The House has passed a proposed Constitutional amendment to remove the names, the missions and the locations of the public colleges and universities from the Constitution.
It’s a measure that has been tried before, most recently in the 1997 session – and each time, voters have rejected it.
The sponsor – Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck) – told the House times have changed, and the university system has to change with it. Becker said it is not a measure to close colleges.
"If a college needs to close, it will be determined by the economic and demographic factors completely outside of our control," Becker told the House.
But Rep. Rick Holman (D-Mayville) said the colleges already have the flexibility to change with the times.
"This, if it passes, is a threat to their existence," Holman said.
The vote was 56 to 32 in favor of the measure. It will now be considered in the Senate – and if it passes there, would go to the ballot in 2020.