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!

 

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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.

FHA Action Wraps Up Successful Legislative Preview Tour

previewtourcolFHA Action’s legislative preview tour began January 12 in Rapid City where 140 came out to eat chili and listen to an overview of the issues facing South Dakota’s 91st Legislative Session.  Thanks to all who made chili.  The chili went over well and it was a huge boost to FHA financially!  Also, at the Rapid City event, we were honored to have our Mayor, Steve Allender, in attendance and on the stage for a quick “State of the City” address.

The FHA Action team left Rapid City for an evening dessert reception in Mitchell.  We had 20 in attendance at that event.

From there, our hearty travelers moved on to Sioux Falls for a luncheon there on January 13.  In Sioux Falls, the team found 60 in attendance.

As always, Dale and Norman (our lobbying “A” team) did a great job, enthusiastically lining out some of the many issues we face as the 2016 legislative session gets underway in Pierre.

Thanks to Craig Ericks, Amy Wagner, and our newest staff member, Ed Randazzo who joined the travelers on their journey.  Many of the pictures of this event came from Ed’s camera.  Thanks for that Ed.  We so appreciate our host churches:  RC – Bethel Assembly of God; Mitchell – Mitchell Wesleyan Church; and SF – Church at the Gate.  We so value the partnerships we have with so many amazing congregations across the state.  Also, thanks to our volunteers, our interns, and Amy Willson and LaVonne Fosness who always keep these projects on track.

Click here for all the pics from the event on our Facebook post.

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:

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.