Murphy’s Law 2019 #5

January 18, 2019

Well, its Friday with both bills and snow coming down here in Bismarck. Yesterday I heard a bill – 1291- on permanently registering trailers. The farmers I spoke with afterwards that had been listening in were very receptive to the $120 proposed fee. The bill was brought by the Motor Carriers because many individuals and fleets were licensing their trailers in other states which already offered the permanence. The hassle of stickers and re-registering would be nice to wave goodbye to even for me, a guy who owns just a pickup and a sedan (but this is just for trailers). No one spoke in opposition.
Today House Ag committee heard 1086 which unfortunately was named Waters of the State. This evidently tripped memories around North Ddakota about WOTUS and led to an immediate disfavor for the bill. I would argue that is perhaps unfortunate because the State Water Commission says they are merely trying to clarify existing code making it clear that they have no sway over private waters, oil well production water and sheet water. Codifying deregulation in those instances makes sense, but the language in the original bill confused folks and it seems that the amendments we worked on were not explained well enough and soon enough to overcome resistance that had welled up around the state. The committee will act on it next week.
A bill which would extend fixed interest rates to help on a popular beginning farmer loan program was well received with no one in opposition. On a lighter note, I sat in on a bill that makes DUI charges from riding a bike or animal impossible in ND. It was also viewed positively, so we have that going for us.