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Committee rejects plan to give drought aid to churches

Posted: Friday, February 28, 2003

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) -- A legislative committee has rejected a proposal that would have given the South Dakota Association of Christian Churches some state money to help its drought-relief efforts.

Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee said they know farmers and ranchers need help, but the measure likely would have violated the constitutional separation of church and state.

The committee voted unanimously to kill SB207, which would have given $250,000 to the religious organization for counseling, food for families and other aid for drought-stricken farmers and ranchers. The assistance would have been provided by Lutheran Social Services, Catholic Family Services, Hands Across America and other nongovernment agencies.

A number of groups are providing aid to farmers and ranchers, particularly in northwestern counties that have been hit hardest by the drought.



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