2016 Legislative Session Day 3

2016day3It has been wisely said by Jerry Panas, “I am told that the world is divided into three types: Those who are immovable, those who are movable, and those who move.”  This statement certainly reflects the lifestyles of both FHA Action Lobbyist Norman Woods and myself this past week.  We have definitely been “on the move” as we moderated our Three-City FHA Legislative Preview Tour across the state of SD hosting in Rapid City, Mitchell and Sioux Falls.  All this before making our way to the Capitol to settle in on our responsibilities, during the 91st SD Legislative Session, as Lobbyists for the FHA Action.

Our first order of things was to simply re-acquaint ourselves with the 105 Legislators who grace the House (70) and Senate (35) with three of them being newly appointed by the Governor to fill three vacated seats.  It was encouraging to spend a few quality minutes pictured here with Representative Scott Craig (District 33, Rapid City) and Amy Wagner (SD’s National Day of Prayer Coordinator and SD’s Field Representative with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association).

Immediately we began in ernest lobbying for the first bill, of yet to be many, that the Board of the FHA Action has endorsed.  This is HB1008 the Student Physical Privacy Act (or A.K.A. “SPPA”) which is an act to restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools. Details and Action Steps on HB1008 may be found on our Legislative Radar here.

Today an historic first took place as our state legislator’s met in a Joint Session to hear a presentation on the ’State of The Tribes’.  They, along with the listening audience, heard from South Dakota tribal leader, Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Harold Frazier pictured here.  Frazier addressed the many difficulties tribal members face here in South Dakota but spent significant time speaking of the ‘Power of Prayer’.  He emphasized over and over how that his people, all people “Need Prayer”.  This is why, interestingly enough, each day their tribal schools begin with a time of prayer.  I would say our state’s public school system could learn this very valuable life lesson from our native friends.

S.D.’s 91st Legislative Session FHA Preview Tour

previewtourOn January 12, our “A” team of lobbyists will be presenting a preview of the upcoming legislative session in Pierre.  Dale Bartscher, and Norman Woods will be front and center on a “Preview Tour” that begins in Rapid City for a luncheon on January 12.  The team will proceed from Rapid City to Mitchell for an evening reception and then concluded with a luncheon in Sioux Falls on January 13.  Bartscher and Woods will be presenting an overview of legislation and issues that face FHA Action in the 91st Legislative Session which begins in January.  For details and to register for any of these events, use the links below:

Solemn Assembly January 8

Amy Wagner, State Coordinator for the National Day of Prayer writes the following:

Click above for the PowerPoint slide for this event.

Click above for the PowerPoint slide for this event.

The Black Hills NDP Team has scheduled another Solemn Assembly to begin the New Year and the Legislative Session. I am reminded of Daniel chapter 9 as we approach 2016. The time for Repentance is NOW. We must get on our knees and dig deep into our own hearts as we examine the consequences of sin against God. Yes, as Believers we live a “forgiven life”, but sin is serious business, and while we are forgiven, I believe,  we are also held accountable for sin as well as complacency. As we ride along on the coat tails of the Savior, do we just live? OR, do we repent, not only for the mistakes our society has made, but also the sin of our own hearts? Please join us with the idea that you too can repent and lay your heart open to the King of Kings.  could you please use the slide to announce in your church? Thank You!

January 8, 2016 at 7:00P.M.

 First Assembly of God
 South Highway 16

Amy Wagner, State Coordinator for the National Day of Prayer.

SD Lawmakers Gather For Governor’s Budget Speech

red_DSC_0926On Tuesday, December 8, FHA Executive Director Dale Bartscher, Youth Coordinator Norman Woods, and Public Policy Analyst Ed Randazzo, joined South Dakota lawmakers as they gathered at the state Capitol in Pierre to hear Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposed budget for next year. Lawmakers paid particular attention to our Governor’s proposals and thoughts on Medicaid expansion here in South Dakota. Those in attendance were also looking for the Governor’s thoughts on the Blue Ribbon Task Force’s education recommendations but he ended up delivering little substance on that subject and will wait to do so until he delivers the State of the State Address in January. Fiscal responsibility and educational opportunities are core family values and thus capture the eye of FHA Action. Stay tuned!

Click here to see all the pictures from this event on our Facebook post.

FHA Action Legislative Briefings Bookend The State

red_DSC_0976FHA Action executed two almost perfect legislative briefings this month, as we officially start the ramp-up to South Dakota’s 2016 legislative session.  This year, we were joined by Americans For Prosperity as partners in the event, and their State Director and Lobbyist, Ben Lee, joined our Executive Director, Dale Bartscher in heading up this project.

In Rapid City, the legislative briefing was held on Saturday, December 12 at Dove Christian Center.  As always, the hospitality of the ministry team and the folks at Dove was amazing.  Also, we are so grateful for the help of our volunteers and several FHA Action folks who prepared all the breakfast goodies for this early morning “working breakfast”.  We had 52 in attendance including Rapid City’s Mayor, Steve Allender, representatives from the offices of all three members of our U.S. Congressional delegation, representatives from numerous advocacy groups, FHA and FHA Action board members and staff, 13 legislators, and several lobbyists.

Then on the Eastern side of the state, the FHA Action / AFP team held a second legislative briefing at the Central Baptist Church in Sioux Falls.  Central Baptist Church is Senator John and Kimberly Thune’s home church.  Central Baptist did a superb job hosting the event.  We had 51 in attendance at the Sioux Falls briefing, including representatives of all three of our U.S. Congressional Member’s offices in Sioux Falls, FHA Board Members, representatives from a host of ministries and advocacy groups, and 19 legislators.  As is universally the case, our Sioux Falls representative, LaVonne Fosness was so instrumental in pulling together all the moving parts and making the event a success.

Click here for our Facebook post on the Rapid City event

Click here for our Facebook post on the Sioux Falls event

FHA Action 3.0

Welcome to the new improved FHA Action website.  It is our passion at FHA Action to make the process of communicating with you an effective, well-oiled machine.  As South Dakota’s 2016 legislative session draws closer, we wanted to roll out something that truly would make it easier for us to communicate to you.  But a one-sided conversation isn’t a conversation.  So we also wanted to make the process of you communicating with us easier as well.  So here is what version 3.0 of FHAAction.org delivers.  (By the way, we are still ramping this new site up, so for a few days yet, let’s call this version 3.0 beta).

  1. First and foremost, it was imperative that fhaaction.org be mobile friendly (or “responsive” as the geeks call it).  As the mobile traffic on our site continues to increase, we wanted to make it ever so easy for the mobile user to get to and consume the information on our site.  But, we wanted to retain the robust user experience you have come to expect from the our site on a desktop computer.  So, we met and exceeded these goals.  The new site looks smashing on a mobile device (see pictures upper right), but also works nicely on a full-size monitor.
  2. You will notice a much flatter, more crisp, business look.  We think it does a great job of saying “FHA Action means business” when it comes to promoting and protecting the values you cherish.
  3. Going forward, all our news, blogs, article, and alert posts will allow our users to comment.  Comments will be mildly mediated to assure a civil discourse.
  4. Just when you thought our advocacy tools couldn’t get any better, well guess what — they did.  We have a new and improved Legislative Radar (which currently is only showing demo data since the legislative session hasn’t begun) and the same great Action Center tools for contacting your elected officials and letting them know what you are thinking.
  5. Version 3.0 delivers a site that is “searchable” from stem to stern.  So if you are looking for a particular bill or person, the search bar will be waiting for you at the top of the right sidebar on any page beyond the home page.
  6. Also, on subsequent pages beyond the home page, you will find a list of “tags” and “categories” in the right sidebar.  Consider those to be a quick search index of information on the site.
  7. Our new site employs new technology to make it easier for search engines to find us and the content on our site quickly and efficiently.  This will make it much easier for folks who aren’t yet acquainted with FHA Action to find us as they are searching for a particular bill or political issue.
  8. For the power users, we now have a site that can easily be syndicated or subscribed to.  Subscribers will get all our updates in the email in-box or in other “feed-readers” you may have installed.  Use the little “RSS” feed icon located in the top right of every page or located at other locations around the site.
  9. Yes, there is a lot more yet to come, but this isn’t a bad start for our 2016 web presence!  I so wanted to say something silly like “yes there does seem to be a disturbance in the force”, but I decided against it.  One of the really cool tools we are playing with is a new iPhone and Android app that will allow the users to stay up to date on the important alerts as they happen.  More on that in a future post I hope!