Thursday, February 2, 2017

NDACo Legislative Report #6

As you saw from a previous post, probably the most significant activity of the week was the unanimous approval of SB2206 - social service funding - by the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee.  This bill will be heard next week in the Senate Appropriations committee.

Also this week we saw strong House approval of HB1178 (81-12) to dedicate funding to the local government costs of a statewide interoperable radio system.  Although it has a long way to go, it is encouraging that the House has recognized the need in this area.

The House approved the regularly introduced Deficiency Appropriation, which was HB1024 this year.   Included in this bill was additional borrowing authority to address the costs of the pipeline protest that remains ongoing in Morton County, but involves law enforcement staff from many counties across the state.

A well intentioned, but poorly crafted efforts to keep property taxes down for seniors was soundly defeated (23-70) in the House.  HB1285 proposed to freeze property values for every property owner over the age of 65 (regardless of income and assets).

A county requested bill, SB2160, to clarify the duties of the county recorders regarding tax liens found favor in the Senate with unanimous passage.

Also receiving unanimous Senate support was SB2197, a county bill to clarify road bidding. It actually corrected issues created by the last Legislature.

As will be obvious from next week's hearing schedule (link below), things are moving along rapidly in the Legislature.  The hearing schedule is very short, and a number of bills have already "crossed-over" to the other chamber.  If the appropriations committees can also complete their work at this pace, they may actually be able to adjourn with days left "in the bank" as leadership hopes.  This however, does not mean things will be uneventful in the coming week. Plenty of bills remain “in committee” and still require final action.  A lot of interesting debate will be going on, and it will certainly involve county issues.

Keep watching, and keep talking to your legislators - it makes a difference.

Hearing schedule can be found with this report here:

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