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Legislative Updates

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Click here to contact your legislators:  Click here
Call your legislators:  Toll Free 888-635-3447

2011
(Scroll down to see legislative reports)

 
List of bills affecting townships (Click on bill number to review):

HB1012 - T
ransfer 25% of the motor vehicle excise tax to the highway users fund
HB1043 - T
ransfer 100% of the motor vehicle excise tax to the highway users fund
HB1070
- Remove township funding in the infrastructure fund of oil taxation statutes - Oppose
HB1101 - Gives townships the authority to establish valuations of vacant lots available for sale in a township
HB1225 - Allows counties to increase their emergency fund levy - Support

HB1232 -
Snow and mud on township roadways - Support
HB1259 - Sets ceiling of $60/day for township officer salaries - Support

HB1263 - Athletic nickname and logo of the university of North Dakota
HB1284 - Property tax appeals under certain circumstances
HB1293 - 3% increase on property tax     Oppose
HB1294 - Takes away the authority of a home rule county or city from having tax authority.
HB1322 - Special assessments against ag property after city annexation - Support
HB1336 - Kill the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations - Oppose
HB1347 - Severance tax on gravel and road construction materials
HB1360 - Increase collections to State Aid Distribution Fund - Support
HB1431 and HB1447 Verification of voters challenged at the voting place and township level.
HB1449 - Townships to submit their budget information to the State Budget Office - Oppose
HB1458 - Western oil producing area infrastructure funds to the townships.
HB1459 - Surface drainage of water

SB2020 - A BILL for an Act to provide an appropriation for defraying the expenses of the state water commission.....
SB2054 - Devils Lake water control construction - Support
SB2147 - Additional mowing of
weeds and grass along county and township roads - Support
SB2161 -
Township liability on unmaintained and unimproved section lines - Support
SB2193 - City annexation, notification by cities to townships  Support

SB2203 -
Annual road funding report to the State Tax Commissioner - Support
SB2219 - Township officer contracting to do work in their township - Support
SB2294 - New property tax assessment procedures
SB2295 - Recreational immunity.

SB2301 - Township dissolution procedures.
SB2307 - Restricts the township funds in oil producing counties
SB2325 - Furnish local road entities with an extra $73.6 million in funding for local roads.

SB2340 -
Snow removal funding for counties and townships - Support
SB2350 - Disaster emergency relief funding for FEMA projects - Support    
SB2369 - Emergency snow removal grants, flood mitigation, and for state disasters.....

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2011 Legislature general information:
http://legis.nd.gov/

2011 Legislative Assembly general information, including
bills, journals, calendars, legislators, committees, deadlines, live videos, roll calls etc

http://legis.nd.gov/assembly/62-2011/


Deadlines and Dates:
http://legis.nd.gov/assembly/62-2011/docs/pdf/2011legislativedeadlines.pdf

Maps to find your legislative district:
http://legis.nd.gov/assembly/62-2011/maps-new-district/index.html 

District Legislators:
http://legis.nd.gov/assembly/62-2011/dist-legis.html

Legislative subscription services:
http://legis.nd.gov/information/services/


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Legislative Reports

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NDTOA LEGISLATIVE REPORT  4-28-11
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.

SB2161 would 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
SB2295. Senator 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
SB2203 which 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 27, 2011.

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
SB2219 to correct the problem. Vice President Roger Olafson provided testimony on SB2219 that 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 for. 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 25, 2011.

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.
HB1360 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.
SB2054 was 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 Counties.

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 counties.

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
HB1232 which 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 HB1232 into 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.

HB1232 also 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 18, 2011.

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 mitigation efforts.

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
HB1336 was introduced which called for the deleting of the century code that retained the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

Bill
HB1336 was 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
HB1449 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  4-22-11

Dear Township Officers,

Larry and I attended the House of Representatives together this afternoon. Our bill
SB2161 was 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 FRIDAY  4-8-11

Here is this week's report on the bills that we are tracking this session:

HB1259 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 law.

HB1322 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 decision.

SB2219 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 law.

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 Senate’s signature.

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.

SB2369 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.

HB1012 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  3-18-11

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 Services for:

  1. State costs related to flooding
     

  2. 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 longer

    D. are ineligible, as determined by the Adjutant General, for other program funds that can be made available based on timeline availability
     

  3. State disasters pursuant to NDCC 37-17.1-27

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 road.

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 counties.

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
SB2219. This 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 certain circumstances.

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 Officers.

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 consideration.

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 in law.

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 any time.

PS. Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen !!!

Your Lobbying Team,

Ken and Larry


NDTOA 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 bills.

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 bill.

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 of SB2369.

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% level.

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 with him.

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


LEGISLATIVE REPORT 2-24-11

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 affecting townships:

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 removed.

This bill has $5,850,000 in it for the road projects in the Devils Lake area.

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.

SB2350 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 same purpose.

SB2325 passed 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


LEGISLATIVE REPORT 2-18-11

This week in the 62nd Legislative Session the following occurred:

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 ACIR.

SB2294 passed 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


All township Officers interested in Legislative activities. 
Please send snow costs and estimates to us.

LEGISLATIVE REPORT 2-11-11

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 2-10-11.

This last week SB2161, which 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 SB2161. It passed by a 43 to 4 margin.

The House of Representatives voted a Do Not Pass on HB1449 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, HB1232 our 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.

On Friday 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 North Dakota.

In order to present a successful case, we must have statistics from our membership.

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.

This is 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


LEGISLATIVE REPORT 2-4-11

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 necessary.

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 membership..HB1232!!

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.

SB2301 is a bill that dealt with township dissolution procedures. Larry attended this hearing in the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee.

SB2350  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.

HB1293 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 the voters.

Both Ken and Larry testified for passage on this bill.

HB1431 and 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 level.

SB2325 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.

HB1336 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 forum..

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 Olafson’s gift of and master of the English language that accomplished the needed changes in NDCC.

 Next 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 room.

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.

HB1459 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


LEGISLATIVE REPORT 1-28-2011

By Ken Yantes

This week your lobbyists worked on the following bills:

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 policy.

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.

HB1449 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 alteration.

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 your legislators!!

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 township.

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 required.

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 passed. 

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 HB1259.

NDTOA Legislative Team,

Ken and Larry


 LEGISLATIVE REPORT 1-21-2011

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 numbers.

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 bill.

Thursday morning Larry attended two hearings in the Senate Agriculture Committee, testifying in support of 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 to support 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 recommendation.

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 further.

After the morning hearings Senator Joe Miller (district 16, Park River) was questioned about his sponsorship of 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 this one!

Thanks for the support,

Ken and Larry your lobbying team.


LEGISLATIVE REPORT 1-14-2011

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 bill. 

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 commissioner. 

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 meeting. 

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 day.

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

 

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