2016 Legislative Session Day 9

Each year the FHA Action selects a couple of young people to Intern with us at the Capitol for a one week period each.  Those who Intern basically simply shadow Norman and I as we go about our Lobbyist duties.  Tomorrow I’ll share with you this week’s FHA Action Intern but first let me take you back to last week when we were honored to have Leah Woods Intern with us.  Yes, Leah is the sister to FHA Action Lobbyist Norman Woods as pictured here.  She was a joy to work with and represented herself and the FHA Action with a flare of professionalism and excellence.  We so appreciate her for taking the time away from her high school studies to experience the SD State Capitol for this past week.

HB1008 (Student Physical Privacy Act) Passes on to House Floor!

Today was a day filled with GOD’S FAVOR as the FHA testified in support of HB1008 in the House State Affairs Committee.  This was the ‘Student Physical Privacy Act’.  This Bill’s Prime Sponsor Representative Fred Deutsch was magnificent as his testimony was thoughtful and inspiring.  I was honored to have testified on behalf of the Bill as well and after all was said and done HB1008 passed out of this committee on a vote of 10 Yeas and 3 Nays.  It will now be heard on the floor of the House this Wednesday at the earliest.

HB1048 (Video Lottery Bill) Defeated in Committee

The other Bill I testified in opposition on this morning was HB1048.  This was a Bill an Expansion of Video Lottery Bill. The FHA Action was grateful to have teamed up with the always appreciated help of CWA (Concerned Women for America).  This Bill was appropriately defeated in the House Commerce and Energy Committee on a vote of 9 Nays and 4 Yeas.

Today was the annual Czech Days at the Capitol and thus I took a moment to have my picture taken with South Dakota’s Czech Days Queen, Princess and Prince.

It was a total joy to spend some time with the Hays Family at the Capitol today.  Mom, two daughters and a host of children made their annual family trip to the Capitol to have the children experience our Republic in Action.  The father of six of these children, Ezra Hays, serves as our West River Advisory Council Chair.  BTW….if you come to the Capitol then please let me know so that we can meet, take a photo, and then you might just end up in my Capitol Blog….like the Hays Family 🙂

Until NEXT TIME please keep looking up and forward my friends!

2016 Legislative Session Day 8

2016day8aAn annual highlight of the Legislation Session every year is the honor of attending the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast.  This year a 150+ were in attendance and enjoyed the event’s theme from Acts 2:42 “Teaching, fellowship, breaking bread and prayer.”  Yes, it was good to reunite with friends from last year’s event and rub shoulders and hearts with SD Legislators who purposed to rise early for this time of encouragement.  Down through the centuries, it has become apparent that great things happen when a few people who love God and love people become bound together in a common commitment with a great love for one another.  Ordinary people become extraordinary when such a relationship exists.

This year’s Keynote Speaker was Doug Burleigh, Associate for the Leadership Development Foundation and formerly with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.  His message was thoughtful and inspiring as he pronounced, “Our agenda here today is not a religion but a person!

2016day8bIt was also gratifying to spend a few quality moments with our South Dakota US Senator Mike Rounds.  I am always appreciative of those times when we gather to honor our God and we have many of our elected officials in the room simply because they share our Faith in Him.  Such was this event as it was also hosted and attended by our Governor Dennis Daugaard.

2016day8cFollowing the breakfast it was time to head back to the Capitol for a FULL day of positively influencing our Legislators when able to do so.  FHA Action Lobbyist Norman Woods, as pictured here, gave supporting testimony to House Bill 1013.  This is a Dept. of Education Bill supported by the SD Homeschoolers and the FHA Action.  BTW – it past out of the House Education Committee on a vote of 13 to 0 🙂

Until NEXT TIME please keep looking up and forward my friends!

2016 Legislative Session Day 7

2016day7aEvery day at the SD State Capitol during Legislative Session is a busy and full one indeed.  An unknown author once wrote:  “He who rolls up his sleeves, seldom loses his shirt.”  Our Intern, Leah Woods, caught a photo of FHA Lobbyist Norman Woods and I — with our sleeves rolled up — in a moment of strategizing about some bill or another.  It is an honor to serve at the pleasure of the FHA Action Board of Directors on behalf of the families of South Dakota.

2016day7bWe were pleasantly surprised when FHA Eastern SD Advisory Council Member Michael Jarratt showed up to the Capitol for the day.  Michael lives in Sioux Falls and has been a faithful supporter of the work and cause of the FHA.  This young man simply ‘shows up’ it seems where ever we are gathered if he possibly is able to do so and lends a helping hand.  His life epitomizes the character and quality of our FHA Leadership.

2016day7eOn Thursday the annual Legislative Memorial Service was held in the House Chamber at 3:00 p.m.  It is always a very moving and inspirational time together when we remember those Legislators who have passed on this last year.  The Riggs High School Choir once again performed several beautiful pieces of music which simply set the tone for the rest of our time together.  Representative Scott Craig, pictured here, was one of several who led the full chambered audience in prayer.  Sometimes I think, as I did experiencing this Memorial Service, that…“Only in South Dakota could something so beautiful and God honoring like this actually take place!”


Until NEXT TIME please keep looking up and forward my friends!



2016 Legislative Session Day 6

day6What a FULL DAY and what a WONDERFUL WAY to begin this day at the State Capitol.  Today we held our first 2016 Catacomb Caucus – an experience I am honored to lead.  This event is held every Wednesday morning during session for 30-minutes as it involves a time of Christian Fellowship, Praise, Prayer and Devotion.  Today, as pictured here, some 40 Legislators, Lobbyists and Capitol Guests gathered in the Governor’s large conference room as we began with these words from Sister Teresa of Calcutta, “Let Jesus use you without consulting you.”  Yes, that’s our heart’s cry.

Leading our Devotional today was Representative Roger Hunt.  Psalms 46:10 was his Bible text this morning:  “Be still and know I am God” and from it he drew our attention to six ways to know God is speaking to you:  1) Does it persuade you to do good?  2) Does it promote feelings of love?  3) Does it enlighten your mind?  4) Does it build you or someone else up?  5) Does it brings peace?  And, 6) Does it inspire you to be better than you are?  Thank you Representative Hunt for sharing your heart and words of encouragement this morning!

It was Winston Churchill who wisely said, “I am easily satisfied with the very best.”  Well, that’s how I feel about those surrounding me this week at the Capitol.  Norman Woods, FHA Youth and Young Adult Coordinator and Lobbyist serves with a flare of excellence in all he does here at the Capitol.  This week we also have Leah Woods, yes it’s Norman’s sister, as our FHA Intern.  Leah is an absolute joy to have as our shadow.  These two young people are the very best with whom I am well satisfied 🙂  One thing’s for sure – they do their parents, Frank and Joanne Woods of Piedmont, proud!

Until NEXT TIME please keep looking up and forward my friends!

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: