Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Update for Wednesday, Feb 6th

SB2124 -Social Service Redesign - was amended today in the Senate Human Services Committee and given a unanimous Do Pass recommendation with re-referral to Senate  Appropriations. The amendments incorporate many of the changes requested by counties. While zones will still be formed, more time was 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. A bill incorporating the changes will be posted here as soon as it is prepared.

Operation Prairie Dog (HB1066) is one step closer to reality.  The bill was amended on the House floor and re-referred to the House Appropriations Committee.  The House Finance & Taxation Committee actually considered two amendments but rejected one that would sunset funding after this biennium.  

The amendment adopted creates a new “bucket” requiring the State’s Infrastructure Fund to get $400 million before the city and county infrastructure funds fill up.  While this should still allow the local “buckets” to fill (at projected oil price and production) the timing would put us awfully close to the end of the biennium, possibly impacting its availability for the 2021 construction season.

Obviously not ideal at this point, but it is a long way to passage, and we expect plenty of maneuvering in the process.  We expect the House Appropriations Committee to hold a hearing (possibly Monday), but past practice suggests that they will only allow the Finance & Tax Committee carrier to present.  Regardless, we will be there to weigh in on county interest if the opportunity arises. 

A property tax cap bill that is still alive had amendments adopted today and could be heard early next week. HB 1380 caps budget growth at 3% unless a majority of voters approve a larger increase. Watch for a call to action to contact your Representatives on this bill as we get closer to seeing it on the House Floor.

NDACo and law enforcement raised concerns on a decriminalization of marijuana bill as well as a bill that restricts law enforcement from entering private property without permission. 

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