Legislative Agenda Review: Part 1 Business Climate
As a guiding resource for involvement and support, GNDC’s 2019 Legislative Agenda focused on three areas: business climate, workforce and infrastructure. These priorities were determined by GNDC members and policy committees. This Legislative Agenda Review is part one of a three-part series to examine the work done within each targeted area.
Part 1: BUSINESS CLIMATE
During the legislative session, GNDC’s strategy specific to business climate was to defend free enterprise principles and advocated for economic growth for all industries across the state. Our work with legislators, during the session, strives to keep North Dakota a great place to do business with low costs and common sense regulation. Our recent 2019 Legislative Report outlines the bills that were significant to GNDC and to business in North Dakota. See our full 2019 Legislative Report online.
Here is a snapshot of the importance of the passage or defeat of specific pieces of legislation.
Minimum wage preemption: Private industry along with market demands need to drive wages, not local municipality mandates. To keep consistency across the state and resist a patchwork of regulation, GNDC advocated strongly for this piece of legislation. The new law will keep the states minimum wage consistent with the existing minimum Federal Wage. In cities that have implemented living wage mandates, some unintended consequences have been experienced such as increases in the cost of living and automating jobs that would normally be done by minimum wage earners. This new law ensures regulatory certainty across the state.
Blue Laws: North Dakota was the last state in the nation that was hanging on to outdated blue laws, prohibiting commerce and giving online retailers and neighboring states an unfair advantage. It has been a long-standing policy for GNDC to advocate the repeal of the Sunday closing mandate. Along with the effort of champions within the legislature and business owners, this came into fruition and will become law effective August 1, 2019. Now retail business can choose to be open before noon on Sunday allowing consumers options to shop.
Right to Repair: Along with supporting bills that are important for improving the state’s business climate, we advocated strongly against bills that would infringe on what we have already established. A bill labeled “The Right to Repair” bill would have freely shared proprietary information from manufacturers of industrial and agricultural equipment, along with appliances and electronics, to any repair shop. This would also include repair parts for cost and diagnostic equipment. Today’s equipment, electronics and appliances need certified technicians to repair this equipment to ensure consumer safety and protect our most trusted information on our devices.
Although the new biennium for the state begins July 1, new laws become effective August 1st unless there are special provisions, or an emergency clause, in the law.