Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Family Policy Alliance, a ‘values-based’ advocacy group, has honored Montana and North Dakota as the ‘Most Pro-Family’ states in the U.S.

KGVO News spoke to Derek Oestreicher, Chief Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at the Montana Family Foundation on Wednesday about the award.

“The Family Policy Alliance was tracking all 50 state legislatures for the past session and took a look at North Dakota and Montana and just our success rate in the legislature of promoting and passing family-friendly legislation,” began Oestreicher. “So, actually it's the first time in history that two states got it but Montana and North Dakota are the most pro-family states in the nation.”

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Montana Shared the 'Family Friendly' Award with North Dakota

Oestreicher referenced just some of the legislation that was passed in the last session to garner such an award.

“From House Bill 225, which was an adoption tax credit, a very pro-family bill,” he said. House Bill 234 was a bill to clarify that there was no exemption for teachers, librarians, or anyone at a school to show obscene material to children. We had House Bill 361, Brandon Ler’s bill that ensures that children are protected when they're referring to another student by their biological sex that they're not going to be accused of discrimination.”

Bills Passed by the State Legislature led to the Family Friendly Award

One of the distinctions received by Montana from the Family Policy Alliance was a ‘help not harm’ award.

“We had also had the Help-not-Harm Bill, which was one of 20 states in the nation to now have a ‘help not harm’ piece of legislation in Montana and that was Senate Bill 99. It protects minors in Montana from harmful and life-changing medical interventions like gender transition surgery, or puberty blockers, or cross-sex hormones. These are irreversible medical experiments on children that they're now protected from here in Montana.”

Several of the 'Family Friendly' Bills are Being Challenged in Court

Oestreicher said there are several court actions currently in effect to attempt to block some of the bills passed in the most recent legislative session.

“Currently we have four pro-life bills that are being litigated that have been preliminarily enjoined, and they're on appeal in front of the Montana Supreme Court,” he said. “Senate Bill 99 has been challenged, but it is still the law of the land here in Montana. It has not been enjoined, but it has seen a legal challenge over in Missoula, and then House Bill 562, which is the community choice school piece of legislation that has also been challenged here in Lewis and Clark County.”

The online award ceremony was held on Wednesday, August 30.

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