Article by, Jordan Kannianen – District 4 Senator
Greetings from Bismarck, as another week comes to a close. We have now completed 32 legislative days, with one week until crossover.
I appreciate the communications I’ve received from various parts of the District, whether through phone, email, social media, or mail.
A hot topic presently is SB 2344, the bill looking to fix errors in the medical marijuana measure. The measure as passed last November did not include language to decriminalize the possession or use of the product when in possession of the authorization card, nor was decriminalization language put in place for its production and distribution. Moreover, the original measure only allows for a 501(c)(3) non-profit structure to be utilized for the in-state manufacturers, but with marijuana still illegal under Federal law it’s not possible to gain non-profit status with the Federal Government while engaging in the business of an illegal product. SB 2344 corrects these errors by adding the proper decriminalization language in the proper sections of ND Century Code and stating that LLC’s and corporate structures can also be used by manufacturing facilities of the product.
Additionally, fees were adjusted or added which will be charged to those who manufacture, distribute, and use the product in order to make it financially sustainable. The measure as originally written would have left the Health Department and ND taxpayers with a large, ongoing budgetary hole. Even with SB 2344 it will cost taxpayers approximately $1.6 million to get the program operational. SB 2344 was hashed over and amended in committee, and a solid joint effort has produced a bill that we believe most can agree on. It came out of committee yesterday (Feb. 16th) and should be voted on next week by the Senate. A 2/3 majority is required by both chambers to change an initiated measure.
SB 2186 was unanimously passed on the floor last week and is the culmination of research, study, and collaboration over the past few years. It allows local school districts to apply for waivers from the Department of Public Instruction in order to adapt curriculums or classwork to encourage innovation and advanced academic opportunities. It would allow other learning opportunities to be counted for credit besides just the seat-time requirements. Additional information about specific examples can be received from DPI.
SB 2249 states that students who are convicted of a criminal offense are not eligible to participate in extracurricular activities. It passed the Senate this week 42-4. The genesis of the bill was a case in which a young man played high school baseball despite having been convicted of sexual assault.
I continue to receive many comments about the land posting bill – SB 2225. Most are in favor with some opposed. An amendment was proposed by the sponsor to change it into a pilot program to see how it works in a few counties before applying it to the whole state. We’ll see how the votes fall in committee and what the final bill looks like that we vote on as a body.
Have a great week, and thank you for the honor of serving.
*Jordan Kannianen is a Senator from District 4. Jordan serves on the Education and Political Subdivisions Committees.
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