Earlier this month, we published an article about House Bill 1228— otherwise dubbed the “Local Control of Education Bill”. In it I explained that we often hear Republicans give lip service to the mantra of “local control”, but that this legislation put those members of the 2019 Legislative Assembly — who say they support such a thing — in the position of actually having to put their money where their mouths are. After the House Education Committee gave the bill a 12-2 Do Not Pass, it came as no surprise that it was defeated by a vote of 54-38 on Thursday.
The defeat didn’t come without a fight though. Numerous limited-government-minded Republicans stood to defend the bill. I think their names are worth listing here:
Rep. Aaron McWilliams (R – District 20)
Rep. Jeff Hoverson (R – District 3)
Rep. Dan Ruby (R – District 38)
Rep. Dan Johnston (R – District 24)
Rep. Jim Kasper (R – District 46)
Rep. Bob Paulson (R – District 3)
Rep. Luke Simons (R – District 36)
The hope in defending HB 1228 was to pass it in the House and resolve constitutional concerns on the Senate side— concerns that the House Education Committee absolutely refused to address through amendment. While the entire debate is worth watching, there’s little question that Rep. Dan Johnston — who happens to sit on the House Education Committee — made the most compelling case for the bill. I highly recommend you give it a listen.
But it was all for naught. In the end, Rep. Mark Owens (R – District 17) — who chairs the House Education Committee — rose in opposition and gave what I can only describe as a nauseating, at times dishonest, and even insulting diatribe. His comments alone are worthy of an article and no doubt contributed to many in the House voting red.
So, what did we learn from the defeat of HB 1228? It’s simple… the majority of the North Dakota House don’t believe in local control of education. This bill was a test. And for those voting against it, they failed miserably. The message is clear— they trust the state, not the locals.
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