• Brass-Tacks
  • Legislative Update: Week 11

    Legislative Update: Week 11

    ...or where we are after 49 days. That means we have 23 - 31 days left, depending on if they go 72 or 80 days.

    Many committees are winding down their work on the crossed-over bills. This is not the case for the appropriations committees who are ramping up. These committees are responsible for all budgetary bills and items. The House and Senate Appropriations had a joint meeting on March 16 to hear the revenue forecast from Moody's and IHS Markit. The House and Senate will find consensus among these forecasts to establish the ceiling for the state’s budget.  


    SB 2245 – Minot Intermodal Facility Improvements – The bill would provide $10 million in grants for improvements to the Minot intermodal facility.  These improvements include new track, switches, and acquisition of existing assets associated with the facility. The additional track and switches would give this facility the ability to flip a train’s direction without occupying the thru track. The other assets are the remains from the previous operator of the facility that are now the property of lenders. This appropriation is critical to the continuation of the facility and the provisional permit issued by BNSF. The facility would lose its permit if these improvements are not completed. GNDC supports this bill as access to the intermodal facility in Minot helps our agricultural producers and manufacturers stay competitive in the global market by having cost-effective transportation to the markets.
    This bill passed the full Senate and is facing additional scrutiny in the House.
    SB 2130 - Cost-Benefit Analysis – This bill would require a cost-benefit analysis is completed for every bill introduced that is a health insurance mandate. Health insurance premiums have seen significant increases in-part due to new mandates in coverage at the state level. Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, numerous bills are introduced each session to mandate certain coverages that are good-intentioned but increase premiums across the board. When these bills are introduced it is critical to get accurate data on the long-term costs and benefits when making these decisions and that is what this bill does. GNDC supported this bill in the Senate and again in the House.
    This bill passed the Senate 45-1 and received a do pass recommendation in House Industry, Business, and Labor Committee 14-0.


    If a bill is passed in the crossed chamber in the same condition that it passed its chamber of origin, the bill goes on to the Governor for review and signature. For further clarity, if the second chamber does not change the bill or implement any amendments - these bills are fast-tracked to Governor Burgum. The Executive Branch is the final placed where a green light bill can be killed or vetoed. If the Governor decides to veto a bill, there are 2 possible paths for that bill; it can be a failed bill or it can return to the legislative branch in an attempt to override. The override is only possible if both chambers vote 2/3, beginning with the chamber of origination, on passing the bill in the format that it was provided to the Governor. The Governor has already begun to sign bills that have cleared both houses. Governor Burgum has 3 days during the legislative session or if Session is not occurring, 15 days, to act on a bill. If he does not, the bill automatically becomes a law. 

    Here are the GNDC-supported signed bills:

    • HB 1038 - Continuation of the Legacy Fund Earnings Committee to gather citizen input
    • HB 1051 - WSI attorney fee reimbursement when out-of-state claim disputes occur - protects ND employers from additional legal costs
    • HB 1084 - Adds recreational marijuana to the substance list that would prevent a WSI injury from being a compensable claim
    • HB 1398 - Preempts a political sub-division from mandating employers to offer paid family leave
    • SB 2175 - Extends occupational licensure reciprocity to members of the military
    • SB 2287 - Lignite coal industry study completed by Insurance Commissioner