North Dakota Legislative Review 1912

North Dakota Legislative Review 1912

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– [Narrator] Welcome
to our weekly review of North Dakota’s
Legislative News. Now, here’s your
host, Dave Thompson, with North Dakota
Legislative Review. – And hello, I’m Dave Thompson with North Dakota
Legislative Review. It was the first
veto of the session and now the Senate has voted to override Governor’s
Doug Burgum veto. The bill doubles driver’s
license fees from $15 to $30 and the Senate voted 41 to
four to override its veto. The House must still
vote to override it, that will come probably in
the next few weeks or so. Also, the Sunday Opening Law has been signed into
law by Governor Burgum. It takes effect August 1st, that means retail
stores in North Dakota can be open before
noon on Sunday. That’s the last vestige
of the blue law, it’s gone. And also, there was
an oil tax measure, that the Senate has act on. There was misplaced money concerning the
allocation of oil taxes and lawmakers are
working to correct what some perceive as an error. Schools and water projects
are going to get money they say were lost
because of the error. This week, a plan
was put in place to repay millions of dollars misallocated over
the past decade. A certain percentage
of oil extraction taxes was supposed to go to the
Common School’s Trust Fund and also the Resources
Trust Fund every year. As political correspondent
Chad Mira reports, a new amendment proposes, Rich, will make sure that
money is repaid. – [Chad] For the past two weeks, lawmakers have grappled
with how to handle funding that was never put in
its appropriate spots. – It took a long time to
get this, where it was. It’s gonna take a
while going back. – [Chad] This week,
Senator Majority leader, Rich Wardner, proposed a
plan to repay the funds. It had been estimated as much as $200 million, was never paid to the
Common School’s Trust Fund and the Resources Trust Fund. – When it comes to,
putting the principal back into the Common School’s
Trust Fund, that’s important, because that earns more
earnings as we go forward and it’s a constitutional fund. – [Chad] So here’s the plan, at the end of the next biennium, the state will move
more than $64 million into the Common
School’s Trust Fund. Repaying the
Resources Trust Fund will go a little differently. An extra 1/2 of a percent will be added to
the fund each year until the missing $128
million is repaid. Then, that 1/2
percent will stop. This way, the state
can still invest in other things it needs. – General fund, balancing,
taking care of priorities. So, we would be short of that. – The Finance and
Taxation committee has given the idea a do pass. – My personal feelings is that,
it’s unnecessary amendment. – But not the chairman,
Senator Dwight Cook. – If you’re gonna look back, I think the melody brought
is the best way to do it. It’s still just basically
a shell game in my mind is taking money
from this pocket, putting it into another pocket. But, if we’re gonna do it,
that’s the best way to do it. – [Chad] Now the entire senate, will have a chance to weigh in. – We’re now joined by Bismarck
Republican Representative, Mike Nathe. He is a member of the House
Appropriations Committee. So, Representative Nathe, thank you very much
for being here. – Thanks, thanks for
having me here today. – Alright, what do you
think are the big issues that are loggerheads between
the House and Senate right now? – I think well,
as we speak today, the debate, the
biggest one right now that’s kind of reared its head, is the difference
in the pay package. The House is at two two
for the state employees and the Senate is
at two and three. And there’s been
ongoing negotiations, but as far as I know,
as of this afternoon, both sides are dugging
pretty hard right now. So I think that’s gonna play
out for a little while yet, so. I think we’re gonna
be passing budgets out of both chambers,
out of both Senate and House Appropriations with
their own benefit packages. And, there’s negotiations
will take place here in the next days or even
weeks as we go forward. So, that could come down to the, almost to the end
of this session before that is figured out. – So that’s going to be a lot of conference
committee perhaps. – There could be a lot
of conference committees. It could be a lot of
meetings with just the …. Yeah, the leaders will meet, but once they do decide, we will have to have
conference committees on all those budgets with
House and Senate appropriators to put in the correct
package that we agree upon. – On the two and two
plan, you have a minimum. There’s a floor, correct? – Yeah, 2% for the first
year, 2% for the second and the Senate is 2% for
the first and 3% for the – I thought it was
– second year – like in a money. – There was also a, I
know there was an offer, there was an option about
maybe putting $100 extra on top for, extra 100 bucks a month
extra for the employees as we go along. So, but again, we’re
at two and two, and we’ll see how
that plays out. – So, let me ask you,
from your perspective, what’s happened with the
Theodore Roosevelt library? – Well, actually, I think that the Theodore
Roosevelt libraries are a little better
shape today than it was maybe a couple months ago. You know, when we
first heard that idea, we were kind of blind
side a little bit. We didn’t hear anything until
the governor speech about it. It’s been a couple months now, I think a lot of
the legislative, my
legislative colleagues, have had a chance
to do some homework, have had a chance to
get kind of up to speed on what it means and
how much it costs and everything else
as we go forward. So, I still think it
has a long road to go as far as getting enough
support in either chamber. But, it seems to me that is
moving in the right direction. And, I do think I’ve
been asked several times, if I think this
is gonna be done. I do think it will be done. I think we’ll see an
amendment maybe day 7072 whenever we get there, but
I think it will be done. But we still have a little
bit of work to go, yeah. – So you’re convinced that
it’s a worthwhile project. – I think it is a
worthwhile project. It’s a big idea and I
think we need that time to take that leap
with big ideas, especially for the
State of North Dakota. And, let’s try to
raise our prominence, our standing a little bit
higher in this country. And I think it’s an
idea worth doing. And, it’s a $50 million
set aside for an endowment. The supporters will raise
another $100 million for the library itself. To have a presidential
library in our state, I think is a very big deal
and I fully support that. – But are we in the
right place then? – But or is the
right place mean, as you know the TR story is. He, spent a good part
of his life out there and I think it fits
exactly perfectly well. – Let me ask you about
another thing that he proposed and that was moving people
out of the New England prison. Moving the women out there,
to Bismarck, the MRCC. Moving the MRCC
inmates to Jamestown. That didn’t get a
lot attraction, at
least has it so far? – It hasn’t in the House so far. Again, that was
one of those items that we didn’t know about either until the state of the
state address in January. MRCC is in my district. So it does affect us directly. The people, obviously
on New England, it is a huge deal for
those people out there, so. The Senate has that
issue right now. And again, I think that
will be one of those issues that will come down to the
final weeks to see what we do. But right now, my
feeling in the House, there is not the
desire to do that. – But again, you really
can never say never until the gavel.
– Absolutely right. Never say never even
with bills that do die. No bill dies until
we actually sign die and leave for the day, so. – The one thing that was
talked about a lot too, is consolidation of Information
Technology Services, that, didn’t seem to get a
lot of attraction, either. Where’s that at? – Well, I know there’s a couple. We’re doing a pilot project with a couple
different departments as far as that’s concerned. We’re not doing
with all of them. I think there’s been
maybe four or five, six different departments
are gonna try this and we’ll see how
it works in session. And if it works out well,
we’ll do it next session. But we’re just kinda
dipping our toe in the water on that issue. – So you didn’t wanna
take the entire apple, bite at the apple might be?
– Yeah, yeah. Let’s see how it works out. Let’s see how when
you consolidate, can we save some FTS,
can we save money and economy of scale? So, I think it’s gonna do a
little test pilot project, so, because it is a big
undertaking to do it. – One issue that was really
prominent last session, doesn’t seem to be
around very much anymore, but I’ve been asking people
about it and that’s the idea of going to self insurance,
for state employees. – Yeah.
– I’m curious. – That’s been a big, a big topic for the last
couple sessions, by the way. And no, we have not heard
much about that at all. And, I guess leave sleeping
dogs lie right now, so. – I’ve heard that there
might be a study coming. – Yeah, there’s
a work on a study and just really doesn’t hurt. Just to see how that’s gonna
affect our state employees and see if we save any money, if we can get even
better benefits that we have
already in our plan. – And just to, go
back a few years, it was tried in North Dakota. And for some reason,
it didn’t work. But there seems to
be some feeling, at least amongst some quarters
that it can work this time. – Yeah. And I’ve talked to,
some of my colleagues have a pretty good
sized businesses and they do self
insurance sort of things. And they talked
glowingly about it. They talked about the amount
of money they can save and not lose the
services either, so. But you know, when
you’re looking at
doing it for the State, that is a pretty big mountain
to climb, something like that. So, I think a study is
very appropriate to do and let’s make sure we
have all our bases covered before we go down that road. – And let’s mention to that. You were the main sponsor of the Prairie Dog bill.
– Yes. – Which again, was referred
to in the senate debate today. But Prairie Dog to that bonding, is kind in limbo right now. – It is. You know, that Bill 2275 died
in House a couple days ago. That was originally
part of Prairie Dog when we were working on it. We’ve been, we were
working on Prairie Dog and Prairie Dog
two since last May. And it was such a big bill. Was such a big
infrastructure bill that we decided last fall, we had to split this
into two different bills. And they both stand on
their own as you know. And I think the
problem in the house, it may have been a
little bit too rich, half a billion
dollars in the fund. I know our leader, Chet Pollert, is supportive of a
bonding bill I think, but maybe little have a
lower dollar amount so. So there are talks
going on right now. Let’s kind of come up
with another version here that everybody
can live with, so, because we do have a
bonding program in place that’s been in there,
all we basically did is put it on steroids
and add more money to it, because we have a
huge infrastructure
need out in the State. And that was the main reason
why we had Prairie Dog come up. And this bonding bill
is just another tool that the communities
in North Dakota can use to help build out
the infrastructure. And by the way, with
a good bonding bill can also help save some
interest on those bonds thus help saving
some property tax, to the people of North Dakota. – But it is true
that for a while, the term bonding was almost old, please don’t bring that up. – Yeah, it is. And especially with some of
the more veteran legislators of me, even though I’ve had
a conversation with them, and they’re very leery about it. Because they were here
during those bonding days and it didn’t turn
out quite so well. Maybe younger legislators who
haven’t been there as long, with you know, I don’t
have that history. I don’t have that knowledge and I haven’t been
burned by that. But, I do think bonding is good when you use it within reason and within into a certain point. And I do think it’s a good tool
for our communities to use. – They used to be called Christmas tree bills
– Yes, yes. (laughs loudly) And I think they’ll be a
couple Christmas tree bills at the end of the session. I think OMB is traditionally
a Christmas tree bill. And I think you’ll
see the Congress bill be a Christmas tree bill. I carried the Congress
bill in the House. And I wouldn’t doubt
if we see some other, some other items tagged on
that as we as we go along. – I know the theater
to our library is probably in the
commerce budget, but some other things there too? – Well, you know,
you have to realize nothing was in
the budget, right? Because we had just our budget and the governor’s issues were
his ideas were on the side. We had to put them in the
bill but the governor proposed that we put it to our
library and commerce. We had some of
these career centers that were originally
in Congress bill and we did not put that in
either, and that was about $30 million and we had decided not to do that
either in the House. I think the Senate’s
thinking about putting some of
that back in, so. – Now the career
centers are like a career academy in Bismarck.
– Correct, yep. It’s patterned after that. And that money would give
schools money to help bring in private businesses to come in and help set up a Career Academy where they can learn to do
maybe blue collar type jobs and those sorts of things, that’s been highly
successful here in Bismarck. And Bismarck State College
has been truly the model that everybody is trying to
pattern themselves after. – I know that Fargo is
trying and that’s through the North Korea
College of Science. – Correct.
– As well. – Yep. And the House decided
not to fund that because Bismarck State College
did it here on their own. They did it within their
budget and they went on and got private sector
investment to come in and do it. And that was the House’s
stance was like, you know, it worked here. The Fargo Schools have a lot
of great businesses out there that could step up and
also help invest in that along with the Bismarck,
Fargo Public Schools and their budget, and they can make it
work that way too, so. – And since you mentioned Fargo, I do have to ask the
question, because, you know, we’re facing flooding issues
again in North Dakota, which is almost an annual thing. And of course, you’ve
got the Fargo Diversion has been asking for more
money at the same time also a river valley
water supply project, in case you have drought,
which does happen. And it’s odd to think of
the Red River flooding when you’re maybe in
drought in a few more years. Where do you see that going? – Well, we had
discussions this morning. I actually, both of those
issues in the Red River Valley, looking at taking the
water of the Missouri here, just north up by
Washburn in that area and then sending it out east. Couple of different ideas there, one would be just to
treat it, put it in a pipe and send it all the
way out to Grand Forks and have a tee and send
it north and send itself. The other way, which I think
is the more preferable way by the Water Commission,
is to have the water treated to a certain
point and then sent out and then dumped into
the Cheyenne River and then that would
convey it over to Fargo and take it from there. But there are lawsuits that
you have to keep in mind. It’s Canada, we have
to keep in mind because water is gonna be treated
to a certain point. So, we’ve been having
those discussions between those two issues. As far as a Fargo
flood diversion, we’ve had a lot of
discussions on that and I think we’re gonna
have a lot more before. That’s gonna be one of
the, I think the last bills we kick out in the
House Appropriations because that has a lot
of moving parts to it. We’ve had a lot of
discussions as far as, you know, the money for it. I think there is a desire
within our committee that’s looking at this to do it. But we wanna make sure
our expectations are met and we talked about
putting some conditions on some of the items
that we wanna do. So, if we’re gonna give
them legislative intent, if we’re gonna go down
that road, that’s fine. But we want certain
things that we want met because a lot of my
colleagues I’m hearing, who have a little bit of a
problem with the Fargo diversion after all the money
we’ve given them, have a hard time looking
at it and saying, why isn’t the interior of interior flood
protection Fargo done? But yet, they’re spending all
this money on someplace else, or they’re sitting
on this money. So, we’re gonna, I
think put a little bit more accountability in
there, so we can explain to our colleagues why we’re
doing what we’re doing. – And that’s some
of the conditions that might be.
– Some of the conditions. Yeah, and we’re working on
those conditions right now. And we asked the State
Water Commission, if we put some conditions on,
how would they feel about it? Of course, they said fine, it just depends on what
those conditions are. But, I think we’ll be able
to come up with the package that everybody
can live with, so. And you know, let’s face it, we all realize that
they need protection out in Fargo and in
the Red River Valley, we just have to make
sure that we do it smart, and do it responsibly, and, you know, we need to
get votes to pass a bill. And so if we could put
some conditions on there that make my colleagues
comfortable with it, then it’s a little easier
way to pass the bill and pass the money. – And it was Will Rogers
I believe, who said, you know, Whiskey
is for drinking, water is for fighting.
– Exactly right, yeah. – Another thing that
has been talked about and really hasn’t got a
lot of attraction yet, is changing the governance
in higher education. The bill that’s on
the table right now, is expanding it to
a 15 member board. And there’s still some
pushback from the governor, who wants at least a
two, board situation, one for the two universities and the other for
the other colleges. And, the Chairman of the
Board of Higher Education, who said he was not speaking
as the chairman of the board but as a member
of the task force. He said that the
one board expanded, is kinda like two board light. And, I’m thinking that
builds in the Senate, right? – Correct. It passed the Senate.
– Passed the Senate. – And it’s right now
currently in the House, in the House of Judiciary, and
they’ve had a hearing on it and just waiting to take
action on that bill. – But you’ll have to weigh
in the appropriations too? – We most likely
will have to, yes. And you know, I was on the
higher Ed Task Force board. We started last January and
when I got on that board, I was of the mindset that
we needed to look hard at the halving boards. And really, quite frankly, I was going in thinking
let’s we may need, we need to do a multi purpose
and multi level board. As the progress as
we progress through, I do really did kind
of changed my mind because I could see some
pitfalls in having a two board, pitfalls having a
three boards system. And, so the current bill,
they have right now, is the bill I had made up
which we had put on the side in case the two board
proposal failed. And it did fail in the
House, the Senate took it and they added a couple
little things to it. But everything in the
bill is pretty much, a lot of those are
the findings we had out of that
Governor’s task force as far as adding more members. As far as having a
one six year term, we found out during our
deliberations that was probably the best way versus two
way four year terms. So, I do think there’s a
lot of support in the House, to make the tweaks
to the current board. – How about spending levels
for higher education? – Well, we’ve also had
that in our section. And, I think we’re
on board, obviously, you know, higher level would
like to have more money than we’re giving them,
which I can’t blame them. But, we’re definitely
gonna be funding meta at a much better level
than we were last session, because last session,
we had such a financial, a lot of financial difficulties, but I think we’re gonna be able to do pretty well for
them this session. – And you have a bill that allocates some
money for research. – Yeah, House Bill
1333 or it’s known, everybody calls
it the LIFT bill, Legacy Investment
Fund for Technology. And it really is for businesses,
for research companies that are right near the goal
line that are about ready to bring that research
to commercialization and that’s what this is for. This bill is not research
for research site. It’s to bring it to
the private sector. And, originally we had 25
million of legacy money in it and it went to the Senate,
it’s now at $15 million. And it’s been able to
stay pretty much intact. And it’s, I’ve been
really surprised at how much support I’ve
gotten from the private sector and from other players. So, I’m really looking forward to seeing that bill
go through the Senate. The Senate
Appropriation’s has it, they’re pretty much done
with it but I think, they’re gonna hold onto
it for a little bit to see how everything
else plays out. – And the one that
Senator Sorvaag, the $45 million, which was a $100 million
has to be dealt with. That’s no longer. – Not so longer and you know,
it complements 1333 very well. But in the House, I hate to say, but in House, research
for research sake doesn’t really play too well. So, and we’ve been down that
road and we have a lot of other research programs
going on right now. The Egg extension
budget we have, has a lot of
research money in it and DSU does a lot
of research and Egg. U&D does a lot of research
with drones and atmosphere, whether that kind of stuff, so, we have a lot of research
programs going on. But I do think we may see some
version of the research build that died in House either
come back to session or most likely next session. – Okay, so there’s a
least some recognition of some value in some ways. – Yes, yeah, yeah. – You mentioned drones, because, you know, that was an
interesting hearing
that I attended in the Senate Appropriations
Committee about drones. And that seems to be kind
of a hidden gem out there that could really, really and
I don’t mean to use the pun, but it could take off. – Yeah, it was in
the Congress budget, and we had a lot of hearings
on the House side about it. And you know, when you
go out to the Valley, you go out to Fargo
and Grand Forks and run Sky Park up by the
Grand Forks Air Force Base. It is absolutely fascinating
what’s going on out there, the technology and how
they use the drones, and all the current
possibilities. You know, we have the
Drone Park out there. The 30 million for
UAS will help us do beyond visual line of sight throughout the whole
state of North Dakota, which will bring a lot of
benefits to the energy industry out in Western North Dakota. They can monitor
pipelines from the drones. They don’t have to be always
watched by a chase plane now. They can be watched
from far distances. They can download data,
those sorts of things. Plus, we also have
the number one UAS test site in the country. There’s seven UAS test sites designated by the
federal government. We were able to put more funding
back in that this session. And, it’s really exciting about what can really
happen out there. We were out there at Grand Sky. They’re talking about
Natal coming out there, with these drones. They are talking
about corporations, Northrop Grumman has
put in over $40 million in their facility out there. And there’s more and
more people to come. So, it is really quite
exciting and I really think we have a real opportunity
to develop their third leg of the stool, of industry
in the state, oil, energy and I think we have a real
chance with technology right now to do it. – Great. Well thank you very much
for taking the time. – Thanks for having me. – Representative Mike
Nathe from Bismarck. While lawmakers were at
the Capitalist’s week, some of their
districts were dealing with dangerous flood conditions. Governor Burgum and a couple
of District 39 lawmakers went to Mackenzie county,
to survey the damage. Political correspondent
Chad Mira, caught up with one of the
lawmakers earlier this week. – People all over the state
dealing with flooding, one of those districts,
is District 39, up in the northwest
part of the state. Joining me now is
Representative Keith Kempenich from that district. Representative, thanks
for your time today. You’re up in the
area this morning, surveying some of the damage
away from the capital. What did you see? – Well, what we did, we got up there
about nine o’clock and we had to actually go to
Sydney because 200 at the time when we got up there
was still underwater. And so what we did is,
Highway Patrol came down, and then we by van, we
drove up to East Fairview and had a meeting and
listened to some of the folks that are impacted by this. And then, we went for a tour. We drove up to the
confluences and seeing where the ice jam is and that’s basically
what the problem is, is why it backed up so bad. And then we went down
on 200 and looked at where the farm stands are
underwater and stuff on it. And it was still, actually the
water was still running over 200 yet, but we did drive
along through it and stuff. But you could feel it, the
current is pretty strong and that’s one of the
things that happened, that all the comments were,
that they were talking 30 mile an hour plus river
flow, which is just unreal, you know, and even when
you’re actually looking at it, when I was crossing the
road, you could see that, that water was really moving. And that’s and then again,
that turned into that, they didn’t have time to evacuate much
other than themselves. So there’s some pretty good, there’s really a devastated
area that got inundated by this. – Last we heard, there
are about 100 or so people who have been displaced
because of this flooding and what kind of resources are
available to them right now? – Well, that’s what we’re
working on right now. The governor was up
and there’s some things that we can do, I guess
basically right now. And that was one of the talk is because Montana has
been flooded too and with what was gone
down south in Nebraska and Kansas and Eastern
South Dakota, and Iowa that, you know, we’re
hoping that we can get a presidential disaster and
that kind of starts things flowing a little better. But right now, I
think what’s going on, is the guard, the general
was with to on it. And so I think that,
the DS and the guard are probably headed up
that way here as we speak. So that’s the immediate response
and I think what’s gonna have to happen, is
the emergency manager, management part of McKinsey
counties is gonna have to start getting some
numbers put together and then see what kind
of response we need to do and stuff on it. But there is some
things we got there and some of these, my funds
that we do have set in here are for these types of
disasters and that’s, that’s what we gotta
look at that and soon. Because we do, we do have some resources. – And highway 200 has
been closed down now for most of the week. You mentioned it looks
like there’s been at least a little bit of
improvement of the water receding in that area. – Yeah, yeah. Like I said when the ice jam
was right at the confluence is and when it hit the solid
ice of the Missouri River, it just stopped. It’s moved around the bend a
little bit about quarter mile but it’s still backing
up water and truthfully, as you know, they’ve been, I think they’ve had
flood warnings down there and I know what down
around that Billings area on the Yellowstone, that
there’s a lot of water still moving through
yet and stuff on it. And I think adult you
know, like up there, they really didn’t
have much snow. The snow is pretty much gone. So it’s all coming from
the south is what it is. So, thanks. – Representative
Keith Kempeneich,
thanks for your time. – Thank you.
– We are wishing everyone a speedy recovery. – Yeah, yeah it does. It tugs at your heartstrings,
when you see that and stuff up there. So, thanks a lot. – Thank you very much.
– Yep, thanks. – And Chad joins
us now in studio to talk about the week ahead. As you heard
Representative Nathe say, looks like there
could be loggerheads on pay raises for
state employees. – Yeah. It’s interesting to hear his
perspective on it right now like he was saying the House
is a 2% raise each year. The Senate wants
2% the first year, 3% raises the second tier. They both agree on that first
year, so that 1% difference. You know, in the
grand scheme of thing, it’s probably not the largest
fiscal impact to the states that they’ll be debating. The both sides seem to
be planting their feet in and we’ll see where they end up. It’s certainly gonna require
a little more debate, it sounds like. – So if they pass their budgets with their pay plans in them, we could see 45 conference
committees (laughs quietly). – No kidding, because
they’re gonna have to go back to the drawing table, basically. And then, depending
where it lands, that will affect how
can we have a little bit of a cannonball effect
on down the road. – So what else are you
watching, this upcoming week? – Well, I think some
interesting things we’ve been hearing about
it, you know, of course, we’ve been talking about the
Legacy Fund earnings a lot. It’s all session and we’ve
been hearing some more momentum for this idea of
lawmakers want to set specific, specific things for
the legacy funds to be used for in the future. So buckets, as Senator
Warner would call them, similar to how the oil
extraction taxes work, you know, they have a certain
percentage goes to this fund, certain percentage to this fund. They wanna do something similar perhaps with the Legacy Fund so we don’t always have this
debates every session about what are we gonna do
with all these earnings. – I suppose these buckets
will pale in comparison to what the legacy
funds earning. Sorry, I had to do that. (laughs quietly) Well, that’s that’s one issue but you know, the hidden
things about research money for the university system, and then what’s gonna
happen with governance? That could be interesting
for the next few weeks. – Yeah, there’s
still a few things. The governance Task
Force recommendations, we don’t know where
that’s gonna land. Still, there’s still
a lot of things that may be ironed out here. So we’re gonna have a lot of
debates on some big issues that we’ve been covering
for a month or so now. – Absolutely, we’ll
continue to cover them. – Will do.
– Alright, thank you very much for joining us. I’m Dave Thompson. This has been North
Dakota Legislative Review. (deafening sound)

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