Regional

Notes from the 2017 legislative session

Greetings from Bismarck. The 65th North Dakota Legislative Session was gaveled to order on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

By REP. DENTON ZUBKE

A joint session with the Senate was convened to receive Governor Burgum’s message, which was inspirational and enthusiastic. The Inaugural Celebration was enjoyable and the attendance was very good considering the cold weather. Revenue is the topic of conversation with the latest round of projections showing cause for alarm. On Thursday the House Appropriations Committee by a 20-0 votes reduced the projected revenues used by Governor Dalrymple in his December budget presentation. Income and sales tax revenues were reduced by approximately $170 million. The Legislature will receive a revised revenue forecast in March. Following the Governor’s presentation, the House recessed until Friday afternoon, scheduling two full days of committee hearings. On Thursday morning the House Political Subdivisions Committee gave a Do Pass by a 12-3 vote HB1055, a bill which increases the limit on revenue bonds issued by water resource districts. I am a prime sponsor on HB1055, which is important to McKenzie County.
On Monday, Jan. 9, all committees will begin functioning, and the pace will pick up quickly. We are attempting to use 70 days of the 80 available. The potential for changes in health care due to any repeal of all or sections of the Affordable Care Act warrant saving 10 days as there will be an impact to the state and citizens. I am again serving on the Education and Political Subdivisions committees. I invite District 39 constituents to follow legislation on the Legislative Council website at www.legis.nd.gov and to contact me with any concerns. My e-mail address is dzubke@nd.gov.