Thursday, January 5, 2017

Week 2 NDACo Weekly Schedule

The first week of the Session is largely behind us, and already the Legislators are heavy into the discussion of the budget.  Governor Burgum’s State of the State address (see previous post) coupled with an Appropriations Committee examination of the Executive Revenue Projections – have triggered (at least for the time being) plans for further spending reductions.  Truly challenging for agency heads.
Counties had some early success this week, with a Do Pass recommendation on SB2045 removing the “sunset” on the civil penalties for overweight trucks.   It still has a long way to go, but a good start.
A request from a landowner to reopen the issue of Extraterritorial Zoning (ETZ) was met with serious concern by the Senate Political Subdivisions – as it proposed that ETZ residents vote in all city elections.  Clearly the committee recognized the problem of “regulation without representation”, but balked at “representation without taxation”.  This issue has been debated and the law tweaked for the last four sessions.
Also receiving a Do Pass right out of the chute was a proposal developed in response to the weaknesses in the State’s childcare licensing process brought to light by recent publicized incidents.  The legislation will accelerate the license renewal and establish higher penalties for those providers that fail to meet deadlines.
Possibly the biggest news of the first week was more in the area of “process”.  After adjourning at the end of the State of the State address, the Legislature chose NOT to reconvene until Friday – in order to “save” legislative days.  (They only get 80).  This makes planning for next week a bit more difficult. 
Since they did not “gavel in”, they procedurally could not “introduce” legislation, so they have only pre-filed bills to schedule for hearings next week.  As a result, you will see that the hearing schedule of “county bills” is uncommonly short for this early in the Session.  We anticipate we may be supplementing this report with an updated schedule, once more bills are available to the committee clerks and chairs.  So stay tuned.
To see the most recent schedule for the week click here: 
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4bYba4CUTL1TlptTlNLbEV1N3c



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