Hello, NDU members!
We have several updates on important legislation to share this week. Now that we’re into February, hearings will be slowing down as bills are amended and debated in committee. Please continue to monitor your emails for updates and Action Alerts as the legislative session progresses!
Didn’t catch our previous emails? Check our Issues and Action page to read about our priorities.
Lifetime Teaching Licensure Requirements
A floor vote was held yesterday on House Bill 1329, which lowers the lifetime teaching licensure requirements from 30 years of experience to 20 years. With a vote of 87 yeas to 6 nays, HB1329 passed through the House and will continue to the Senate after crossover later this month! We can proudly say that NDU member testimony in favor of this bill played a role in its passage in the House of Representatives. Check out Fargo Education Association President Kim Reger’s testimony here. This is yet another example of how we can influence legislation by collectively raising our voices. We strongly encourage members to continue being the powerful advocates they are as the session continues!
Testimony was heard Wednesday on House Bill 1532, which would create a school voucher scheme in the form of an “education reimbursement program”. There was strong opposing testimony in front of the House Education Committee, where many highlighted that this bill would directly reduce funding for our public school system. Others mentioned the lack of accountability for private schools, the fact that private schools are not required to take all students who apply, and are not equipped to educate those with special needs. Click here to watch NDU President Nick Archuleta’s testimony. You can find additional testimony here. This hearing was one of the most highly attended hearings the House Education Committee has ever seen. We know this fight is only going to get more intense as the bill progresses through the legislature. Stay tuned for updates and future action alerts so we can elevate our voices against this harmful legislation.
House Bill 1446 seeks to implement a pilot program to dramatically change the tenure process at Bismarck State College and Dickinson State University. The bill would undermine tenure as we know it and implement a process under which the president of the institution could non-renew tenured faculty at any time, under vague criteria and without documentation. Representative Mike Lefor, the bill sponsor, and DSU President Steve Easton have both stated that they would like this process implemented across the state. Tenured faculty undergo regular evaluations and are subject to policies that ensure accountability without eliminating their due process rights. Faculty at universities across the state deserve the right to academic freedom without the fear of retaliation from administrators. By giving presidents of institutions this unchecked power, we are putting our educators and institutions at extreme risk. A hearing took place this morning where our higher ed members were joined in strong opposition to the bill with other interested parties. If you would like to support them in opposing this bill, you can send an email here.
Legislative Organizing Calls
The future of North Dakota is in our hands. The best way to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the legislative session is to tune in to our organizing calls every other Tuesday. These calls are not only an exciting way to interact with the team at the Capitol representing you, but also an excellent opportunity to ask questions about legislation that is on your mind. Join us via Zoom on February 7 at 6pm for the call.
Vouchers Action Alert
While we wait for the House Education Committee to set a time to vote on a recommendation for HB 1532, let’s keep up the pressure and continue to make our voice heard that we are opposed to this bill. Send an email to the members of the committee letting them know that it is vital we keep public dollars in public education using the link below.
Email the House Education Committee!
Up Next …
Whether you have been involved for years or are interested in getting started for the first time, we will be providing advocacy trainings where members can learn more about the importance of their advocacy, how to get started, and some best practices. The same training will be provided every two weeks starting Tuesday, February 28, at 6pm, so choose the Tuesday that works best for you. You only need to attend once to get all the information!
We’re monitoring bills that relate to our top priorities. Stay tuned to your email for action alerts as the session progresses and head to our Bills of Interest page to stay informed on bills we’re monitoring.
If you have any questions, comments, ideas, etc. please contact me at email@example.com.