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



Bismarck, North Dakota – The state legislature is working on a number of bills in the state capital.

The North Dakota House is reiterating its campaign to provide low-income students with free lunches at school. The Republican-led House amended a senate bill on Friday to include a six million dollar appropriation to pay for low-income pupils’ school lunches. Before the full chamber decides on whether to send the appropriation back to the Senate for final approval, the House budget writers will examine it. A plan that included financing for free lunches was just rejected by the senate by a single vote.

Moreover, two eminent domain bills were rejected by lawmakers. A senate bill that had surveyors obtain written permission from landowners before entering their property was withdrawn by the State House. A Senate bill that would have mandated that lawmakers look into fair and just compensation in all eminent domain cases was defeated by the House as well. The study’s critics assert that historically, the buyer, the seller, and the courts have decided on fair market value. The actions are connected to those being taken by Summit Carbon Solutions, who may utilize eminent domain to determine the path of a proposed pipeline project for carbon dioxide.

A different bill that was being debated in the legislature would have altered certain parts of tenure at Dickinson State University and Bismarck State College. Last week, the bill was defeated by two votes and had modifications from the Senate. The proposal would have made it simpler for the BSC and DSU presidents to fire tenured faculty. At North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota, some tenured professors expressed anxiety that they may one day be subject to the legislation of a similar nature.