Article by, Jordan Kannianen – District 4 Senator
I hope you and your families are well!
It is still the goal of both majority leaders to complete our work by Good Friday, April 14th. We shall see.
What may keep us longer are the biggest budget bills (human services, higher education, etc.), the medical marijuana issue (SB 2344), the social services funding bill (SB 2206), and health insurance issues.
The state has utilized Sanford Health for the past two years to cover public employees’ insurance plans, but the House has now passed a delayed bill HB 1436 which proposes to put the state on a self-insured plan. There are pros and cons to both, and I would welcome input on self-insured plans from any of you who participate in them (implement dealers, home builders, etc.).
HB 1151 proposed to increase the reporting threshold on impermeable sites from 1 barrel to 10 barrels. Wells and other sites built after Sept. 1st, 2000 (when rules changed requiring impermeable barriers with berms) would fall under the new threshold. I voted in favor of the bill, agreeing with the assertion that smaller spills on a sight designed and built to contain such spills pose a minimal environmental hazard and don’t warrant the cost and administrative work needed in the reporting procedures of a spill. They still have to be cleaned up, and state inspectors making their monthly visits to each site will still keep everyone honest. The change will actually free up the health department and allow them to focus more time on spills and accidents that actually pose threats to the environment.
A bill that generated considerable attending was HB 1310. This bill would have allowed the smallest of schools, who can’t afford to pay a resource officer and are many minutes away from the closest law enforcement, to have an employee who either is retired law enforcement or meets certain training standards (including possessing a Class 1 concealed carry permit) to carry a concealed firearm in the school. It only would have been allowed if the school board approved of the individual and all of the qualifications were met.
The Burleigh County Sheriff, who serves in the House of Reps (Pat Heinert) approved of the training requirements in the bill and the bill itself, advocating for it on the House floor.
With the guns that are already in some of our schools (through hired resource officers) and the fact that we’ve been accident-free, and with law enforcement officials approving of the training requirements of the bill, I felt giving the choice to the smallest school districts was the appropriate thing to do. Those districts who didn’t want anything to do with it wouldn’t have had to worry about it, while the few who wanted it (like Wilton) would’ve had the option. Either way, the bill failed in the Senate, so it’s a moot point until next session.
As we enter the final two or three weeks, I want to make a comment on my colleagues in the Senate. A fellow freshman in the House asked me if I saw any corruption of any kind in the Senate, and I told him I didn’t. He told me he had come into the legislature looking for it but had yet to see any either. I think our brief conversation illustrates the integrity of the legislature. People don’t always agree with our decisions, whether individual or collective, but I hope no one ever doubts the high level of character and integrity of the people who serve in the state legislature, which I have the honor of witnessing firsthand.
Have a great week, and thanks again to those who have contacted me.
Jordan Kannianen is a Senator from District 4. Jordan serves on the Education and Political Subdivisions Committees.
*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. Feel free to reach out with any comments/concerns (StanleyGazette@gmail.com)