Yesterday was Day 55 of the up to 80 day session. Yesterday the Senate overrode the Governor’s veto of 2244 which was the increase of driver’s license fees from $15 to $30. Proponents of 2244 argued that the revenue raised per biennium (I believe I heard in the neighborhood of $5.5 million) was needed because the DOT was not charging enough to fund the expense of issuing driver’s licenses and that the condition of our roads and bridges necessitate some of those funds. DOT had not raised that fee since 1987 and even at $30 it averages out to just over a penny a day for the privilege to drive in ND. Opponents said it is a tax increase and that DOT should be able to produce those drivers’ licenses more efficiently with technological improvements. The vote was 44-4. Ouch!
Also yesterday, 1467, the bill to transfer grain licensing from the PSC to the Ag Department was turned into a study by the Senate Ag committee. However, the bill to improve the process – 2346 – is now in House Ag and you can pretty much count on the spirit of1467 to be amended into 2346. That means that if 2346 passes the House floor there will be a Conference Committee. All conference committees feature 3 members of the House meeting with 3 members of the Senate to reconcile any differences in the bill. Once that is achieved, it goes back to the floors for passage or defeat. I believe that beginning today, bills which have passed with a difference in the other house will begin to be assigned to conference committees and when the last one is done, so is the Legislature for the next 20 months barring a special session