DEM-NPL Women’s Caucus Outline Common Sense Priorities

DEM-NPL Women’s Caucus Outline Common Sense Priorities

Caucus is focused on women’s health and safety, promoting safe and secure families, and promoting the inclusion of more women in government

(BISMARCK, N.D.) — Members of the Democratic-NPL Women’s Caucus held an introductory press conference Friday outlining their 2015-2017 legislative priorities. The members highlighted women’s health and safety issues, promoting safe and strong families, and promoting the inclusion of more women in government.

“We formed this caucus because we want to empower women, encourage them to get involved in government and increase gender balance in our elected body,” Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair Kylie Oversen, D-Grand Forks said. “Women’s political and socioeconomic status improves when women become more involved in policy development. That is good for families and societies as a whole.”

Oversen went on to discuss bills relating to equal pay for equal work.

“When women are paid equally to men our families benefit, our communities benefit and our economy benefits,” she added.

Representative Kathy Hogan, D-Fargo, discussed bills addressing women’s health and safety, including legislation requiring notification of dense breast tissue, expanding Medicaid for families, and improving access to behavioral health care.
Meeting the basic health and safety needs of all North Dakotans benefit our communities,” Hogan added. “Women often offer a different skills, perspectives and priorities. Women can be more collaborative in problem solving which is a necessary component of effective legislating. ”

Senator Erin Oban, D-Bismarck discussed several bills relating to paid sick leave for state employees, and her co-sponsorship of a bill for universal pre-kindergarten education.

“As state lawmakers, we don’t have to believe in the false choice between either being pro-business or pro-family,” Oban said. “We can be, and should strive to be, both. These bills are good for working families, they’re good for employers, and they’re good for building the future workforce.”

Finally, the members touched on the goal of increasing the number of females in North Dakota government.

“Having more women in elected office utilizes a needed voice,” Oversen added. “Similarly, it promotes transparency, inclusiveness and fairness.”

All 15 female members of the Democratic-NPL House and Senate Caucuses are members of the Dem-NPL Women’s Caucus. While the Women’s Caucus only has Democratic membership thus far, there have been conversations and efforts to expand, including a bipartisan social.

See attached white paper on the Democratic-NPL Women’s Caucus bills and women in government for additional information on the priorities advanced by this group.


Democratic-NPL Women’s Caucus 2015-2017 Legislative Priorities

Women’s Health & Safety Issues

  • Mammography Bill (HB 1370) – Prime Sponsor Rep. Pam Anderson – Bill to require doctors to notify women if a mammogram reveals they have dense breast tissue. Women with dense breast tissue are at a higher risk for breast cancer. (Heard in House Human Services, yet to receive committee recommendation)
  • Workplace accommodations for pregnant women (HB 1463) – Prime Sponsor Rep. Muscha – (Heard in House IBL, yet to receive committee recommendation)
  • Expanding Medicaid for Pregnant Women (HB 1291) – Prime Sponsor Gail Mooney – Bill to expand medical assistance coverage for pregnant women with an income below two hundred percent of the federal poverty level. (Heard in House Human Services, yet to receive a committee recommendation)
  • Expanding medical assistance benefits/Medicaid for family planning services (HB 1295) – Prime Sponsor Rep. Oversen (Heard in House Human Services, yet to receive committee recommendation)
  • Jackie’s Bill (HB 1321) – Prime Sponsor Rep. Haak – Bill adds unauthorized GPS and device tracking as a crime under North Dakota’s current anti-stalking law. (Heard in House Judiciary, yet to receive a committee recommendation)
  • HB 1314 – Prime Sponsor Rep. Delmore – Bill allowing a minor to receive emergency care if they have been sexually assaulted without consent of a parent or guardian. (Heard in House Human Services, yet to receive committee recommendation)
  • Safe Sleep Bill – (HB 1247) – Prime Sponsor Rep. Oversen – Bill providing early childhood services training on safe sleep practices for infants. (Heard in House Human Services Committee, yet to receive committee recommendation)

Financial Security Bills

  • HB 1257 (Rep. Oversen) – Clarifies the process for filing an equal pay claim in North Dakota law. (Heard in House IBL, Received 15-0 Do Pass Recommendation)
  • HB 1293 – Prime Sponsor Rep. Oversen – Requires businesses with more than 40 employees seeking state contracts over $500,000 to ensure compliance with existing equal pay laws. Businesses must also state that compensation for female employees is not consistently below average compensation for male employees within similar major categories. (Received 11-4 DNP Recommendation, failed to pass on House floor 22-67)
  • HB 1294 – Prime Sponsor Rep. Oversen Allows employees to voluntarily discuss their compensation without fear of retaliation from their employers. (Received an 8-5 Do Pass Recommendation, passed the House floor 65-25)
  • No Interest Student Loans Bill – (HB 1369) – Prime Sponsor Rep. Anderson – Bill to reduce student loan interest to zero if that individual lives in-state.(Received a 9-2 Do Not Pass Recommendation in House Education)

Paid Sick Leave/Maternity Leave for Statewide Employees

  • SB 2258 – Prime Sponsor Sen. Oban – Requires state employees to be paid for employer granted family leave (Heard in Senate Government and Veterans Affairs, yet to receive a committee recommendation)
  • HB 1244 – Prime Sponsor Rep. Haak – Allows state employees to use sick leave for birth or adoption of a child (Received a 12-0 Do Pass Recommendation in House Human Services, however it has been rereferred back to committee)
  • HB 1403 – Prime Sponsor Rep. Schneider – Allows state employees to use sick leave for consequences of domestic violence, a sex offense, stalking or terrorizing (Heard in House Judiciary, yet to receive a committee recommendation)


  • Universal Pre-K (SB 2254) – Co-Sponsor Sen. Oban – Bill to provide state funds to school districts wanting to offer a Department of Public Instruction approved Pre-K program. (Heard in Senate Education, yet to receive a committee recommendation)

Also, we would be remiss to not mention the various pieces of Human Trafficking legislation. Though not a unified Democratic Women’s Caucus effort, we fully support the introduction and implementation of these bills.

Representative Hogan was integral to the package of Behavioral Health bills introduced this legislative session as well, many of which will benefit women and working families.

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