Wednesday, April 29, 2015

64th Legislative Session Comes to Close

Majority Leader Al Carlson addresses the House of Representatives prior to closing the 64th Legislative Session
The 2015 Legislative Session ended in a very unusual way. Lawmakers adjourned Wednesday afternoon with unfinished business. They failed to act on SB 2022 which relates to the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System. The House and Senate were unable to work out their differences in the budget bill. Research is being done to examine what this will mean for PERS and the 68,000 North Dakota benefactors. Legislators will be called back to resolve the issue if necessary. 

The NDACo Legislative Team is working on a summary to highlight the session from the county perspective. All in all, the session was a positive one for our counties. Many of the priority bills identified by our county official's received action in-line with our position.
Here are just are a few examples:

* Increase in Transportation Funding
* Passage of State Funding for Social Services
* Additional Tax Relief & Tax Reform Issues
* Defeat of:  "Mills to Cents", "Quota" allocation for prison & "Agri-tourism" proposals

Attached is a link to the Legislative Highlights as identified by the Governor's office. http://governor.nd.gov/media-center/news/legislative-highlights-2015

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ND Lawmakers Take First Step in Funding Social Services


It's an important day for NDACo and our counties!  Legislators in the House and Senate passed SB 2206 which is the funding for County Social Services. This is an effort county officials have worked on for the past four sessions. This year $23 million was included in the Governor's budget to take over a portion of foster care grants and other programs. These are an expense lawmakers say were an unfunded mandate to counties. The $23 million will be a direct reduction in property taxes at the local level. The dollars are to only be used to directly buy down the social service levy. In addition, a committee will be established to work on the transition plan and to assess the feasibility of taking over additional costs, providing even more property tax relief through social services in the next biennium. We are very grateful to the work of Maggie Anderson and the Department of Human Services, the Governor and the Human Service committee members who we worked on this issue together this session. Attached is a video with comments from Sen. Dick Dever and Traill County Social Service Director Kim Jacobson.

video

Legislators Summarize Tax Relief

(Center) Senator Dwight Cook, (Left) Rep. Mark Owens, Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger, Sen. Jessica Unruh, Rep. Craig Headland
North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple and State lawmakers highlighted the broad tax relief and reform during a press conference Tuesday. The numerous bills together amounted in nearly $400 million in additional tax relief for North Dakotan's. In addition, several bills addressed tax reform including the Governor's Property Tax Reform plan which examined every levy in state code. Since 2009, the state has reduced property and income taxes by more than $4.2 billion dollars. Here is a summary of the tax reduction plans:


The state’s 2015-2017 tax relief package consists of:
  • $250 million in property tax reductions to be provided through a state-paid tax credit during the 2015-2017 biennium. With the continuation of this program, all North Dakota property owners will again receive a 12 percent reduction in property taxes.
  • $123 million in individual and corporate income tax relief.
  • $23 million in permanent property tax relief provided through a transfer of some social service costs from counties to the state.
  • An expansion of the Homestead Tax Credit program for seniors who live on a fixed income. The Legislature appropriated an additional $1.2 million to support increased eligibility for property tax reductions during the second year of the 2015-2017 biennium.  The program will save qualifying North Dakota taxpayers about $21 million during the biennium. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Legislature approves lower oil tax

ND House gave the final approval to HB 1476 relating to the oil extraction rate. The bill was introduced a week ago, had hearings in both the House and Senate Tax committees this week, was voted on in the Senate Thursday and House Friday.

The bill lowers the oil extraction tax from 6.5% to 5% on 1/1/16 resulting in an oil tax rate of 10%.
If the trigger is hit and goes into effect the excemptions will expire 12/1/15. It eliminates current triggers but establishes new triggers. If oil prices are above $90 for 3 months tax rate will move to 11%;  if oil prices are below $90 for 3 months tax rate wil be 10%.

The bill now goes to the Governor.

Senate Unanimously Passes County Social Service Funding Bill

Senators approved SB 2206 (47-0) relating to County Social Service funding. The House will now have to vote on the bill as it came out off conference committee. The bill allows for the state to take over the foster care grants portion of social services and other program costs. $23 million will go towards the effort, leading to direct property tax relief. A detailed explaination of the issue is found in the last post. But here are a few highlights of the bill:

  • $23 million direct property tax relief
  • Freeze on social service budgets at 2015 levels
  • Exemptions related to increase case load or other emergency needs can be forwarded to DHS for budgetary consideration
  • Social service employee salaries eligible for same cost of living adjustments as state employees for 2016 & 2017
  • Adjustment for health insurance and retirement
  • Interim legislative committee to study further tax relief related to social services
  • Task Force of human service professionals and county officials to develop feasibility and transition plan during interim to be shared with interim committee
  • Services remain LOCAL.
  • Changes effective Jan 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Conference Committee Reaches Agreement on Social Service Funding

Legislators have many important issues to act on as the 64th Legislative session comes to a close. One of the most significant for property tax payers is SB2206.  The passage of this bill will mark a monumental effort with the state assuming the grant costs for county social services, while delivering meaningful property tax relief statewide.

SB 2206 is a key element of property tax reform. The state will allocate $23 million to take over the grant costs from the counties. This will reduce the county social service mill levy resulting in a direct savings to the tax payers. The measure creates greater equity of the burden of social service costs. Once enacted, citizens statewide will be paying a similar, and lower, tax rate for social services in every county.Social service costs in most counties have risen more rapidly than any other local government budget, which is why  why this county budget has become the most dependant on local taxes, although county officials have little control over the costs.  In Traill County for example, in one year the number of foster care cases went from five to 37. These sorts of costs and cost increases are  why county officials and many legislators feel property taxes are a poor funding source for social services.

The bill will require a reduction in county budgets for the cost savings and then hold these budgets at their 2015 level with inflation for 2016. This addresses some concerns by legislators that counties would use the savings to enhance theat budget in other areas. "Although counties oppose artifical limitations, county commissioners accept some mechanism to regulate costs over the next two years, as we look ahead to the potential of additional tax relief in this area," says NDACo Executive Director Mark Johnson.

The bill also sets up a legislative committee and a work group to evaluate and develop a transition plan for the state to take over the full cost of county social services. Johnson adds, "county officials recognize it will take a lot of work in the interim to understand in detail how the various costs and full state funding of various costs need to be structured while maintaining quality service."

This is the fourth legislative session a concept of this nature has been introduced. But the first in which initial costs of $23 million have been included in the Executive Budget, and the first time the legislation has made it all the way through to a conference committee report.  County and state officials have recognized this effort as true property tax relief while stressing the importance of keeping services local.

NDACo, numerous legislators and the executive branch have been working on multiple bills that fit into this complex and historic plan. Here is a description of the three bills that work together to accomplish the goal:
- SB 2206 sets forth the policy for the state taking over the grant costs.
- SB 2012, the Human Service Dept. Budget, includes the $23 million for the effort.
- SB 2144 is the Governor's Property Tax Reform plan which caps the maximum a county can levy and provides grants to those counties over 20 mills with extraordinary needs.

County officials across the state are strongly urging legislators to support this monumental property tax proposal.

Additional Road Funding Approved

The House and Senate both gave their final approval to HB 1176. The bill increases the share of the Gross Production Tax staying in oil producing counties to 30%. In addition, the bill includes $112 million for road funding for non-oil counties. Those dollars will be distributed out 50% based on CMC miles and 50% based on the UGPTI needs study.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Conference Committees Make Progress

About 50 bills are still being worked on in Conference Committees. These committees are made up of three members from each the House snd Senate.  They work out their differences or find compromises during their meetings.  Sometimes they are quick meetings, other times a committee may meet several times a day.
After 8 meetings, conference committee members finally reached a compromise on SB 2143 which addresses the senior mill levy match.  The proposal agreed upon raises the state match ftom 85% to 87.5%. The bill now goes to both chambers.
Late Tuesday, the conference committee meeting on HB 1176, the Gross Production Tax bill,  approved amendments. The GPT increase to oil counties remains at 30% as does the $112 million to non-oil counties. NDACo was also successful in maintaining fewer restrictions for how the road funding can be used.  The distribution in 1176 for non-oil did change so that 50% is distributed based on CMC miles and 50% based on the Upper Great Plains Transportation needs study.
We are closely involved in the work being done in conference committee on SB 2206 which deals with county social service funding.

Human Service Eligibility Determination Software

A Project Kickoff meeting was held today at the State Heritage Center for the new integrated human service eligibility determination software system.  DHS Executive Director, Maggie Anderson, began the meeting by stressing the importance of the counties to a successful outcome, and noting the help given by NDACo and the county social service directors in urging the Legislature to fast track the funding approval.Deloitte, the project consultant, will be directing the modification of software already implemented in Michigan and Montana, and currently being modified for use in five other states. Project goals include a "Release 1" implementation to address 'Expanded Medicaid' eligibility before the end of 2015.  Implementation of this piece is critical to address the increased caseloads that counties have been experiencing, and to triggering enhanced federal administrative reimbursement.  Efforts will then shift to Release 2 which will incorporate all other state/federal programs involving eligibility determination.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Oil Extraction "Tigger on the Trigger" Tax Proposal has First Hearing

House Finance & Tax committee getting first hearing on HB 1476. The delayed bill is summed up as a "trigger on the trigger". If the big trigger is hit, which reduces the oil extraction tax, then this bill would go into effect. The triggers would be eliminated and the extraction tax would be permanently lowered to 4.5%. The total oil tax would go from 11.5% to 9.5%. Republican leadership stresses this brings stability to oil tax system & state. Democrats question policy move this late in session. It is day 71 of the 80 day limited legislative session.
This bill is expected to be voted on today in the House and have another hearing in the Senate tomorrow. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

NDACo Week 15 Legislative Report

Some moments it seems like closing the Session next week is clearly possible, and a moment later, it seems like a pipe dream.  Friday morning had a moment in the latter category.  At the Majority Caucus meetings this morning, (and in a press conference later – picture below) introduction of a delayed bill was proposed.  The bill would significantly change the oil extraction tax if the “big trigger” is hit.

The proposal, as explained (few have seen the actual language) would create a “trigger on the trigger”.  If the big trigger is hit, the extraction tax would move to a permanent across-the-board 4.5% and all triggered reductions would go away forever.  If oil prices unexpectedly rise in the next 45 days and the trigger is not hit, nothing changes and it stays at 6.5%.  Everyone expects the trigger to be invoked, so this would protect the state’s budget on the short term, and provide a more budgetary certainly for the long run.  From the industry perspective, they lose their likely “tax holiday”, but long term will see a significantly lower overall tax rate.
For those unfamiliar with oil taxes, a brief refresher.  Oil is taxed for production (in lieu of property tax) at 5% - this is where local formula funds are derived and has never been targeted for change.  Oil however also has an “extraction” tax, originally imposed by a citizen vote - it is “generally” at 6.5%.  “Generally”, because it has various reductions for both exploration and “stripper” wells, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, this tax is reduced when oil prices hit certain “triggers”. There has been much discussion that current oil prices have hit the “small trigger” reducing the extraction tax on new wells to 4.5%.  More significantly, if oil prices stay below a monthly average of $52.05/barrel for 5 months (the “big trigger), the extraction tax goes away for at least 10 months and longer if oil prices don’t increase above the “trigger” for five consecutive months. The price has been this low for 3 months already, and almost certainly will be four months by the end of April.  The big and small triggers, coupled with the lower oil prices and consequent lower production, is projected to reduce state revenues in the $4 billion range.

Obviously, this is a HUGE ISSUE for the legislature, and as it enhances the projected bottom line, it will lead to other discussions about funding.

Getting back to more direct county issues, the following is a quick summary of several key pieces of legislation.

The “formula bill” (HB1176) , as reported last week, still remains in the House after unanimous passage in the Senate.  Some are still urging a conference committee to address desired changes, but most representatives seem to desire to “concur” with the Senate and move on.  If it is going to go into conference, action needs to take place soon.

SB2206, the social service grant cost shift, has been placed into conference.  Senator Judy Lee will chair the conference and the other Senators are Dever and Warner.  The House is expected to appoint theirs Friday afternoon.  DHS and the counties will be urging some adjustment to the language regarding county social services budgeting for the next two years.  The other big issue is the Senate proposal to develop a state/local commission for planning to move 100% of the costs to the State in 2018, while the House wants this done more directly by a Legislative interim committee.
As previously reported, in the Health Dept. Budget (HB1004), the Senate approved an add-back of $500,000 for local public health that was removed by the House.  To give you all the numbers on this:
  • Current appropriation is         $4.0 million,
  • Public health asked for           $5.9 million,
  • Governor recommended        $5.0 million,
  • House approved                      $4.25 million
  • Senate approved                     $4.75 million  
In the conference committee on the bill, the House members are thus far sticking firm to their $250,000.

The DOT budget (HB1012) is also in conference and there is a strong effort to get a restoration of at least $200 million of the $400 million reduction from the Governor’s recommended funding level for state highway construction

HB1055, the “mills to cents” proposal was already reported DOA!!!

The Governor’s property tax reform proposal (SB2144) was passed by the House, and is awaiting concurrence in the Senate.

There was a brief 24 hours of anxious work on another tax bill, HB1057 – the assessment notice bill.  In conference, amendments were floated to impose a variable property tax cap on all of local government.  These amendments however were rejected.

HB1059 to extend state-paid property tax relief to utilities, will likely be the last property tax bill in conference, and as such, may become a “Christmas tree” of sorts.  This now contains a modified assessor training requirement and also an enhancement to the state-paid homestead property tax credit program. 
Also still in the works are:
  • SB2143 – Senior mill match funding
  • HB1020 – UGPTI budget and local roads study funding
  • SB2012 – DHS budget and enhanced county admin support for expanded Medicaid
  • SB2008 – PSC budget and proposal to fund a new rail monitoring unit with gas tax
  • SB2016 – DES budget and funding for statewide mobile radio needs
A lot of work for one week – looks like some folks will be working this weekend.  We hope that our next week’s report will be the last, but that is anything but certain at this time.  Regardless, they will be gone before the end April, and May 11th will certainly be our Legislative Wrap-Up meeting here in Bismarck, so you can get the “after action” report then.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Senate Kills "Mills to Cents" proposal

The Senate has defeated HB 1055 otherwise known as the "Mills to Cents" proposal. Thursday morning's vote was 3-43. Killing this bill was a huge priority for the auditors who were at the Senate hearing on this bill in full force to make sure their concerns were heard. The 155 page bill did one thing; it removed any reference of mills in the code and replaced it with cents. Senator Dwight Cook told the Senate he was not convinced the change would make it easier for taxpayers to understand their tax statements. He referenced that the state can remove reference of mills from the tax statement without having to change the entire tax system. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

House Passes Significant County Issues

ND Representatives approved two major bills Tuesday afternoon. By large margins they passed taking over a portion of county social services costs. This is a $23 million reduction in county expenses. SB 2206 passed with a vote of 83-7.
The House also approved the Governor's Property Tax Reform plan.  This is a consolidation of levies in all political jurisdictions. SB 2144 was passed 84-4.

"Mills to Cents" proposal gets Do Not Pass Recommendation

Senate Finance & Tax Committe votes 7-0 DNP on HB 1055
The Senate Finance and Tax committee took up a much awaited for bill Tuesday morning. House Bill 1055 was heard March 23rd and finally today the committee took action. The committee first amended the bill to address technical problems discovered in the legislation. After brief discussion of the ineffectiveness of the bill the committee voted 7-0 to give the "Mills to Cents" bill a Do Not Pass Recommendation. Committee members acknowledge the desire to study tax statements and the use of mills and cents on statements but agree there are other ways to accomplish the same result without this bill. Sen. Lonnie Laffen of Grand Forks said, "after listening to testimony on this bill, I am not convinced this is the right process for addressing this concern." Chairman Senator Dwight Cook added, "I needed to be convinced this proposal would make it easier for the taxpayer to understand property tax system, I am not convinced."

The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote which could happen in the next couple days. We urge county officials to contact your Senator and urge them to vote RED.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

NDACo Week 14 Legislative Report.

Week 14 already! My how time does fly – except when you are sitting in an Appropriations Committee meeting as they walk through 13 pages of amendments to the Human Services Budget.  The wait was worth it however, as the amendments DID NOT remove the $23 million necessary to implement SB2206, the social service grant cost shift.  That was one of the few things that didn’t get cut in that budget.  The House Committee was quite aggressive in reducing the Governor’s recommendations, and there will be plenty of work on this budget in Conference Committee.

Back to SB2206 – as this policy change drives the increased state (decreased county) costs, it too was sent to House Appropriations.  The Chairman indicated that he would like to consider some amendments before they send the bill to the floor.  It seems the amendments may only address the commission created by the bill to develop a plan for 100% state funding in the future.  This will be a major county focus in the final two weeks.

The “formula bill” (HB1176) remains in the House after Monday’s unanimous passage in the Senate.  The House has the options of “concurring” with the Senate amendments, or forcing a conference committee.  There is significant support among interest groups for concurrence, and the delay in any House action seems to suggest that this is at least a possibility.  There doesn’t seem to be much concern about the increased “flexibility” to the use of the funds added by the Senate at the counties’ request, or with the fact that even though the funds will become available for construction started after January 1, 2016, it can be applied to engineering costs incurred after July 1, 2015.

The Senate Appropriations subcommittee working on the Health Dept. Budget (HB1004) recommended an add-back of $500,000 for local public health that was removed by the House.  To give you all the numbers on this, the current appropriation is $4 million, public health asked for $5.9 million, the Governor recommended $5 million, the House said $4.25 million and now the Senate is at $4.75 million – certainly not great, but considering what is happening to all budgets, it is respectable.  The challenge will be to keep this intact in the inevitable conference committee.  Unfortunately, increases to other county public health priorities were not included.

The DOT budget (HB1012) has also been reported out of the Senate committee, however it is still $400 million short of the Governor’s recommended funding level for state highway construction.  This money was removed by the House, and was not restored by the Senate, so the conference committee is the last hope.  There is not money in this budget for county roads, (as that is in HB1176), but we continue to support a strong state highway program.

The Public Service Commission Budget (SB2008) is not something counties normally track, but the Senate included language to divert $1 million from the Highway Trust Fund for a new rail safety initiative (3 new FTE) and that caught our eye.  The House Appropriations didn’t like the idea of growing government, and some agreed the funding source was inappropriate. - so the new staff and the diversion were removed.  This will however be a topic in the conference committee.

Still in the House Appropriations Committee is the DES Budget (SB2016).  This budget included $5 million coming from the Senate to begin a statewide land mobile radio project for all of public safety.  The House is struggling with the dollar amount for that.  Related to the DES budget is “the DRF Bill” (HB1112) which is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.  This bill loosens up the funds in the Disaster Relief Fund.  That fund was designed to fund the state and half the local match in federal disasters.  The bill would allow DES to provide a 50% match on local infrastructure remediation when an otherwise eligible disaster is refused by the federal  government.  This would have come in handy for last year’s flooding in the Northwest.

Two property tax bills remain to see final action.  The Governor’s property tax reform proposal (SB2144) was given a Do Pass recommendation by the House Tax Committee, but never reported out.  On the Senate Side, they have not yet taken action on HB1055, the “mills to cents” proposal.  These are both huge, complex, pieces of legislation – one we believe is quite positive for counties and one not so much. 

As you can see, much work remains.  Hope you are continuing to communicate with your legislators about your county’s concerns as they try to wrap this up in the next two weeks.    

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Senate Approves Update to Voter ID Law

The Senate passed HB 1333 Tuesday, providing additional enhancements to the Voting Requirements law.  The Senate Government, Veterans Affairs Committee amended the bill to eliminating language linking the voter's ID to the proof of residency for at least 30 days and the use of a bill or bank statement to prove residency. The committee's changes which were approved by the full Senate clarify voting requirements. To vote you must show identification which are: current driver's license or non-driver identification card issued by DOT; a tribal ID; a long-term care certificate; or military ID.  The Student Certificates are not included in any legislation. The county auditors association supported efforts to allow for student ID's and/or certificates however, there was little legislative support.
The House will decide whether or not to concur with the Senate changes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Legislation Removes Auditors from Game & Fish license business

Representatives gave the final approval to HB 1158 which removes county auditors from distributing and collecting Game and Fish licenses. The 53 auditors managed 400 vendors across the state. This is a priority item auditors identified and brought forward. The bill goes to the Governor for his signature. The act goes into effect April 2016.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Senate passes amended HB 1176

The Senate passed a revised version of HB 1176. The bill primarily changes the Gross Production Tax and the percentage of oil tax revenues staying in the oil producing areas. The Senate today voted to keep the percentages as they were approved by the House at 30% local, 70% state. The bill had origionally been proposed to increase the local share to 60%.
In addition, the bill contains $112 million for non-oil counties. The counties were effective in convincing the Senate to tweak how the money is distributed to non-oil counties and to lessen the requirements on how the funding can be used.  The funding will go to the 43 counties based on the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute's "needs" study. This will balance how the legislature distributes transportation funding as money in SB 2103 is dispersed to those counties based on CMC miles. The criteria for use of the funds has been changed to allow for greater flexibility. The funds would be allowed for roads serving economically important facilities or for projects improving traffic safety, as well as construction on CMC routes.  While construction funds will still be unavailable until 2016, funding for the engineering next years projects will become available in July of 2015.
The bill also expands funding to  "non-oil hub cities". These are now Bismarck, Mandan,  Jamestown, West Fargo, Fargo, and Grand Forks.
It is likely the bill will go into a conference committee.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

NDACo Week 13 Legislative Report

While a few conference committees and some appropriations committee work will be taking place this Friday, neither the House nor the Senate will “gavel in”, so many legislators will be traveling home for a long weekend.  Resting up for the final push to the end.

A few straggling “policy” bills that have no state budgetary impact remain in the other committees, but by and large, almost all of the “action” has shifted to the Appropriations Committees.  Although several county policy bills are in conference committees, our major focus now is on the “formula bill” (HB1176), the “bucket bill” (HB1377), the social service funding shift (SB2206) and the budgets for DOT, DHS, DES, DOCR, OMB, and DoH.  Collectively, these bills mean hundreds of millions of dollars for counties, and as the Legislature works to balance all of our state’s needs, we will need county official support to voice our priorities.

As was previously reported, the social service funding shift was reported out of the House Human Services Committee with an amendment.  This amendment was felt by the Committee to be necessary to gain enough support to pass the House.   

The primary purpose of the original bill remains intact.  DHS would pay all county foster care, sub-adopt, therapeutic foster care, SPED, TECS & EBT issuance costs starting January 1, 2016.  This is a $19.3 million shift from county responsibility.  The bill also requires the State to fund the emergency expenditures of counties impacted by a reservation or the state hospital – not just counties with reservation land, but also those adjacent to.  This is another $3.9.   The bill also retains the commission of state and local officials to establish a funding plan for 100% of all state and federal social service costs beginning January 1, 2018.

The amendment was added to only address county levies for social services for the next two years.  As we read the amendments, a county’s combined property tax levies for social service purposes will be frozen for two years at current (2015 budget) levels, LESS the “grant savings” in mills, PLUS the mill cost of any salary and benefit increases approved by the Legislature for State employees (3%+/year).  NDACo has asked county social service directors and auditors to examine how these restrictions would (or wouldn’t) affect the county’s ability to manage their social service budget in the coming two years.  This goes to House Appropriations for their review, but the $23 million was put in the DHS Budget by the Governor, so we are very hopeful that this will make it to conference committee by the end of next week. 

The Formula Bill, addressing oil tax revenue for oil counties and one-time road funding for the (43) non-oil counties is even further along.  The Senate Appropriations Committee amended the bill and sent it to the Senate floor on Thursday.  The amendments retain the House’s 30%(local), 70%(state) split of the local share of the GPT revenue, but amendments proposed to the “bucket bill” would redirect the overflow from the final bucket, the Strategic Infrastructure Investment Fund (SIFF) so that after it contains $100 million, a portion of the excess would flow back to local government rather than into the (untouchable) Legacy Fund.  This ensures more money for local infrastructure if oil production rebounds, but doesn’t reduce state revenues further if it does not.

For the (43) non-oil counties, the Formula Bill still has $112 million to be allocated based on relative UGPTI needs study data, with some added flexibility in how the funds can be used – still only for roads, but possibly for higher county priorities.  Other Senate changes include more and more specificity in the impact grant funds, and a broader allocation of “hub city” funding.  This is expected to win rapid Senate approval on Monday, so that it can quickly go into conference committee.  The amount of revenue that this bill directs is so significant that final agreement is necessary before many other decisions can be made.

None of the major budget bills have been pushed out of Appropriations yet, but that is expected to begin early next week.  Stay tuned to this blog, and to your email, as we may need some rapid action on some of these issues.  Let us know your thoughts and questions, and if you see your Legislators at home over the weekend, give them a shout out so that they know you are thinking about them.

Time Bill Number Description Committee Room
Monday 4/6    
8:30 HB 1390 Z Driller not liable for improper disposal when contract company screws up  Senate Approp Harvest 
9:00 HB 1049 J Student loan repayment program for behavioral health professionals  Senate Approp Harvest 
9:30 HB 1415 A * $60 million plus $60 million for Fargo flood protection  Senate Approp Harvest 
Tuesday 4/7    
9:00 SB 2012 A **** Human Services budget, enhanced county reimbursement for expanded Medicaid  House Approp- Hum. Res. Sakakawea