73 Days Down.... Week 16 Legislative Recap
Day 72 came and went Friday with still more work to be completed by the legislature. Weeks ago, the desired goal was to finish the session on Day 72, April 23, but that didn’t happen. The Legislature still has around 35 bills to work through before they can go home, or sine die as those-in-the-know know. It remains a mystery when things will finalize but guesses around the Capitol are settling on Wednesday, April 28th.
Sine Die is the official term for wrap-up. This Latin phrase, "without day," is the final adjournment of the assembly with a reconvening day set. Yes, main events are scheduled for bringing these elected officials back, like the 68th Legislative Assembly, but it is not known if pressing matters will happen that will require the legislative branch to assemble to work through solutions.
CONFERENCE COMMITTEE BILLS ON GNDC’s RADAR:
- HB 1380 Legacy Fund Streams – It is critical for the legislature to establish an allocation framework for the Legacy Fund earnings. The House and Senate approved two different versions of this bill.
- SB 2046 NDPERs Plan – This bill would address the unfunded liability of the NDPERs retirement plan and work towards converting the plan from defined benefit to defined contribution. The House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee added their version of the Legacy Fund streams to this bill from HB 1380 and added a funding stream to the NDPERs retirement plan. Conferees from this bill’s committee will need to work with the conferees of HB 1380 to reconcile these bills.
- SB 2245 Minot Intermodal Facility – We have been monitoring this bill from the beginning of Session because of its importance in keeping ND competitive in the global market for commerce.
- Agency Budget Bills
- HB 1015 Office of Management and Budget – The OMB bill is one of the last bills passed out of session and contains numerous budget items important to the business community. This bill has been passed by both houses but in significantly different forms. It will likely see numerous conference committee meetings.
- HB 1018 Department of Commerce – This agency serves as the state’s economic development agency and has numerous programs and budget items that affect the business community. We will be keeping a close eye on this budget to monitor program appropriations and potential amendments.
- HB 1012 Department of Human Services – This the largest agency budget in North Dakota that will get larger if the merger of the agency with the Department of Health is signed by the Governor (HB 1247). GNDC engages on this bill due to Medicaid expansion. The bill's conference committee is dissecting specific sections to work toward compromise.
- SB 2139 Income Tax Reduction Fund – The hog house amendment to this bill was introduced and approved by the House of Representatives. It creates a fund that will start to fill once the Budget Stabilization Fund is full and the general fund ending fund balance exceeds $65 million for each biennium. $150 million per biennium is the cap that can be used for both corporate and individual income tax. The Senate refused to concur with this heavily amended bill.
As the dust settles, GNDC will compile all the impacts to business. We will provide an official report on June 3 at 10 AM CDT. Members interested in attending this webinar will need to register in advance. Along with this legislative recap, we will launch our How They Voted Scorecard - acknowledging legislators who were Chamber Champions this session.