NDTOA LEGISLATIVE REPORT
2011 Legislative Session Wrap Up by Ken Yantes
The 62nd Legislative Session completed
its work for 2011 at 5:39 pm on April 28.
Your President, Larry Syverson, and Executive Secretary, Ken
Yantes, served as your fulltime lobbyists on a daily basis
throughout this session.
Bills were introduced to implement the resolutions passed at our
annual meeting. The following is a report on how they faired……….
The first resolution called for legislation that would limit
township liability on unimproved section lines and improve the
recreational immunity laws for land owners.
have addressed the unimproved section line liability. We asked
Senator Gary Lee to introduce the bill which passed the Senate by
a 43 to 4 margin. It went to the House of Representatives and was
passed and amended by a 87-4 margin. The Senate disagreed with the
House amendments and the bill went to a conference committee where
many more amendments were added and the bill ultimately was killed
on a House vote of 44 yeas and 42 nays. (a 48 vote majority was
required to pass)
The second part of this resolution on improving the recreational
immunity laws required the introduction of
Curtis Olafson introduced and defended this bill and it passed the
House by a 92 to 2 margin and the Senate by a 35 to 10 margin. The
Governor signed the bill into law on April 26, 2011.
Resolution # 2 called for a simplification of the law that
required filing of a form to report our transportation funds with
the Tax Commissioner’s office.
Senator Gerald Uglem introduced
allowed townships to send to the Tax Department the same financial
forms that we are already sending to the county auditor.
We still have to send them a form but don’t have to use the
complicated form required of us the last two years. This bill
passed the House of Representatives by a 93- to 0 margin and the
Senate by a 45-0 margin and was signed by the Governor on April
Resolution # 3 asked that agricultural land contained in a city
annexation of what used to be township controlled area have the
special assessments deferred until the land was actually changed
to another use. Representative Dwight Wrangham introduced
HB1322 which allows
the courts to review assessments before the assessments can be
collected if there is a dispute on the action starting after July
31, 2011. This bill passed the House of Representatives by a 74 to
19 margin and the Senate by a 33 to 14 margin. The Governor signed
the bill on April 19, 2011.
Resolution # 4 asked for clarification of who and how a township
officer could contract to provide needed services with his
township. Senator Curtis Olafson introduced
correct the problem. Vice President Roger Olafson provided
proved the need to update this part of our Century Code. Senator
Curtis Olafson provided extensive wording which did update much of
that section of our law and it passed the Senate by a 43-3 margin
and the House of Representatives by a 92-0 margin. The bill was
signed into law by the Governor on April 26, 2011.
Resolution #5 asked for a pay raise for Supervisors, Clerks and
Treasurers if passed at the township annual meeting on the third
Tuesday in March. The resolution specifically asked for a raise
from a cap of $20 per day up to $60 per day and for an annual cap
of $1000 per year of up to a annual maximum of $2000 per year.
Representative Glen Froseth introduced
HB1259 which asked
for the compensation rates to be exactly as our resolution called
HB1259 passed the
House of Representatives by a 92 to 1 margin and the Senate by a
47 to 0 margin and was signed into law by the Governor on April
Resolution # 6 asked for an increase from 4/10 of a cent to 6/10
of a cent of sales tax to go to the counties for road repairs.
was introduced but failed on a 23 to 69 margin in the House of
Representatives. This bill would not have made much difference in
township funding and when asked which bill we would like to see
pass this one or one that would bring in $12.4 million we decided
for the $12.4 million.
Resolution #7 was a resolution that asked for immediate assistance
to go to the Devils Lake area affected by flooding.
introduced that would have helped the Devils Lake area but it
failed in the Senate by a 9 to 37 margin when it was amended into
SB2020, the water commission budget, which passed almost
unanimously. This was a great victory for the citizens, residents
and township officers of Ramsey and Benson Counties.
Resolution #8 asked for special help for the Western Oil Producing
We helped lobby for the funding in
HB1012 which had $142 million for them in addition to $228.6
million in funding for the state highways in the Western 17
This bill passed the House and Senate by huge margins and was
signed into law by the Governor on April 18, 2011.
Resolution #9 asked for the authority to have mud and snow piles
identified as obstructions in township rights of way and on
township road surfaces.
Representative Dave Monson from Osnabrock introduced
was to include mud and snow piles as an obstruction in the NDCC
but after researching this section of code it was discovered that
extensive rewriting was needed. The first effort was rejected by
the House Agricultural Committee by a 1 to 11 margin.
Representative Monson and Senator Olafson worked diligently to
update it further and were successful in securing a House of
Representative passage by a 86 to 2 margin and a Senate vote of 29
to 18. The Governor Signed
law on April 25, 2011 This bill makes it illegal for anyone to
place or cause to be placed any permanent obstruction within any
section line or within any rights of way of a county or township
highway unless permission is granted from the entity in control of
the right of way. The law also includes any traffic safety hazard
in the same area.
allows the township officers to send written notice to the person
who caused the obstruction or traffic hazard instructing them to
remove the obstruction if they know who did it. If it is not done
as soon as practical the Supervisors shall remove it and bill the
person responsible for the placement of the obstruction and
ultimately bill it to his taxes if not paid otherwise.
Township funding included in the Department of Transportation bill
HB1012 this session amounted to:
One time funding found in Section 5 of the bill for non-oil
producing counties was 20% of $35 million or $7 million to be sent
to townships on a per mile of township road basis in June of 2011.
In addition section 6 of the same bill set aside 20% of $25
million to be sent to townships on a per road mile basis but in
quarterly distributions throughout the biennium from July of 2011
to June of 2013.
HB1012 received unanimous votes in the House of
Representatives and Senate and was signed by the Governor on April
SB2369 is a delayed bill that was put in by the leadership to
address the use of disaster funding in our state. Section 2 of the
bill sets aside $9 million for emergency snow removal grants. The
formula for application for the funds call for reimbursement of
60% of the snow removal costs over 200% of your normal snow
removal costs in the months of January 2011 through March of 2011.
Normal snow removal costs are calculated as an average of the
expenses from January through March in the years of 2004 to 2008.
The original bill included the years of 2009 and 2010 in
determining the average snowfall costs but we pointed out that
they were declared disaster years due to excessive snowfalls and
were then excluded. The bill also states the grants must be
distributed by June 30, 2011.
SB2369 passed the Senate by a 43-0 margin and the House of
Representatives by a 94 to 0 margin and was signed by the Governor
on April 27, 2011.
Section 3 of
SB2369 sets aside $22 million for state disasters and flood
This must be handled before June 30, 2011.
Getting bills passed is important but getting bad ones killed is
terribly important also.
In defensive efforts
introduced which called for the deleting of the century code that
retained the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.
introduced by the House of Representatives leadership and passed
the House by a 58 to 36 margin. NDTOA has policy that calls for
continuance of the existence of the ACIR. We lobbied for the
defeat of this bill in the Senate and it was successful at a 5 to
41 margin. The bill was killed.
In other defensive action
was introduced that called for all political subdivisions to
submit their annual budgets to the director of the state budget so
they might be included in the states database. This means another
form for the township clerk to submit to a state agency. We
lobbied against passage and were successful in gaining defeat of
the bill by a 37 to 56 margin.
SB2294 is a bill
that increased the authority of the State Board of Tax
Equalization and increased the local assessors record keeping
responsibilities so the taxpayer can better understand why his tax
bill is what it is. It also gives the State Supervisor of
Assessments increased authority if the laws are not being followed
by tax assessors. This bill was monitored by the NDTOA but we
could not take a stand due to lack of policy on this issue. Local
assessors should be aware that these changes will affect them in
there duties and responsibilities. This bill passed the Senate by
a 47 to 0 margin and the House of Representatives by a 89 to 4
margin and was signed by the Governor on April 20, 2011.
Ken Yantes and Larry Syverson
NDTOA LEGISLATIVE REPORT
Dear Township Officers,
Larry and I attended the House of Representatives together this
afternoon. Our bill
reconsidered and failed by a 44 for and 42 aginst. We needed to
get 48 votes to pass and even though we got the most votes we
still lost. This was our bill on section line liability.
The session is exected to adjourn early next week and we will have
an end of the session letter to you all exlaining the last couple
weeks legislative action.
Their really wasn't very many of our bills left to tell you about.
We have had a good Legislative Session this year.
Ken and Larry
NDTOA LEGISLATIVE REPORT
Here is this week's
report on the bills that we are tracking this session:
is the township officer compensation bill that
we had introduced. This allows the electors at the township annual
meetings to pay up to $60 per day to the Supervisors,
Clerk and Treasurer
for their work. It also included an annual maximum of $2000 pay
level. The bill has passed the House of origin by a 92 to 1 margin
and the Senate 47 to 0. The president of the Senate has signed it
and sent it to the House for the Speaker to sign and then to the
Governor for his signature.
HB1232 is the bill that gives townships the authority
to deal with obstructions and safety
hazards on section
line roads. This bill passed the house of origin by a 92-0 margin
and was amended several times in the Senate. It did pass the
Senate by a 29-18 margin. The Senate amended version passed the
House by a 86 to 2 margin and it is now on its way to becoming
is our introduced bill to give
relief to the agricultural land that is taken in a city annexation
zone. This bill was amended repeatedly in the House and Senate. As
it stands now the bill gives the court the authority to decide the
benefits of the special assessments placed on agricultural
property. It also holds up the collection of special tax
assessments until the court makes its decision on their validity.
This bill passed the House by a
74 to 19 margin and
the Senate by a 33 to 14 margin. It also sets up a interim
committee study to look further into the problem.
SB2147 is a bill that will
allow county commissioners to require land owners to make an early
cutting of weeds on roadsides, if necessary, to be completed by
August 1st. This bill was passed by the Senate with a
margin of 44 to 3 and the House by a margin of 70 to 24.
SB2161 is our bill that clears up unimproved section
line liability. It has had much discussion on it even though the
Senate passed it by a 43-4 margin and was amended and passed in
the House and is now in conference committee for the final
is our bill that clears up the procedure of an
officer contracting with his township to provide needed services.
This bill passed the Senate by a 44 to 3 margin and the House of
Representatives by a 92 to 0 margin and is on its way to becoming
SB2294 is a bill on
improvement of tax assessment procedures as recommended by the tax
commissioner. This bill passed the Senate by a 46 to 0 margin and
was amended and passed in the House of Representatives by a 89 to
4 margin. The Senate then concurred with the House amended version
by a 47 to 0 margin. It has been signed by the Speaker of the
House and sent back to the Senate for the President of the
SB2295 is a recreational
immunity bill that seeks to clear up the liability of property
owners on land they own. This bill has passed the Senate by a 35
to 10 margin and the House amended version was passed by a 92 to 2
margin. The Senate refused to concur with the changes and the bill
is now in conference committee for their decision.
is the snow removal and disaster flooding
funding bill which has passed the Senate 43 to 0 and the House by
a 94 to 0 margin. This bill has changed and remains to change. The
final version may not exist yet.
contains the majority of township funding for
the next 2 years. This bill is not finished yet. It has passed the
House by a 89 to 4 margin and has a 12 to 1 do pass recommendation
from the House Committee so it looks good so far.
NDTOA LEGISLATIVE REPORT
This week in the 2011
Legislative Session we worked on several bills which I will try to
explain to you.
Township funding was the most asked about topic in the legislative
office this last week so I will report on those bills first.
None of these funding bills have passed their second house and may
not, but here is what they look like now.
SB2325 is a bill
that passed the Senate by a 24 to 22 margin. It is now in the
Senate Appropriations Committee and a big hearing was held on
Thursday March 17th. The bill would provide $73.6 million for
county and township road construction or reconstruction. The bill
was based on the plans that the Upper Great Plains Transportation
Institute had drawn up for the transportation needs of our state.
The money was to be used for providing a 50% cost share for an
approved plan for the county on paved roads and a 100% of the cost
of the unpaved road construction or reconstruction in the county.
Townships are to submit their plans for road work to the DOT and
the DOT approves the plan and funds the projects. This bill had
much discussion in the Senate Appropriations Committee but no vote
action was taken.
SB2369 is a delayed bill put in by the House and Senate
leadership. It has a two prong approach to provide relief to the
disaster stricken areas of our state. It sets aside $9 million for
snow removal grants to townships, cities and counties. They must
apply to the ND Department of Emergency Services for grants. This
grant program has the following criteria for utilization:
townships must have more than 200% of the normal snow handling
costs in January through March of 2011. The normal snow handling
costs must be configured this way. You may drop the high and the
low of 2 of the years between 2010 and 2004 and then average the
remaining 5 years to determine your normal snow handling cost. You
can qualify for a grant of 60% of those costs over the 200% of
average snow handling costs in your township.
You must apply to the ND Department of Emergency Services in
Bismarck. It doesn’t just come in the mail or be electronically
deposited in your checking account.
The second part of this bill sets aside $22 million for defraying
expenses associated with state disasters.
The funds are to be used by the ND Department of Emergency
State costs related to flooding
Flood relief or disaster
mitigation projects in cities such as Minnewaukan that:
A. are in imminent threat of being flooded
B. are underserved by adequate flood protection measures
C. are expected to lose land due to flooding for one year or
D. are ineligible, as determined by the Adjutant General, for
other program funds that can be made available based on timeline
State disasters pursuant to NDCC
This bill has on emergency clause in
it which means it will take affect when the Governor signs it.
Today it passed its House of origin by 43-0.
The last funding bill I would like to tell you about is HB1012 the
Department of Transportation Budget and Funding Bill. This is what
it looks like now!! It could and maybe will change between now and
the end of the legislative session, but this is what I see now.
Townships have funding established in the 2009 passed legislation
that should bring in $11.1 million in state funding to townships
which would need to be spread out amongst 56,755 miles of township
New funding in
HB1012, if passed as it looks today, would be 20% of $25
million or $5 million distributed to townships by June 30, 2011 on
a per mile of township road claimed in the non-oil producing
Again….dividing the township miles claimed into the $5 million
will give you a per mile figure.
The new funding in
HB1012 has another section that distributes 20% of another $25
million for distribution on April 1, 2012.
Remember…these are current projections and they have not passed
their second house or received the signature of the Governor.
The western oil producing counties have different funding
proposals. If passed, $142 million will go to counties and
townships in the western 17 counties.
They will also receive $228,600,000 in the capital assets line
item related to extraordinary state highway maintenance funding.
$370 million looks good for the 17 western oil producing counties
until you see how much damage they have sustained from oil
exploration and extraction.
The last bill that I will report on is
bill was the bill that our Vice President Roger Olafson testified
for in the Senate and President Syverson testified for in the
House. The bill is a rewrite of the section of law that allows
township officers to contract to do work with his township under
The Senate passed it by a 43-3 margin; today the House passed it
by a unanimous 92-0 margin and it is on its way to the Governor
for his signature.
Hats off to our Vice President and President for this successful
legislative effort. Let us not forget past Legislator of the Year,
Curtis Olafson, who successfully authored and defended this bill
in the Senate and the House.
Your Lobbying Team,
Ken and Larry
NDTOA LEGISLATIVE REPORT 3-11-11
This week in Bismarck we ended the
week in a snow storm !!!!! High winds and heavy wet snow was no
match for the hot air and wind in the Senate chambers as they
debated the Sioux nick name bill.
HB1263 held the Senators in session for an extra hour on
Friday afternoon. The Senate voted to pass
HB1263 by a 28 to 15 margin. The Governor is rumored to be
leaning towards signing the bill soon.
HB1101 is a bill that would give the governing body of a
township the authority to establish valuations that recognize the
supply of vacant lots available for sale in a township.
HB1322 is a bill
that passed the house by a 51 to 41 margin which limits the $
value on special assessments in annexed agricultural land to a
percentage the same as commercial assessments are in the same
special assessment district. We had policy on this and President
Syverson testified in support along with two Brenna Township
SB2203 is a
bill that our policy indicates we must support. The bill passed
the Senate by a 43-3 margin and it makes it legal to use a
duplicate of your township annual budget income and expense forms
that we are already sending to the county auditor, to report
transportation funding to the Tax Commissioner’s office. The House
Committee voted 10 to 0 in favor of a do pass recommendation and
sent the bill to the House of Representatives for their
SB2294 is a bill
that the Senate passed by a 46 to 0 margin. It has the new
assessment procedures that the Tax Commissioner would like to see
We have no policy on this but are closely monitoring its progress.
SB2219 is a bill
that rewrites the section of law that allows a township officer to
contract to do work in his township. It widens the scope of those
officers that can do the contracting.
SB2369 is a Delayed Bill that was introduced by the
Legislative Leadership to provide snow and flooding disaster
relief for counties, cities and townships. This bill was heard in
the Senate and passed by a 43 to 0. margin and now goes to the
House of Representatives for their consideration. At this time it
has $9 million in it for snow removal grants through the North
Dakota Department Emergency Services. Townships will have to apply
for these funds if the bill passes. There is $22 million in it for
flood mitigation efforts. We hope this bill passes and we have
supported it in committee and in the halls of the Capitol
building. The Senate passed it today by a 43 to 0 margin.
A closer examination of township funding proposals keeps us on the
cautiously optimistic level but we realize that it is a long way
to the end of the Legislative Session and anything could happen at
PS. Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen !!!
Your Lobbying Team,
Ken and Larry
LEGISLATIVE REPORT 3-4-11
Township officers, this week was a
short week with the Legislature still in recess until Wednesday
morning. The committees were busy hearing bills but not voting or
making recommendations on them. On Friday both the Senate and
House of Representatives held short floor actions and handled some
SB2301 is a bill
that would redirect the distribution of federal flood funding that
is received by a township to go to the county for road repairs in
surrounding townships in the same county if the township was to
dissolve. The House of Representatives voted 88 to 0 to pass this
SB2147 is a bill
that allows the county to cut road sides early (August 1) should
they decide to do so. This bill received a house committee DO PASS
recommendation by a 13 to 0 margin.
HB1225 is a bill
that would allow the county to raise their emergency fund levy
from 3 to 5 mills. The Senate Finance and Tax committee heard the
bill but took no action.
SB2161 is the
section line liability reduction for townships and counties and
SB2219 is the bill that clarifies that an officer can contract
with his township for services under special circumstances were
both heard in House committees but no committee action was taken.
SB2369 is a delayed bill put in by the leadership of both
houses to use $9 million for emergency funding for snow removal
costs for cities, counties, and townships. The bill also has $22
million in it for moving the City of Minnewaukan 1 ½ miles NW of
where it is now. This bill is on a fast track and will probably be
passed very soon. Both the house leaders spoke in favor of passage
The bill needs to be amended to be more workable for townships but
it is a good start. However, the existing language in the bill
requires that townships prove that they have over 200% of normal
snow removal costs in the January 2011 to March 2011 time period
to qualify for 60% reimbursement of those costs over the 200%
This leaves the months of November and December out of the
formula. In the bill it also indicates that the normal snow
removal costs would be calculated on the average of the years
2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 in the January to March time period.
NDTOA State President, Larry Syverson, testified that a winter’s
snow removal period was closer to 6 months long, not just 3
months. He urged amendments to increase the length of time of the
calculation. He also indicated that the determination of what was
normal snow removal costs should not include expenses from 2009
and 2010 as those years were years of extra ordinary snow removal
costs. He indicated that dropping off the last two years and using
the 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004 would produce a more normal
picture of average snow removal costs. Many in attendance agreed
We will get you another update next Friday on the progress of the
snow removal funding for townships.
Your lobbying team in Bismarck,
Larry and Ken
It is Crossover time and all 841
Bills and 76 Resolutions must be reported out of committee in
their house of origin. The legislature is in recess from February
28 - March 1 which means they all go home and work on their income
taxes for a few days…….
This week the following action took place in the legislature
HB1012 the funding bill for the DOT, counties, cities and
townships passed the House of Representatives by a margin of 89 to
4. The Appropriations Committee stripped out of the bill the 25%
of the Excise Tax that was supposed to go into the Highway Users
Fund. This will cost the townships of our state about $2 million
if this bill passes to become law as it stands now. Townships
would get about $88 per mile of township road from the Highway
Users Fund but our inflation fighter (the Excise Tax) has been
This bill has $5,850,000 in it for the road projects in the Devils
HB1322 is a bill
that supports NDTOA’s policy on agricultural land being assessed
at an excessively high rate while still being used for crop
production. Testimony from Beau Bateman, a Brenna Township Officer
from Grand Forks County, was successful in gaining a 10 to 3 do
pass recommendation from the committee and the bill passed the
House of Representatives by a 51 to 41 margin.
would have provided $22 million for road repairs but it failed by
a 3 to 44 margin because SB2325 had more dollars in it for the
the Senate by a 24 to 22 vote margin shortly before the Crossover
recess was reached. This bill has $73.6 million for county and
township rehabilitation and reconstruction of paved and unpaved
county and township roads. Senators Wanzek, Olafson, Heckaman, and
Gary Lee did a great job of defending this bill on the floor.
Other funding bills are being considered by the delayed bills
committee at this time.
All bills that have passed their house of origin must now move
into the other house and be heard in committee and stand for a
vote on the floor of that house.
Your Lobbying Team,
Ken and Larry
This week in the 62nd Legislative Session the following
HB1259 is the bill
that allows the township residents, at their annual meeting, to
raise the township officers daily compensation from up to $20 per
day to up to $60 per day and up to a maximum of $2000 per year.
This bill passed the House by a 92 to 1 margin. All compensation
rates must be set by a majority vote of the electors of the
township at their annual meeting.
HB1282 failed by a margin of 7-87. It would have given
direction to assessors on how to determine the true and full value
of property. I believe the legislators decided that assessors
didn’t need any advice.
HB1284 is a bill
that directs the township Board of Equalization, within 10 days
after rejection of changes urged by a complaint or grievance, they
must provide written notice to the person who expressed the
complaint that they have a right to appeal the board’s decision to
the county Board of Equalization and inform them of the time and
place of that meeting.
HB1336 is a bill
that repeals all the ND Century Code that created the Advisory
Commission on Inter-governmental Relations. This commission
consists of representatives of the counties, cities, townships,
park boards, school boards, two Senators and two Representatives.
It was created in 1988 as a forum for discussion between these
entities to give them an incentive to settle differences before
bringing them to the Legislature. The committee had the authority
to submit bill proposals to Legislative Management for
consideration of bill drafts. The vote was 58 to 36 to kill the
the Senate by a 46-0 margin. This bill contained the new
assessment procedures discussed at this years annual meeting. It
strengthens the authority of the State Board Of Equalization to be
able to decide the valuation of property and direct the township,
city or county governing board to correct their specifications. It
also allows the State Board of Equalization to petition any judge
of district court to issue a restraining order, writ of mandamus
or other form of declaratory or injunctive relief to require a
county official to comply with their order.
NDTOA did not testify in favor of this bill, but we have had phone
calls alleging that their local assessor has done wrong by them.
SB2295 is a bill
that would seek to reduce the township resident’s liability in the
case of recreational use of their property. It covers no duty of
care if you don’t know someone is present on your property for
recreational purposes and has a loss.
Next week is the last week before all the bills must be out of
their houses of origin. We then face a defense of those that have
passed from one house to the other house. At this time we have
been working on 49 bills and have been successful on 41 of them,
lost on 5, and have 3 funding bills to be heard yet.
After several joint meetings with our transportation partners, we
have not secured any solid ground on financing. We persist but
haven’t anything solid for you now. Conditions change every day.
NDTOA Lobbying Team Larry and Ken
Officers interested in Legislative activities.
snow costs and estimates to us.
As the mid-point
of the 2011 Legislative Session nears, some exciting things are
happening at the Capitol to our Bills.
We attended the
House Political Subs Committee yesterday and were able to sit in
on the committee discussion of our
HB1259 which is the
pay cap raise from $20 per day to $60 per day with the increase of
maximum annual cap of $1000 raised to $2000.
Larry and Ken
both testified in favor during the hearing of the bill. The only
problem with the bill was found by Representative Klemin. His
concern was whether the expenses might be considered income
instead of reimbursement of expenses. He offered a friendly
amendment to protect township officers from the IRS questioning
their federal responsibility.
HB1259 was given a
unanimous Do Pass in committee by a 14-0 margin on Thursday
This last week
is our bill on liability on unimproved section lines, was
considered in the Senate. After much floor debate and a vigorous
defense from Senator Olafson, assisted by Senator John Andrist,
the Senate voted a huge majority for our
passed by a 43 to 4 margin.
The House of
Representatives voted a Do Not Pass on
by a margin of 37 to 56 on Friday afternoon (2-11-11) This is the
bill that would have forced all townships to file another one of
those reports with the state database.
In other good
news from Bismarck,
bill on obstructions and traffic safety hazards on section line
roads that was introduced and defended by Representative David
Monson passed the House Agriculture Committee by a 13-0 margin.
2-11-11, we met with our transportation partners, the ND Assn of
Counties, the League of Cities and the ND Department of
Transportation, to discuss current snow depths and associated
emergency funding for all the transportation providing entities in
In order to
present a successful case, we must have statistics from our
Please send us
credible information to use to enable us to get emergency snow
funding passed in Bismarck. We need you to let us know how many
dollars your township expended on snow handling so far this
winter!! How much do you think you may need to pay for snow
handling from now until spring? We need to know how much more this
year’s expenses are over your normal snow handling expenses.
important….please help!! We need this information to seek
emergency funding for you!!
If you have
pictures of snow depths and quantity, send them to the legislative
office at 1115 N 1st St. Apt #208 Bismarck, ND 58501.
Ken and Larry
One of our most important bills in
the 2011 Legislative Session is
HB1232. This bill would include snow and mud to the list of
obstructions in a township right of way. Sounds pretty simple !!!
Not so !!!! Much of the township law was put in ND Century Code
many years ago and was just added to every time we thought it was
needed. There comes a time when extensive rewriting becomes
Representative David C. Monson from
Osnabrock in District 10 agreed to be the Prime Sponsor of a bill
to make our road rights of way safe.
President Syverson, Ken Yantes and
Representative Monson visited the Legislative Council office of
John Walstad, head code reviser. John puts bill change ideas that
legislators have in NDCC form.
We explained what we wanted to do
and he said he would try to do it. After a few days the first
draft was ready for viewing. Representative Monson found other
changes needed to happen to update more of our out of date laws
that had to do with obstructions and penalties. The bill was
carried back to Legislative Council by Representative Monson for a
rewrite . The second version of the bill looked right and the bill
was introduced and we now had a bill number to report to the
The bill was assigned to the House
Agriculture Committee to handle and a hearing date was scheduled.
The 15 member Committee didn't like the bill and amendments were
added. During committee discussions more amendments were added.
Eventually, the committee voted a do not pass recommendation by a
margin of 10 to 1.
Our bill sponsor, Representative
Monson, put in a plea to the committee to reopen discussions on
the bill. He won his case and the committee chairman gave him a
week to rewrite the bill. With counsel from Senator Olafson from
Edinburg in District 10, Representative Monson reworded the bill.
It went back to Legislative Council and was
rewritten. Representative Monson
found another short coming and the bill was again rewritten by
Legislative Council. This copy was submitted to the Agriculture
Committee and received unanimous support for a Do Pass
recommendation on February 3.
I wish to thank Representative
Monson for his determination and never quit attitude.
HB1232 gives townships the right to keep their road right of
ways and traveling surfaces safe from hazardous conditions. The
bills passage could save precious lives in the future.
My hat is off to Representative
David C. Monson.
In other bill action in Bismarck:
SB2295 is a bill
that supports our policy on recreational immunity. Both Ken and
Larry attended this hearing to defend our policy.
is a bill that dealt with township
dissolution procedures. Larry attended this hearing in the Senate
Finance and Taxation Committee.
is a bill that sets up $22 million for
emergency snow removal funding for governmental subdivisions.
NDTOA President Larry Syverson supported passage of this bill.
HB1284 is a bill
that allowed property tax appeals under certain circumstances. Ken
sat in on this one and monitored the bill action.
is a bill that would set a maximum of
3% increase by any political subdivision on property tax
irregardless of any conditions. Ken opposed passage of this one
due to the inability for the citizens who needed extra funding for
any reason to due so.
SB2307 is a bill
that restricts the township funds that come through the County
Infrastructure Fund in oil producing counties and gives them to
the schools instead.
NDTOA opposed this bill.
HB1294 is a bill
that takes away the authority of a home rule county or city from
having tax authority. Ken monitored this one.
HB1458 is a 10 page
bill that does a lot of things in the western oil producing area.
One of them was to devote a larger amount of infrastructure funds
to the townships. Ken supported the bill.
SB2340 is a bill that devotes $19 million to emergency
road funding/snow removal --
$4 million to townships alone with
no matching funding required. President Syverson spoke in favor of
passage on this one.
HB1259 is the bill that would raise the cap on
township officers daily compensation from $20 per day up to $60
per day, if passed at an annual meeting of the township. It also
increases the annual cap from $1000 up to $2000, if approved by
Both Ken and Larry testified for
passage on this bill.
HB1447 both were
opposed by Ken and Larry as they drastically changed our NDCC on
verification of voters challenged at the voting place and township
is a bill that has been introduced by
Senator Terry Wanzek that would furnish local road entities with
an extra $73.6 million in funding for those local roads. Both
Larry and Ken attended and Larry testified in favor of the bill.
is a bill that would kill the Advisory
Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. Ken testified in
opposition to the bill and sought continuance of this discussion
SB2161 is a bill that spells out the liability of a
township on unimproved section lines.
Senator Olafson, Senator Judy Lee
and Senator John Andrist (all past NDTOA Legislators of the Year)
strongly supported this bill which was repeatedly rewritten by
Senator Olafson. He coordinated the effort and has our heartfelt
thanks for a job well done. Ken and Larry entered into the
committee discussion at different times but it was Senator
Olafsonâ€™s gift of and master of the English language that
accomplished the needed changes in NDCC.
weeks coming attractions in the Legislature.
SB2294 is a bill on
new property tax assessment procedures which we heard about at our
annual meeting this year. The meeting will be heard on Wed. Feb. 9th
at 9:00 AM in the Lewis and Clark, Senate Finance and Taxation
HB1322 is the bill that supports the policy developed at
this years annual meeting on agricultural land not being subject
to special tax assessments until the land is put to another use.
It will be heard in the House Finance and Taxation, Fort Totten
room on Wed. Feb. 9th at 9:30 AM.
is a bill that deals with surface
drainage of water. It will be heard in the House Agriculture
Committee (the Peace Garden Room) Thursday at 9:00 AM.
We continue to monitor and support
those bills we think will be good for the township officers and we
oppose those that we feel may be detrimental to our membership.
Your lobbying team,
President Larry Syverson and
Executive Secretary Ken Yantes
By Ken Yantes
This week your lobbyists worked on the
HB1347 is a bill that would
have put a severance tax of 10 cents per ton on gravel and all
road construction and maintenance materials. This bill would
help townships that had gravel pits in them to get some tax
money to pay for road damage caused by the extraction of
gravel in their townships. It would have cost the townships
that need to buy gravel from out of the township 10 cents per
ton. Larry brought out the costs to those who would need to
buy and spoke in the neutral area of the bill hearing as we
have no grassroots developed policy on this issue.
HB1232 is a bill introduced and
defended by Rep. Dave Monson from Osnabrock. This bill was in
support of our policy developed two years ago that asked for
mud and snow placed on highway surfaces to be considered
obstructions. Both Ken and Larry testified in support of this
bill. The legislators in House Transportation were less that
receptive to the section of law we were trying to improve. The
committee voted 10-1 DO NOT PASS. Larry, Ken and Rep. Monson
sought a continuation of the committee action until Thursday
2-3-11 which would give us time to seek an improved amendment
to the bill. Senator Curtis Olafson drew up some improved
wording and together we will seek to gain support for our
HB1360 is a bill that we
have policy on. It would increase the 4/10 of the one cent
sales and excise tax that goes to the State Aid Distribution
Fund to 6/10. Ken testified in favor of the bill as well as
the counties and the cities. This could bring in $69 Million
to the fund if passed.
is a bill introduced by Senator Miller and Reps. Thoreson,
Bellew, Heller, Kasper and Weiler which calls for the
governing body of each political sub-division to submit their
budget information to the State Director of the Budget for
inclusion in their data base web site. We, all townships,
would have to send in another report to state
government. Larry testified long and hard in opposition to
this bill. We sent out notification to many NDTOA members of
the hearing time and date. Barb Knutson, Roger Olafson, Ken
and Larry were at the hearing and lobbied in opposition…It may
not have been enough….
SB2161 is a bill introduced by the
NDTOA 2010 Legislator of the Year Senator Gary Lee. This bill
reduces township liability on unimproved section lines; it has
been a huge consumer of our time. We worked with the Senate
Political Subdivisions Committee on many different versions of
the bill proposal amendments to 24-06-31 of the NDCC. At this
time a sub-committee made up of Sen. Olafson, Steve Spilde,
CEO of the NDIRF, the ND Assn of Counties Attorney, Aaron
Birst, and the two NDTOA lobbyists, Larry and Ken, is to
combine the thoughts of all the different suggested amendments
and submit a unified bill proposal to the Senate Political
Subdivisions Committee next week.
These proposed changes should include:
1. The person who creates a hazard in
the unimproved section line should be responsible for
liability created by them.
2. The person who alters a congressional
section line must
adequately sign the line to warn of any
danger caused by the alteration. The restoration of the
alteration must be paid for by the person that did the
3. The township is responsible to sign
and warn the public if they are made aware of the hazard by a
written notice of a man made condition on the unmaintained
section line. Townships are not to be liable for natural
occurrences on section lines.
SB2203 is a bill that was introduced
by Senators Uglem, Judy Lee and Nodland and Reps. Kaldor, Paur
and Vigesaa. This bill supports our policy that calls for an
improvement in the transportation reporting form that we all
know about. It says that townships may use the annual township
financial report that we provide to the county as our form to
the Tax Commissioner. No special hard to understand state form
is necessary if the bill passes. Urge passage of SB2203 to
SB2219 is a bill that was
introduced by Senators Olafson, Andrist and Dotzenrod and
signing on were Reps. Brandenburg, Monson and Mueller.
Vice President Roger Olafson
successfully testified on this bill. He received an unanimous
6-0 DO PASS committee vote. Hats off to Roger!!
This bill clarifies that a township
officer may contract to do work in their township under
special conditions. These conditions are:
1. The officer must be qualified to
undertake the contract.
2. The board gives due consideration to
all reasonable offers to provide the same service to the
3. The officer doing the contract must
not vote on the contract and all the others must vote in favor
of the contract.
4. If the officer having an interest in
the contract is not a supervisor, all members of the Board of
Supervisors must vote unanimously in favor of the contract.
Some of the upcoming bills this next
week that affect townships are:
SB2350 is a bill to
establish $22 Million for disaster emergency relief funding
for 50% of the 15% matching funds needed for FEMA projects.
SB2340 is a bill that sets aside
$19 Million for snow removal funding for counties and
townships. $15 Million to counties and cities ------ and $4
Million to townships distributed on the same basis as our
highway users dollars are…No matching tax dollars would be
The hearing on
SB2340 is to be held on 2-2-11
in the Harvest Room at 9 am. This needs township support……it
could mean as much as $70 per mile to your township if
HB1259 is a bill that entitles
township officers to receive up to $60 per day for each day
necessarily devoted to work as an officer. It also raises the
$1000 allowable for additional expenses to $2000 per calendar
year. These changes all must be passed by the residents of the
township at their annual meeting. This bill will be heard on
2-3-11 at 3:30 pm in the Prairie Room.
This bill needs the support of all
township officers…..call or e-mail your legislators and urge a
do pass on
NDTOA Legislative Team,
Ken and Larry
This has been another busy week at the
capitol. On Monday we had a meeting with our transportation
partners to discuss strategy for the hearing on
HB1043. This bill would transfer
100% of the motor vehicle excise tax to the highway users fund;
the net result of this bill if passed as written would be an
increase from funding in the last biennium of $10.3M to $16.2M.
The other funding bill (HB1012)
would transfer 25%, the net funding would total $12.4M. It is
likely the result will end up somewhere in between these
On Tuesday the 18th Ken attended and
testified at the
HB1043 hearing in the House
Appropriations Committee, he emphasized the need for funding in
the rest of the state in addition to the 17 oil producing
counties. Larry started the day in the House Finance and
Taxation hearing of
B1225 testifying in support of the
bill to allow counties to increase their emergency fund levy to
rebuild their emergency fund if depleted. Larry then joined the
House Appropriations hearing in progress and was the last
testifier, he noted that a committee member had asked an earlier
speaker about the impact of funding at a lower level and he
added that one impact that had scarcely been mentioned was
public safety. He pointed out that as roads deteriorate they
become less safe. Those semis laden with the larger ag product
are meeting school busses on roads with soft shoulders. The
rural areas are not just property in the country or acres of
production, they are our homes and some of us are dying because
of poor roads.
Wednesday was spent researching and
writing testimony for the three bills to be heard on Thursday
morning. We met with Steve Spilde to discuss the developments on
the unimproved section line bill and the recreational immunity
Thursday morning Larry attended two
hearings in the Senate Agriculture Committee, testifying in
SB2147 which would give the county commissions the option to
require an additional mowing earlier in the summer as a local
decision (the date will likely be "by August 1"). Then testified
SB2193 which would require a city
imposing annexation to send notice to affected land owners and
affected political subdivisions by certified mail, he asked that
the bill be amended to add political subdivisions with taxing
authority to the list that needed to be notified so the
townships would get notice that they are about to lose tax base.
This request was well received by the bill author. During this
time Ken was in the hearing for
SB2161 in the Senate Political Subdivisions Committee
testifying in support of this bill to limit township liability
on unimproved section lines. This will probably require some
amending to get out of the committee with a positive
Friday morning Ken and Larry appeared in
the House Agriculture Committee to testify in support of
HB1232 which was introduced on our behalf by Rep. David
Monson. This bill adds accumulated snow and mud carried onto
roadways as obstructions and gives township officers the ability
to require the removal of these obstacles. Ken covered mostly
the mud deposited on roads in his testimony and shared a letter
from Chuck Thacker describing this problem in Pembina County
with the committee.
Larry focused on the snow pile issue and
passed around 8" X 11" enlarged pictures that were emailed to us
by Al Bekkerus (Thanks Al). Both Ken and Larry had to respond to
questions from the committee about various implications about
the application of this bill and the previous law. The bill will
likely face some friendly amendments to clarify some items
After the morning hearings Senator Joe
Miller (district 16, Park River) was questioned about his
HB1449. To us this bill seems to require another @#&*&@&
report to another #@&#$^$% state agency. To quote "The governing
body of each political subdivision shall submit budget
information to the director of the budget for inclusion in the
budget database website." He was informed that township officers
are still very unhappy about the transportation funding report,
Some of you may have gotten my earlier
alert about this bill
HB1449 but again, it is being heard in the House Political
Subdivisions Committee, on Thursday January 27 at 10 AM in the
Prairie Room. We need to get the pressure cranked up to stop
Thanks for the support,
Ken and Larry your lobbying team.
This is Friday of the 2nd week
of the 2011 Legislative Session. We have some bill numbers on
our bills for you to follow.
HB1232 is a bill we asked
Representative Monson to be the prime sponsor for us relating to
snow and mud on the township highways that could cause traffic
safety hazards. Representatives Headland and Kilichowski and
Senators Miller, Olafson and Dotzenrod all co-sponsored this
HB1259 was introduced by
Representative Glen Froseth and co-signed by Representatives
Bill Kretschmar and Andy Maragos and Senators Judy Lee, Curtis
Olafson and Jim Dotzenrod. This bill sets the ceiling of
township officer pay at $60 per day instead of $20 per day. Any
pay increase must be passed at the annual meeting by the
residents of the township. The maximum annual amount of $1000
could be increased to $2,000.
HB1322 was introduced by
Representative Wrangham and co-signed by Representatives Shirley
Meyer and Chuck Damshen and Senators Miller, Oehlke and Murphy.
This bill dealt with the imposition of special assessments
against agricultural property after being annexed by a city.
SB2054 is a bill that asks for $5
million to construct a structure on the East end of Devils Lake
to prevent an uncontrolled release of water. This bill was heard
Thursday and many township officers from Ramsey County were
present and testified in favor of the bill. Hats off to them.
SB2161 was introduced by Senator
Gary Lee, co-signed by Senators Hogue and Nething and
Representatives Weisz, Hofstad and Dennis Johnson. This bill
would reduce a township’s liability on unmaintained and
unimproved section lines.
SB2203 was introduced by Senator
Uglem, co-signed by Senators Judy Lee and Nodland and co-signed
by Representatives Kaldor, Paur and Vigesaa. This bill dealt
with an appropriate annual financial report to report road
funding to the State Tax Commissioner. This bill would allow a
township to use the annual township financial form that was
provided to the county auditor as the funding report to the
There are legislative changes left to
report on but no numbers have been assigned to them yet.
One of the most noteworthy is a bill
introduced by Senator Curtis Olafson on improving the wording in
the Century Code on township officers contracting with their own
township to provide service in their township.
We remain vigilant on those bills that
would be harmful to townships and continue to support those that
would be beneficial to townships.
This last week
HB1070 passed out of committee on
a 12-0 margin. The bill would have done away with township
funding in the infrastructure fund of oil taxation statutes in
the ND Century Code. and returned it to school funding. The bill
went to the House floor and was Killed by a 22 for and 72
against margin. The reasoning was that if the roads were not fit
for travel the best school buildings would not be needed as the
students couldn’t get to school on the existing roads.
Your Lobbying Team,
President Larry Syverson, Executive
Secretary Ken Yantes
1-7-2011 NDTOA LEGISLATIVE REPORT
This is the first Friday of the 2011 Legislative Session. Larry
and Ken have been very busy in Bismarck on behalf of our just
under 6,000 members. We moved into our apartment/office located at
1115 N 1st St. Apt. # 208. The phone # there is
751-1998. Larry’s cell # is 430-1767 and Ken’s is 230-4118.
We have been very busy meeting the new Legislators and greeting
those that we have known for a long time. At this time we have
secured prime sponsors for most of our grass roots developed
policy stands from the last 2 years annual meetings.
Joint efforts with the NDIRF have resulted in bill drafts on
reducing the township liability on unimproved section lines and
recreational immunity liability as we discussed at our last annual
Representative Dwight Wrentham has developed a legislative
effort that is expected to allow an improvement in agricultural
land retaining its agricultural designation after being annexed by
a city until the land is put to a different use.
Representative Monson, Ken and Larry have visited the
legislative council office of John Walstad with concerns about
snow piles and mud left on the township right of ways. It seems
that extensive rewording of the century code pertaining to
obstructions on section lines that cause hazards to the traveling
public is in order.
Representative Monson will be the prime sponsor on this bill.
A bill sponsored by Senator Uglem that reduces the effort to
report road funding to the Tax Department has been drawn up for
submission to legislative Council.
Representative Glen Froseth has sponsored a bill to raise the
cap on township officers compensation from $20 per day to $60 per
This coming Thursday, the 13th of January, a bill
will be heard in the big meeting room of the Capitol in support of
our policy on the Devils Lake Area flooding problem.
We remain in communication with other Legislators to have bills
drawn up to implement our other policies as passed in the last
couple of years.
The Legislative NDTOA Lobbyists
President Larry Syverson and Executive Secretary Ken Yantes