Article by, Jordan Kannianen – District 4 Senator
Hello everyone! As this week ends, the goal of leadership is to complete our work by Tuesday, April 25th.
Some of the budgets left to be decided include Office of Management and Budget, Human Services and Higher Education.
Two bills passed this week on the theme of justice reinvestment that were the result of an in-depth interim study on alternatives to incarceration. I was happy to vote for both of them.
HB 1269 cut the mandatory minimum sentences in half for non-violent drug offenses in order to leave more flexibility with judges. The bill also extends immunity from prosecution for those who help someone who has overdosed even if they’ve been using themselves.
HB 1041 looks to give drug-users one more chance before being automatically labeled as a felon, making the use of a controlled substance a class A misdemeanor for first-time offenders instead of the current class C felony. It also seeks to include faith-based groups in the treatment options that satisfy court orders. As it stands now, young individuals who make a mistake with drugs are immediately tagged with the felon label, making it very difficult for them in their work and rental situations. This bill allows first-time offenders to have a “second chance” if they follow through with treatment requirements.
SB 2047 returns more power to landowners in quick-take eminent domain situations. It requires water resource boards to follow some additional steps before taking possession of land in a quick-take situation.
See Also: Stanley Area Classifieds
The Governor’s School, held each summer in Fargo, had $220,000 restored to it after initially having been cut completely, so high school students will still have the opportunity to attend.
It’s been a good week of watching conference committees, as the four that I was assigned to are all wrapped up. It’s been interesting to watch the committee work on the various budgets. The main one I’ve kept an eye on is SB 2013, where a House amendment has sought to divert oil tax money to non-oil producing townships, reducing what the oil-producing townships receive by two-thirds. Majority Leader Rich Wardner is leading the effort in conference committee to put more money back into the oil-producing townships.
My next report will be a wrap-up summary of the session, so I hope you have a great week until then.
*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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