Right now, a matching grant will multiply the impact of your support.
The post Help Train Future Leaders at our Statesmen Academy appeared first on Family Policy Alliance.
Even after the surprising results of the 2016 election, the wheels of the federal government continue to grind slowly on family-friendly legislation. But at the state level, significant progress is being made of life, family and religious freedom.
Here’s a roundup of what’s happening in several states with Family Policy Alliance allied groups:
South Dakota – The Family Heritage Alliance worked hard to get a bill passed that protects faith-based adoption agencies from violating their core principles.
SB149 ensures that they are free to continue placing children and making decisions consistent with their deeply held beliefs. It also prevents the government from discriminating against those organizations on the basis of faith.
This week Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed the bill into law.
“This law is consistent with how the state of South Dakota has for decades partnered with private agencies to find homes for children,” said Dale Bartscher, executive director of the Family Heritage Alliance. “It doesn’t restrict anyone from participating in foster care or adoption, but it does preserve for faith-based agencies the freedom to be faithful to their sincerely held convictions while partnering with government agencies in supporting vulnerable children and families in crisis.”
Louisiana – The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted new science standards for schools for the first time in two decades.
Louisiana Family Forum was instrumental in implementing Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008 that empowers teachers and students to practice academic freedom when exploring controversial science subject matter like origins of the earth, human cloning and climate change.
Louisiana Middle School Teacher of the Year Joni Smith testified during the board meeting.
“I made a suggestion for the members of the board to consider attaching the verbiage of the Science Education Act of 2008 along with the new updated science standards,” she said. “A motion to do this was introduced and passed 7-2. Joy filled my soul and this 7th grade Science teacher was smiling from ear to ear.”
Kentucky – Kentucky a conservative-majority House for the first time in nearly a century. Along with a Republican Senate and governor, pro-family legislation is being passed at a record clip.
Already, they’ve passed laws banning abortions after 20 weeks; allowing women to see an ultrasound before making the decision to go through with an abortion; and to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
In Kentucky schools, children will now be able to express religious viewpoints without fear of retribution, thanks to a law passed this session. The Legislature is also considering creating charter schools and a bill protecting students’ religious liberties and free speech rights.
Even with all this good legislation, The Family Foundation of Kentucky is still hoping for a student privacy act that would protect girls in public schools from having to share bathrooms, locker rooms and changing areas with boys. And, they’re hoping to pass conscience protections for Christian business owners.
Florida – Our own John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, has been appointed to the Constitution Revision Commission. The body is only convened every 20 years to look over the state Constitution and recommend changes that are then voted on by the public. This year, many conservative voices will be part of the Commission.
The Florida Legislature is also considering a Pain Capable Abortion ban, a bill that would help victims of sex trafficking and the Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act that would protect students and staff from discrimination based on religious viewpoints or expression.