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Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, D-Fargo, supports House Bill 1509 at a hearing in front of the Industry Business & Labor committee on Monday afternoon, Jan. 28. The bill deals with paid family leave for government employees and employees of large businesses. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

North Dakota House rejects paid family leave bill

BISMARCK — North Dakota House lawmakers rejected a bill creating a new paid family medical leave program Tuesday, Feb. 5.

House Bill 1509, championed by Fargo Democratic Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, would have required larger employers and its workers to put money toward a fund to benefit eligible employees on leave for personal medical reasons or to care for a family member. The program would have provided for 66 percent of an eligible employee's wages, up to $4,000 per month.

Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Maxbass, said many employers already offer a variety of leave programs, but the bill doesn't allow them to opt out of the proposed mandate. Hanson contended today's system "isn't working" because many people can't afford to take unpaid time off to care for a loved one.

The bill failed in a 75-17 vote that fell largely along party lines.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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