Monday, February 11, 2019

Update for Monday, February 11th

Appropriations Committee to Hear Operation Prairie Dog

The major infrastructure bill, HB 1066, nicknamed "Operation Prairie Dog" has a Do Pass out of the House Finance and Tax Committee and will be heard in the House Appropriations committee Tuesday morning. Please review the list of members on the House Appropriations committee and email your member encouraging their support.  Follow the link to view Appropriations members: https://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/66-2019/committees/house/appropriations

Social Services Redesign Heading to Appropriations Committee

The Senate approved amendments to SB 2124, the social service redesign bill. The bill will now go to the Senate Appropriations for their review. The amendments are a critical component of SB 2124. NDACo along with the Social Service Directors and DHS have worked together on the amendments which address some earlier concerns regarding the bill as initially drafted. While zones will still be formed, more time is allowed for counties to create them, they will be more locally driven, the zone directors will be locally employed, and the zone board will be more supervisory than advisory.

Appropriations Sub Committee Acts on Women's Prison Recommendation

The Appropriations HR committee that is assigned the DOCR budget met today to finalize their work on the budget. They had three amendments to consider related to the Dakota Women’s Correctional Rehab Center. In the end, the sub committee approved the amendment to make no change this session and to study the possibility of relocation of female and male inmates.
This has been a contentious issue since the Governor announced his recommendation to move women from the DWCRC facility in New England during his State of the State Address. The proposal was to move the women to the Missouri River Correctional Center (MRCC) in Bismarck. This move would prompt other shifts impacting the DOCR population. Minimum security male inmates at MRCC would be moved to the James River Correctional Center (JRCC) in Jamestown.

The amendments the committee and the action taken on them is summarized below:

#1 - Move women from DWCRC (close DWCRC) - Amendment FAILED with a vote of 1-5

#2 - Move women from DWCRC to MRCC and move men from MRCC to DWCRC – Amendment FAILED w vote of 3-3
#3 - No move. Study during the 2019-20 interim the feasibility and desirability of relocating female inmates to another location along with relocating minimum security male inmates from MRCC to another location. – Amendment PASSED 5-1

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