Hello, NDU members!
With three weeks left in the legislative session, we are nearing the end of a hectic assembly. Although there were countless legislative attempts to undermine public education and public service, we did a significant amount of work to hold our elected officials accountable. Keep reading to learn where we stand and what’s next.
Didn’t catch our previous emails? Check our Issues and Action page to read about our priorities.
House Bill 1532 passed 27-19-1 in the Senate earlier this week and was concurred in the House on a 51-41-2 vote. The bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law. Throughout the session, we have outlined countless reasons why private school vouchers are bad for North Dakota. Once signed by Governor Burgum, HB 1532 will take $10 million public dollars from the general fund – away from public institutions that depend on public money – and hand it to private schools with no accountability.
Thank you to everyone who called, emailed, and spoke to legislators on this issue. We sent 53,766 emails to Senators and Representatives over the last four months. Our job is not yet done! Please head down to the Act section and send an email to Governor Burgum asking him to veto HB 1532. Although we are asking Governor Burgum to veto the bill, we expect him to sign it. North Dakota United is currently exploring all our options to prevent this bad legislation from becoming law.
House Bill 1040, the bad pension bill that would close the defined-benefit pension plan to new public workers by 2025, was given a 9-6-1 do pass recommendation out of Senate Appropriations and will be heard early next week on the floor for final passage. Keep sending emails to Senators via the action alert below as we still have a chance to kill this bill!
Senate Bill 2247, which began as a bill to prohibit teaching of certain “divisive concepts” in higher education institutions, has been amended to only restrict training and non-credit education of these now so-called “specified” concepts. Specified concepts in the bill relate to diversity, inclusion, and equity. This bill is a solution in search of a problem, with no evidence in higher education that these concepts have created an issue in credit or non-credit learning. Additionally, proponents of SB 2247 are concerned about what kids are learning, but this bill would specifically dictate what adults learn. There were only seven testimonies in support of the bill, four of which came from legislators, while 30 testimonies were submitted in opposition. The amended bill unfortunately passed in the House this week on a 50-39-5 vote and will be sent to the Senate to concur before going to Governor Burgum to become law.
Contact Governor Burgum and ask him to veto HB 1532! Click the link below to send your message and stay tuned for further action as we explore our options to defeat this bill.
House Bill 1040 will be heard on the Senate floor next week! This is our last chance to defeat this bill, so be sure to click the link below and flood Senators’ inboxes with emails urging a NO vote on HB 1040!
Members of North Dakota United have been advocating for increases to per-pupil funding for K-12 public schools of 8% in both years of the coming budget cycle, and for 8% increases in both years to salaries for K-12 educators, state employees, and higher ed faculty and staff.
Senate Bill 2284 is the vehicle for K-12 funding and is currently sitting at 3.5% and 3% funding and educator raises for the next biennium. These yearly increases are woefully inadequate, and we need to ensure that our legislators know it will not be enough to account for inflation, cost of living, and the previously inadequate increases in funding from the last few years. This bill also includes a $6 million dollar appropriation to raise the eligibility for free school lunches to students whose parents make less than $60,000 per year.
Email your legislators about funding!
Senate Bill 2360 was laid over and will be discussed on the House floor soon. This bill would ban books with “obscene material” and penalize librarians and businesses with a misdemeanor, resulting in one year of jail time. North Dakota United is staunchly opposed to book bans and we urge members to join the North Dakota Library Association in sending a letter to your Representatives opposing SB 2360.
Email the House about SB 2360!
At a time of serious teacher shortage and burnout, the last thing we need is a bill like SB 2260 that piles more requirements on teachers. Educators would love more parental involvement, but onerous requirements and mandates like those in this bill ignore the expertise of educators and are unworkable in practice. SB 2260 was amended this morning to remove individual liability for educators. While this amendment made the bill slightly better, it is still harmful to education. The bill received a 10-4 “do pass”.
Email your House member to vote no on SB 2260!
Up next …
Legislative Debrief Calls
Our legislative debrief calls give you the opportunity to hear updates directly from those representing you at the Capitol and get answers to any questions involving the legislative session. Join us via Zoom on April 18 at 6pm for the call.
These updates involve the most urgent matters relating to our top priorities. We’re monitoring many more bills and issues and encourage you to stay tuned to your email for action alerts as the session progresses. Head to our Bills of Interest page to stay informed on other bills we’re monitoring!
If you have any questions, comments, ideas, etc. please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.