- Governor Burgum vetoed school voucher bill HB 1532.
- Governor Burgum vetoed Senate Bill 2360, the book ban bill that would criminalize librarians and cost hundreds of millions to taxpayers. The House sustained his veto.
- the House introduced an expansive childcare relief bill in House Bill 1540. The bill provides investments in childcare assistance for working families.
In case you missed the incredible news from last week, Governor Burgum vetoed school voucher bill HB 1532. Earlier this week, the bill was sent to the House for a potential veto override vote. Members of the House voted 52-41-1 to sustain Governor Burgum’s veto and HB 1532 was officially defeated.
Again, we want to thank the thousands of members who acted through NDU action alerts, letters to the editors, personal testimonies, and face-to-face communications with their legislators. We sent 58,350 emails to Senators, Representatives, and the Governor about HB 1532. This victory would not have been possible without you making your opposition abundantly clear to legislators and Governor Burgum.
After both chambers passed Senate Bill 2360, the book ban bill that would criminalize librarians and cost hundreds of millions to taxpayers, Governor Burgum vetoed the bill. On Wednesday, SB 2360 was sent back to the Senate, where they were unfortunately successful in voting to override the Governor’s veto. The bill went to the House, where they voted to sustain the veto and kept this terrible bill from becoming law.
Meanwhile, House Bill 1205 was signed by Governor Burgum. While this new law does not include a criminal penalty, it is poorly written, redundant legislation that puts government in the way of local public library control and processes.
Senate Bill 2260, a “parental rights” bill that would have expanded fundamental rights to parents and further burdened our teachers, failed in the House on a 39-51-4 vote. Our members once again made their voices heard, contacting their Representatives, submitting 54 testimonies in opposition, and showing up in our green shirts during a committee hearing that coincided with our second Lobby Day!
Funding for our public schools is often one of the last bills to be finalized every legislative session. Senate Bill 2284 is the vehicle for K-12 funding and has been discussed in conference committee for the last two weeks. The bill was amended in the conference committee to improve the funding to 4% and 4% increase for the biennium, with an additional small increase in special ed funding. Free lunch for children whose parents or guardians make less than 200% of the poverty level remained in the bill.
Although the Legislature was able to pass House Bill 1040, closing the defined benefit plan to new employees, we will continue to monitor it going forward. Public employees did receive 6% and 4% raises in the next biennium, which helps cushion the blow, but doesn’t make up for taking away a benefit to recruit new employees going forward.
After defeating Senate Bill 2301, a necessary $36 million dollar investment to stabilize North Dakota’s childcare workforce, the House introduced a more expansive childcare relief bill in House Bill 1540. The bill provides investments in childcare assistance for working families, infant and toddler care, childcare employer cost-sharing, worker training, and additional needed relief for North Dakota families and childcare providers. The bill was introduced as a delayed bill on April 17, passed through the House and Senate, and was concurred in the Senate on Thursday morning. It will soon head to the Governor’s desk to become law.