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2011 Legislative Session – – North Dakota Senate Leadership Bails Out on Life Vote on HB1450

By April 9, 2011North Dakota
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North Dakota Senate Leadership Bails Out on Life Vote on HB 1450

Yesterday, in a stunningly deceptive move, North Dakota’s GOP Senate Leadership applied procedural tactics to kill the “Definition of Human Life” bill, HB 1450. Senator Curtis Olafson (R-10) tabled the bill on the floor. Click here for more information on how it unfolded.

These kinds of shenanigans are rarely seen on issues of this importance, and it is therefore believed to have come from the Leadership in the Senate, and very likely higher up in the GOP Administration. The Senate leadership consists of: Majority Leader Bob Stenehjem (R- 30, Bismarck), Assistant Leader Randel Christmann (R-33, Hazen) and Chairman of Judiciary Dave Nething (R-12, Jamestown).

Concerned Women for America (CWA) of North Dakota and its members request a full and detailed explanation of yesterday’s events from said leadership immediately. However, from the cowardly actions seen on the Senate floor yesterday, we sincerely doubt there will be sufficient or acceptable reasons for this anti-life non-vote! The old saying goes; “if you danced with the devil for a good reason, you still danced with the devil”. Is it the intent of the GOP leadership in North Dakota to dance with the likes of Planned Parenthood and the Red River Abortion clinic in Fargo? Or is it the duty of the leadership to represent their constituents, and not play politics with the lives of unborn North Dakota babies?

North Dakotans elect their officials for the purpose of representing their constituents. When those elected officials take politically self-serving actions like those seen yesterday on HB1450 — showing unwillingness even to vote yea or nay on an issue fundamental to our very well-being as a state — then, it is time those officials stepped down and re-learn what it means to be a constituent.

Yesterday’s hard-hearted Pelosi/Reid-style tactics have no place in North Dakota’s legislature.

Thankfully, Sen. Joe Miller, (R-16, Park River), tried to revive the bill but failed to reach the two-thirds vote needed. The vote was 26-21. We commend Senator Miller and the Senators who stood with him on this motion to reconsider!

We ask that you all contact Senator Miller at and thank him for his leadership and principled stand.

Senator Margaret Sitte (R-35, Bismarck) called the attack on HB1450 a “premeditated political maneuver”. Senator Sitte fought tirelessly in Judiciary Committee to bring this bill to the floor for a vote and we thank her for all her efforts.

When the dust is settled on this, and it will settle fast and clear, North Dakotans will see clearly who truly takes their elected office seriously and who, sadly, plays politics in blatant disregard of their duties.

The deceptive maneuvers get even worse in light of the fact that for weeks, and even more intensely for the past three days, lawmakers and pro-life leaders worked day and night, in good faith, with Senator Olafson, and his chairman Senator Nething, to resolve differences on key language in the bill. It was the clear and respected understanding, having seen a 5 -1 Do Pass from Judiciary Committee, that there would be a vote on the floor of the Senate on HB1450. An honest vote on whether to keep or remove parts of the amendments was also expected. These are normal, open and respectful procedures. However, that is not what happened. Instead, Sen. Olafson and the GOP leadership used deceitful tactics to kill the bill so that no vote could be recorded. It was a slick way to avoid taking a stand! As a national leader recently said, when are we going to see some steel spine in our elected officials to stand on principle, regardless of on which side of the political aisle they may find themselves? Enough is enough, and it is time to call North Dakota officials to accountability!

This type of cowardice, unwillingness to put your name on a vote, will not be accepted. Not on our watch, not in our state, and certainly not on an issue of such deep value and truth as the defense of the unborn. How can we trust such “leaders” with the purse strings of our state when they act in this way? Come to think of it, I doubt after yesterday’s spineless self-serving maneuver that I would even trust them to babysit my kids. And that should tell us all something!

ACTION: Contact the following senators and express your disgust with yesterday’s failure to vote on HB1450:

Be aware that there will be a very clever political spin on this issue, but stand your ground. North Dakota deserved an honest vote on this bill. We did not get one! Period!