Article by, Jordan Kannianen – District 4 Senator
Thank you to those who have contacted me during the first several weeks of the session. I definitely count on your valuable input.
A bill of particular interest is Senate Bill 2238, which allows members of a city council in cities of a population of 500 or fewer to hold other gainful city employment if no other qualified person is found and the rest of the council agrees unanimously. We in the Political Subdivisions committee felt this was a reasonable assistance to small towns who have trouble filling city positions. We also felt that the language protects from any potential improprieties. Two hundred sixty-three of the 357 ND cities fall into this population category. The bill passed unanimously both in committee and on the Senate floor, and we hope the House concurs.
A bill that generated a lot of discussion was SB 2204. It proposes to add a $40 surcharge to noncriminal vehicle offenses (such as speeding tickets) and a $100 surcharge to criminal vehicle offenses (such as DUIs) in order to fund a statewide radio interoperability system for law enforcement and emergency services. While I certainly agree that the statewide radio system needs updating, I felt this was the wrong funding method to use – especially when it applies to all jurisdictions. It would turn a $30 ticket for speeding or blowing a stop sign into a $70 fee. I voted no, but the Yea’s prevailed, 26-17. We’ll see how the House treats it.
SB 2134 was approved on the Senate floor 37-9, which would direct that the older BLM survey of the old Missouri River bed be used instead of the more-recent state survey. Utilizing the old survey returns a substantial amount of mineral acres to private landowners that the State Land Board had claimed.
A recent tragedy saw the sad situation where the media got ahold of the death report of a young man before his parents were notified. SB 2264, which passed the Senate unanimously, states that it does not become public record until either the next of kin is notified or 14 days have elapsed, whichever happens first.
Two bills that were given a Do Not Pass recommendation in Education Committee involved mandates to school districts. One involved the creation of a biliteracy program, which would encourage the learning of foreign languages, while the other would mandate every school district to create a restraint and seclusion policy. We thought it best to leave it to the individual districts concerning the biliteracy program, and 112 of the 179 districts currently have a policy on the use of restraint and seclusion. We again thought it best to leave it to the local districts rather than mandating language in century code to include in a policy.
Thanks again for your communications, and I always welcome visitors at the capitol.
*Jordan Kannianen is a Senator from District 4. Jordan serves on the Education and Political Subdivisions Committees.
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