Hello, NDU members!
It was a busy week at the Capitol and next week will be no different, so keep reading to get updates on pensions, vouchers, tenure, and actions you can take to make sure legislators hear your voice!
Didn’t catch our previous emails? Check our Issues and Action page to read about our priorities.
Hearings for both House Bill 1040 and Senate Bill 2239 were heard this week. As a reminder, HB 1040 would close the defined-benefit pension plan to new hires by 2025, while SB 2239 would fund and retain the pension plan, keeping a valuable recruitment and retention tool available to workers in North Dakota. The committees handling each of these bills will be working to amend and come to a recommendation in the next few days, so please keep sending messages via the action alerts below opposing HB 1040 and supporting SB 2239!
House Bill 1532 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, March 14, at 9 am. This bill would take $24 million over the next two years and put it in the hands of private schools, who have no obligation to accept every student, nor any regulations as to where they allocate the funds they receive. As we’ve said before, North Dakota United supports a parent’s right to choose where they educate their child, but $12 million dollars per year in the hands of private schools is $24 million dollars taken from our public institutions that rely solely on public funding.
Please head to the Act section below to send an email to the Senate Education Committee telling them your perspective on HB 1532, urging committee members to render a “do not pass” recommendation on the bill. Then submit your message as testimony using the directions in the alert. We CAN convince our legislators to do the right thing, but it will take all of us to do so!
The purpose of tenure is to assure academic freedom and allow our institutions of higher education to be centers for free thought and expression. House Bill 1446 would attack tenure by creating a pilot program at Bismarck State College and Dickinson State University that gives University Presidents unilateral power to fire tenured professors with no fear of retaliation. This attack on tenure would not only make North Dakota’s higher ed institutions less attractive to educators looking for employment, it would also have a chilling effect on a faculty member’s willingness to shine a light on fraud or misuse of taxpayer dollars at a public institution.
Our educators should not fear losing their job by exercising their right to academic freedom!
Make your voice heard on this dangerous bill by clicking the link below and sending an email to the Senate Education Committee, which is hearing testimony on HB 1446 Monday, March 3rd, at 11 am. Then submit your message as testimony before the hearing on Monday!
Legislators on both committees hearing HB 1040 and SB 2239 have mentioned the number of emails they’ve been receiving regarding these bills. Keep up the pressure! Continue your great work and send an email to the committee members urging a “do not pass” recommendation on HB 1040 and a “do pass” recommendation for SB 2239.
HB 1532 is heading to committee Tuesday, March 14, at 9 am. There are two actions you can take right now to help defeat this bill:
Send an email in opposition of this bill now to ensure the committee hears our members’ voices on this issue. By filling out the form below, your message will automatically be sent to members of the Senate Education Committee.
Email the committee about HB 1532!
The next step is to use your same message to submit written testimony to the committee. Supporters of this bill have been submitting testimony in droves. We must ensure that Senators hear the truth from our perspective. We heard from legislators that many of the newer members use the number of submissions when considering issues. You can submit testimony at this link. Click here to learn how to submit testimony!
HB 1446 is being heard in the Senate Education Committee on March 13th at 11 am. Please speak up today to protect higher education! By clicking the link below, your message will be sent to all members on the committee. We also encourage you to submit your email as testimony on this bill, which you can do here.
Email the committee about HB 1446!
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, March 14th at 6pm, so choose the Tuesday that works best for you. You only need to attend once to get all the information!
Join fellow advocates from across North Dakota tomorrow, March 11th, at 10 am to learn how we can leverage our collective power to improve our communities and the state! This month’s theme is “From the Home Front to the Legislative Front” and will consist of a panel of medical students, parents, librarians, and childcare workers focused on influencing legislation this session, as well as feature guest Taylor Brorby.
Zandbroz Postcard Writing
On Monday, March 13, at 5:30 pm, the ACLU will be hosting a postcard writing party at Zandbroz in Fargo. Join us in writing postcards to Senators and Representatives about legislation that impacts you and your community!
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.