Thursday, March 19, 2015

NDACo Week 11 Legislative Report

The big news of the week, of course, was the release of the official state revenue projections.  This information sets the boundaries for overall spending and allows the Legislature to now finish their work. It was helpful for the Legislature that the projections did not contain huge deviations from the preliminary numbers that were prepared in January. 

The projections do however suggest a $419 million reduction in State General Fund revenues from what the Governor budgeted, or about a 7% drop.  The biggest dollar amount decrease is in sales tax collections.  This will also affect State Aid Distribution Fund allocations to counties if the projections are realized.  The good news is that they are still projecting growth in sales taxes over the current biennium – so it is a reduction in the growth, not a true decrease.

The big impact is obviously to all the special funds that receive oil tax revenues.  Overall, oil taxes are expected to drop from $5.9 billion this biennium to $3.9 billion in the coming one.  As an example, the Strategic Infrastructure and Investment Fund (SIIF) – where all one-time road funds come from – received $1.2 billion this biennium, and is expected to get $205 million in the next.  Unless oil activity recovers, one-time funding two years from now will become very challenging.

On another topic, an excellent hearing on SB2206 (Social Service Funding Shift) was held this Wednesday and the concept seemed to have fairly broad acceptance within the House Human Service Committee.  However, we don’t like to leave anything to chance, so if your county has a member on that committee, it would be very helpful to shoot them a note of support.  (you can who they are and find their email address at this link )

We feel the Governor’s Property  Tax Reform proposal (SB2144) had an excellent hearing on Tuesday, and this was followed by solid county testimony against the broad and undefined expansion of the “farm building” tax exemption to “agritourism” that was proposed as SB2339.

All remaining “policy bill” hearings will take place next week, and then the focus shifts to conference committees and appropriations.  So far we have few policy bills headed for conference, so our focus will be on the road funding in HB1176 & HB1012, the Human Service, DOCR, and Health Dept. Budgets (SB2012, HB1015 & HB1004) and the social service funding shift of SB2206.  
Monday 3/23  
9:00SB 2219J Creates a statewide human trafficking commission House Judiciary Prairie 
9:00SB 2279E Employer may not discriminate on sexual orientation House Human Services Fort Union 
9:00HB 1055B *** Replaces mills with cents per $1000 Senate Finance and Taxation Lewis and Clark 
9:00SB 2147H Reduces from 3 to 2 one-call locates for same project before charges occur House Industry, Business and Labor Peace Garden 
9:00HB 1328J Drone Bill - use limitations Senate Judiciary Fort Lincoln 
9:30HB 1368J Domestic violence treatment must follow standards Senate Judiciary Fort Lincoln 
9:30HB 1116L Changes to birth records Senate Human Services Red River 
10:00HCR 3049S Study employment and public assistance Senate IB&LRoosevelt Park 
10:00HB 1455L Creation of nursing staff services Senate Human Services Red River 
10:00HB 1394J Lower penalties for marijuana Senate Judiciary Fort Lincoln 
10:30SB 2320S Medication therapy management program for Medicaid recipients House Approp. - Hum.Res. Div.Sakakawea 
10:30HCR 3037L Study homemade food sales and local public health policies Senate Human Services Red River 
11:00HB 1403J Sick leave allowed for domestic violence Senate Judiciary Fort Lincoln 
2:00SB 2012A **** Human Services budget, enhanced county reimbursement for expanded Medicaid House Approp. - Hum.Res. Div.Sakakawea 
Tuesday 3/24  
9:00SCR 4005S Study behavioral health and juvenile proceedings House Judiciary Prairie 
9:30SCR 4017J Urge Congress to pass anti-trafficking legislation House Judiciary Prairie 
10:00HCR 3052J Study higher ed policies regarding sexual assault Senate Judiciary Fort Lincoln 
10:30HB 1467J US Border Patrol has arrest power Senate Judiciary Fort Lincoln 
11:00HCR 3012J Study child sex offender registration Senate Judiciary Fort Lincoln 
2:30SB 2012A **** Human Services budget, enhanced county reimbursement for expanded Medicaid House Approp. - Hum.Res. Div.Sakakawea 
Wednesday 3/25  
9:30HB 1035L Interim study of Health care in ND Senate Human Services Red River 
10:00HB 1378L Study of essential health delivery Senate Human Services Red River 
10:00SB 2270J Repeals limits on bail bondsman commissions House Judiciary Prairie 
10:30HCR 3005L Study care of individuals with brain injuries Senate Human Services Red River 
11:00SB 2182J States attorney or AG to prosecute unlawful practices of transient merchants House Judiciary Prairie 
2:30HB 1020A ** Extension Budget includes UGPTI budget, local road study funding added in House Senate Appropriations Harvest 
Thursday 3/26  
8:30HCR 3020B Study impact on owners from land inundated by rising Devils Lake waters Senate Energy & Nat. Res.Fort Lincoln 
9:00HB 1194R * Political subs may borrow up to $500,000 for five years with no vote Senate Political Subdivisions Red River 
9:00SB 2141R * Study county recorder fees House GVAFort Union 
9:00SB 2222R Open records requests by legislators are themselves open records House GVAFort Union 
9:00HB 1456Z Land board to buy excess Corps land Senate Energy & Nat. Res.Fort Lincoln 
9:00SB 2299V Regulates campaign donation pass-thru House GVAFort Union 
9:00HB 1395J * Study of emergency information database - Smart911 Senate Transportation Lewis and Clark 
9:00SCR 4002R Study various definitions of political subdivision House Political Subdivisions Prairie 
9:30HB 1285C Commerce appropriation for domestic violence shelter grants Senate Appropriations Harvest 
10:00SCR 4019E Study state funding of health insurance for volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel House Political Subdivisions Prairie 
10:00HB 1459B Voters must authorize building authority construction project Senate Political Subdivisions Red River 
10:15HB 1246E State employee compensation studies must count 50% of benefits Senate GVAMissouri River 
10:30HB 1068Z Industrial commission cannot use information outside of its Jurisdiction Senate Energy & Nat. Res.Fort Lincoln 
2:15HB 1352B Elimination of specials for irrigation from Garrison diversion Senate Energy & Nat. Res.Fort Lincoln 
2:30SB 2346E Changes VSO training certification requirements House GVAFort Union 
4:00HB 1113Z C Felony for radioactive disposal non-compliance and new rules Senate Energy & Nat. Res.Fort Lincoln 
Friday 3/17  
8:30SB 2022E * NDPERS budget, retirement and health plan House Approp. - Gov. Ops Div.Medora 
9:00HB 1415A * $60 million plus $60 million for Fargo flood protection Senate Energy & Nat. Res.Fort Lincoln 
9:00HB 1444E State employment contract provisionsSenate Political Subdivisions Red River 
9:15HCR 3006J Study use of state resources for youth adjudicated by tribal courts Senate GVAMissouri River 
9:30HB 1213E * Appointee to local board cannot be felon (15 year look back), tax delinquency amended out Senate Political Subdivisions Red River 
10:15HCR 3057V Study election administration  Senate GVAMissouri River 
11:00HB 1114Z New penalties for solid waste disposal Senate Energy & Nat. Res.Fort Lincoln 

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