Published April 21, 2023

$65 Million for Childcare 

Written by
Lydia Hoverson
| The Dakotan
(Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)
(Photo: Lydia Hoverson/The Dakotan)

Assistance Passes House 


BISMARCK – The North Dakota State House passed Friday a bill seeking to assist more families with childcare and help alleviate a childcare workforce crisis. 

House Bill 1540 would provide a total appropriation of $65,600,000 for childcare programs to be distributed to families depending on their income eligibility. Some of the funds would also go to help train workers in that field. This is a delayed bill that comes after the Appropriations committee discussed with many childcare providers to find out what their needs are.  

Rep. Emily O’Brien, R-Dis. 42, Grand Forks, estimated the bill will help thousands more children, childcare workers, and childcare providers even though the appropriation is less than other proposals of $73 million and $113 million. 

“We have heard from many of our constituents that one of the top priorities this session is addressing our workforce crisis,” said O’Brien. “This childcare proposal will aid in addressing that crisis.” 

Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, D-Dis. 44, Fargo, said the bill is a very important step in addressing the childcare crisis in North Dakota. 

“Last year, like many of you, not a week would go by that I didn’t hear from multiple families every week begging us to do something about the childcare problem,” said Hanson. “However, while this bill is a very good step forward, it is not enough. Right now this bill addresses the family side of the equation. But to fully address the scope of the childcare problem we have to look at the provider side of the equation.” 

“This is going to set a new precedent on the bar that we’re going to be funding childcare forever,” said Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Dis. 38, Minot. “As you just heard, it's not enough. We’re going to have to put more in, because it’s not enough. There will never be enough. If you have kids you have a responsibility. I know there are kids in daycare that can’t help it. But the government should not be subsidizing this at the levels that we’re talking about.” 

Rep. Donna Henderson, R-Dis. 9B, Calvin, said she had a well-paying job and put her first few kids in childcare, but after having more children she and her husband looked at their finances and thought it would make more sense for her to stay home. 

“I never once thought the government should subsidize daycare for my children,” said Henderson. “Our Republican platform talks about personal responsibility. My little three-year-old commented one day, we were going to daycare, and he didn’t want to go, and I said, oh c’mon you’re going to have fun with your friends. And this little three-year-old said mom, they are not my friends, they’re just people. I think our children are much better off at home with their parents.” 

Rep. Austen Schauer, R-Dis. 13, West Fargo, complimented the legislators who worked on the issue. 

“It’s got a lot of criticism, but there’s a need for it,” said Schauer. “I think the workforce shortage and the issue with daycare is probably the number one issue in North Dakota. Here we are in four months and we’re going to walk away from this project because of accusations of socialism. We have a responsibility to face this issue, and we have to come up with an answer. If you look at this bill, it’s pretty well balanced out.” 

“This bill only grows government,” said Rep. Mike Schatz, R-Dis. 39, New England. “It does not guarantee one more person in the workforce. Many mothers want to raise their children themselves rather than have the government raise them. This bill is a waste of general fund money. I believe this is the same blueprint as President Biden’s agenda and has originated with Senator Warren.” 

The bill passed by a vote of 62 to 29 and will be sent to the Senate for consideration. 

Stay connected to the latest news
Subscription Form (#3)

About the Author

Trending Now
The Dakotan Newsletter
Subscribe to get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox
Newsletter Form (#4)
© AndMuse, LLC 2024 Login Email
LIVE: 2022 Minot Mayoral Forum
Click to Watch Live
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram