Published February 14, 2023

School Security Debate on ND House Floor 

Written by
Lydia Hoverson
| The Dakotan
North Dakota State Capitol Building in Bismarck
North Dakota State Capitol Building in Bismarck

Bill Initially Sought to Incentivize Firearms as a Form of Safety 

BISMARCK – A bill that came before the North Dakota State House initially seeking to increase school security and incentivize schools to include firearms as a part of their security was amended to require a report from schools on their safety measures. 

House Bill 1337 originally required school districts to dedicate 15% of its state aid funding on security, unless the school allowed individuals to carry a firearm on the school’s property, which would then only require the district to use five percent. 

The House Education committee amended the bill so it would not require either percent, but only requires the district to report annually to legislative management the security measures being taken in the schools and the amount spent on security. 

Several legislators debated the amendments on the floor. 

“The committee struck the 15%, mainly because that’s an exuberant cost for the school districts and was not based upon any data demonstrating a need for 15%,” said Rep. Eric Murphy, R-Dis. 43, Grand Forks. “To put that into perspective, 15% for Bismarck would be $18.9 million.” 

“In my introduction to the bill, I made it very clear that the purpose was for the assembly to create policy that we thought school security was important,” said bill sponsor Rep. Ben Koppleman, R-Dis. 16, West Fargo. “And that the percentage was completely arbitrary, and that I would enjoy working with the committee figuring out what percentage was appropriate.” 

The amendments passed, and the bill as amended passed by a vote of 75 to 16, with the bill sponsor voting against it. The bill is scheduled to be sent to the Senate for consideration. 

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