SB115 Withdrawal

Many of our friends across the state have been following our efforts to pass Senate Bill 115 – our Student Privacy Act.

Protecting the privacy and dignity of all students while under the care of our public schools is a high priority for the FHA Action. Thus, SB 115 would ensure that every South Dakota elementary and secondary public school student is guaranteed a baseline of privacy while using the most intimate areas: public school locker rooms, showers and other changing facilities. All this while still permitting local schools to craft accommodations that suit the needs of their student body.

This year the school restrooms were intentionally left out of SB 115. This was done as a good faith compromise to Governor Daugaard who last year vetoed a like bill…HB1008. We were in sincere hope that our Governor would take an honest second look at the merits of this bill but unfortunately he chose to immediately call a press conference and publicly rejected SB 115 before we had the opportunity of defending it in his presence.

Thus SB115 was to go before a very reluctant Senate Education Committee this past Tuesday morning. So, due in part to the Governor’s promised Veto, the Prime Sponsor of SB115 chose to WITHDRAW the bill rather than put the bill through a possible Senate smoke out attempt and a veto override battle. The FHA Action remains committed to addressing this issue across the state of South Dakota because protecting the PRIVACY of every South Dakota Student must be assured and is a priority. So … stay tuned as this issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

We more than appreciate the Prime Sponsors for SB115: Senator Lance Russell of Hot Springs and Representative Tom Brunner of Nisland. They are champions who truly believe in protecting the privacy of every student and were fully committed to the passage of the bill.

We want to encourage you to follow our work at the South Dakota Capitol during this 92nd Legislative Session by going to and click on LEGISLATIVE RADAR.

Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 10

Catholic Legislators’ Prayer Group

Today began well at our SD State Capitol as I was invited to attend what is called – The Catholic Legislators’ Prayer Group. Most Tuesday mornings at the Capitol this group of Legislators, from both sides of the political isle, will meet for Christian fellowship, prayer and a devotional from a prayer book called “A Month’s Journey With the Merciful Jesus” by Allan F Wright. This morning’s session was led by Representative Leslie Heinemann.

Dale Bartscher & Ben Lee

I am always gratified when my friends come to the Capitol for various reasons during session. This past week I sat down with and had a great conversation with my friend Ben Lee. Ben is the State Director, of the South Dakota chapter of Americans for Prosperity headquartered in Sioux Falls.

I was also blessed to run into my friend Bill Walsh. I recognized Bill by the Cowboy Hat he was wearing – as he always wears this Cowboy Hat 🙂 Bill is a political junkie from Rapid City and although we might be on opposite sides of several issues we are still friends who will take the time to hear what one another has to say. Yes, he makes me smile 🙂

Dale Bartscher & Bill Walsh

Today I was gratified that SB55 passed out of the Senate Ed Committee. It is an academic freedom bill which protects a teacher’s ability to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of any scientific information located in their curriculum. Two amazing Resolutions passed on the Senate floor today as well. SCR2 which demonstrates support for our electoral college system; and SCR4 which identifies that pornography has become a national health crises. Finally, the House overwhelming passed HB1069 which in essence repeals Initiated Measure 22 which was slimly passed by the SD voters last November. The FHA Action totally endorses HB1069 in order to rid our state of this unconstitutional IM22.


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

Dale’s FHA Action Blog – Day 9

Today brought some high drama to the Capitol in the form of House Bill 1069An Act to repeal and revise certain provisions related to campaign finance and to declare an emergency. In essence this bill would repeal Initiated Measure 22 as passed by South Dakota voters on November 8, 2016, ballot.

A joint session of both the House and Senate State Affairs Committees hosted a room full of observers this afternoon at which time I gave testimony in support of HB1069. Here were my brief comments:

“We stand in support of HB 1069. The Family Heritage Alliance Action sensed from the beginning that Initiated Measure 22 was bad law and that’s why we joined the statewide coalition opposing its passage. On November 23, 2016, following IM22’s very slim statewide margin of victory, the FHA Action became one of many plaintiffs in a court case challenge of the constitutionality of IM22.

The FHA Action believes IM-22 may have good intentions, but unfortunately IM-22 uses methods that appear clearly unconstitutional and will chill legitimate political activity by non-profit organizations, such as the Family Heritage Alliance Action, and individuals across the political spectrum. FHA Action wants to promote ethical government, but even the goal of making government more ethical does NOT justify ignoring important constitutional constraints like separation of powers and equal protection that are also intended to protect the people of South Dakota.

FHA Action absolutely believes in the importance of ethical government and would be happy to support new laws that promote ethical government without violating the constitution or chilling legitimate political activity. Thus, we respectfully ask for your support of HB 1069.”

After two hours and 45 minutes of taking testimony, and asking and answering questions, the vote was taken and HB 1069 was passed overwhelmingly on a vote of 10 to 3. This battle on IM22 simply reminds me on this truth: Good policy is done reflectively and not reflexively.

Please follow us by going to and click on LEGISLATIVE RADAR

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 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 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 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 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 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  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 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.

Heartbeat Bill Introduced In Congress

HR 490 Will Move the National Debate from Regulating Abortion to Ending It

Congressman Steve King
(Republican, Iowa)

Congressman Steve King (R, Iowa) has introduced HR 490–the “Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017”–to “prohibit abortion in cases where a fetal heartbeat is detectable.”

Congressman King stated, “My legislation will require all physicians, before conducting an abortion, to detect the heartbeat of the unborn child. If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.”

The architect of the Heartbeat Bill is Janet Porter, President of Faith2Action. She recently wrote: “The heartbeat is a universal indicator of life–it is time we recognize it across the board..”

“Even the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals recognized that ‘the point at which an unborn child possesses a detectable heartbeat’ is a ‘more consistent and certain marker than viability’-where the court currently allows legal protection,” explained Porter. “The federal Heartbeat Bill will move the line of legal protection much closer to conception–where it belongs.”

King added, “I believe our most important responsibility that God has bestowed upon us is to protect innocent human life, and I will continue to dedicate my life to that responsibility.”

The Family Heritage Alliance believes it is time we stop discriminating against the youngest members of the human family–babies whose heartbeats can be heard.

HR 490 will forever shift the national debate from regulating abortion to ending it and we would encourage our South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem’s support of HR 490.