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.
Status (Yea-Nay Votes)
|HB1298||Fairness in Girls’ Sports||For||Passed House 65-26|
|HB1415||Physician Assisted Suicide||
|Defeated in House 9-85|
|SB2181||Freedom of Religious Assembly during Disaster/Emergency||
|Passed Senate 46-0|
|SB2308||Ten Commandments/Pledge of Allegiance in Schools||
|Passed Senate 34-13|
|HB1503||Free Speech on College Campuses||
|Passed House 65-29|
|HB1443||Bias Crimes (Thought Crimes)||
|Defeated in House 17-75|
|HB1137||Income Tax Credits for Education||
|Passed House 79-14|
|HB1281||Tax Credits for Private and Home Schooling||
|Passed House 50-44|
|HB1471||Preventing Taxation of Church Property||
|Passed House 76-18|
|SCR4010||Expiration Notification of ERA Ratification||
|Passed Senate 27-17|
|HB1410||Religious Freedom in State Institutions||
|Passed House 84-10|
|HB1374||Income tax deduction for COVID payments||
|Passed House 62-32|
|SCR4011||Teaching Students about Constitution and Founding of America||
|No Floor Vote Yet (Due by 3/10)|
|SB2176||COVID Payments to Parents for Home Instruction Costs||
|Defeated in Senate 5-42|
|SB2288||Scholarships for Education in Exchange for Tax Credits||
|Defeated in Senate 16-30|
|HB1369||Education Empowerment Program (Similar to Education Savings Accounts)||
|Defeated in House 45-49|
|HB1497||Tax Credit for Charitable Donations||
|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,
President and Executive Director
Well, it’s Legislative Day 31 today and we are almost halfway through the 67th legislative session. When all the dust settled, we ended up with 503 bills and 35 resolutions introduced in the House, and 344 bills and 13 resolutions introduced in the Senate, for a total of almost 900 pieces of legislation to be worked on. Those numbers are down slightly from recent legislative sessions, but like most things in life, it’s about content as much as quantity. And speaking of content, there has been no shortage of important bills introduced this session.
So where do we stand on wins and losses for pro-life and pro-family values? Here’s a summary of a few key bills. Green text indicates a win for pro-life/pro-family values; red a loss. You might note the large margins for most of the bills we won, which is a good sign as they pass to the other chamber.
HB1298 Fairness in Girl’s Sports – Passed House (65-26)
HB1415 Physician Assisted Suicide – Defeated in House (85-9)
HB1137 Income Tax Credits for Education – Passed House (79-14)
SB2176 COVID Payments to Parents for Home Instruction Costs – Defeated in Senate (5-42)
SB2181 Freedom of Religious Assembly during Disaster/Emergency– Passed Senate (46-0)
SB2308 Ten Commandments/Pledge of Allegiance in Schools – Passed Senate (34-13)
HB1443 Bias Crimes (Thought Crimes) – Defeated in House (75-17)
Keep in mind, that each of these is only halfway through the legislature. Each must pass both chambers to go on to Governor Burgum for his signature, so there is still much work to be done on these bills and resolutions.
Here are a few of the bills still being considered in their originating chambers. We are engaged on all of these, and many more.
Link to Bill
|SB2288||Scholarships for education (public and private) for tax credit||For||https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/67-2021/documents/21-0995-01000.pdf|
|HB1503||Free speech on college campuses||For||https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/67-2021/documents/21-0929-02000.pdf|
|SCR4011||Teaching students about principles of the founding of America||For||https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/67-2021/documents/21-3067-03000.pdf|
|HB1369||Education Empowerment Program (similar to Education Savings Accounts)||For||https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/67-2021/documents/21-0211-04000.pdf|
Thank you for all your support and help with these bills. There is a lot you can do right from your home, such as emailing and calling legislators, submitting written testimony, and this session even testifying via Zoom (it’s not that scary; call and we’ll walk you through it).
In addition to all your help, we are working with legislators everyday to get desired outcomes on many bills. However, we cannot do this without many hours of research, writing, testifying, talking to legislators, reporting out, etc. – and this all takes resources. If you want to help us, please consider donating to financially support our policy work fighting for pro-life and pro-family values.
Thank you so much for your commitment. With God’s blessing, we can continue to win, working together to uphold biblical values in North Dakota.
President and Executive Director
Before I get to the legislative update, let me remind you about the March for Life event at the Capitol tomorrow. As I mentioned last week, the University of Mary is hosting a March for Life event at the State Capitol on Friday, with Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota being a partnering organization for this event.
There will be a rally at the Capitol steps from 12:30 pm-1:00 pm, including a short program and a moment of silence in recognition of all the lives lost to abortion since Roe v. Wade. You can find out more about this event here.
So now, on to the legislative update. What have we been doing on your behalf in the legislature? Here is a list of the most important things we did this past week.
- Submitted written testimony and/or testified in person on bills having to do with:
- Ensuring fairness in women’s sports
- Reimbursing parents for COVID-related expenses associated with home education
- Providing tax credits for private schooling families and those who school their children at home
- Guaranteeing freedom of religious assembly (spurred by COVID situation)
- Allowing a state income tax deduction for COVID relief payments
- Establishing an Education Empowerment Program to help parents fund the additional educational needs of private and public-school students
- Preventing sports betting in North Dakota
- Worked with legislators on crafting additional pro-family bills
- Helped find sponsors and cosponsors for important bills
- Lobbied one-on-one to legislators about key bills
- Gathered information and decided on positions regarding upcoming bills
- Reviewed and identified new bills just introduced that could affect pro-life and pro-family values
- Helped mobilize all of you to exercise your biblical citizenship and email legislators about key bills through our Action Alert system
- Coordinated with likeminded organizations on how to strategically support/oppose particular bills
- Helped identify and mobilize individuals and organizations to testify on bills
And we are going to keep doing all these things for the next three months, until the legislative session ends. We are there, representing your values. It’s who we are and it is our mission.
If all the above work matters to you, please help us accomplish it. We are there when you can’t be, but we need the resources to do that. One important way you can support us today is by giving your financial support, allowing us to make a difference protecting and advancing your values in Bismarck. Thank you for your prayers, responses to our calls for action, and financial support. We couldn’t do this without you!
President & Executive Director
The first thing you need to know is that roughly 750 bills have been filed this legislative session, as of the writing of this email. Based on past sessions, that means we still expect at least 250 more bills until we have the total set of bills that will be under consideration! Nevertheless, let me quickly fill you in on some key bills that are already in committees and will be under consideration shortly.
|Bill Number||Subject||FPA-ND Position
|Link to Bill|
|SB2176||Reimburse parents for COVID home instruction costs||For||https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/67-2021/documents/21-0600-01000.pdf
|HB1298||Fairness in Women’s Sports (girls should only need to compete against biological girls)||For||https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/67-2021/documents/21-0140-01000.pdf
|HB1281||Tax credit for public and private instruction||For||https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/67-2021/documents/21-0794-01000.pdf
|HB1369||Education Empowerment Program (similar to Education Savings Accounts)||For||https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/67-2021/documents/21-0211-04000.pdf
|SB1415||Allowing Assisted Suicide||Opposed||https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/67-2021/documents/21-0649-01000.pdf|
While this is certainly not a comprehensive list of pro-family bills we are engaging on, they represent some important ones that you should be aware of. As you can see, many of the key bills Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota is watching and supporting are in the education arena, and there are more education bills still to come!
In addition to these bills, there will be bills related to taxation of church property, sexual orientation, protection for religious organizations to practice their faith during emergency declarations, and more.
March for Life
The second thing you should be aware of besides current bills, is that the University of Mary is hosting a March for Life event at the State Capitol on January 29, with Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota being a partnering organization for this event. There will be a rally with a program at the Capitol steps from 12:30 pm-1:00 pm. The short program will be followed by the centerpiece of the rally: a moment of silence in recognition of the 62 million lives lost to abortion. You can also participate online, since it will be streamed on Real Presence Radio (app available at the link below).
You can find out more about this event at: https://www.umary.edu/events/nd-march-for-life.php. We hope to see you there!
President & Executive Director
Last week, the Legislative Session continued with multiple committee hearing and events. Much is happening—some good, some bad, and some ugly.
The GOOD – Pro Life Legislation Introduced
Although Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has not yet placed abortion legislation on the Session agenda, Representative Rod Montoya (R-San Juan) has introduced pro-life legislation aimed at ending late-term abortion up-to-birth, banning infanticide, and requiring parental notification when a minor obtains an abortion. House Bills 208, 209, and 210 cannot be considered without a message from the Governor. Therefore, we encourage you to call the Governor’s Office today and ask her to, “Please put House Bills 208, 209, and 210 on the Session agenda.” Although you may feel this is a waste of time, we assure you—it is not. Last year, we made our voices heard by the thousands, and the Governor must continue to hear from us. Please call the Governor’s Office at (505) 476-2200 today!
The BAD – Recreational Weed Advances & Speaker Ends Clergy-Led Prayer
On Tuesday, our Executive Director, Vince Torres, partnered with law enforcement, business community leaders, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, and our national ally SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) at a press conference to express shared and serious concerns about the negative impacts of recreational marijuana. The group then offered testimony in the Senate Public Affairs Committee in opposition to SB115 which would legalize recreational pot in New Mexico. The committee subsequently advanced SB115 on a 4-3 party-line vote with all Republicans voting in opposition to the bill. SB115 now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it faces an uncertain outcome. Please stay tuned for an Action Alert asking you to contact the Judiciary Committee members!
Last week, Speaker of the House Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) ended the longstanding tradition of having local clergy deliver the daily invocation. For more than a century in New Mexico, local priests, pastors, and other faith leaders have been invited to the Senate and House Chambers to begin each daily session in prayer. In the House, however, this will no longer be the case. Instead, members of the House will now deliver the daily invocation. Representative Gregg Schmedes (R-Bernalillo, Sandoval, & Santa Fe) noted: “Leaders of all faiths should be welcome in the Roundhouse to offer prayer. By closing our doors to priests, pastors, and faith leaders, House leadership is sending the wrong message to the faith community.”
The UGLY – Two House Democrats Table Sex Offender Bill
On Tuesday of last week, another disturbing maneuver took place, as Democrats in a House Committee voted to table a bipartisan bill (HB43) aimed at closing a dangerous loophole in our Sex Offender Registry laws. Representative Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe) and Representative Angelica Rubio (D-Dona Ana) refused to advance HB43 even after hearing compelling testimony regarding the loophole that allowed convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, to avoid registration in New Mexico because he was convicted in another state.
On to Week 3
The Legislative Session continues this week and, as always, we will be working hard to keep you updated on important legislation impacting life, families, and religious freedom. Please stay tuned for Action Alerts and other opportunities for you to engage in the process and make your voice heard.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support!
The Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico Team
STATE OF THE STATE
Last Tuesday, the 2019 Legislative Session kicked off with the State of the State Address from newly elected Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham. During her address before a Joint Session of the House of Representatives and Senate, the Governor outlined several of her priorities regarding education, gun control, criminal justice reform, and economic development. She also addressed the state’s abortion statute, stating, “The old criminal abortion law of this state…must go. Bring me that bill. I will sign it.” The Governor was referring to House Bill 51 which would completely repeal one of New Mexico’s only abortion laws which, among other things, requires a licensed physician to perform abortions and protects faith-based hospitals and medical professionals from being forced to participate in abortions against their conscience.
SANCTITY OF LIFE AWARENESS AND UNITY DAY
On Wednesday, Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico was proud to partner with New Mexico Prays, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico Alliance for Life, Right to Life of New Mexico, Care Net, and Students for Life for the annual “Sanctity of Life Awareness and Unity Day” at the State Capitol. Altogether, more than 1,000 people gathered for the “Walk for Life” and a special rally in the Capitol Rotunda featuring Archbishop John Wester, other local bishops and pastors, legislators, and guest speakers. Thank you to all who participated and helped make this the largest pro-life gathering in the state.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I’m still a teenager and I still need my parents there for me. I can’t join the military. I can’t get tattoos. I can’t even take an aspirin at school without their permission. But I’m allowed to have an abortion in this state if I choose to. That is not right.” -Ariana Nava, President, Rio Rancho Students for Life
LEGISLATOR OF THE WEEK
State Representative David Gallegos (R-Lea)
As the State Representative for House District 61 (Lea County) since 2012, David Gallegos has been one of the most faithful and dependable voices for faith and biblical values in Santa Fe. In addition to founding and chairing the New Mexico Legislative Prayer Caucus, David has sponsored several bills to defend life, strengthen families, and protect religious freedom in our state. David’s impact in New Mexico goes well beyond his official position as a state legislator. He serves on the Eunice School Board and has also served as a member of his local housing authority, chamber of commerce, and economic development committee. David is active in his local church and previously spent 10 years on the Eunice Assembly of God Board of Deacons. In 2017, David attended our Family Policy Foundation Statesmen Academy, a summer conference for on-the-rise Christian legislators and aspiring policymakers.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
RE: Religious Freedom