Written by, Mason Sisk (Assistant to the House Majority Leader)
Committee hearings have concluded for the Legislative Session and we have begun conference committees, to concur with the Senate about discrepancies in bills and amendments. We are hoping to conclude the session under eighty days, so that we will be able to come back for a special session during the interim if necessary.
HB 1436 passed on the House floor and was sent to the Senate government and veterans affairs committee. The bill would allow a self-insured option for the Public Employee Retirement System or PERS. North Dakota is the only state without a self-funded option. The bill would also allow for a line of credit through the Bank of North Dakota to provide adequate reserves and to purchase stop-loss insurance.
SB 2344 dealing with the compassionate care act has been amended by the House human services committee and will be voted on by the chamber next week. The bill makes changes to initiated measure 5 that legalizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The changes will ensure that the measure voted on by the people is carefully implemented and regulated. Because the original measure did not decriminalize medical marijuana, we need to amend it to make it feasible to implement.
The House finance and taxation committee gave a DO PASS recommendation to SB 2206 after amendments. The bill deals with the takeover of county social services funding responsibilities by the state. The amendments adopted by the committee call for the takeover to be studied and an implementation plan be developed in the interim. This is a complicated issue and this bill will ensure we don’t rush into anything and will allow us to provide our best services to our citizens. Our objective is to move forward, do it right and work within our budget constraints. The implementation plan must be presented to the next legislative assembly in 2019.
The House finance and taxation committee also gave a DO PASS recommendation to SB 2298. This bill requires certain out of state sellers to collect and remit sales tax. This includes companies that do not have a location within our state’s borders whose gross sales exceed one hundred thousand dollars. This bill is an attempt to collect sales tax revenue that is being lost to online purchases and to level the playing field for ND businesses.
The House will begin voting on the floor twice a day starting next Tuesday in an attempt to clear the calendar so conference committees can meet to settle differences between the chambers.
*Mason Sisk is serving as the Assistant to the House Majority Leader.
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- North Dakota Senate: Weekly Summary