Get the low down on the first week of the 2017 legislative session.
This week started with a hearing on Senate Bill 2043 in the Senate Judiciary committee. The bill would update statutory language to reflect the US Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. It would change all terms of husband and wife to be gender neutral terms such as spouse. NDWN testified in favor, along with the North Dakota chapter of the ACLU and a citizen sharing her personal story. There was no testimony in opposition, but a few committee members’ gave indication that the change is unnecessary. If the bill does not pass, marriage equality is still the law of the land, but as we said in testimony “SB 2043 provides statute updates to bring ND in compliance in word, not just deed, with federal law. By enacting these changes, North Dakota would be recognizing the value of marriage for all couples who seek marriage.” The committee still has to make a decision on the bill, including some suggestions from the Tax Department. We’ll keep you updated on changes. In the meantime, contact your Senator to ask for their support of the bill.
Attached is the tracking grid from the ND Women’s Network. The list is rather light, as most bills have yet to be filed. As an organization, we may not be active on all areas but we will follow the progress. We will try to cover as many bills as possible. Only a portion of the expected bills have posted at this time. We’ll be updating this grid regularly, posting it on our website: www.ndwomen.org and sending in emails.
Bills are categorized, as best as possible, into topic areas: Political Participation, Economic Justice and Fairness, Reproductive Rights, Women’s Health, Education, Freedom from Violence, and Civil Rights. You can see a deeper overview of these topic areas and our position statements regarding them here: http://www.ndwomen.org/position-statements/
Starting next week, we’ll start video updates to engage you all in conversation and action as the session moves forward. Keep an eye out for details.
There is one hearing of note next week that we will watch.