Written by, Mason Sisk (Assistant to the House Majority Leader)
We are still moving forward with the goal of finishing our work in less than 80 legislative days. The House has been gaveling in twice a day in order to move through the remaining bills and still fit in time for conference committee meetings. The appropriations budget bills have begun to be on the floor and had lengthy debates on the proper allocations of funds.
The Senate bill regarding campaign ethics and finances was passed in the House this week and the Senate concurred with the amendments. This Republican sponsored bill will bring more transparency to campaign finance reporting.This bill will promote transparency in elections, will give voters online access to important campaign finance information and prohibit personal use of campaigns funds.
An amendment that was widely publicized was on the University System’s budget. There has been much speculation about the continuation of the North Dakota State University Nursing School at Sanford in Bismarck. Republicans have always been very committed to the continuation of expanding education and healthcare professionals, especially in a time of a nurse shortage. The program is not going to be closing, Sanford will be negotiating a better public-private partnership for the University and the students.
The bill for the implementation of medical marijuana has finally passed both the House and the Senate. Amendments were added in the House to allow for additional forms of the product to be available and also lowered the fees for application fees. The legislation also prioritizes increasing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the system without restricting access to those seeking medical marijuana.
The senate bill to restore the royalty payments to the rightful owners for minerals under the Missouri river, passed on the House floor. This bill not only is the right thing to do, by giving back land that wasn’t the state’s property, but it also could spur more oil development under lake Sakakawea, due to this bill clarifying ownership of mineral rights.
Although we are closing in on our final days in Bismarck, many of these fights for funding are far from over and will continue until we gavel out for the last time.
*Mason Sisk is serving as the Assistant to the House Majority Leader.
*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. Feel free to reach out with any comments/concerns (StanleyGazette@gmail.com)