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2021 Legislative Crossover Report

COVID-19

House Bill 1323

Preempts Public Entities from Requiring Masks

Position: Oppose

Outcome: Passed, 50-44

HB 1323 eliminates the ability of an elected official, the state or any political subdivision to require masks. It is the opposite of local control and would eliminate the ability of a school district to require masks in school buildings.

Senate Bill 2169

Relief Grant Program for Essential Workers

Position: Supported 

Outcome: Failed, 7-40

This bill would have created a COVID-19 relief grant program for essential workers.

House Concurrent Resolution 3007

End State of Emergency

Position: Opposed 

Outcome: Failed, 28-65

HCR 3007 attempted to end the Governor’s state of emergency, which would have resulted in the end of critical education pandemic response policies. President Archuleta testified against this bill.

FUNDING

Senate Bill 2033

University System Capital Building Fund

Position: Support

Outcome: Passed, 47-0

This bill creates a University System Capital Building Fund in the state treasury. Moneys in the fund will be used for all capital projects on ND universities, as overseen by the legislature and the State Board of Higher Education.

RIGHTS

House Bill 1503

Free Speech at Higher Education Institutions

Position: Oppose

Outcome: Passed, 65-29

NDU members were perplexed when this bill first came to light during the 2019 session. While at first glance it seems to promote positive, democratic ideals: allow anyone on a higher education campus to have their own ideas and express them freely. However, we are concerned the bill has the potential to erode academic freedom by regulating what a professor can say during class time, even making them vulnerable to disciplinary action if they express their ideas. It also reduces the protections for student-on-student harassment.

For complete, up-to-date information please visit the 2021 Legislative Session section of ndunited.org.

Senate Bill 2215

Shortens Time Period for Contract Negotiations

Position: Oppose

Outcome: Passed, 37-10

President Archuleta testified against SB 2215, which is a power grab that could strip away local control over education, harm students, and hurt teachers by shrinking the amount of time for negotiating contracts. NDU was able to work to pass some amendments to make the bill better, but it still unfortunately passed the Senate on Feb. 16 by a vote of 37-10. We will continue to diligently fight this bill in the House.

SAFETY

House Bill 1311

Conceal Carry Locations

Position: Opposed 

Outcome: Failed, 43-49

HB 1311 would have removed restrictions on the locations an individual is allowed to carry a concealed weapon, thereby allowing concealed weapons in all publicly owned and operated buildings except those that meet all of the following criteria: serves a court, has a metal detector and an armed guard.

SALARY/BENEFITS

House Bill 1058

Improves Leave Sharing for State Employees

Position: Support

Outcome: Passed, 90-3

This bill would improve leave sharing for state employees. It failed in its original vote in the House chamber, but was reconsidered, amended, and eventually passed. It has already been heard in the Senate Finance & Taxation committee, where President Archuleta continued to offer NDU’s support.

House Bill 1342, Senate Bills 2042 & 2046

PERS Solvency Bills

Position: Support, with caveats

Outcome: HB 1342 Failed, 37-57; SB 2042 Failed, 1-46; SB 2046 Passed, 47-0

All three of these bills increase the employee/ employer contributions to PERS in an effort to fully fund PERS. This issue has been ongoing for many sessions as previous legislatures have failed to cure the underfunding. HB 1342, which failed, would have increased the contributions by 1% each – similar to SB 2046, which is still viable. SB 2042 increased both employee and employer contributions by 5.12% each. NDU has supported bills such as these in the past to shore up PERS, but we have also been consistent in our message that pay raises must more than cover this increase.

House Bill 1398

Paid Family Leave – State and Political Subdivisions

Position: Oppose

Outcome: Passed, 79-14

HB 1398 mandates that the state and other political subdivisions may not require an employer to provide paid family leave. It is an unkind bill that fails to see the import and value of the family unit. President Archuleta testified in opposition to this bill in the House and will continue to do so on the Senate side.

House Bill 1441

Paid Family Medical Leave Program

Position: Support

Outcome: Passed, 75-18

President Archuleta testified in support of a paid family medical leave program. This bill has been amended into a study and passed the House.

Senate Bill 2300

Full-Time Benefits after 24 Months

Position: Supported 

Outcome: Withdrawn from consideration

This bill would have made a full-time temporary public employee eligible to receive full-time benefits after two years of employment. NDU testified in support, but this bill was ultimately withdrawn from consideration after it received an unfavorable recommendation from the Employee Benefits Program Committee.

TEACHING & LEARNING

House Bill 1075

Fall Conference Days

Position: Support

Outcome: Passed, 87-3

HB 1075 eliminates the days that were set aside for the fall conference, giving the decision to local school districts. President Archuleta testified in support of this bill, and NDU will continue to monitor its passage through the Senate.

House Bill 1114

Teacher Mentorship Program

Position: Supported 

Outcome: Failed, 23-71

This bill would have appropriated $3 million to expand the teacher support program for 1st and 2nd year teachers.

House Bill 1210

Teachers’ Out-of-Pocket Classroom Expenses

Position: Support

Outcome: Passed, 63-26

This bill directs legislative management to consider a study on teachers’ out-of-pocket classroom expenses. Should it be passed in the Senate, this bill is not a guarantee that such a study will occur, but NDU will certainly be pushing for action.

House Bill 1281

Diverts Funding from Public Schools to Private and Homeschools

Position: Oppose

Outcome: Passed, 50-44

In an already resource-tight legislative session, HB 1281 could divert much-needed funding from public schools to private and homeschools. Fewer dollars for public schools could mean larger class sizes and heavier workloads or even higher property taxes. Diverting resources from classrooms would add to the stress and burnout driving teachers away from classrooms and their students. NDU will diligently fight this bill in the Senate.

House Bill 1369

Education Empowerment Program

Position: Opposed W n

Outcome: Failed, 45-49

NDU opposed this bill due to our strongly held belief that public funding should go solely to public schools.

House Bill 1478

Alternative Curriculum Outside the Classroom

Position: Support

Outcome: Passed, 87-7

President Archuleta provided testimony, focused on the importance of the teacher’s role in developing curriculum, in support of this bill. It was amended before passing the House.

House Bill 1413

Paid K-12 Breakfast and Lunch

Position: Support

Outcome: Passed, 70-24

President Archuleta testified in support of this bill, which was originally written to provide funding for breakfast and lunch for all K-12 students. It was amended into a study by the House Education Committee.

Senate Bill 2229

Scholarship Program in Teacher-Shortage Areas

Position: Supported 

Outcome: Failed, 9-38

SB 2229 would have provided for student teacher scholarships in geographic areas identified as teacher shortage or critical need.

Senate Bill 2288

Education Scholarship Tax Credit

Position: Opposed 

Outcome: Failed, 16-30

Yet another voucher bill, this one masquerading as a tax credit. In a win for public education, SB 2288 failed in the Senate.

Senate Bill 2257

After School Programming

Position: Supported

Outcome: Failed, 9-37

SB 2257 would have provided a $3.5 million appropriation to the ND Department of Public Instruction to provide grants to school districts to establish after-school programs.