Article by, Jordan Kannianen – District 4 Senator
Hello everyone! There are still some major budget and policy bills to be dealt with as we reach the Easter weekend.
SB 2200 passed, which adds provisions to city capital improvement fund bond levy votes to help make it clear to the public the purpose of the levy. Each question on a bond levy ballot must contain information regarding the singular purpose of the bond, the number of mills requested, and the duration of the requested levy authority.
SB 2344, the bill to implement medical marijuana in ND, passed the Senate once again with the House amendments being concurred to. The Governor will now sign it, with implementation of the full program expected to take 12 – 18 months by the Health Department.
HB 1389 has passed, which clarifies some ambiguity in current law that a parent has the right to opt their child out of any test that is not required for graduation.
It’s been frustrating to me to see all of our reserve funds being drained in order to fill budget holes rather than cutting more from certain budgets. Budgets were increased during the good times, and now they’re not being reduced much in a down cycle. For all of the oil tax and sales tax revenues we’ve collected over the past several years, we won’t have any reserves left. The Strategic Investment and Improvement Fund, the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund, the earnings from the Legacy Fund (no principal is being taken, but the interest is), and the Budget Stabilization Fund will all sit at $0 in order to balance the budget for the next biennium. We’d better hope there isn’t a large hiccup with the oil activity. As a freshman who’s not on the appropriations committee, I only have the opportunity to vote on the final products that are brought to the floor. By then it’s pretty much a formality when it comes with a unanimous Do Pass recommendation from appropriations. It’s bothersome to me to see that our state budget is well more than double that of South Dakota’s, when they have the larger population. There are certainly things for me to learn and work on.
Have a happy Easter weekend! I know that Jesus Christ is our living Savior. As dark as that Friday was, it was replaced with the brilliant dawn of resurrection Sunday, and so it is in each of our lives.
*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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