Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 8

An 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 Dr. Dick Foth of Windsor, Colorado. His message was thoughtful and inspiring as he opened with this quote from former US Attorney General John Ashcroft: “Leaders select noble objectives and pursue them with such intensity that others join them. … The greatest of all leaders from this perspective was Jesus Christ. ….May your choices be so powerful and magnetic that you’ll draw people toward life (Duet. 30:19) …therefore choose life rather than death, blessing rather than cursing.”

He went on to say, “When we pray to our God…He will hear us; He will answer us; and His answer will always be what’s best for us.”
It was also gratifying to spend a few quality moments at this event with our South Dakota Legislators and Elected Officials. 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 LT Governor Matt Michels.

Then on that same day, Friday, January 20, 2017, HISTORY was made as we found ourselves on the doorstep of change once again. The 115th Congress was sworn in on January 3rd and last Friday, we will inaugurate the 45th President of the United States – President Donald Trump.

Will you join the Family Heritage Alliance in praying for our new President and his entire team, for a smooth transition, and for the Lord to guide him? Regardless of personal politics, one thing is certain; people of faith are called to humbly lift up their leaders before a sovereign God… from our President and his cabinet and senior advisors, to members of Congress, to our state, local, and municipal government leaders. It’s both a great responsibility and a great privilege. The Apostle Paul admonishes us in this way, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Tim. 2:1-3).

Please follow us by going to www.FHAaction.org and click on LEGISLATIVE RADAR.

Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 7

Once again this morning began early as we sat in on the 7:45 a.m. Senate Judiciary Committee. It was masterfully chaired by FHA friend and Senator, Lance Russell of Hot Springs, SD. Our South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley skillfully testified on Senate Bill 24 which would classify vehicular homicide as a crime of violence. It passed out of committee and is now on its way to the floor of the Senate.

The annual joint Legislative Memorial Service was held today 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 past 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. I was reminded of what someone told me once, “Sympathy is when I put your hurt in my heart.” This we experienced today.

Dale Bartscher, SD Secretary of State Shantel Krebs and Norman Woods

It is always a treat to spend some quality time, like today, in the office of our Secretary of State Shantel Krebs. She continues to manager her office and responsibilities with a flare of excellence. Shantel holds to a rock solid Christian Worldview and always welcomes our time of prayer at the close of our meetings with her.

Please follow our work at the Capitol by going to www.FHAaction.org and click on LEGISLATIVE RADAR.

Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 6

2017 Catacomb Caucus

What a WONDERFUL WAY to begin this FULL DAY at the State Capitol. Today we held our first 2017 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 “My Faith Informs My Life!”

Leading our Devotional today was Pastor Mark Chase. Pastor Mark is the President of NetCasters and serves as the Capitol’s Volunteer Chaplain. Isaiah 30:15 was his Bible text this morning: “For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved. In Quietness and trust is your strength.” From it he drew our attention to this truth: Repentance is a change of thinking and when you have right thinking you will have right living! Thank you Pastor Mark for sharing your heart and words of encouragement this morning! I would be amiss if I did not give a shout-out of gratitude to Trudy Qualm, wife of Representative Lee Qualm. Trudy led this morning’s inspiring Catacomb Caucus music with guitar in hand and a song in her heart. Thank you Trudy!

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 Ethan Nehring, as our FHA Intern and he does his parents, David and Lisa Nehring of Parker, SD, proud.

Don’t forget to follow us by going to www.FHAAction.org and click on LEGISLATIVE RADAR.

Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 5

Today we are back in the Capitol for Day 5 of a 38 Legislative Day Session. As of today there are 57 House Bills to be considered along with 60 Senate Bills. Our Legislature is on course to view some 500+ Bills and Resolutions this session.

Dale Bartscher, Ethan Nehring and Norman Woods

A priority with the FHA Action is our mentoring of young men and women to the world of Christian conservative public policy. I’d like to introduce you to this week’s FHA Action Intern. His name is Ethan Nehring and he’s an 17 year old young man with the heart of a Patriot. He lives in Parker, SD, and is currently a home schooled, high school junior. Ethan has already demonstrated his heart for the FHA by volunteering his time at several FHA functions in the Sioux Falls area. We thank this young man for his willingness to learn more about the Legislative process and also serve the FHA Action during this week of his life.

As we journey through session this week we are putting our final touches on what may well prove yet to be the FHA Action’s finest SD Ministry Leaders’ Capitol Summit. This event for Pastors, Priests and Para-Church Ministry Leaders will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 7 here in Pierre at the PEOPLE’S HOUSE — the State Capitol. We are anticipating some 125 Spiritual Leaders to be in attendance and their is still time for your Pastor, Priest or Ministry Leader to register. Simply have them go to FHAaction.org for more information and/or to register.

Well, FHA Action is supporting Senate Bill 55. This bill would ensure that a teacher is free to explain not only the strengths, but also the weaknesses of any scientific theory that is discussed in their classroom. SB55 will be heard most likely in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, January 24. We are supporting a YES VOTE on Senate Bill 55.

We are also collecting signatures on a Resolution which recognizes and finds that pornography is a public health crisis leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms. We are asking the Legislature to acknowledge the need for education, prevention, research, and policy change at the community and societal level in order to address the epidemic of pornography that is harming the people of our state and our country as a whole.

Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, and Dale Bartscher

Other issues may soon appear in the form of Resolutions such as our Resolution to Oppose Physician Assisted Suicide or Bills dealing with Human Trafficking, the Sanctity of Life, and the protection of our Faith Based Adoption Agencies.

Tonight Norman, Ethan and I had the awesome opportunity of meeting and having our photo taken with Barry Goldwater Jr. Yes, that’s the son of the former Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. This meeting was a touch of history.

Don’t forget to follow us by going to www.FHAAction.org and click on LEGISLATIVE RADAR.

Dale’s FHA Action’s Blog – Day 4

Today brings the conclusion of the first week of the 92nd Legislative Session. I am reminded of the words of Vern McLellan who wrote: “What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” I would hope that I, along with FHA Action Lobbyist Norman Woods, will always bring to the Session a sense of truth, discernment, a gratitude attitude and most of all a Christ-like spirit.

Committees like the House Education Committee pictured here are in full swing. Norman and I anticipate we’ll be spending significant time testifying in the following Senate and House Committees: Education, Judiciary, Health and Human Services and State Affairs.

On a lighter note Norman and I are blessed with this year’s lodging arrangement in Pierre as we are able to financially afford the rental of a snowbird’s home. It is conveniently located 3 blocks from the Capitol. As always we strive to be financial stewards of FHA Action Funds during the Legislative Session so we’ll be cooking most of our meals at home. My wife will tell you that I’m not a cook but thankfully Norman is …. kind of ….and I’ve attached a photo proving his expertise in this area.

Please follow the work of the FHA ACTION on your behalf right here on FHAAction.org.  Keep an eye on our legislative radar here.

Boots on the Ground in Pierre

“Boots on the ground!”  — That’s a phrase that conjures up images of armed conflict and troop deployments to places most folks have a difficult time finding on a map.  However, FHA Action is “boots on the ground” right now in Pierre, protecting and promoting the values you cherish.  With two full-time lobbyists working the halls and chambers of the State Capitol, we are extremely valuable assets if you value Faith, Family, and Freedom.  Our Executive Director, Dale Bartscher, and our Youth and Young Adult Coordinator, Norman Woods have forged an effective lobbying team with a proven track record.  They will be joined this year, on occasion, by our Public Policy Analyst, Ed Randazzo, who is, in his own right, an experienced political tactician.  And, as if that were not enough, FHA Action has assembled an amazing team of legislative experts, organizers, and communications technology people.  We are night and day analyzing the legislation moving through our state system, and rallying support for the values about which you and we are passionate!

As the action heats up in Pierre, FHA Action is on the ground there working diligently to protect and promote faith, family, and freedom.  Please keep FHA Action in your prayers, and keep your eyes on FHAAction.org as we keep you updated on the bills that impact your life and your values.  Please be prepared to, in a moment’s notice, contact your legislators.  We will help you on this front.  We just need you to stay tuned and ready to respond.

Dale’s Blog – Day 2

It 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 Two-City FHA Legislative Preview Tour across the state of SD hosting in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. All this before making our way to the Capitol to settle in on our responsibilities, during the 92nd SD Legislative Session, as Lobbyists for the FHA Action.

Our first order of things was to simply re-acquaint ourselves some the 105 Legislators who grace the House (70) and Senate (35). For at least a third of the 105 Legislators this is a new and exciting journey.

Today our Legislature held a joint session where Chief Justice David Gilbertson delivered the State of the Judiciary Address. I was inspired as prior to this address the Legislature once again bowed their heads in prayer and called on the ultimate Judge….the Lord our God….to grant wisdom to these making such important decisions in the days and weeks to follow.

Please follow the work of the FHA ACTION on your behalf right here on FHAAction.org.  Keep an eye on our legislative radar here.

2017 SD Ministry Leader’s Capitol Summit | Bus from Sioux Falls

East River Bus

There will be a 55-passenger ‘Grey Hound Bus’ traveling to Pierre from Sioux Falls at ‘no cost’ to the passengers. The bus will leave from the Northwest Walmart parking lot, the southeast corner of the lot, (5200 W 60th Street N, Sioux Falls) @ 5:15 a.m. (CST) and will return by 6:00 p.m.


Pastors, Priests and Para-Church Ministry Leaders are encouraged to come.  The event begins with refreshments in the Capitol Rotunda.  Our keynote speaker will be Pastor JC Church, Family Research Council’s Representative .  Lunch will be served at Noon at Community Bible Church.

2017 SD Ministry Leader’s Capitol Summit | Bus from Rapid

West River Bus

There will be a 56-passenger ‘Grey Hound Bus’ traveling to Pierre from Rapid City at no cost to the passengers. The bus will leave from the Flying J Truck Stop’s East Parking Lot (I-90 & Elk Vale Road) @ 5:15 a.m. (MST) and will return by 5:00 p.m.


Pastors, Priests and Para-Church Ministry Leaders are encouraged to come.  The event begins with refreshments in the Capitol Rotunda.  Our keynote speaker will be Pastor JC Church, Family Research Council’s Representative .  Lunch will be served at Noon at Community Bible Church.

FHA Action’s Legislative Briefings Held

Our 2016 Legislative Briefings are now in our rear-view mirror as we believe they were the finest briefings we’ve held to date.  It was Steve Backley who once said, “There are three types of people: those that get things done, those that watch things being done, and those that don’t even know anything was done.”  It was “those that get things done” who were in attendance for this year’s FHA Action’s Legislative Briefings.  Here’s a brief look at both of them:

•   Eastern SD Legislative Briefing:  Central Baptist Church was once again our most excellent Sioux Falls host location on Thursday, December 8.  We were catered by the Royal Fork Restaurant and they did a terrific job accommodating the Legislators who, because of IM22, had to paid them directly for their meal cost that day.  There were 41 persons in attendance including:  #15 Legislators; #1 Sioux Falls City Council Member; #7 Lobbyists; #3 FHA Staff and several other special guests.


Eastern SD Legislative Briefing Central Baptist Church in Sioux Falls

•   Western SD Legislative Briefing:  Dove Christian Center was once again our Rapid City host location on Saturday, December 10.  We were catered by the FHA Board & Advisory Council and a special word of gratitude goes out to Debra Watson, Vicki Schlauger and Janet vanHouten for making this Brunch deliciously wonderful.  Those Legislators in attendance covered the cost of their own brunch’s expense.  There were 40 persons in attendance including:  #9 Legislators; #1 Sheriff; #12 Lobbyists; #4 FHA Board Members; #4 FHA Staff and several other special guests.


Western SD Legislative Briefing at the Dove Christian Center in Rapid City

A variety of possible legislation for the 92nd SD Legislative Session were discussed.  None of the bills and resolutions mentioned during the Briefings have been endorsed or opposed by the FHA Action to date.  Topics included:  The Sanctify of Life; Religious Freedom; Student Privacy and Safety; Human Trafficking; Second Amendment; Elderly Care; Pornography; Physician Assisted Suicide; Terrorism – See Something/Say Something; and more.

FHA Action Lobbyists Dale Bartscher, Norman Woods and Ed Randazzo are looking forward to working closely with our SD Legislators as we seek to champion Faith, Family and Freedom in a greater way in 2017.  We will be ‘Boots On The Ground’ at our State Capitol from January 10 – March 10, 2017.  Please pay close attention to www.FHAaction.org to follow our work in Pierre as together we engage on those pieces of Legislation we are either supporting or opposing.  Yes, we are better and stronger together!