The Wyoming Legislative Session has completed its first full week. What is the significance of this? Because of the unique schedule this year, it means that no more bills can be introduced after this point in the session. While next week is the budget week for the session, there will still be some non-budget legislation working through the committees throughout the week.

At this point, I will give you an update on a number of bills that we are paying attention to and help you stay active in the process.  The following table will list the bills and provide you with information as to where the bill is in the process.

Bill Number

Subject

FPA-WY Position

Status of the Bill (Committee)

HB 070 Abortion-Informed Consent

For

House Labor, Health
HB 085 Unlawful Dissemination of Intimate Image

For

House 2nd Reading
SB 106 Wyoming Education Options Act

For

House Education
HB 134 Heartbeat

For

House Labor
HB 136 Inclusive Ballot Language

Opposed

House General File
HB 147 Education Expenses

For

House Education
HB 161 Human Life Equality-Prohibiting Discriminatory abortions

For

House Labor
HB 183 Anti-Discrimination

Opposed

Not Released
HB 201 Special Education Savings Account

For

Not Released
HB 218 Bias Motivated Crimes

Opposed

Judiciary
HB 235 Human Life Protection Act

For

Not Released
SF 034 Born Alive-Amendments

For

Passed from Senate
SF 087 Voyeurism Amendments

For

Senate 2nd Reading
SF 096 Homicide Amendments

For

Senate General File
SF 100 Internet Freedom-Prohibiting Discrimination

For

Senate General File
SF 123 Lottery games-Keno

Opposed

Senate Judiciary
SF 128 Temporary Delegation of Parental Authority

For

Senate Judiciary
SF 130 Charter Schools

For

Senate 2nd Reading
SF 133 Prohibit Abortifacients and Chemical Abortions

For

Senate Judiciary

 

We will be tracking these bills through the upcoming weeks. Be sure to stay tuned to changing developments.

Rest assured, Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming will represent you on these issues – we will be faithful to your trust in us!

Sincerely,


Nathan Winters
Executive Director

The Biden Administration is on a mission to erase women.

Today is International Women’s Day, but on a day that he should be celebrating women, President Biden signed two sweeping Executive Orders that undermine women across America.

How can we stop this agenda before it’s too late? Read on or click here to take action now.

The LGBT Czars

Last year, during the Presidential debates, we wrote to you about Kamala Harris’s policy dreams, including establishing a White House LGBT czar. Dubbed the “Chief Advocate for LGBTQ+ Affairs”, this individual would work with agencies throughout the federal government to advance the LGBT agenda.

Today, Vice President Harris got her wish – or some version of it. Biden’s first order establishes a “Gender Policy Council”.

The New York Times has called it “the most powerful body of its kind to date.” And the Council’s co-chair described it as “not just a council,” but “a plan to take a government-wide approach to gender equity and equality.”

Leading officials and cabinet members from across the Administration will be required to participate. In education, health care, housing, and even foreign policy, the Biden Administration will use taxpayer dollars to advance the transgender agenda and “reproductive…rights” (read: abortion).

According to the new Council’s co-chair, “We are very inclusive in our definition of gender.” That’s code for “men can be women, too.”

On International Women’s Day, the President has created a Council that ERASES women.

But that’s not the only Executive Order erasing women. The second order redefines “sex” in Title IX.

Title IX is the federal law that bans sex discrimination in educational environments. It played a critical role in allowing women to finally get their own chance at sports, among other things.

But today, President Biden redefined sex in Title IX to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This change will affect schools across the nation. Practically, it means that if a male declares that he feels he is a female, he will likely be allowed to…

In other words, on a day meant to honor women, President Biden signed two executive orders that ERASE women, even handing women’s opportunities to biological men.

TAKE ACTION

These changes remind us eerily of the federal Equality Act, which would introduce many of these same changes – and more – across the nation. But there are key differences between the Equality Act and the President’s Executive Orders. First, while an Executive Order can be easily undone by a new Presidential administration, a law passed by Congress cannot be. Second, Presidents, unlike Congress, aren’t supposed to develop new laws. Biden’s executive orders are his attempt to get around Congress’s lawmaking process.

President Biden has been a strong proponent of the Equality Act, promising to sign it in his first 100 days in office. His release of these policies now could reflect his awareness that the American people are strongly pushing back against the Equality Act in the U.S. Senate – and that executive orders far outside the bounds of his authority may be his best attempt at advancing a radical political agenda.

We’re encouraged by that – but we’re also reminded that we must stop the Equality Act. Biden’s Executive Orders, bad as they are, will likely be challenged in court and can be easily undone by a new president. If made law, the Equality Act could not be so easily undone.

The U.S. Senate could vote on the Equality Act any day, and we MUST make it crystal clear that Americans are opposed to it.

So please, take action today. Use our Action Center to send a message to both of your U.S. Senators. Then, spread the word to friends.

Let’s make sure that these unconstitutional Executive Orders aren’t set in stone through the so-called “Equality Act.”


Meridian Baldacci
Policy and Communications Strategist

 

P.S. Please contact your Senators now. It only takes a minute in our Action Center.

We’ve reached what is known as turn around week at the Kansas Capitol. It’s the week in which bills are supposed to be out of one chamber unless they have been made exempt. This means legislators are on the floor for hours at a time, trying to get bills passed out of their chamber.

We’ve been talking a lot about our number one goal for the rest of session, The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, but I wanted to let you know about some of the other things that are on the move in the legislature.

Educational Freedom

Expanding opportunities and access for families has been a top priority in the Capitol this year. The pandemic made it painfully clear that families need options, especially for those in the lowest socio-economic groups in our society.

The pandemic only exacerbated problems for kids who were already struggling in school. In both the House and Senate, bills have been introduced that will provide options for low-income families and for at-risk kids. Already the Senate has passed a bill expanding the low-income tax credit scholarship for kids. This program is currently helping over 500 students receive a better education.

Last week in the House, a bill was introduced that includes the low-income tax credit scholarship and an education savings account (ESA) for at-risk children. ESAs empower parents to use their tax dollars to educate their children in the way that is best suited for their child. Because not every family has the resources to make this choice for struggling children, ESAs empower parents to be able to take these steps. This particular ESA is crafted to help children who are most at risk.

The Senate also considered a bill known as the Back to School Act which would require that students be given an in-person option by the end of the month. As testimony on this bill has shown, many kids are struggling with virtual learning and need access to an actual teacher. A one-size-fits-all approach has never worked for education, and it’s not working now.

Emergency Powers Bill

The Kansas Emergency Management Act (KEMA) has been a hot topic since last March. This is the area of state law that allows the Governor to make emergency declarations. While the legislature has discussed re-authorizing the state of emergency to control the Governor’s powers for the COVID-19 pandemic several times, both Chambers are now discussing how to re-write KEMA for future emergencies.

Twelve months into this, we are all looking forward to life returning to a least a semblance of normal. But even as we prepare for the current emergency declaration to end on March 31st, we must learn from the last year and figure out a way to ensure our laws are flexible enough to allow the governor and the legislature (present and future) the room to respond appropriately while not over-ruling individual liberties. Striking this balance is even more difficult when an emergency seemingly goes on endlessly.

The current bills that the House and Senate are working on to fix KEMA, while not perfect, have many good provisions to protect our God-given freedoms. We have worked with stakeholders to ensure that there are checks on the governor’s power and that businesses and religious freedom are protected in the bill.  Another important issue is ensuring that the abortion industry is not allowed to remain open while businesses, churches, and other components of our society are shut down. The House and Senate are now in discussions about how to merge their two different bills.

Bills of Concern

Two bills that we are concerned about are the sports wagering bill and a bill to legalize medical marijuana. The widespread use of gambling and marijuana have detrimental impacts on families. While the bills presented to the legislature currently attempt to lessen these impacts, they both open the door even more to both of these harmful industries.

Regarding sports wagering, we are opposed to the expansion of gambling because it preys on the poor, essentially becomes a regressive tax, and causes families to remain impoverished unnecessarily.

We recognize that medical marijuana is slightly different than recreational marijuana, but it has been shown countless times across the nation to be a first step for the industry to force its way into the state with disastrous results. We do not want to see the big marijuana industry wreck our society like we have seen in Colorado and Washington.

Pray

One final note, we are half-way through a 90-day session. The legislators are tired. They have put in many long hours and dealt with a multitude of different topics. And especially this session – they are increasingly isolated since it is harder to get into the Capitol because of COVID protocols. Whether you agree with your legislators on policy, I encourage you to pray for your legislators by name. Pray for wisdom, pray for perseverance, and pray that they will stand for good and reject evil.

For families,

Brittany Jones, Esq
Director of Advocacy

In January, Twitter blocked a Focus on the Family-owned account over a tweet that correctly identified Biden administration pick Dr. Rachel Levine as a biological male.

You helped us speak out to Twitter by sharing this tweet. And, tens of thousands have signed a petition to Twitter as they ask, “Are We Next” to be censored?

Today, we’re inviting you to JOIN US on Facebook and YouTube as we hear directly from Focus on the Family President Jim Daly about the situation.

Don’t miss it!

YOU’RE INVITED

BLOCKED: Interview with Focus on the Family President Jim Daly

1 PM ET ~ 12 PM CT ~ 11 AM MT ~ 10 AM PT

Join on Facebook or YouTube

In this special interview, Family Policy Alliance President & CEO Craig DeRoche talks with Focus on the Family President Jim Daly about what happened, what’s next, and what Americans can do to respond. Plus, hear their perspectives on how Christians can think about the issues of censorship and religious discrimination. It’s an interview you won’t want to miss!

Please join us TODAY at 1 PM ET, and be sure to share with friends! Click here to join on Facebook, or click here to join on YouTube. You don’t need an account to watch!


Meridian Baldacci
Policy and Communications Strategist

 

 

P.S. Seeing this email late? You can still watch the video on Facebook and YouTube!

UPDATE: This morning, the Senate Finance Committee – on a tie vote – approved the nomination of Xavier Becerra to President Biden’s Cabinet – sending his nomination to the full Senate for a vote that could happen early next week.

When it comes to issues related to life and religious freedom, there is no more important Cabinet position than the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Unfortunately, Xavier Becerra, Biden’s nominee for this critical position, continues to turn heads in all the wrong ways.

We told you last month about Becerra’s stunning hostility to pro-life policies and groups – including suing Catholic nuns to impose pro-abortion policies.

But the jaw-dropping positions from Becerra just keep on coming. As our friends at California Family Council have revealed, Becerra holds that freedom of religion does not apply to churches and other religious organizations!

In his confirmation hearing for California Attorney General on January 10, 2017, he was asked about a California bill that would have forced religious universities to change their moral behavior codes and housing policies.

Becerra responded that there is no First Amendment protection for religious institutions, which would include not only religious schools but also churches:

“On religious protections, the protection for religion is for the individual. I think it is important to distinguish between protections that you are affording to the individual to exercise his or her religion freely, versus protections you are giving to some institution or entity who is essentially bootstrapping the First Amendment protections on behalf of somebody else.”

This extreme view regarding religious freedom is yet another reason that his nomination should be defeated in the U.S. Senate!

TAKE ACTION: If you agree that Xavier Becerra is the wrong choice to lead HHS, please make your voice heard to your two U.S. senators, who could vote on his nomination in just days! It only takes a minute on our Action Center.

Then please do one more thing: Spread the word. Every American who cares about protecting life and religious freedom needs to know and needs to speak up.

For Life and Religious Freedom,

John Paulton
Mobilization Manager

 

Take Action

Children aren’t made one-size-fits-all, and schooling options shouldn’t be either. While public schools work great for some children, others need the opportunities of homeschooling, private school, or other educational alternatives.

Yet in reality, many Wyoming families simply can’t afford non-public school educational alternatives.

That is why we are thrilled to support a bill brought by Representative Sue Wilson, HB 106 (The Wyoming Education Options Act).  This bill has been carefully crafted to open educational freedom to more people while not infringing on the liberties we have now. We’re excited about this bill and hope that you’ll share your support by contacting your legislator today!

The bill allows families to be reimbursed for educational expenses (within limits) to provide their children the best education for them – whether at their local in-person public school, through online public school, homeschooling, private school, or another educational alternative. And, it does so in a way that is fiscally responsible (using existing funds!).

That’s great news for Wyoming families, including homeschoolers! Families could apply for reimbursement for curriculum, special classes, or other educational expenses.

Still, some have raised questions about how this would affect homeschool families. Allow me to clear up the answers to two common questions.

Would homeschoolers be required to participate? No. If you or someone you know is uncomfortable seeking reimbursement for your educational costs, there’s no need for you to worry about it! The program is entirely optional and is just for those who choose to participate.

If I participate as a homeschooler, will requirements change for me (including standardized testing)? The bill is careful to use language that aligns with existing homeschool law in Wyoming and does not mandate standardized testing.

Here’s what the bill does offer current or would-be homeschool families: the chance to save money while offering each child the best education for them. It’s the chance to create a wide open future for your child!

Right now, Wyoming ranks as one of the worst states in the union for education freedom.

Many families simply cannot afford educational options in our state. It is time we become a state that supports educational Freedom for every family in Wyoming.

To make this vision reality, though, our legislators need your support. Please contact your legislator today and let them know that not only is the Wyoming Education Options Act good for homeschoolers – it’s good for Wyoming!

It takes only a minute to contact them – and it could make the difference in the life of your child and other children across our great state.

Contact your Representative today!

For our children,

Nathan Winters
Executive Director

 

 

 

P.S. Once you’ve contacted your Representative, pass this message along to friends! Let our legislators know that Wyoming’s families want opportunity!

The sprint that is otherwise known as the New Mexico legislative session is now two-thirds done. Thank you for continuing to speak up to legislators.

Despite the Governor signing the radical abortion bill, there are critical issues that remain! Here are some of the most important – and what you can do about them:

Assisted Suicide

This dangerous bill would give the state’s approval to some suicides and, for the first time, turn our doctors into life-takers. But despite its radical nature, it has passed the House and the first Senate committee. Now it is on its way to perhaps its most critical vote – in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Will you take action to stop it?

Recreational Pot 

 On Friday, the Recreational Marijuana bill passed the House, 39-31. Now, it is headed to the Senate Tax, Business, and Transportation Committee.

Consider these facts:

Take Action Now: Take a few moments to send a message to the entire Senate committee that is about to hear this bill.

Human Trafficking

Here is some good news: Last Friday, the Sex Offender & Human Trafficking Changes Bill passed the House nearly unanimously and will soon be heard in Senate committees. This bill makes needed changes to clamp down on the major problem of sex trafficking in New Mexico.

For our kids and grandkids,

The Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico Team

John Newton and William Wilberforce have always amazed me for their part in the battle to end slavery. Newton was an example of authentic grace and transformation that can take place in the human heart – that is, from the “inside-out.” And, Wilberforce was tireless and persistent in his work to end slavery legislatively, that is from the “outside-in.” They made a good team in 18th century Great Britain and that two-pronged approach could be the key towards racial reconciliation and other problems in America today.

For John Newton, it took a change of heart to alter his life. We all know him as the author of one of the best-known and most loved hymns of the last two centuries, “Amazing Grace.” Estimates suggest that the song is played 10 million times each year and has appeared on over 11,000 albums. It had a surge of popularity during two of our nation’s greatest crises: the Civil War and the Vietnam War. Churches everywhere still sing it today. Aretha FranklinRay Charles, and Elvis are among the many artists who recorded the song. Even former President Obama spontaneously sang it a few years ago during a memorial service for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a victim of a church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

It is amazing that this hymn has become closely associated with the African American community when you consider that the author, John Newton was a former slave trader until God’s ‘Amazing Grace’ changed his heart. It is a testament to the transformative work of Christ. Newton later became a pastor and preacher changing people’s attitudes about race and slavery by changing their heart, from the ‘inside-out.’

Wilberforce, on the other hand, was a politician and a wealthy philanthropist. He gave away one-quarter of his annual income to the poor. He fought on behalf of chimney sweeps, single mothers, orphans, and juvenile delinquents. When he was a child, Newton was his pastor. As he grew older, Wilberforce wanted to leave working in government for the ministry. Instead, Newton encouraged him to stay in politics, convincing him of the need to end slavery legally – from the “outside-in.”

The story of “Amazing Grace” offers a powerful lesson for us today: change the heart of the nation and its laws will follow. The work of churches today is similar to the work of John Newton as they preach the Gospel that transforms lives from the “inside-out.” And the work of Family Policy Alliance here in Rhode Island is, like the work of Wilberforce and countless other Christian policymakers, taking the policy and legislative approach and effecting change from the “outside-in.”

Our mission statement is very clear. We exist to make Rhode Island a state where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished!

If you want to partner with us to bring change to policy (or find out how we can help you change hearts), here are three steps to consider:

  1. Join our “Rhode Island Informed Parents” group on Facebook. There you will find relevant information about what’s going on in the Ocean State and how you can take action to protect Rhode Island children!
  2. Want help changing the culture from the inside out? I welcome the opportunity to speak at your church or small group. You can contact me here.
  3. Please consider making a monthly donation so we can continue to make a difference in Rhode Island. We are grateful for your partnership!

Standing together,

Dave Aucoin
Chairman, Board of Directors – Rhode Island

 

John the Baptist prepared the way for the public ministry of Jesus Christ, telling hardened Jews that they needed to “repent and believe, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

The two men had known each other for decades. Their mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, were cousins.

After Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel and told that she would bear “the Son of God,” she set out to visit Elizabeth, who at the time was six months pregnant with John the Baptist:

“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry… ‘Behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped with joy’” (Luke 1:41, 44).
 .

What a beautiful picture of preborn life in the womb! The baby “leaps with joy” at the sound of Mary coming to visit, making clear that he is fully human. Amazingly, science reveals that developing babies feel pain in the womb, recognize the voice of their mother, and learn the sounds of what will become their native language.

Even the Greek word that Elizabeth uses to describe her preborn baby (“brephos”) is the same word used for newborns and infants. It is worth noting that she used this word while under the influence of the Holy Spirit, offering divine revelation that the preborn child is considered equal with a newborn or infant.

Sadly, more than 62 million babies have been slaughtered in this nation since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, including upwards of 1,500 babies annually in Idaho. The testimony of the blood of the innocent cries from the ground. Let us recommit to the quest for justice for these precious babies.

Please join me in prayer:

Heavenly Father, we praise you for your wonderful works. We know that you knit together life in the womb, creating unique and irreplaceable human beings from the moment of conception. May our nation and our state repent of the generations of children who have been lost to abortion, and may you mercifully establish the work of our hands as we labor to provide equal protection of the laws for all preborn life. Amen.

Standing for preborn life,

Blaine Conzatti
Executive Director

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