Article by, Andi Lefor (Assistant to the Senate Majority Leader)
Senate Weekly Summary – March 31, 2017
The legislative session is winding down, and most committees wrapped up their work this week. The floor sessions are going longer into the afternoon, as the Senate votes on bills that originated in the House. Next week, representatives of both chambers will get together on conference committees to start ironing out the differences between their bills and to reach a consensus.
This week, the Senate unanimously passed HB 1041, a bill that has been coined as a “justice reinvestment” effort. This bill allows people arrested on drug offenses to be directed toward treatment rather than incarceration, with the goal of lowering prison costs and rates of recidivism. This is a data-driven effort, and all of the agencies involved will be measuring the plan’s outcomes so that we can continue to improve on it next biennium.
The Senate did not pass HB 1310, the bill to allow an armed first responder in schools. After lengthy debate with many supporters on either side, a majority of the Senate body concluded that this legislation was not prudent, though backed by good intentions.
The Senate also decided to sustain Governor Burgum’s veto of HB 1153, which would have required a two-thirds majority to override. The bill related to the governor’s ability to use bonuses to retain his staff.
As the fifty-ninth day of the session comes to a close, the Senate is working with the House to come to a resolution about how the money will be spent. The legislature is still aiming to finish with a few days leftover before reaching the eighty-day limit.
*This summary was provided by Andi Lefor. Lefor serves as the Assistant to the Senate Majority Leader in the North Dakota Legislature.
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