The debate over this issue which occurred in the Senate yesterday was over amending an existing bill to add this provision. The debate in the Senate which took place today was on the final passage of the bill.
And it was, again, a lengthy debate as Democrats weren’t quite done grandstanding for their union allies. Senator Tim Mathern called the amendment a “misuse of our legislative process” claiming that they were “creating an amendment and tacking it on to a minor” bill.
Of course, the full Senate did give an up or down vote to the Senate itself, so that argument is kind of bogus. Republicans also brought up the fact that many media outlets in North Dakota reported, wrongly, that this amendment denies benefits for the locked out American Crystal Sugar workers who were awarded them after the state Supreme Court did some creative interpretation of existing law.
I wish this bill was retroactive because North Dakota employers are going to take a pretty big hit to pay out those benefits which the legislature pretty clearly intended to prohibit in the original law (the figure mentioned in the floor debate yesterday was $26/employee), but it’s not.
Anyway, if political histrionics and hyperbole is your thing, here’s the video.