Murphy’s Law 2021 #39 – Subsurface Water Management Reaches Agreement

April 23, 2021

After several conference committee meetings, today a compromise was agreed upon. HB1437 will require reporting of, but no permit for, tiling of agricultural land less than 80 acres in size. This was agreed upon because time was running out to reach agreement and/ or mostly because reporting of less than 80 was attached in an amendment under a sunset clause which will expire on December 31, 2022. At that time, the incoming legislature will decide if reporting of those smaller tracts will be included in the reporting process. The data that will have been accumulated by that time will help with that decision. The interim study of water management described in SB2208 will look at that information and substantially color what the legislature decides to do moving forward. HB1437 will probably be passed now and I will sum it up when that happens next week.
NDSU Research and Extension’s budget (SB2020) conference committee will be wrapped up later this afternoon and also acted on next week as will the Ag Department budget bill (HB1009) also finalized in conference today. Altogether, township road funding may be the last major agricultural piece of the puzzle to be acted on as a part of the OMB bill (HB1015) which is traditionally the last bill of the session, almost surely to end by late next week. Today is Day 72 of 80 possible. Rarely does a session get this far into April without everyone, especially farmer legislators, becoming antsy and I heard at least one legislator threaten to “get COVID” so he could spend these last few days on his tractor. Let the record show he was in attendance the whole time. Thanks to all of them for their dedication to our state.