Update: The bill died in the House today in a 19-75 vote.
Unlike the vast majority of states, North Dakota doesn’t allow cops and firefighters to negotiate their wages and working conditions in an organized process known as collective bargaining.
Democrats want to change that with House Bill 1401. “There is simply no reason not to allow collective bargaining for our every day heroes,” Rep. Mary Schneider, the bill’s prime sponsor, said in an interview today. “We want police and firefighters to be able to express their opinions about what’s good for them.”
The bill, which is backed by police and firefighter unions, is expected to die in a House vote this afternoon.
According to Schneider and a bill co-sponsor, Rep. Ron Guggisberg, the bill received a “do not pass” recommendation from the Industry, Business and Labor Committee despite there being little or no testimony against the bill. The 12-2 vote fell along party lines.
Guggisberg, a firefighter himself, said in an interview he isn’t happy with how politicians treat first responders.
“Law enforcement especially has been used lately as political pawns,” he said. “When they need pictures, politicians show up and they have all these schemes to help public safety officers, and then once the campaign season’s over then the public safety workers are on their own.”