Thursday, January 26, 2017

NDACo Legislative Schedule #5

NDACo Legislative Report #5

Thank you to everyone for the great participation this week.  So many county officials in the Capitol, and so many more emailing support and opposition on important county issues.  Your voice is truly being heard.

Previous blog posts this week already talked about the defeat of the election equipment appropriations and the extremely well presented testimony on the social service funding bill, SB2206.  The best part of the SB2206 hearing was that there were as many legislators and other organizations testifying in support as county people.  Adding to that Governor Burgum's inclusion of the proposal in his budget, things are (right now) looking positive for this measure.

More and more bills are heading to the floor, as Committees have a little more time to deliberate.  Two smaller, but significant, county issues received their first floor vote this week.

SB2178 expands the availability of the Bank of North Dakota's infrastructure loan fund.  As previously written, city infrastructure improvements were the only truly eligible projects.  With the changes approved in the Senate (45-0) this week, the program would be available to county road construction as well.

On the House floor this week, a bill debated for the last several sessions was passed for the first time.  HB1231 repeals the requirement that counties fund 50% of a quarterly newspaper advertisement for county extension services.  If this would also pass the Senate it would remove one small state mandate. Counties could still choose to publish such notices, but the requirement would be gone. The floor debate was interesting and the vote was 61-32.

Next week will finish up the largest share of "first hearings" on bills, as the length of the hearing schedule would suggest.  There will still be a few unheard, but the vast majority will have had their day in the sun.  Many, many county bills still are under debate in committee however, and watching the "committee work" will be priority one.  As any bill in a policy committee with a fiscal impact to the state must be rereferred to the Appropriations Committees by Feb. 6, those will be the priority this week.  Look for quick blog post alerts for email assistance in the coming days and weeks.

Although a bit shorter, the hearing schedule next week as some important county issues to address. Stay tuned, stay informed, and stay in contact with your local legislators.

Check out the hearing schedule on the blog at this link.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4bYba4CUTL1VEJsRUs4TEwzUVU/view?usp=sharing


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