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North Dakota Capitol

North Dakota Capitol in June 2018

A Bismarck lawmaker's proposal to study implementing paid family leave in North Dakota has failed, after a similar bill also died in the House. 

Sen. Erin Oban, D-Bismarck, brought Senate Concurrent Resolution 4018, which sought a legislative study of the desire and feasibility of a paid family leave program administered by the state.

The Senate Government and Veterans Affairs Committee had given the resolution a 5-2 "do pass" recommendation. 

"Taking unpaid leave from work can and often does create financial challenges for working families, essentially making it difficult if not impossible to take that much needed time to recover or to care for a loved one when they need it most," Oban said on the Senate floor. 

Sen. Shawn Vedaa, R-Velva, opposed the resolution, preferring private sector programming.

"I don't believe that government should get involved in paid family leave," Vedaa said.

The resolution lost on a voice vote Friday in the Senate. 

Afterward, Oban said: "How unfortunate I feel it is that a state legislature that says it’s pro-life and pro-family won’t even consider studying paid family leave policies."

She also said the resolution was to gather information and "try to continue the conversation" from the bill by Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, D-Fargo, which outlined a state-administered paid family leave program, but failed 17-75 in the House.

"I wanted us to look at how other states have it set up," Oban told the Tribune. "What works, what doesn't work."

Oban testified in support of Hanson's bill at its hearing in January, invoking her care-giving experience from her father's decline and death and her son's birth, when she quit her job. 

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Reach Jack Dura at 701-223-8482 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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Capitol Reporter