Article by, Jordan Kannianen – District 4 Senator
Hello everyone! As always, I hope you and your families are well.
All bills have been heard in committee, so conference committees and floor voting remains, with conference committees taking up the most time. When a bill that passed one chamber is amended further and then passed as amended by the other chamber, then the committee chairman who had the bill in the original chamber can decide whether or not to concur with the second chamber’s amendments. If they do concur then it’s brought to the original chamber for a vote to approve the second chamber’s amendments. If they don’t concur with the changes then a conference committee is formed with three from each chamber (chosen from the members of the committees through which the bill passed). The conference committee then tries to work out an agreement which they can bring to their respective chambers for a vote. Usually an agreement is reached and the bill pass in some form, but once in a while things stalemate and a bill ends up being killed due to lack of agreement, even though both chambers had originally passed the bill in different forms. Sometimes each chamber agrees on a basic idea but can’t agree on the details. That’s the good part of a bicameral legislature – everything is vetted very well before being signed into law.
The largest news of late is the creation of the Department of Environmental Quality. The purpose of its creation is to attempt to increase the primacy North Dakota has over its environmental regulations – to try get the Federal EPA to relinquish their hold on some things and push them back to the state level. With the appointment of Scott Pruitt as EPA head, the hope is that this is more likely to happen. Having a separate agency with a cabinet-level head will help in this, as opposed to the current setup with the current workforce being a division of the Health Department. The current employees currently tasked with state environmental regulatory duties will simply be moved out of the Health Department and into the Department of Environmental Quality, who will now be led by their own cabinet official. The full rollout of this new department won’t happen until 2019, and not until it is ensured that current primacy will be retained.
Thank you for your communications with me, and have a wonderful week!
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)
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