North Dakota Legislature: Mixed results on several bills including free school lunches for some students, eminent domain measures, and college tenure rules

Courtesy: North Dakota State Legislature
Courtesy: North Dakota State Legislature

(Bismarck, ND) -- Several bills are moving forward in the state legislature in the state capitol.

The North Dakota House is renewing a push to fund free school lunch for low-income students. A six-million dollar appropriation was added Friday by the Republican-led House to a senate bill to cover the costs of school lunches for students from low-income families. House budget writers will review the appropriation before the full chamber votes on whether to send it back to the senate for final approval. The senate recently did not approve a bill that contained free lunch funding by a single vote.

Additionally, lawmakers rejected a pair of eminent domain measures. The State House ended a senate bill that would have required surveyors to get written consent from landowners to enter their property. The House also voted down a Senate bill that would have required the legislature to study fair and just compensation for all eminent domain cases. Those who opposed the study say decisions about fair market value have historically taken place between the buyer, the seller, and the courts. The measures are related to efforts being conducted by Summit Carbon Solutions, who will possibly use Eminent Domain as they decide the route of a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline project. 

Another bill circulating through the capitol is a bill that would have changed aspects of tenure at Bismarck State College and Dickinson State University. The bill included amendments from the Senate and failed by two votes last week. The measure would have made it easier for the presidents of BSC and DSU to dismiss tenured faculty. Some tenured faculty at North Dakota State University and University of North Dakota said they were concerned they would face similar legislation in the future.