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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A bill that would have ended collective bargaining at South Dakota’s public universities has failed in the state Senate.

The chamber voted 18-16 Tuesday against the plan. It narrowly passed through the House and had Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s support.

House Speaker Mark Mickelson, the bill’s sponsor, has said it would save money and make the institutions more efficient.

But critics argued it would have made it harder for universities to recruit and keep faculty.

Alan Aldrich is state president of the Council of Higher Education, the faculty labor union. He says there’s a “clear message” that if faculty want the rights to continue, they must be more active with union membership and participation.

Union contracts cover more than 1,300 staff members at the state’s six public universities and at schools for the blind and deaf.