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The 2019 legislative session saw conservatives win some hard-fought battles. Major issues ranged from gun rights to pro-life to free speech on college campuses

July 1, 2019, was the date by which all K-12 public schools shall have posted our national motto “In God We Trust” in a conspicuous location on campus. It can be designed by students and each school principal is responsible for its implementation. Dell Rapids came up with a very innovative design -- sculpted in stone -- large DR with the motto superimposed upon it.

As the senate sponsor, I was pleased to have the capable assistance of freshman legislator Rep. Chris Johnson carrying SB55 on the House side following passage in the Senate. Rapid City representatives voting in favor of the national motto posting: Michael Diedrich, Taffy Howard, Chris Johnson, Tina Mulally and Tony Randolph. Those voting against posting the national motto: Scyller Borghlum and David Johnson.

It passed the House 47-19. On the Senate side, local senators voting for the posting were: Lynne DiSanto, Phil Jensen and Jeff Partridge, while Alan Solano was a no vote. It passed the Senate 19-13. We would like parents to visit their children’s schools and take photos of their national motto plaque and email them to phil.jensen@sdlegislature.gov or chris.johnson@sdlegislature.gov.

A bill to promote free speech and intellectual diversity on South Dakota college campuses (HB1087) was supported by all local legislators except Rep. Jessica Olson. It passed the House 51-12 and the Senate 26-7.

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Constitutional Carry, the Second Amendment right to carry a firearm, concealed or openly, (without having to get permission from the government), passed the House 47-23 and the Senate 23-11. The only Rapid City legislators voting against Constitutional Carry were Rep. Jessica Olson and Sen. Jeff Partridge.

HB1177 requires doctors to give a woman an opportunity to view a sonogram and hear the heartbeat of her baby before aborting. This bill was supported by all Rapid City legislators.

In a disturbing loss for parental rights, HB 1205 went down to defeat in the House Health and Human Services Committee in a 5-8 vote. It states: A parent has a right to refuse consent to health care treatment of a minor child if the parent believes that the treatment would induce, confirm or promote the child’s belief that the child’s sex or gender identity is different from the child’s sex presented at birth. No public authority or official of this state may take any adverse action against a parent for exercising this right. The only Rapid City legislator on this committee voting against parental rights was Rep. Scyller Borglum.

A bill that would have prohibited the teaching of gender dysphoria in K-7 (HB1108) passed the House 39-30 but failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote. In view of the deplorable scores that South Dakota students have in English, math and science, you would think that the focus would be on improving these scores, not sexualizing our young children. Rapid City representatives that voted in favor of prohibiting the teaching of gender confusion in K-7 are Tina Mulally, Tony Randolph, Taffy Howard, Michael Diedrich and Chris Johnson. Those voting against were Scyller Borglum, David Johnson and Jessica Olson. These three also received top endorsements from Equality South Dakota, a far left LGBTQ group.

These are some of the highs and lows from the 2019 legislative session. For more information on how your legislators vote, go to sdlegislature.com and click on 2019 bills.

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Republican state Sen. Phil Jensen has represented District 33 since 2013.

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