Murphy’s Law #7

January 25, 2017

It’s been kind of a long week and its Tuesday. This is nearly the end of new bills dropping as 40 came in last night. From now on there are only delayed bills and that means single digits at most. So it is done raining bills and we will understand the bigger picture to a greater degree by the end of next week or so. There are some gorillas in the room concerning Agriculture, though.
Last week you will recall that  HB1126 took the majority of our week learning about and discussing the Public Service Commission and elevator insolvency, regulation and possible role changes therein. This week it is about SB2263 which resurrects drain tiling regulation. It is an attempt to clarify the law last changed in a major way in 2011 and a bill that takes attorneys out of the equation with a diminished role in the authority of county Water Resource Districts. There are lots of differing opinions out there with downstream owners, WRDs, the State Water Commission, tiling companies and of course the tiling applicants themselves all seeing this from somewhat different perspectives. That gets heard on Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m.
Another big topic is wetland mitigation with an idea coming forward to use state owned land as kind of a water bank. That will be coming soon but does not have a hearing time as far as I know. More on that in a couple days, I hope. Another is SB2225 which is a bill about having all land in our state automatically posted. This is an old friend to the legislative process which may have more legs this time because of the DAPL situation. It is not up this week.
I stopped into Senate Education for 10 minutes to hear testimony on a bill, SB2243, which I presumed would matter to you producers because it will forgive teacher education debt if working in a rural school district. It would forgive $4,500 each of the first and second years and $6,000 the third year. It got a Do Pass Recommendation. Almost every rural school in ND suffers from teacher shortages, maybe this can help. Finally, you heard about the demise of the TPP. That should be interesting as our markets adjust.