2016 Legislative Session Day 5

2016Day5Your FHA Action Lobbying Team, Norman Woods and I, are back on site at our South Dakota State Capitol. Should you have forgotten what our Capitol looks like you might be interested in a photo of someone’s Gingerbread House creation now located on a table in the fourth floor committee room lobby.

It was Helen Keller who once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” She’s right and no one knows that more than do Norman and I here at the Capitol as we encourage good family legislation and oppose that which we deem as harmful to the family. We NEED our FHA friends to chime in on our bills and thus alert the Legislators as to your thoughts on those bills. This drives the FHA Action to do our very best to get the word out on these bills via the web, phone calls or over the radio. So, every Tuesday afternoon during session, I spend some significant time on the radio with two South Dakota Christian Radio Stations. Pictured here I am calling into KNWC, a Sioux Falls radio station, and interviewing with station manager Jeff Rupp. Then on Wednesday evenings State Representative and KSLT Public Policy Director Scott Craig and I sit down to record a Legislative Report for station play on the following day. We more than appreciate KSLT station manger Tom Schoenstedt.

In the evenings, from time to time, Capitol Lobbyists such as Norman and I will be invited to a dinner, reception or event featuring some particular group, organization or issue. So it was that last evening, as pictured here, we attended an event hosted by ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) for the purpose of discussing SD’s proposed Medicaid Expansion Proposal. This event was well attended and very informative. Yes, there’s never a dull moment here at the Capitol….morning, noon or evening. We press on!

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