Legislative Update: Week 10
Week 10 was the first full week the legislature has been in session since Crossover. Committees are back in full swing and both bodies are reviewing and voting on bills that have "crossed over." Due to the nature of these bills having been acted upon once, work is occurring a bit quicker - less debate and/or more unanimous committee recommendations. The Governor signed his first slate of bills including a few we've been monitoring - HB 1038 and 1084. Once signed by the Governor, a bill would become law on August 1 unless there is an active emergency clause. Appropriations bills are effective July. Conference committees to reconcile differences in legislation haven’t yet started - this is referred to as "third period" when using the hockey game analogy.
The legislature will receive a revised budget forecast on March 16th to base their final spending decisions on. The ND Office of Management and Budget contracts with Moody’s and the Legislature contracts with IHS Markit to provide forecasting services. The legislature will utilize both reports to set their benchmark for state spending.
BILLS ACTED UPON LAST WEEK BY FINAL CHAMBER:PASSED: 1398 - Paid Family Leave Preemption – ensures that a government-issued paid family leave program must be determined at the state or federal level. Individual programs initiated at the local level would create a regulatory burden for businesses and potential confusion for employees.
This bill is now on its way to the Governor for signature.
FAILED: 1441 – State Paid Family Leave Program – This bill was amended by the House of Representatives from a potential state program to a study. GNDC opposed the study in the Senate on the foundational basis that paid family leave programs are the role of private markets and not the government. Not only does FMLA protect workers employers already offer these types of programs and provide other flexible work arrangements to recruit and retain their workforce.
This bill was narrowly defeated in the Senate.
BILLS TO BE ACTED UPON BY FLOOR VOTE:1175 – COVID Liability Protection – provides much-needed liability protection from frivolous lawsuits for businesses but also protects individuals including churches, schools, tenants, property owners,and citizens. The bill received some minor amendments at the request of the Attorney General's office as well as extending the sunset to match up with the statute of limitations. This bill had a robust hearing in front of the Senate Industry, Business, and Labor Committee and received a 5-1 do pass recommendation.The final passage of this bill is critical to the business community in North Dakota. Over 30 states have already implemented similar protections, including Montana.
The bill will likely be up for a vote by the full Senate on March 17th.
BILLS ON THE COMMITTEE HEARING SCHEDULE
- 1380 – Legacy Fund Streams Bill [APPROVE]
- 1420 – Adult-Use Recreational Marijuana [OPPOSE]
- 1431 – State Infrastructure Bonding Package [APPROVE]
- 2272 – Reauthorization of the Career Builders Program [APPROVE]