Legislative Briefings Bookend the State

On December 11 and 13, FHA Action hosted our Legislative Briefings ahead of the South Dakota 2015 Legislative 2014_legislative_briefingSession. Invited were all SD Legislators, Community Leaders, and their spouses. The following are important highlights from the events. At each location 15 different Bills and/or Resolutions, or a concept of such, were openly discussed along with an education on what FHA Action and her lobbyists (Dale and Norman) will be doing in Pierre during this upcoming Legislative Session.

On Thursday, December 11, at the Sioux Falls Central Baptist Church, FHA Action held a briefing for legislators with the following results.

FHA Action Represented By: Dale, Norman Woods, Jordon Wilson (FHA Intern)
Attendance: 45
Legislators in Attendance: 21
Family Valued Organizations in Attendance: 9 … Eagle Forum, Family Matters, Right To Life, Alpha Center, Concerned Women For America, Americans For Prosperity, Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, SDFPC, SD Social Justice League
Pastors in Attendance: 3

On Saturday, December 13, at the Rapid City Dove Christian Center, FHA Action held a briefing for legislators with the following results.

FHA Action Represented By: Board Members, Advisory Council Members, and Staff
Attendance: 35
Legislators in Attendance: 13
It was great having Sheriff Kevin Thom in the house
Pastor Jason Stuen (Dove Christian Center) — Opened us in Prayer

Thanks to all who volunteered and worked to provide meals and venue for these important events.

FHA Action Team Attend Governor’s Budget Address

On Tuesday, December 2, FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher, accompanied by FHA Staff Norman Woods and FHA Board Member and Representative Scott Craig, made their way to Pierre for the SD Governor’s Budget Address. It was also a wonderful opportunity for FHA Lobbyists Bartscher and Woods to interact with the many returning and new SD Legislators like Representative ‘Elect’ Jeff Partridge of Rapid City pictured here with Dale.db_xamas_capitol

As you’ll quickly notice, by the attached photos, it is also “Christmas At The Capitol”. Dozens and dozens of trees grace the hall ways of our State Capitol and each with a story to tell. If you haven’t see this amazing scene then why not take a trip to Pierre in the next three weeks and visit YOUR HOUSE — the SD State Capitol.

The House Gallery was PACKED as people from across the state gathered to hear the Governor’s thoughts on his proposed budget which must now be considered for a vote by the SD State Legislature. FHA Action was in attendance because this proposed state budget is a ‘Family Value’ effecting every South Dakotan in either a positive or negative way. The Governor made it clear that, compared to the rest of the Country, South Dakota is in a very good financial condition. He very methodically walked through the projected income and expenses we may well see in the coming year. When all was said and done (after an hour and 20 minute address) he shared, “This is A plan and not THE plan but I hope you will find this to be the BEST plan!” Well, we’ll see come January 13 when the 2015 SD State Legislature gavels into session.

Remember: Stay tuned to FHAaction.org during the 2015 Legislative Session as we review those bills and/or resolutions — the good, the bad and the ugly. This is your source of legislative information from January 13 to March 30, 2015.

FHA ACTION’s E.D. Speaks at a ‘Western Cast Iron Dinner’

custercountyYes, it was a fantastic day in the Southern Hills on Saturday, October 4! The FHA was very thankful for the Custer County Republicans for hosting a Western Cast Iron Dinner in Hermosa. FHA ACTION’s Executive Director Dale Bartscher was asked to open the event in prayer and then later, during the program, shared, with those Patriots gathered, the FHA Story. The events Keynote Speaker was Governor Mike Rounds whom the FHA ACTION has enthusiastically endorsed as South Dakota’s next US Senator.

Ice Cream and Mayor Kooiker Draw Supporters

icecreamsocialWe can’t thank the FHA Advisory Council enough for the hard work they put into the August 17 Ice Cream Social. The work of FHA Action is so vital, but because the donations to this work (since it is a 501c4 organization) are not tax deductible, it is often difficult to find folks who are willing to donate. The event was planned to benefit FHA Action, and we were honored to have the Mayor of Rapid City as our keynote speaker for the evening. The evening was a perfect one, and Mayor Sam Kooiker, who’s wit, humor, and faith in God are always on display, was in top form. In a humorous, and often touching way, he shared the story of his life and faith. We even had in attendance, some folks who are new to the work of FHA and FHA Action. By all accounts, the evening was a huge success. So, officially, from all of us at FHA Action, thank you to the Advisory Council and Mayor Kooiker for all you did Sunday evening to advance the cause of FHA Action.

We Won’t Go Quietly on “Q”

gamblingIn the upcoming election, as you get your ballot in hand, you will find that the gaming industry would very much like for you to literally amend the South Dakota constitution to allow them to once again expand the reach of gambling. FHA Action isn’t going to be quiet on this one because it makes us a bit queasy. Below, find our prepared statement on the issue!

A “NO” vote on Amendment Q will slow the almost constant expansion of gambling in the state of South Dakota.

Currently, in the state of South Dakota, roulette, keno, and craps are not permitted, but limited card games and slot machines are permitted in Deadwood. Also, a sixty percent super majority vote by Deadwood city voters is required to approve a piece of legislation allowing a gambling facility. This proposed amendment to the constitution will change this, permitting the state legislature to authorize roulette, keno, and craps. Whereas in most cases, free market should be the primary regulator of business, in the case of an industry that generates so much addiction, societal ills, and even suicide, this should not be the case regarding the gambling industry. For instance, The National Council on Problem Gaming (NCPG) estimates that among South Dakotans, there are 18,000 adult gambling addictions which inflicts on the citizens of the state a whopping annual cost of almost $16 million. The NCPG also estimates that one in five problem gamblers will attempt suicide, putting this statistic at about twice the suicide rate of other addictions.

In addition to the proposed authorization to add roulette, keno, and craps, Amendment Q also proposes a potentially detrimental provision. The amendment would remove the mandatory super majority described above, which serves to provide the people of Deadwood with the power to impede the constant advance of gambling in their city.

Do your part to help slow the expansion of gambling in South Dakota. Vote “NO” on amendment Q.

Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

One year ago today, a bipartisan majority in the House passed historic pro-life legislation that would ban the abortion of unborn children developmentally capable of experiencing pain. The United States is one of just seven countries worldwide that permits elective abortion after 5 months, more than halfway through pregnancy (20 weeks post-fertilization).

Yet despite repeated calls from Senators to allow a vote in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to allow this legislation to come to the floor. One of the reasons is there has not been a single Democrat cosponsor!

Recent polls show a majority of Americans favor the ban with some of the strongest support coming from women! Two-thirds, in fact, when asked by Quinnipiac pollsters if they backed the ban said they would support prohibiting abortion on children capable of feeling pain.

Advances in medical technology have made this reality clear. Lead sponsor of the bill, Sen. Graham points out, “We now know that an unborn child at the twentieth week of pregnancy can feel pain. In fact, anesthesia is administered directly to unborn children in second trimester fetal surgery.”

It’s been years since the Senate has been poised to respond to the pro-life majority like this and make a meaningful impact for the cause of the unborn, saving upwards of 15,000 babies a year.

David Christensen
Vice President for Government Affairs

April 26 Walk Run

walkrunA huge FHA Action “THANKS!” goes out to Amy Wagner and the SD National Day of Prayer for sponsoring a benefit “Walk / Run” for us on April 26. Forty folks showed up on a sunny morning at Rapid City’s Memorial Park. A strong contingent of “LifeRunners” was there to support us by participating in the event. Thanks to all who came out. $1000 was raised