Every day I end this broadcast by telling you that your input makes a difference and today I will give you several examples to prove my point. For the past two weeks we have asked you to call your Legislators. You did and now it’s time to savor the victories. Yesterday we told you about House Bill 477 a bill by Representative Jerry Bennett of Libby that would ban assisted suicide. It would treat doctors the same as any other person – if one person helps another kill themselves, then that first person has committed a crime. It doesn’t matter whether they’re a doctor or not. After a series of ups and downs, that bill finally passed third reading in the house by a narrow 51-48 margin. That means it’s on its way to the Senate and Montana is one step closer to protecting ourselves from the dangerous path of assisted suicide.
Another bill supported by the Montana Family Foundation has passed both houses of the Legislature. House Bill 197 by Representative Keith Regier is a major step forward in Montana’s protection of innocent life. It establishes higher criminal penalties for assault on a pregnant woman because pregnant women and unborn children deserve extra legal protection. This bill is on its way to the Governor to be signed and we have every hope that it will soon become law.
Representative Regier has another bill moving through the process that will also be a major victory for life. That one is known as House Bill 587 and it requires that a doctor be present when an abortion is performed, it bans tele-med or Skype abortions. Abortion is a serious medical procedure. It can have side effects ranging from bleeding to even death. It’s not to be taken lightly. Having a doctor present is just common sense. That’s why the Montana Family Foundation worked hard to support HB 587.
The good news is, HB 587 passed second reading today in the House of Representatives. While it’s not a final victory, it’s a major step forward. We have every reason to believe that this bill will win final passage in the House of Representatives, perhaps as early as today.
Another important victory for Montana families came in the defeat of a very bad bill. Senate Bill 170 would have removed every gender-specific reference from Montana’s tax code. It would have taken the words husband and wife out, and replaced them with terms like “qualified individual.” And as for “married,” or “married filing jointly,” those words are replaced with “two individuals.” Our tax code would have become a complicated bureaucratic mess, and all in the service of one unspoken agenda: preparing Montana for same sex marriage.
The Montana Family Foundation strongly opposed that bill, and I’m proud to report that we were joined by families all across Montana. Mothers, fathers, and married couples all reached out to contact their legislators and ask them to oppose this bill. And in the end, we won! Thanks to your hard work, the bill was tabled in committee.
But our work isn’t done yet. Waiting in the wings are a number of school choice bills including bills for charter schools, tuition tax credits, education savings accounts, and even more school choice options. For Montanans whose children are struggling in public schools, they can provide an important avenue for success. With your help – these bills will soon become law because as I always say “this government is your government, and your input does make a difference.”