Good Day, Friends!
Yesterday, the NDUnited Lobby Team met for a post-legislative session debrief of the 67th Legislative Session.
As the leader of our lobbying efforts at the Capitol, it was nice to put into perspective the entirety of our work there this past session. I am very proud of our team both at the Capitol and in our offices whose efforts lead to a well-rounded plan to represent our members’ voices in the public and in committee rooms. Here are a few of my takeaways from that meeting:
- ND United got big wins in turning away three voucher bills that would have used public monies for private schools and to reward parents who choose to homeschool or send their kids to private schools (HB 1281, HB 1369, and SB 2288).
- NDU also scored wins in our support of the Higher Ed funding bill, salary increases for state public employees, and an increase in the K-12 funding formula of 1% in each year of the next biennium.
- We were able to save the defined benefit retirement plan offered by the ND Public Employee Retirement System (ND PERS) by rallying to defeat an effort to end the DB plan for all new employees in 2023. This ill-conceived legislation would have catastrophic consequences for current plan members as well as the state of North Dakota.
- We were able to mitigate the effects of an attack on collective bargaining for K-12 teachers by extending the date by which negotiations must conclude from June 1 to July 1 and eliminated the emergency clause making sure it does not take effect until next year.
- We supported the improvement of leave sharing for state employees so that there is now more consistency across state agencies for what constitutes applicable leave.
- There were some very good bills that we supported that, sadly, did not pass. Paid family leave, the expansion of the teacher support program (mentoring), a study of teachers’ out of pocket expenditures, a study of the feasibility of providing free breakfast and lunch to all students, student teacher scholarships, after school programming, and full-time benefits for full time-temporary employees were all great ideas that were rejected by this legislature.
- Nearly one thousand ND united members took actions on behalf of their colleagues, their professions, and the North Dakotans they serve. From post cards to emails to attending legislative forums in their districts to making phone calls, our members stepped up and spoke out on issues important to all of us. Thank you so much for your activism!
All in all, we had a very good legislative session. Still, there is much work to do in the interim and in the next session, of course, and I am 100% committed to doing it. During the time between sessions, ND Untied will be fully engaged in the interim work as well as in crafting our narrative and sharing it with decision makers. We must convey to legislators and the public at large just how essential our work is to the success of our state. Regardless of what your job is, North Dakota United members are providing the vital services our state relies on every day. Like you, I believe in our members and value their work. Through our efforts, the entire state will do the same.
Thank you for all you do and all you will do in service to North Dakota!