Mid-Session Legislative Summary

March 3
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The North Dakota Legislative Session is half over. What is the significance of this? It means that bills have all been heard in committee and voted on in their original chamber and have now passed to the other chamber. In other words, all bills that passed the House go to the Senate, and all those that passed the Senate go to the House. Bills that were defeated in their originating chambers are truly “dead.”

At this point in the session, it’s always a good idea to do a quick tally on how pro-life and pro-family bills have fared. The following table summarizes the mid-session results for some of these key bills. Green indicates wins for family values; red indicates losses.

Bill Number

Subject

FPA-ND Position

Status (Yea-Nay Votes)

HB1298 Fairness in Girls’ Sports For Passed House 65-26
HB1415 Physician Assisted Suicide

Opposed

Defeated in House 9-85
SB2181 Freedom of Religious Assembly during Disaster/Emergency

For

Passed Senate 46-0
SB2308 Ten Commandments/Pledge of Allegiance in Schools

For

Passed Senate 34-13
HB1503 Free Speech on College Campuses

For

Passed House 65-29
HB1443 Bias Crimes (Thought Crimes)

Opposed

Defeated in House 17-75
HB1137 Income Tax Credits for Education

For

Passed House 79-14
HB1281 Tax Credits for Private and Home Schooling

For

Passed House 50-44
HB1471 Preventing Taxation of Church Property

For

Passed House 76-18
SCR4010 Expiration Notification of ERA Ratification

For

Passed Senate 27-17
HB1410 Religious Freedom in State Institutions

For

Passed House 84-10
HB1374 Income tax deduction for COVID payments

For

Passed House 62-32
SCR4011 Teaching Students about Constitution and Founding of America

For

No Floor Vote Yet (Due by 3/10)
SB2176 COVID Payments to Parents for Home Instruction Costs

For

Defeated in Senate 5-42
SB2288 Scholarships for Education in Exchange for Tax Credits

For

Defeated in Senate 16-30
HB1369 Education Empowerment Program (Similar to Education Savings Accounts)

For

Defeated in House 45-49
HB1497 Tax Credit for Charitable Donations

For

Defeated in House 27-67

 

What are some of the takeaways from these results? First, vote outcomes more often than not aligned with your values. This is a good sign, as good bills will now pass to the other chamber with more “momentum” behind them. Nevertheless, we will have our work cut out for us in the latter half of this session. Bills that crossed over could still have significant uphill battles, particularly for bills that were more controversial.

Another observation is that many educational opportunity bills did not make it, both on the House and Senate sides. There may be many reasons for this, but having also observed this in past sessions, I think it’s fair to say that there are definite political challenges to providing full educational opportunities for students in our state.

What does all this mean? First, you have been faithful and helped make these wins possible through your prayers, responses to contact legislators, and financial support. Thank you!

Second, please be ready to act on our alerts as soon as you can. We honestly sometimes hear about hearings or floor votes just hours before they happen, so time is often of the essence. We try to not cry wolf on bills, but if you see something that says, “We Need Your Help Now!”, we really do need it now.

Third, your donations really help. During this time of immense pressure and work, having the resources to undertake our mission is certainly more difficult, but also more critical. Thank you in advance for your support in this area.

As they say, stay tuned: there’s much more to come. Rest assured, Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota will represent you on these issues – we will be faithful to your trust in us!

In your service,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director