Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 ND Legislative Leaders

2017 North Dakota Association of Counties Legislative Priorities

Terry Traynor, Mary Korsmo, Mark Johnson, Donnell Preskey Hushka & Aaron Birst
Your NDACo Legislative Team will follow an estimated 400 bills and resolutions this Session, and has already identified over 50 pre-filed and "suggested" pieces of legislation with county impacts. 

Property Tax Reform/State Funding of Social Services (Support - Resolution 2015-­03)
-  The total elimination of the property tax levy for social services
-  A caseload formula for 100% state reimbursement
-  A taxpayer “hold harmless” to ensure tax relief equals the current 12% credit
-  A county “hold harmless” so that no county budget is reduced
-  The retention of local social service  delivery

Property Valuation & Local Budget Growth Caps (Oppose – Resolution 2014­-06)
Bills that include other reforms like caps or limits on assessments, budgets, or taxes at the local level would be problematic and create unintended consequences for all units of local government.

Replacement of the “Truth in Taxation” Notice
A streamlined and simplified notice to replace multiple notices.

TIFF/Renaissance Zone Regulation
It is anticipated that legislation will be introduced to allow counties and schools to veto city tax preference district expansions and extensions.

Local Truck Regulatory Enforcement (Support – Resolution 2012-­07)
An interim bill will remove the “sunset” and thereby allow the “extraordinary road use fees” or civil penalties to remain at the county level, if a weight violation occurs on a county road.

Election System Replacement (Support – Resolution 2015-­05)
An appropriation bill will be introduced, probably in the neighborhood of $13 million for the state (SoS) to fully fund the replacement and on­going maintenance of election equipment (scanners, ADA devices, e­pollbooks). Counties will be responsible for election programming and ballot printing costs. 

Jail & Prison Reform/Reinvestment (Support – Resolutions 2014­-05 & 2006­-01)
County officials have supported the careful review and very selective changes to our state’s sentencing practices to more appropriately address offenders’ needs, without increasing jail inmate counts, the priority must be the expansion of behavioral health services that provide more appropriate response to mental health and drug addiction factors that are driving our jail & prison inmate population.

Public Safety Radio – SIRN 20/20 (Support – Resolution 2016­-02)
The interim study recommends the adoption of a statewide plan with strong local involvement in the governance of the new system, and a Legislative appropriation sufficient to demonstrate the state’s commitment to a single state system, so that local agencies are confident in their own appropriations.

911 Fee Increase/Restructuring (Under Consideration – 911 Coordinators)
It is being discussed by public safety agencies that one way to address local costs of SIRN would be a statutory increase in the 9­1­1 fee. It is proposed that the fee be changed to a statutory limit of
$2/line with anything levied in excess of $1.50 dedicated to LOCAL SIRN costs.

Truck Weight Harmonization (Interim Study)
At the request of a number of ag commodity groups, the pros and cons of moving to a truck weight limit of 129,000 pounds on certain routes was studied. Although a weight increase would presumably be for certain state highways, there would be obvious pressures in the future for local roads and streets.

Expanded Medicaid Continuation (Interim Legislation)
The interim committee charged with a review of expanded Medicaid has recommended to continue State participation, and has been included in the Executive Budget. Expanded Medicaid has increased county social service caseload, although it does allow the state to fund “in­patient hospital care” for jail inmates and provides for automatic enrollment for parolees and probationers, which has an impact to behavioral health treatment.

Public Health State Aid/Tobacco Control Funding (SACCHO – City/County Health)
While the Executive Budget maintains the current $4.25 million in state aid for county health, the $8.6 million in tobacco control funds that have biennially gone to support local health units was reduced to $3 million. If this is supported by the Legislature, it may result in staff reductions among health districts.