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Legislative Update: Feb. 17, 2023

A summary about the latest happenings at the Capitol.
Published: February 17, 2023

Key Takeaways

  1. Legislators voiced concerns about the voucher scheme bill and how it would lead to rural school consolidation.
  2. Both the good and the bad NDPERS pension bills (HB 1040 and SB 2239) received “do pass” recommendations in their respective Appropriations Committees.


We’ve got great news in our efforts to kill House Bill 1532, which would put public money in the hands of private schools. After last week’s disappointing “do pass” recommendation from the House Education committee, HB 1532 was heard in House Appropriations. Legislators were concerned about the amount of public funding this bill would send to private and parochial schools, the potential for consolidation of rural schools, and the specific language in the bill that states there shall be no regulation applied to these public dollars once they arrive in the hands of a private school. As we’ve said before, private schools do not play by the same rules and regulations that public schools do. They are not required to accept all students, do not have the capacity to accommodate students with additional educational needs, and are not held to the same standards of accountability and transparency. For a rural view on why this bill needs to be rejected, check out this letter to the editor from Karen Michalka in the Bismarck Tribune.

House Appropriations moved forward with a 15-8 DO NOT PASS recommendation on HB 1532 and it is now headed to the House Floor on Monday for final consideration in the House. We can kill this bill. Go to the “Act” section below to find out how!


This week, both House Bill 1040 and Senate Bill 2239 received “do pass” recommendations in their respective Appropriations Committees and are now headed to the House and Senate Floor for final consideration in their chambers. As we’ve mentioned, HB 1040 would eliminate the defined-benefit pension plan by 2025, leaving public workers with one retirement option: a far more expensive and less stable defined contribution plan. Additionally, closing the defined benefit pension plan would cost taxpayers $5.5 billion over the next 20 years! Senate Bill 2239, on the other hand, would invest in our current pension plan for 1/5th the cost of closing it through HB 1040. North Dakota United supports SB 2239 and opposes HB 1040. Please read on to find what you can do to make your voice heard and support future public workers of North Dakota as these bills head to their respective chamber floor for a final vote.


Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education & Public Services

With more than 11,500 members across the state, NDU supports equal opportunities for success for ALL North Dakota students, and respect and support for all educators. NDU members are teachers, community college professors, speech pathologists, bus drivers, secretaries, retired educators and student teachers.