• Brass-Tacks
  • Committee Spotlight: Senate Industry & Business with Sen. Larsen

    Committee Spotlight: Senate Industry & Business with Sen. Larsen

    While the final decisions are made on the floor via vote – the work is done in the committee rooms. GNDC has a handful of committees that we spend more time with than others.

    Recently, we sat down with Senator Doug Larsen (Dis. 34), Chair of the Industry and Business Committee. Senator Larsen is a GNDC Chamber Champion with a 100% score. We wanted his perspective as committee work officially started with orientation, agency bills, and pre-filed bills. This is not his first run with this committee, but it looks different this session. The senate shifted their committees a bit, one change was to introduce a Workforce Committee – changing the make-up of the previous Industry, Business, and Labor Committee.

    GNDC: Tell me about your committee…
    Sen. D. Larsen: Our committee [Senate Industry & Business]  will look at bills related to the wide spectrum of industry. These relate from banking to pipe fitters to cosmetology/hair dressers – all across the board. We will look to understand the different angles, sort out the impacts, and decide what the best possible format to present to the floor will be. We will hear testimony and find additional sources on these issues because those that are within those fields help us understand the greater impacts.

    What are some bills or themes you expect to see in your committee or this coming session?
    To be honest, I am not sure, I would expect a usual list of banking, industry, general-business, alcohol, and potentially marijuana. I believe limited government is best government but it’s essential to look at full impacts to determine changes or involvement. Regarding session, there will be a lot of money bills, but I don’t expect to see many of those in our committee versus appropriation. I’m optimistic about seeing some tax deduction bills and I have a favorite, but we will see how session and headlines play out.

    Your committee is comprised of many “freshman” legislators this year – let’s talk about that.
    Yes – last session this committee had a very senior group of legislators. I was one of the younger ones, in fact the only freshman that received a vice-chair. Now of the five on this committee, three are freshman. All of us are business owners – we are different types, in different stages, and the total experience coming to the committee and work excites me. We are all eager to work, ask questions and engage to ensure there is good policy coming forward. I’m new in this role so I appreciate Senator Jerry Klein, who has shifted from a chair to a support role on this committee. We will use and need his expertise and guidance.

    We appreciate Senator Larsen's time in sitting down with us and backing of North Dakota business issues. 

    GNDC perspective: With the introduction of the Workforce Committee, we will see a shift of workflow. Previously, Industry, Business & Labor (IBL) Committee would be a major committee that we spent a great deal of time in due to the potential of impacts their bills would touch. We anticipate any labor-related bills to shift over to this new committee, including workers compensation, unemployment insurance, attention/attraction/training, etc. Due to the fact that workforce issues touch every business and industry, we anticipate this newly created committee will regularly have a full slate and agenda to work through.