Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Update for Tuesday, Feb 5th

First off, THANK YOU!
We asked you to reach out to Senators and urge them Tuesday to vote against SB 2166 which would have quadrupled liability limits for political subdivisions. We were very successful. You were able to help us in switching many votes. The bill failed with a vote of 2-44.

Monday, the Senate defeated raising the gas tax. The original proposal was to increase the gas tax $.07 a gallon from twenty-three cents to thirty cents. It was amended in committee to a four cent increase to $.27. There was a lot of discussion on the floor regarding how this increase could help in road funding. The bill failed with a vote of 18-26. A similar bill to increase the gas tax to $.30 is alive in the House.

Senators also have also made movement on bills that address the farm residence exemption. Senators Tuesday amended SB 2278 to include language that was in SB 2351 and then killed SB 2351.  SB 2278 now includes language that requires the individual interested in the exemption to provide information necessary to prove their eligibility. That information would be confidential. 2278 will be voted on in the Senate Wednesday. Another bill which broadens eligibility remains in the Senate Finance and Tax committee.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill initiated by auditors to address an issue with centrally assessed properties. SB 2350 creates a deadline for centrally assessment adjustments, if not made by October 1 they will be applied to the following year. McKenzie County Auditor Erica Johnsrud explained the problem to committee members, how this bill will help reduce impacts to budgets after they have been set and increase accuracy through the centrally assessment process.

Almost three hours of testimony has been provided to the House Judiciary committee regarding asset forfeiture. A subcommittee has been appointed to work on reaching a compromise on the bill. Law enforcement have grave concerns with the requirement for a conviction and the shift of forfeiture funds from local agencies to the common schools trust fund.

The House Judiciary committee also heard HB 1459 which seeks to limit the use of reserve officers by police and sheriff's departments a do not pass recommendation. 

The House Finance and Tax committee kicked out HB 1481, which allowed property owners to substitute a private appraisal for their true and full valuation. The bill was amended and then given a Do Not Pass recommendation. We will need your help to encourage House members to follow this recommendation and vote "RED".

The House Human Resources Division of Appropriations proposed the following amendments to HB 1004, the Department of Health Budget.
• restore $525,000 State Aid to LPHU from Tobacco Prevention Control Fund;
•restore $50,000 to the new offender program in Wahpeton, Valley City, Devils Lake and Dickinson from the Tobacco Prevention Control Fund.
Restoration of State Aid funds to this 2017 biennium level is the number one priority for LPHUs.

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