North Dakota Senate weekly summary (Week of Feb. 6 – 10)
Article by, Andi Lefor (Assistant to the Senate Majority Leader)
Bismarck – As the legislature prepares for the crossover of bills from their houses of origin on February 24th, the Senate is spending more time in floor sessions and less time in committee hearings. This week, some Senate committees began hearing bills that have already passed the House. Legislators are working hard to stay ahead of schedule in the hope of saving some of the maximum eighty days for later in the biennium.
The Senate voted to pass SB 2134, a bill that came out of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee with a Do Pass recommendation. The bill clarified who owns the minerals located underneath Lake Sakakawea and the Missouri River, resolving years of fruitless litigation and returning minerals to their rightful owners.
This week, the Senate Human Services Committee held a public hearing on SB 2344, a bill designed to implement the medical marijuana ballot initiative that passed last year. As written, the language on the ballot is missing important details. For instance, the ballot measure included no decriminalization language, meaning that patients would have no protection from being arrested for their lawful use of medical marijuana. SB 2344 is designed to help the Health Department implement what the voters decided, making these necessary revisions. The public hearing was the start of a long legislative process, and the Senate is working toward crafting the best solution while respecting the will of the people.
A few topics that have garnered some media interest were heard on the floor this week. The bill proposing consolidating North Dakota under one time zone and exempting the state from Daylight Savings Time failed, putting the contentious issue to rest. In addition, the statewide prohibition on parking meters was repealed, leaving the decision up to local political subdivisions.
*This summary was provided by Andi Lefor. Andi serves as the Assistant to the Senate Majority Leader in the North Dakota Legislature.
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