GNDC Year end recap and a look to 2020
The characteristics of 2019 federal policy development could be characterized as interesting, to say the least. The impeachment proceedings took a lot of the air in D.C., but trade and tariffs were also hot policy topics affecting business. North Dakota is heavily reliant on trade outside of the United States, with our largest trade partner being Canada. This makes the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) a priority. In a bipartisan vote, the USMCA passed the House of Representatives just before the end of 2019. Still needed in early 2020 is the passage in the Senate with ratification from Canada. These are likely to happen but could be held up due to the impeachment trial in the Senate.
With a lot going on at the Federal level, it appears things consistent at the state level. Important factors in having a successful business climate are consistency and reliability. During the 2019 legislative session, no major overreaching policies were enacted that would hinder North Dakota’s business climate. The legislature rescinded the long-standing regulation limiting the hours retail businesses can be open on Sundays. With this rollback in regulation, businesses can decide when to be open giving consumers more options of when to shop locally.
Other accomplishments included much needed long-term infrastructure investments with Operation Prairie Dog. The legislature also invested $6 million for a dollar-for-dollar private/state matching scholarship and loan repayment program, ND Career Builders. This program focuses on training and retaining our workforce. Other key investments were made in the Unmanned Arial Systems industry, automation of manufacturing processes and commercialization of completed research. To learn more, go to our 2019 Legislative Report.
Also in 2019, numerous proposals were reviewed utilizing the Legacy Fund, none of which were passed. During the legislative interim, the Legacy Fund Earnings Committee will host public meetings outside of Bismarck to gather input on proposed uses of the Legacy Fund. The first meeting was held in Fargo and the public presented numerous suggestions. The next meeting will be held in western North Dakota in February. An exact date and location have not been provided yet.
As we move into the new year, the state needs to be cognizant of the past year and decade but not lose sight of advancements moving into 2020. On January 29, Governor Burgum will hold his State of the State Address in Grand Forks. He will celebrate North Dakota’s accomplishments and progress for 2019 as well as layout the future needs of the state and future proposals coming from the Executive Branch.
In 2020, we will see impacts for business at both the federal and state level. In D.C., look for the USMCA to be enacted, trade deals to mature with China and a new transportation infrastructure funding bill that is set to expire in September. For North Dakota, organizations and agencies alike will be preparing for the legislative session in 2021. A big discussion will focus on the Legacy Fund - should we spend, how much and on what.
GNDC will continue to be your pro-business advocate in the new decade, just as it has been for the past ninety-six years. With our policy committees, events like Policy Summit and Member Voices, and activity at the interim committees, we are working on our policy agenda for the coming year and focusing on concerns that are impacting our member’s growth and progress and the state’s business climate. If you want to reach out to have a conversation about your impacts and/or successes, including how we can assist or how to get involved in influencing public policy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 701.222.0929.