Murphy’s Law #2

January 25, 2017

Blog #2 You probably know the ND Public Service Commission (PSC) regulates elevators/grain dealers. You may know that the PSC eliminated the Licensing Director and is re-configuring those responsibilities into a Compliance Director that will spend one-third of their time on licensing. You might be aware they have introduced bill HB1126 which upon passage would also take away an inspector position.
With three full time positions in the past years, each elevator was visited by the regulators on an average of about once every 18 months. What is going on here in general terms is that the PSC is trying to use fewer personnel and the internet for licensing and renewal.
This bill also changes insolvency proceedings, removing PSC appointment as trustee by the District court and having an administrative hearing held by the PSC instead, saving time and staff expense. There are also changes in the credit sale contract indemnity fund which would become a grain indemnity fund. It would pay claims from an insolvency to be funded through a producer assessment at the rate of .02% ($2.00 per $10,000) of value on all grain sold in the state under a credit sale contract, non-credit sale contract or for cash. It would be capped for any one claim at 80% of $500,000 ($400,000). So kind of like the FDIC and an account insured up to $200,000.
Those I have spoken to in the elevator industry see some potential savings of time and other benefits, but there are also concerns about moral hazard in the grain industry as some level of oversight is seen as a good thing while how much is unclear. They are also concerned about needing more clarification on the status of bond in the bill. Bond underwriting could become more stringent and costly under new law. The first hearing is in House Agriculture but has not been scheduled at this time. Please understand that there is a long way to go in this process with time to make changes.