North Dakota Legislature: teacher retention, out of state political contributions discussed, several other bills move on

Photo by: North Dakota Legislative Branch
Photo by: North Dakota Legislative Branch

(Bismarck, ND) -- Several bills are still being discussed in Bismarck, while others are moving back and forth between the state house and senate.

Lawmakers are considering several bills aimed at supporting and retaining North Dakota teachers.

One would reduce the number of years required to become eligible for a lifetime teaching license. Another bill would make it easier for state residents with foreign teaching licenses practice in North Dakota. A Senate bill would provide grants higher education institutions to assist paraprofessionals to become qualified teachers. A fourth bill would provide student loan forgiveness for teachers in places where there are shortages.

In the meantime, a proposed House measure would tax all out-of-state political contributions related to measures initiated in North Dakota.

Under the proposal, the funds collected would be spent on North Dakota veterans or school lunch programs. The bill's sponsor says North Dakota political contributions regarding initiatives shouldn't be outweighed by dollars coming in from out-of-state. The House finance and taxation committee is considering the bill.

As far as bill movement is concerned, the state Senate is advancing a measure to revise North Dakota abortion laws.

The bill passed by a wide margin Tuesday and clarifies language in the state's trigger ban and the "heartbeat bill." The bill would provide for the treatment of ectopic pregnancies. The revisions would also allow abortions in cases of rape or incest.

Proposals aimed at expanding medical marijuana options have failed in the North Dakota House.

The measures would have allowed edible products to be covered under medical marijuana prescriptions. Supporters say edible forms of marijuana are healthier and provide for more accurate dosing, while opponents say edibles pose health risks to children, who may mistake them for traditional foods.

Two North Dakota House bills related to reciting the pledge of allegiance are headed to the state Senate.

One bill requires that elected officials be given the opportunity to participate in the pledge before meetings. Another bill prohibits removing any words from the pledge of allegiance. Both bills passed with by wide margins.

And finally, the North Dakota Senate has passed a resolution urging the federal government to mint Teddy Roosevelt coins.

The resolution asks Congress and the Director of the United States Mint to print silver and gold coins to commemorate the opening of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. The library is set to open in 2026, which also marks America's 250th year of independence. The resolution was adopted unanimously.