JAMESTOWN, N.D. — This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee worked on the NDSU Extension budget. Following budget recommendations set forth by Governor Burgum, the committee cut the budget over 13 percent. This percentage equates to about 1/8 of Extension’s total budget.
Reclamation Program Bill Heard
On Friday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee listened to farmers and ranchers talk about the need for the Pipeline Restoration and Reclamation Oversight Program. NDFU testified in favor of the program. “It can be likened to contacting the car salesman when your car breaks down,” said Kayla Pulvermacher, NDFU member advocacy director. “Producers need a service department. This program gives them the help to reclaim their land in the most desirable way.” The committee immediately gave the bill a unanimous “do pass” recommendation after the hearing.
Limitations on Commodity Councils
HB 1282 defines commodity councils as executive branch state agencies, creates contracting and purchasing limitations, and allows the Agriculture Commissioner to recommend the removal of a commodity council member to the Governor. Although the bill met significant opposition, the House Agriculture chairman named a subcommittee to continue work on the bill. The committee did not vote.
Farm Equipment Dealer Protections
SB 2289 addresses such issues as mandatory equipment and parts purchases, payment chargebacks, unfair performance requirements, and dealership terminations. The bill was re-referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee to be worked on the bill this week, and amended to further define “agricultural equipment.” The bill did receive a “do pass” recommendation.
Measure Bill Fails
SB 2336 was taken to the Senate floor on Monday where it failed to pass. The bill states that “any person or measure committee that is soliciting or accepting a contribution for the purpose of aiding or opposing the circulation or passage of a statewide initiative or referendum petition or measure placed upon a statewide ballot by action of the legislative assembly at any election shall file a statement with the Secretary of State on the first business day of each week.” It also restricts how much money a sponsoring committee can fund raise from one entity.
Amendments Approved for PSC Regulation Bill
Originally, HB 1126 made significant changes to the way the Public Service Commission deals with grain insolvencies in North Dakota. The bill removed the Commission’s regulatory duty, changed the grain insolvency process, and decreased the number of grain inspectors. The House adopted amendments relating to elevators not needing to notify the PSC if they are closing or reopening, clarifies that the PSC no longer pays interest on claims, and the commission may use electronic communication. The rest of the bill was removed. The committee gave the bill a “do pass” recommendation.
— North Dakota Farmers Union
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