April 24, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #29
Tax Package Settled?
At this point, the conference committee discussion on how to reduce property tax and income tax appears to have a tentative solution.Senate Tax Committee Chair Jordan Kannianen explained to me this morning (although they do have an afternoon meeting to confirm) that property tax looks to be a $500 deduction for every single home or occupied dwelling. It would affect about...
April 21, 2023
Murphy’s Law Bog 2023 | #28
Hurry Up and Wait.
At this point in the session, it is all conference committees with the House vs. Senate versions of bills. Sometimes they decide the other house amendments were fine and the agreement takes five minutes. Other times they dig in and it takes a lot of meetings. There are three legislators from each side and if they cannot make any headway, leadership may replace some...
April 18, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #27
This is the time in a session when one is busy and then idle for long stretches. Almost all committees, other than Appropriations, have kicked their bills to the floor or are in conference committees that meet to finalize language into an agreement and enforceable form. I believe this is Day 67, and we have about two weeks left unless it takes three. Unofficial pools for...
April 10, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #26
Two Water Bills
Today saw some action on HB 1391 which specifies that the unofficial minutes of a Water Resource District (WRD) be published in the official newspaper within 10 days of the meeting. It also says that if the WRD has a website, those same minutes be posted there as well. A Conference Committee will settle it. SB 2326 was also passed this morning. That bill emphasized...
April 4, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #25
Update - NDSU Research and Extension Budget
For obvious reasons, your NDSGA supports the NDSU Research and Extension budgets each and every year. Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations division (there are three) termed Government Operations went through a very large budget for the final time. Today, it appeared before the full Appropriations Committee and sailed through. Overall, I believe it was stated that they cut...
March 31, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #24
Getting Close on Policy Bills
The Senate Ag committee is closing up with some tweaks to a water bill and another on rural grocery stores. House Ag is going to be extending its work into next week as they wait on information for a foreign adversary land ownership bill. This issue has tentacles that extend into federal laws, so it needs extra care to avoid unintended consequences (SB 2371). Work will...
March 29, 2023
Murphy’s Law 2023 Blog | #23
Waldron Hall (NDSU Research and Extension)
Also known as the Ag Field Lab, Waldron Hall is the number one priority item identified by SBARE (State Board of Agricultural Research and Education) for this legislative session. The bill it is found within is HB 1020, which contains all manner of funding for Research and Extension efforts. The building would replace four aging structures, I believe, with the central focus...
March 23, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #22
Animal Ag Development Bills
We had good action on two animal ag development bills today. After a positive hearing last week on HB 1437, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed it out with a 6-0 Do Pass recommendation. This bill uses regional planning grants to help counties and townships update their zoning and utilize other technologies and skill sets to choose sites adequate for housing animal ag...
March 20, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #21
Snow Removal Relief
Got any snow? SB 2183 just passed on the House floor and should be able to become law upon the Governor signing it within a few days. It allows tribal governments, cities, counties and townships to apply to the Adjutant General (of the North Dakota National Guard) for grants to help with the cost of excessive snow removal. Up to 60% of any cost over 150% of your lowest...
March 17, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #20
Zoning, Roads and Bridges
A Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you, especially if you don’t need to travel. One of the benefits of being in the Capitol building is that from time to time, you can get some good fresh information. The example today is that I bumped into the Director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) who told me that the weather was so bad around Jamestown and east...
March 14, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #19
Revenue Forecast and Township Roads
The morning started out early with a joint hearing of both Appropriations committees listening to Moody’s look ahead at what is in store for dollars coming into our state. The word is that it will remain much the same as previously expected with a slight touch of decline. Nothing major. The other entity retained to look into the crystal ball is Standard and Poors which...
March 9, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #18
Grain Bins, Research and Extension
On Wednesday afternoon during committee work in Senate Finance and Tax, the decision to recommend a Do Pass on HB 1370 got a 5 to 1 vote. That bill gives a sales tax exemption to those who would purchase grain bins for the next two years. The purpose of bringing the bill is to provide an incentive for on-farm storage given the demand for year-round soybeans serving the...
March 7, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #17
SB 2259 has passed both houses. It sets North Dakota State agency commodity group fees for the State Auditor. North Dakota Soybean Council (NDSC) was set at $6,000 dollars and most other groups at $4,000. NDSC’s latest fee was around $17,200 and unlike other commodities, is audited every year due to its status as a federal checkoff entity. Most other commodities are...
March 2, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #16
Back to Hearings
Today started with the weekly Thursday Ag Coalition Zoom call at 7:00 a.m. Then the hearings started with most legislators back after a few had been delayed by the latest blizzard. These are the eight hearings I have attended today, all in person, most with written testimony submitted online and many standing up at the podium: 8:30 a.m. – SB 2259 – which...
February 28, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #15
Some Key Points
Now that the second period starts this week here are a few things we know about the legislature and agricultural issues: There are a lot of opportunities for extra funding for county and township roads and bridges that are still alive. Some bills have been rolled into the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) budget and some survived intact. While there are...
February 21, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #14
Crossover Crunch, huh? Sounds like I just invented a new snack food or something. I am referring to the long hours legislators are putting in so that they get a break late this week and early next week as House bills go to the Senate and vice-versa. While many road and bridge infrastructure bills are still alive, SB 2275 died on the Senate floor yesterday. This is the one...
February 16, 2023
Murphy’s Law 2023 | #13
Zoning, Transportation, NDSU Research and Extension
The day started by attending two full House Appropriations final budget hearings on HB 1012 (DOT), and NDSU Research and Extension HB 1020. One interesting facet of the $2.4 billion DOT bill is a new $115 million in flexible funding whereby the department can spend that on projects off the state system (such as county or township roads or bridges they deem of importance)....
February 16, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #12
Legislative Day 30 of ??
In a week or so we will be up against Crossover, the time when bills originating in one house go to the other signifying the end of the first period. If they survived, of course. Most of the bills have been heard in policy committees so they need now to get them to the floor for voting. The committees that are backlogged are usually Appropriations because they deal with...
February 9, 2023
Murphy’s Law Blog 2023 | #11
Prairie Dog or SIIF
Today saw a hearing for SB 2367 which discusses how the state allocates its share of oil and gas taxes. In 2019, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (UGPTI – the authority in transportation research) estimated North Dakota needed $440 million per year for 20 years to maintain our roads and bridges. This year the study says the need per year is $525 million....
February 7, 2023
Murphy’s Law 2023 | #10
Architects, Bioscience, Drainage, Zoning
Good afternoon. The title of the blog shows a few of the topics and bills of yesterday and today. Architects and engineers need to look at and sign off on public buildings that are built in North Dakota. This includes buildings built for NDSU Research and Extension such as machine sheds and the like at their stations. SB 2347 is the number and had a hearing today....