The 67th Legislative Session finished its work on April 29 of this year. Many good and bad bills were voted on during the four months of session. So, where did things land for North Dakota family values when all the dust settled?

I would characterize the session as a definite win for family and life values. Bills supporting life, educational choice, family, religious freedom, and similar values were passed and signed into law. I want to thank those legislators who voted for these bills, sometimes in the face of considerable opposition. By the same token, a number of bills antithetical to our biblical values were defeated. Of course, there were a few bills that we would have liked to see pass that didn’t, but then we can’t win everything we’d like to.

To give you an idea of how legislators voted on pro-life and pro-family bills, Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota has put together a scorecard on a few key bills. Look it over and see how your Senator and Representatives voted on these issues. They are at the Capitol to represent you and your values. Find out how they did this session fulfilling that important promise!

2021 FPA-ND Legislative Scorecard

For North Dakota,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

 

P.S. If documents like the legislative scorecard are valuable to you and your family, won’t you consider donating to our legislative work? You can make a secure gift to our organization by going to our website and donating either by credit card or checking account. Thank you so much for your financial support.

 

 The purpose of this chapter is to protect unborn human life and maternal health within present constitutional limits. It reaffirms the tradition of the state of North Dakota to protect every human life whether unborn or aged, healthy or sick.
.

Yes, that is a quote, but where can you find it? It is the first paragraph of Chapter 14-02.1 of the state’s abortion laws embodied in our Century Code. It sets the tone and context of all that follows specifying our state laws around abortion, and also interestingly, speaks to end-of-life, value of the elderly, etc. Surprised? I was a bit.

I would certainly characterize our state as pro-life; that is hard to dispute. However, the aforementioned paragraph states that “every human life”, no matter the condition, deserves protection. That also translates, for example, into not enacting laws promoting assisted suicide (soundly defeated this session), and implicitly affirms that an unborn child represents a human life. Wow, what a statement. I am so proud of our state.

However, do we practice what we preach? Generally, yes. We’ve passed countless pro-life bills over the years, from heartbeat bills, to prohibiting abortions for genetic abnormalities, requiring chemical abortion reversal notification, banning dismemberment abortions, and others. As you might guess, some of these laws are now in the courts, but the point is that we held to our values. Just because something will be challenged, does not mean you compromise your values.

So, with all that, how do we rank among states in defending life? This is where the story gets a bit more interesting. In the latest state ranking by Americans United for Life, the de facto standard for this measure, North Dakota was ranked #12 in protecting life. This is in a deep red state, with a Republican Governor, and supermajorities of pro-life legislators in both the House and Senate – in a state that vows to, “protect every human life whether unborn or aged, healthy or sick”.

It’s not for lack of trying to be even more pro-life. There were multiple pro-life laws introduced in the 2013 legislative session and in many other sessions. Most recently, in this session, SB2030 ensured that challenge grant matching funding for public universities only went to universities that do NOT work with pro-abortion entities. I can attest that we have pro-life champions in our legislature who every session lead the charge on pro-life laws, and countless others who represent your biblical views by voting for life every time.

So, what can we do? MOBILIZE. What does that mean? It means making connections, building a network, sharing resources, and so much more. Being ready to make our voices heard in large numbers. Those on the other side of key issues already know how to do this – it’s about time we took a page from their playbook.

The second thing we can do is ELECT pro-life legislators. When I first came to North Dakota, I would have guessed we would be in the top five on that pro-life list I referenced, but then I started to look into votes on particular pro-life bills and it was a more sobering picture. Legislators I would have fully expected to support pro-life laws often voted against them. They, like all of us, need to be held accountable.

Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota is coming out with a legislative scorecard next week: be sure to look up your senator and representatives and see how they voted on pro-life bills, as well as other important issues. Are they representing your values?

Mobilize and elect. If we do these two things, I guarantee that North Dakota will move up that ranking. We can be at the top and lead the country in the pro-life fight, but only if it’s important enough to us. Let’s make it happen.

For life,Mark Jorritsma Headshot
North Dakota Mark Jorritsma Signature Email
Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

 

P.S. Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota is here to help you mobilize and elect the right leaders, but that takes resources. If the bills we worked on this session, the voting scorecard that will soon be distributed, and speaking to and networking with likeminded groups is of value to you, please consider financially supporting us. We can’t do this without YOU.

It’s been a few weeks since the ND legislative session ended, and the dust has now settled on key pro-life and pro-family bills, so it is time for a summary. Here’s the list of wins and losses on key bills we engaged on using a variety of mechanisms such as written and in-person testimony, social media posts, action alerts, personal interaction with legislators, etc.

Note that there were other bills dealing with biblical values that were won and lost, however, this table provides a summary of the most important ones Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota contributed to.

 

Life Legislation Result
SB 2030 (Pro-Life Requirements for University Challenge Grants – FOR) WON
HB 1415 (Physician Assisted Suicide – OPPOSED) WON
SCR 4010 (ERA Ratification Expiration – FOR) WON

Family Legislation

Result
HB 1420 (Recreational Marijuana – OPPOSED) WON
HB 1389 (Legalize Internet Poker – OPPOSED) WON
HB 1443 (Bias/Thought Crimes – OPPOSED) WON
SCR 4011 (American History for Students – FOR) WON
HB 1234 (Legalized Sports Betting – OPPOSED) WON
SB 2308 (Ten Commandments/Pledge of Allegiance in Schools – FOR) WON
HB 1175 (Business Immunity from COVID‑19 Liability Claims – FOR) WON
HB 1245 (Essential Caregiver Act – FOR) WON
HB 1298 (Girls’ Fairness in Sports – FOR) LOST
SB 2176 (Payments to Parents for COVID Instruction – FOR) LOST

Religious Freedom Legislation

Result
SB 2181 (Religious Freedom During Emergencies – FOR) WON
HB 1137 (Tax Exemption for Private School Contributions – FOR) WON
HB 1503 (Free Speech on Public University Campuses – FOR) WON
HB 1410 (Religious Freedom in State Institutions – FOR) WON
HB 1471 (Preventing Taxation of Particular Church Property – FOR) WON
HB 1369 (Education Empowerment Program – FOR) LOST
HB 1281 (Tax Credits for Private and Home Schooling – FOR) LOST
HB 1497 (Tax Credits for Donations to Endowments and Non-Profits – FOR) LOST
SB 2288 (Education Scholarships in Exchange for Tax Credits – FOR) LOST

 

It was generally a good session for pro-life and pro-family values, with a few exceptions on particular bills. I want to thank all the legislators who led the charge on these important bills, legislators who consistently voted for biblical values, and the organizations who partnered with us and definitely share the credit for these wins. Finally, we want to thank each of you who supported our work and continue to make these types of wins possible.

If it was important to you that Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota successfully represented you on these bills, and that we will continue to represent you on similar issues going forward, we would ask for your financial support. We make it very easy to give online by simply following this secure link. Thank you for your support that makes all of this possible.

May God bless us as we strive to be faithful to His calling and as we act on our faith in all facets of life, including the political arena.

Blessings,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

 

 

 

P.S. – We are currently working on scorecards for key pro-life and pro-family legislation so that you can see how your Senator and Representatives voted on these important bills. We hope to have something completed shortly, but could use some volunteer help to check data and reporting.  If you have a bit of time in the next few weeks, please let us know and let’s see if we can work something out. Thanks!

My most recent weekly email was entitled, “A Time for Legislators to be Bold”. It spoke about the Biden Administration’s assault on families and pro-life values and made the point that with ND legislative sessions only every other year, there will be a two-year period where we as a state have little to no recourse to stand for our state’s traditional values, while being trampled by the Left’s agenda. The email was a call to action for legislators to be bold and take stands NOW to anticipate and address the edicts coming from DC. The legislative session has now ended, and I have to ask, were our legislators bold?

The answer is both yes and no. Yes, the legislature passed bills to codify freedom of speech on public university campuses, allow those in state institutions greater freedom to worship according to their beliefs, increase individual income tax credits for charitable contributions, stop the legalization of recreational marijuana, and other important goals. These were all wins from our perspective at Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota, and hard-fought wins in many cases.

We were very honored to be part of the efforts behind all these bills, as were many other organizations and individuals, and were pleased that the legislature and Governor stepped up and were bold. If that were the end of the story, it would be a fairy tale ending, but it’s not.

There were very important bills where the legislature and Governor Burgum were not bold and listened to the voices of special interests instead of yours. The most obvious of these was the Fairness in Girls’ Sports bill, HB1298. It very simply would ensure that girls’ sports would be reserved for biological females and that they wouldn’t be forced to compete against biological boys. Makes sense, right? The House thought so, but the Governor vetoed the bill and then upon reconsideration in the Senate, enough senators voted against it to kill it. A similar story played out with a number of education bills that would have provided more educational choice in our state. They were defeated in both the House and Senate, depending on the particular bill.

Finally, one important bill remains, SB2030, the pro-life bill that would prohibit public universities from using challenge grant money to fund any entity that is associated with abortions. It passed both chambers by large margins and is still sitting with Governor Burgum, despite the fact that session has ended. We will see what he does with it. It could be decided later today.

So, was our legislature bold? Many times it was, and we thank them for it. However, on some key pro-family bills it was not, and that is sad. While we as an organization are nonpartisan, I still would have thought that a “deep red” state, with Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate, and a Republican governor, would have passed these important bills. Apparently, I was expecting too much.

What now? The fight goes on. Between sessions, Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota works to inform and mobilize voters to get more involved with political issues and exercise biblical citizenship. We are here to help make your voices heard on key bills, like those described above, and on critical issues that arise between sessions. We desperately need that right now in today’s political and cultural war.

We at Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota don’t want a few voices speaking up for biblical values, for girls, for the unborn. We want an avalanche of voices! We want to make it impossible for members of the legislature and Governor Burgum to ignore you and your values.

For North Dakota,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

P.S. In an upcoming email I plan to summarize more of the key wins and losses from this session.

We need your help. SB2030, the bill that prohibits public universities from partnering with entities involved with abortion, will be voted on Monday in the Senate. The bill has been in conference committee and the committee finally accepted the House’s amendments, which left in the abortion restriction.

University officials, Planned Parenthood, and abortion advocates are working to stop this bill, claiming it interferes with academic freedom. As reported in the Forum, Florin Salajan, NDSU Faculty Senate president said lawmakers “want to direct and dictate what research would be acceptable to them because of their political or moral or ethical convictions, and they shouldn’t.” In other words, NDSU does not want to be subjected to the morals or ethics of North Dakota citizens, as represented by our Legislature. This is just not acceptable, taking taxpayer money and not being accountable.

So, how can you help? Please email Senators to accept the conference committee’s report and vote “Yes” on SB2030.

You can easily do that through our message center by clicking here.

Thank you so much for making your voice heard on this life-and-death vote!

For life,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

In case you missed it earlier this week, HB 1298, the Fairness in Girls’ Sports bill, was sent to Governor Burgum for his signature. Despite our hope that he would sign it into law, he instead opted to veto the bill, leaving girls’ sports open for male participation across North Dakota.

Yesterday, both the House and Senate voted to attempt to override Governor Burgum’s veto of this important bill. The bill reconsideration successfully surpassed the 2/3 vote requirement for override in the House by a vote of 68-25. The effort however fell short of the 2/3 vote requirement in the Senate on a 28-19 vote.

We are so disappointed with Governor Burgum and the North Dakota Senate members who did not take a stand on this issue to protect North Dakota girls. We are also very sad for all those girls who will have to face the resulting discrimination and injustice of competing against biological boys in their female sports.

We do want to highlight the steadfast support and determination that the bill’s primary sponsor, Representative Ben Koppelman, demonstrated at every legislative step for HB 1298. His help and leadership, and that of the bill’s cosponsors, was indispensable. The North Dakota House of Representatives was also bold and resolute in its efforts to pass this important legislation.

Lastly, I want to thank you for providing input to your legislators on this bill in recent weeks. We greatly appreciate your efforts to pass this pro-family legislation; your engagement is perhaps the most important, because no matter what, every legislator has to be responsive and accountable to his/her district’s constituents.

The legislature is set to continue for a few more days, adjourning sometime next week. Stay tuned in coming days for more details on some of the amazing accomplishments we saw in this legislative session – you won’t want to miss it!

Best regards,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

As you now know, Governor Burgum unfortunately vetoed the Girls’ Fairness in Sports bill. Both the House and Senate have agreed to reconsider the bills, but we need a 2/3rds majority in both chambers to override the veto.

The biggest challenge will be in the Senate, and that’s why I am asking for your help.

NOTE THAT THE VOTES IN BOTH CHAMBERS ARE LIKELY TO BE LATER TODAY.

Please contact our Senators asap and ask them to vote for HB1298 one last time. You can use our automated email center to send your email to all Senators at once. Just click here.

Thank you for your help in protecting our North Dakota girls.

For North Dakota girls,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

The clock is ticking. Governor Burgum has just three days to decide the fate of the Fairness in Girls’ Sports bill (HB1298). It’s all come down to this, and if you want to make a difference to keep the playing field level for North Dakota girls, this is your last chance.

Please call and email Governor Burgum now and ask him to sign HB1298 into law. In particular, if you have a girl in sports, having her also call the Governor could make a huge impression. You can reach the Governor at (701) 328-2200 or you can email him directly by clicking here.

Thank you for protecting our state’s female athletes!

For North Dakota girls,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

Sometimes political issues can get very muddled. Opponents of the Fairness in Girls’ Sports bill are trying to do just that with HB1298: muddle it.

They have created a huge closet full of “bogeymen”, including apocalyptic adverse economic impacts, politically correct victimhood scenarios, a “ban” of some sort that prevents some kids from playing in all sports, the specter of girls not being able to play on boys’ teams, and more. I could spend the next 1,000 words demonstrating that all these fears are unfounded or overblown, but we’ve done it before and it doesn’t seem to matter to them. The Left wants us to fixate on these issues, because it prevents us from seeing the real issue:


Biological boys beat biological girls at sports, even when they identify as transgender
.
Period. The end.

 

As a result, girls across North Dakota are going to be the victims of this discrimination if HB1298 is not passed. That’s the whole message. It’s that simple.

Make no mistake, this is our watershed moment to protect our girls. Whether we protect them or abandon them now, it will be part of our lasting legacy. I don’t want to have to tell my daughter or future granddaughter that I didn’t value her enough to protect the rights that generations of women won for her over the years.

If this issue matters to you, if you want to make a difference, then please email or call Governor Burgum and ask him to sign HB1298 into law, for the sake of North Dakota girls. You can reach his office at (701) 328-2200 or you can email him directly using the following link. Sign HB1298 into Law.

NOW is the time to be involved. Not tomorrow. Not next week. It will be too late then. Please take just a couple minutes and let Governor Burgum know you value our girls and hope that he will protect their opportunities and accomplishments.

Thank you!


Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director

 

 

We just won two of the biggest victories this session! The Fairness in Girls’ Sports bill, HB1298, passed both the ND House and Senate in the past couple days! This represents a MASSIVE victory for girls throughout our state. Both chambers effectively said that we need a level playing field in girls’ high school sports, and that means biological girls should only have to compete against other biological girls.

We want to thank our legislators for taking this brave stand that is unpopular with the social agenda of the Biden Administration and its adherents. In North Dakota we pride ourselves on our common sense, and it came through loud and clear today with this vote.

So this is it then, right?

Not quite yet, but we are really close. Now it goes to Governor Burgum for his signature. Governor Burgum needs to know how strongly you feel about protecting our girls.

Here’s what we need you to help with.

  1. Please write a few sentences in a Facebook post about why keeping girls’ sports for girls is important to you. Make it personal, by perhaps talking about your own participation in girls’ sports or that of your daughters or granddaughters. Help convince Governor Burgum that North Dakota girls should be recognized for their hard work and determination.
  2. If possible, add a picture of your athlete with her sports medal, participating in a sport, etc. Nothing fancy – you can just grab a picture from your Facebook album.
  3. Please tag our Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota Facebook page (@FPAofNorthDakota) in your post, as well as Governor Burgum’s page (@GovernorDougBurgum).
  4. Forward this email to everyone who shares your values on this important issue. We need to have overwhelming participation on this.

PLEASE DO NOT WAIT TO DO THIS! WE DO NOT KNOW WHEN THIS BILL WILL REACH GOVERNOR BURGUM FOR HIS SIGNATURE!

Another way you can also help encourage Governor Burgum to sign HB1298 into law is by calling or emailing him. You can reach his office at: (701) 328-2200 or you can email him directly using the following link: https://www.governor.nd.gov/contact

Thanks again for your help. Together, we can help keep North Dakota a place where common sense rules and girls can compete to their full potential!

For North Dakota Girls,

Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director