Lawmakers List Policy Highlights for 2021 Session | News, Sports, Jobs
The 2021 legislature addressed a number of political issues that Republican lawmakers in Minot say will point the state in the right direction.
Senator Randy Burckhard listed some positive changes for the families of military personnel. These changes provide free tuition fees to dependents of military personnel who die or are disabled in the line of duty, allow military spouses to claim unemployment benefits when they lose their jobs due to ‘military transfer and give professional licensing boards more flexibility in emergency situations to license practitioners. from other states.
Representative Randy Schobinger said he was pleased with a move that will begin moving inmates from the New England State Correctional Facility to the available space previously used by the Mandan Youth Correctional Center. He said that the increased focus on community-based services for young people created the space available, enabling the state in the next biennium to bring 30 of the women inmates closer to treatment and health services who are more available in the urban area.
Senator David Hogue said the Legislature has acted to address a nursing shortage by matching up to $ 4,000 in incentives provided by medical institutions to recruit nurses. He was also pleased with the passage of a higher education Challenge grant bill that stipulated that institutions do not partner with organizations that practice or advocate abortion.
“I think the Senate version struck the right balance in discouraging our universities from partnering with these organizations,” he said.
Representative Bob Paulson co-sponsored the “defend your territory” bill.
“This, combined with other Second Amendment bills, resulted in the governor signing a proclamation declaring North Dakota a Second Amendment sanctuary state. I think it’s a good thing that we have accomplished, ” Said Paulson.
Representative Jay Fisher also cited the Second Amendment bills as positive legislation coming out of the session. Among other positive steps, he listed policies that allow students to earn high school credits for internships and that give residents of long-term care facilities the right to have an essential caregiver, such as a member. of their family, with them.
Rep. Jeff Hoverson said his highlight was the passage of his mask freedom bill, which, as amended, bars the governor or public health official from imposing a mask warrant. Hoverson said the bill generated a large number of responses and involvement from citizens.
“It’s probably the highlight of all the highlights, is watching and hearing and seeing people get really passionate and excited and involved.” he said. “A lot of these movements taking place in North Dakota are led by conservative women. I am really proud of them.
He also welcomed the passage of a bill allowing school boards to decide whether or not to display the Ten Commandments in their schools.
Representatives from District 3 will host a legislative review to discuss morality bills and other laws of interest to the church this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Living Word Church, 710 46th Ave. BORN. The public is invited.
Senator Oley Larsen called the session a “huge success,” noting the passage of the Infrastructure Bond, the Second Amendment Rights Bills, the Mask Freedom Bill and the rejection of recreational marijuana.
Larsen said it was disappointing to have the pandemic limit on in-person public participation, limiting opportunities for voters to join their representatives on the ground or for organizations to set up information kiosks in the Great Hall. Personal interaction was missed, he said.
“But overall it was a great session,” he said. “It felt good.”
Burckhard said new technology that enabled virtual testimonials helped increase audience engagement. The political subdivision committee he chaired has received virtual testimony from as far away as San Francisco, and based on the increased testimony seen in that session, he believes the technology will have long-term value for the company. State.
Fisher also said he missed the face-to-face interaction, but believed there was value in the transparency and access that came with the technology. He also felt satisfied with the work accomplished.
“Overall, I was satisfied with what we were able to accomplish”, Fisher said.
Highlights included funding for infrastructure, NAWS and flood control at the intermodal facility and safety improvements on US Highway 52, he said. The budget includes increased funding for mental health and suicide prevention, larger property tax credits for veterans, and agricultural and energy research, he said.
The legislature also provided for a five-year tax suspension on the coal conversion tax.
“Basic electrical energy is incomparable and that was in jeopardy, so we contributed to the fiscal recession”, Fisher said. “We’ve just done a lot to try to advance coal technology, flared natural gas technology.”
Representative Scott Louser said major legislation has been passed to update the state’s voting system to secure an already secure system. The changes may not be noticeable to voters, he said.
“It’s just that they can be more sure than ever that their vote will be counted accurately”, he said. “We have left room for technological improvements in the future.”
The legislature has approved language giving voters 30 minutes after the close of polling stations to vote for the count on election night. Ballots cast after the 30 minutes will be counted by the canvassing boards, which will meet 13 days after the election rather than the current six days. Louser said the extra days give the state and counties more time to update the central voter register to help with accurate recounts when needed.
Louser also succeeded in pushing through legislation to create a permanent low-interest disaster relief fund at the Bank of North Dakota for individuals and communities. The $ 50 million fund would be created with loan repayments under the Original Reconstructors Loan Program, created to help with reconstruction after the Souris River flooding in 2011. These loans are all expected to be fully matured by September 2022, Louser said.
Democrats score victory in 2021 session
Advances in healthcare, education, infrastructure and equality were the highlights of the 2021 legislative session, according to Democratic-NPL lawmakers.
Successes include creating bonds for long-term needs, even though the $ 680 million approved is less than the $ 2 billion sought, party officials said.
“We are encouraged that our Republican colleagues now see the need to use the links to advance these types of programs.” Senator Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, said. “While not the most expansive and responsive outcome we have proposed, this bill will allow significant action on infrastructure needs in communities across the state, create well-paying jobs, help reduce the impact of property taxes and free up general funds to finance other critical priorities. “
Democrats have also been successful in passing a bill that provides continued health care coverage for the spouses and children of first responders killed in the line of duty.