Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations committee heard SB2012 – the DOT budget – and from North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Bill Panos. He understands the Federal highway funding arena very well having come from the same position in Wyoming. One of the fundamental points he stressed is that the more funding flows through the DOT, the greater amount can be leveraged for matching from the Feds. North Dakota has the second greatest match ratio of any state save Wyoming and they need to maximize that whenever possible. The Road Train bill (SB2026) had a couple of people testify in favor and then the opponents lined up until time ran out. Counties were worried about safety, engineers testified about shortcomings in infrastructure design, safety and lack of oversight as well as there being no consensus on what a road train is. Then a trial lawyer who has dealt with traffic deaths testified. He was worried about safety as well. I presume the Senate Transportation committee will work on it further on Thursday. I spoke with the Insurance Commissioner about bill HB087 which would reinstitute the invisible health reinsurance for the upcoming biennium. It was passed for the first time last session but expires without the legislature taking action. As advertised two years ago, this law did indeed deliver on average a 20 percent savings for individual health insurance policies. Yeah, I know, it is still an expensive item, but 20 percent! So I put us in for favorable testimony. That is being heard in House IB&L at 1:45 Tuesday if you are curious. The connection to the hearings is here. Click on Video in the header bar.