Legislative Update December 2023-January 2024

Update by

Prof. William Wagner

WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at SAU

Issue brief

Updated January 3, 2024

This update includes a summary of Federal and State actions impacting Christian people.  It also includes a prayer guide we pray you will find beneficial.

Federal Executive Actions Impacting Christian Citizens

Federal Executive Actions impact Christian citizens. Recent executive orders from the White House and other Federal Executive actions include:

  • A Proclamation on National Child’s Day 2023 (promoting LGBTQ+ gender transition; climate change, and gun control) (November 17, 2023)
  • A Proclamation on National Adoption (October 31, 2023)
  • A Proclamation on International Day of the Girl (October 10, 2023)
  • Executive Order on the Continuance of Certain Federal Advisory Committees and Amendments to Other Executive Orders (September 29, 2023)
  • A Proclamation on National Hunting and Fishing Day, 2023 (September 22, 2023)
  • A Proclamation on Constitution Day (September 15, 2023)
  • A Proclamation on Women’s Equality Day, 2023 (August 25, 2023)
  • Executive Order on Strengthening Access to Affordable, High-Quality Contraception and Family Planning Services (June 23, 2023)
  • A Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Pride Month, 2023 (May 31, 2023)
  • A Proclamation on National Women’s Health Week, 2023 (May 12, 2023)
  • A Proclamation on Revoking the Air Travel COVID-⁠19 Vaccination Requirement (May 9, 2023)
  • Executive Order on Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All (April 21, 2023)
  • Rule Rescinding Religious Freedom Protections for Student Organizations in Higher Education, Department of Education, ED-2023-OPE-0029 (March 2023)
  • Rule Weakening Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations, Department of Education, RIN 1840-AD467 (March 2023)
  • Rule Weakening Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations, Department of Homeland Security, RIN 1601-AB02 (March 2023)
  • Rule Weakening Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, Department of Agriculture, RIN 0510-AA008 (March 2023)
  • Rule Weakening Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations, Agency for International Development, RIN 0412-AB10 (March 2023)
  • Rule Weakening Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations, Department of Housing and Urban Development, RIN 2501-AD91 (March 2023)
  • Rule Weakening with Faith-Based Organizations, Department of Justice, RIN 1105-AB64 (March 2023)
  • Rule Weakening Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations, Department of Labor, RIN 1290-AA45 (March 2023)
  • Rule Weakening Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations, Department of Veterans Affairs, RIN 2900-AR23 (March 2023)
  • Rule Weakening Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations, Department of Health & Human Services, HHS_FRDOC_0001 (March 2023)
  • Access to Abortion Services to kill unborn living child, Executive Order 14079 of August 3, 2022
  • Protecting Access To Abortion Services to kill unborn living child, Executive Order 14076 of July 8, 2022
  • Advancing Equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex lifestyles, Executive Order 14075 of June 15, 2022
  • Federal Contracting – Promoting Pay Equity, Executive Order 14069 of March 15, 2022
  • White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity etc for Black Americans, Executive Order 14050 of October 19, 2021
  • White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity etc for Hispanic Americans, Executive Order 14045 of September 13, 2021
  • White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity etc through historically Black Colleges and Universities, Executive Order 14041 of September 3, 2021
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, etc in American Workforce, Executive Order 14035 of June 25, 2021
  • Advancing Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, Executive Order 14031 of May 28, 2021
  • Establishing a Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, Executive Order 14023 of April 9, 2021
  • Guaranteeing Educational Environment with special protections on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, Executive Order 14021 of March 8, 2021
  • Establishing Whitehouse Gender Policy Council,  Executive Order 14020 of March 8, 2021
  • Revoking Executive Orders issued during the previous Administration (e.g., EO to eliminate poverty), Executive Order 14018 of February 24, 2021
  • Revoking/ Changing Faith-based initiatives issued during previous administration, Executive Order 14015 of February 14, 2021 – Amends: EO 13198, January 29, 2001; EO 13279, December 12, 2002; EO 13280, December 12, 2002, EO 13342, June 1, 2004; EO 13397, March 7, 2006; Revokes: EO 13831, May 3, 2018)
  • Enabling service in U.S. Military and the basis of self-identified gender identity, Executive Order 14004 of January 25, 2021
  • Encouraging Union Organizing, Executive Order 14003 of January 22, 2021
  • Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response, Executive Order 13995 of January 21, 2021 
  • Providing special protections on the basis of gender and gender identity, Executive Order 13988 of January 20, 2021
  • Counseling to abort unborn child via VA, funded by taxpayers: AR57-Interim Final Rule
  • Revoking Executive Orders issued during the previous Administration:  Executive Order 13925  (Preventing Online Censorship), Executive Order 13933 (Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence), Executive Order 13934  (Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes), Executive Order 13964  (Rebranding United States Foreign Assistance To Advance American Influence), Executive Order 13978  (Building the National Garden of American Heroes), and Executive Order 13980 (Protecting Americans From Over-criminalization Through Regulatory Reform).
  • Revoking the 1776 Commission combating race and sex stereotyping, The new EO rejects equality of opportunity and instead advances equity outcomes
  • Requiring military to allow biological/ anatomical men who identify as women, and vice versa, to serve openly in U.S. military.
  • Creating special Rights on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, directing agencies to review current regulations.  The EO allows biological/ anatomical men who identify as women, and vice versa, access to restrooms, locker rooms and school sports of the opposite sex.
  • Various Executive Orders advancing “Equity” principles over Equality (undermining the truth that all are made in the image of God and are therefore worthy and entitled to be treated with dignity, fairness, and respect)  Executive Order 14050Executive Order 14049Executive Order 14045;
  • Shot mandates subject to First Amendment Free Exercise of Religious Conscience: Federal Employees;  Federal Contractors    

Summary of Executive Actions

State Executive Actions Impacting Christian Citizens

Matters Pending Before U.S. Congress and State Legislature, etc.

Additionally, many matters pending before the U.S. Congress and your State Legislature impact Christian people.


Special Alert

Michigan Legislature and State AG proposing to regulate fit parents and their educational choices. Here is Prof. Wagner’s analysis, originally published in the Detroit News.

Michigan Legislature poised to pass law making young human beings property and allowing for contracts to buy and sell human beings (not a joke). Here is Prof. Wagner’s non-partisan testimony in opposition.


Legislative Trackers


Good Governance 
Protecting marriage & family 
Value of Human Life 
Religious Liberty 
(1 Peter 2:13-17)(Genesis 2:24; Psalm 127:3)(Genesis 1:27)(Jude 1:3-4)

Note the special color-coded feature indicating whether the proposed law reinforces, is neutral toward, or contradicts our core values. We’ve also added a feature to let you know if a particular piece of legislation is actively moving.

Public Comment Before Michigan Supreme Court

  • Amendment of Rule 1.109 of the Michigan Court Rules now directs judges to use pronouns preferred by parties and attorneys, even when doing so requires the judge to lie) Go HERE to hear Prof. Wagner’s testimony before the Supreme Court

The Year in Review: Prof. Wagner’s 2023 Testimony/Gov. Presentations/ Written Evidence

  • Surrogacy Bill Package – Do not Make Human Beings Property; Do not Sell Human Beings, non-partisan testimony before the Michigan legislature. (November 1, 2023)
  • SB 305; SB 396; SB 463 Good Governance and Parental Guidance in Education, non-partisan testimony before the Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Education. (October 25, 2023)
  • SB 474; SB 475; SB 476; SB 477; SB 593 Protecting the Sanctity of Life, non-partisan testimony, on proposal to deregulate abortion, repeal bans on partial birth abortion, infanticide, and remove reporting for good governance before the Michigan Senate Housing and Human Services Committee. (October 17, 2023)
  • SB 474; SB 475; SB 476; SB 477 Protecting the Sanctity of Life, non-partisan testimony, on proposal to deregulate abortion, remove coercion screening, informed consent, reporting standards for good governance, and bans on late-term abortion before the Michigan Senate Housing and Human Services Committee. (October 10, 2023)
  • On Proposed Rulemaking, Pregnant Workers Fairness Act  written comment submitted to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, RIN 0955-AA03 (September 29, 2023)
  • HB 4085; HB 4086 Protecting Children and Parents & Preserving the Family, non-partisan testimony, on proposal to shelter and provide for runaway youth without parental knowledge or consent and without due process; before the Michigan House of Representatives Health Policy Committee. (September 25, 2023)
  • HB 4949; HB 4950; HB 4951; HB 4952; HB 4953; HB 4954; HB 4954;  HB 4955; HB 4956; HB 4957; HB 4958; HB 4959; Protecting the Sanctity of Life, non-partisan testimony, on proposal to deregulate abortion, remove coercion screening, informed consent, reporting standards for good governance, and bans on partial birth abortion and infanticide; require private insurance and publicly funded insurance to cover elective abortion; before the Michigan House of Representatives Health Policy Committee. (September 20, 2023)
  • HB 4949; HB 4950; HB 4951; HB 4952; HB 4953; HB 4954; HB 4954;  HB 4955; HB 4956; HB 4957; HB 4958; HB 4959; Protecting the Sanctity of Life, non-partisan testimony, on proposal to deregulate abortion, remove coercion screening, informed consent, reporting standards for good governance, and bans on partial birth abortion and infanticide; require private insurance and publicly funded insurance to cover elective abortion; before the Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors. (September 13, 2023)
  • HB 4474; HB 4475 Preserving Freedom of Speech, non-partisan testimony, on proposal to criminalize speech, before the Michigan House of Representative Criminal Justice Committee. (June 13, 2023)
  • SB 348; SB 349 Fighting for Freedom of Expression, non-partisan written testimony, on proposed SOGI censorship law for counselors, before the Michigan Senate Health Policy Committee & Housing and Human Services Committee (June 7-8, 2023)
  • HB 4616; HB 4617 Fighting for Freedom of Expression, non-partisan written testimony, on proposed SOGI censorship law for counselors, before the Michigan House of Representatives Health Policy Subcommittee on Behavioral Health (June 7-8, 2023)
  • HB 4474; HB 4475 Preserving Freedom of Speech, non-partisan written testimony, on proposal to criminalize speech, before the Michigan House of Representative Criminal Justice Committee. (June 6, 2023)
  • On Proposed Rulemaking: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance: Sex-Related Eligibility Criteria for Male and Female Athletic Teams, written comment submitted to Department of Education, ED-2022-OCR-0143  (May 15, 2023)
  • HB 152: Preserving the Freedom to Educate and the Right of Christian Parents to Direct the Upbringing of their Children, non-partisan written testimony before the Louisiana House of Representatives, Committee on civil law and procedure. (May 8, 2023)
  • HB6: Preserving the Freedom to Educate and the Right of Christian Parents to Direct the Upbringing of their Children, non-partisan written testimony before the Alabama House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary (April 12, 2023)
  • Amending the Constitution – Empowering Parents to Protect Children’s Education, presented at various congressional offices at the U.S. House of Representative (March 28, 2023)
  • On Motion to the U.S. Supreme Court, appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, moving admission to the Court of eleven members of the Religious Liberty Law Section of the Michigan Bar. (March 21, 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Amendment of Rule 1.109 of the Michigan Court Rules (requiring judges to use pronouns preferred by parties and attorneys, even when doing so requires the judge to lie) Written Comment Prepared for the Michigan Supreme Court (2023)
  • SB 147 Forcing Christians to Participate and Pay For Abortions of Others is Wrong, written testimony before the Michigan Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety. (March 15, 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Rescission of Religious Freedom Protections for Student Organizations in Higher Education, written comment submitted to Department of Education, ED-2023-OPE-0029 (March 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Education, RIN 1840-AD467 (March 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Homeland Security, RIN 1601-AB02 (March 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Agriculture, RIN 0510-AA008 (March 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Agency for International Development, RIN 0412-AB10 (March 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Housing and Urban Development, RIN 2501-AD91 (March 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Justice, RIN 1105-AB64 (March 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Labor, RIN 1290-AA45 (March 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Veterans Affairs, RIN 2900-AR23 (March 2023)
  • Opposing Proposed Rulemaking, Partnerships with Faith-Based and Neighborhood Organizations, written comment submitted to Department of Health & Human Services, HHS_FRDOC_0001 (March 2023)
  • Stop Harming and Start Protecting – Written petition to the Negotiators at the United Nations Commission on the States of Women (opposing proposals advancing the sexualizing of children and unrestricted abortion) (2023)
  • Fix the Injustice – Written petition to the Port Wentworth City Council in support of Police Officer against whom the city discriminated based on the Officers exercise of religious conscience.
  • SB 4 -How Proposed SOGI Amendments Infringe on Constitutionally Protected Freedoms, presented to the Michigan Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety. (2023)
  • HB 4003 -How Proposed SOGI Amendments Infringe on Constitutionally Protected Freedoms, presented to the Michigan House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. (2023)
  • Sb 2, 37, 38, and 39 Protecting Human Life or Infanticide, presented to the Michigan Senate Committee on Health Policy (2023)
  • HB 4006, 4031, 4032 Protecting Human Life or Infanticide, presented to the Michigan House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary (2023)
  • SB 18 Remembering the Past – Korematsu, presented to the Michigan Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety.
  • Addressing the Character of Julie Rikelman nominated as U.S. Circuit Judge to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals – Written testimony before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary (2023)
  • Addressing the Character of Nancy Abudu, nominated as U.S. Circuit Judge to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals – Written testimony before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary (2023)

Corporate Communications

  • Fairness Requires Cessation of Censorship – Written petition to AT&T and Direct TV in response to the corporate decision to drop Newsmax, because its news coverage includes Christian viewpoints.

In the Highest Courts of the Land

U.S. Supreme Court Cases

  • Debra A. Vitagliano v. County of Westchester, N.Y. (23-74) (2023) (representing Wagner Faith & Freedom Center and Right to Life – MI). Brief filed in support of Petitioner challenging law making it a crime to express a pro-life viewpoint on the topic of abortion while on a public sidewalk in proximity to an abortion clinic.  Whether the Court should overrule the holding in Hill v. Colorado that improperly enables government to prohibit and punishing speech with which it disagrees — and why the doctrine of stare decisis does not require adherence to the incorrect holding of that case?
  • Brian Tingley v. Attorney General of Washington (22-942) (2023) (representing Wagner Faith & Freedom Center) Brief filed in support of professional counselor where state interfered with the counselor’s First Amendment liberty by requiring him to renounce his Christian expression, conscience, identity, and beliefs, or face professional discipline.  Whether the free exercise of religious expression is a fundamental constitutional right that limits generally applicable government laws?
  • College of the Ozarks v. Joe Biden, et al., (22-816) (2023). (representing Wagner Faith & Freedom Center and the American Association of Christian Schools), Brief filed in support of Christian University where state interfered with the free exercise of religious conscience by requiring Christian universities to allow biological men identifying as women to shower and room with biological women. Whether the government conduct here (failing to give statutorily required notice and hearing so as to allow citizen participation in the government’s rule-making) provides sufficient reason to challenge the government action?

U.S. Court of Appeals Cases

  • Littlejohn v. School Bd of Leon Co. FLA (23-10385) (11th Cir) Parental Rights Foundation amicus in support of parents. Whether the District Court erred in ruling that the right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is not clearly established as a fundamental right?
  • Foote, et al. v. Town of Ludlow, et al., (23-106) (1st Cir.) Parental Rights Foundation amicus in support of parents challenging public school policy that prohibits school from informing parents in matters where the school is assisting child to permanently change their sex.  Whether the government school’s policy unconstitutionally infringes on a Christian parent’s constitutional right to control and direct the upbringing of their child.

State Supreme Court Cases

  • Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc and Jack Phillips., (2023) (Colorado) representing members of the Colorado legislature in support of Christian baker repeatedly facing government sanction for exercising sincerely held religious conscience.  Whether the government action yet again violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc and Jack Phillips., (2023) (Colorado) representing members of the Colorado legislature in support of Christian baker repeatedly facing government sanction for exercising sincerely held religious conscience.  Whether the Court should grant review to determine whether the government action yet again violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

pray together

Prayer Guide

Good Governance

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:13-17)
  • Pray that God will raise up Godly men and women to serve in government agencies, the legislature and the judicial system at both the state and federal levels.
  • Pray that governmental, legislative and judicial leaders that don’t currently have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ would experience a spiritual revival and turn to Christ.
  • Pray that any attempts to limit an individual’s rights especially in regards to religious expression, marriage, family and personal property would be thwarted.
  • Pray that believers would have courage to boldly protect and speak out against any proposed rules, policy or legislation that would infringe on an individual’s God-given rights.
  • Pray that believers would commit to regularly loving, honoring and serving their leaders.

Protection of Traditional Marriage and the Family

“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”  Psalm 127:3
  • Pray that legislation, regulations and policy that serve to break down the institutions of traditional marriage and the family would be blocked.
  • Pray that God would protect Christian marriages and families and that they would serve as a light to those who are need of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Pray believers will boldly stand-up against attempts to indoctrinate children and youth through the educational system in values that are contrary to the Biblical view of marriage and the family.
  • Pray for protection for pastors, educators, governmental leaders and business leaders who uphold the values of traditional marriage and the family.
  • Pray for Christian parents to have wisdom as they disciple their kids in Biblical values related to marriage and family in a secular culture.
  • Pray for believers to live a righteous life that is pleasing to the Lord and free from the entanglements of pornography and sexual sins. Pray for a repentant heart for those who are caught in the cycle of sexual sin and the strength to seek the Christian professional help they need to experience freedom.

Value of Human Life

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
  • Pray that our culture would grasp and uphold the value of all human life born and unborn.
  • Pray that Roe v. Wade would not return under the guise of state constitutional and statutory law
  • Pray that state legislatures would be successful in adopting laws that protect all human life from the womb to the grave.
  • Pray that the Body of Christ would experience unity as we view every person as a beautiful and valuable creation designed in God’s image.
  • Pray that those who are victims of human trafficking are rescued and restored through the hope of Christ and those who are committing the crimes of human trafficking are captured and brought to justice.

Religious Liberty

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:3-4)
  • Pray that any attempt to pass laws or regulations that would limit the practice of religious freedom and expression would be thwarted.
  • Pray that attempts to censor the voices of believers would be unsuccessful. That the truth of the Gospel would continue to be boldly proclaimed in our nation.
  • Pray that evangelical churches would remain true to the fidelity of scripture. That they would not allow cultural beliefs and ideologies to taint the power and truth of God’s Word.
  • Pray that God would strengthen, encourage and protect pastors as they preach God’s Word and shepherd their churches. Pray that pastors would boldly proclaim the Gospel and not compromise the truth of God’s Word even when pressured by the culture and governmental leaders and policies.
  • Pray that believers would carefully study and obey God’s Word on a regular basis.
  • Pray that our nation would experience a spiritual revival and turn back to God and His Word.

Contact the Governor:

Mail:

Governor Gretchen Whitmer
P.O. Box 30013,
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Phone:

517-373-3400
517-335-7858 (Constituent Services)

About the Author

Prof. William Wagner
WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at SAU
Professor Wagner holds the WFFC Distinguished Chair for Faith & Freedom at Spring Arbor University. He has a special interest in building and preserving environments where Christians may share the Good News of Jesus, free from persecution and oppression.

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