It’s over. The 66th North Dakota Legislative Session lasted 76 working days plus one or two where they did not hammer a floor session in yet worked in committees. The prognostications made at 7 a.m. Friday in #35 held up through the 10 p.m. finish in that the grain inspection program moving to Ag killed in 2346 was passed in the Ag budget bill #2009. Basically, the intent is that those caught up in the large insolvency proceedings will continue to be looked into by the PSC until finished. Otherwise, warehouse inspections including financials will be overseen through the ND Department of Agriculture as they begin to staff and run that program when the law takes effect midsummer. While conflicted, the NDSGA did sign in and testify in favor of that move to the PSC.
The bigger story for news media was the afternoon failure on the floor of 2315 which dealt with automatic posting. So much work was put in by the prime sponsor (Sen. Erbele), the Ag committees and the House subcommittee that I can hardly imagine the disappointment of those most involved when it went down. The NDSGA had also signed in support of that bill. 1020 – the bill that contained the budget for NDSU Research and Extension, also passed the floor on the last day. Of course, NDSGA did all they could to move that forward. As mentioned in the previous post, that was a big day for all involved in the grain and livestock industry in ND.
Now the legislative management team will decide which legislators get picked for which interim committees and those will fire up later this summer after the legislators, executive branch members and lobbyists take a month or three off to recoup from the intense daily pressure cooker that is our session.
This also marked the end of full involvement for your Legislative Director since 2008, Scott Rising. Having worked with him for 6 years as a Senator and these past 3 as his partner in Bismarck, I can tell you that no one cared more or worked harder to help agriculture than he. Scott’s philosophy is and was that your organization has to be there constantly to be effective. Day after day and incident upon incident, I have come to see that he is absolutely correct. Again, not a single person in Bismarck was more dedicated and Scott retires with the respect of his peers and those he sought to educate for the betterment of you growers. Thank you, Mr. Rising, I could not have asked for a better teacher and partner.