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Legislative Updates

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2013
(Scroll down to see legislative reports)

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

HB1025 Liability and immunity during disaster responses
HB1106 Equalization meeting notices
HB1121 Township ditch preservation
HB1123 Undomesticated animal collision, reporting requirement
HB1132 ACIR study of political subdivisions submitting budgets to state database
HB1206 Water development plans and legislative management study
HB1250 Financial institutions tax and allocation to the political subdivisions
HB1252 Treasurer pay cap for townships - housekeeping bill
HB1256 Requires townships to submit budget information
HB1265 Regulation of political signs
HB1278 Outdoor Heritage Fund
HB1465 Statutory references to mills and property tax levy limitations
HB1290 Property tax levy dollar increase limitations
HB1306 Homestead tax credit for disabled veterans and renter credit
HB1318 Oil and gas production tax revenue allocation to political subdivisions
HB1322 Game and Fish Department land purchases
HB1332 Voter eligibility
HB1342 Overweight permit for certain vehicles
HB1358 Oil and gas production tax allocation and the impact aid program
HB1372 Requirements for initiative, referendum and recall petitions
HB1396 Reassessment of property that has been sold
HB1428 Presidential executive orders review
HB1440 Water districts exclusion of cities from water districts
HB1445 Railroad crossings - Private or Public?
HB1465 Property tax levies and change of references to mill levies


SB2012 Township transportation funding
SB2020 Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute funding
SB2025 Overweight and oversize vehicle fees
SB2036 Property tax bill
SB2101 Challenges of notices of property tax assessments and increases in value
SB2153 Highway-rail grade crossing safety grants
SB2156 Income tax reduction
SB2171 Homestead property tax exemption
SB2176 Emergency clause township funding
SB2180 Building permits in townships
SB2197 Farmstead tax exemption
SB2221 Improvements to scenic roadways and roadways
SB2283 Audit task force establishment
SB2328 Township and county bridge rehabilitation
SB2362 Property tax relief amount placement on property tax statement
SB2364 State aid distribution fund allocations to political subdivisions

HCR4017 United Nations Arms Treaty
SCR4027 Senate Concurrent Resolution to establish an outdoor heritage fund and committee
SCR4030 Debt limits of polical subdivisions

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2013 Legislature general information:
http://legis.nd.gov/
http://legis.nd.gov/general-information

2013 Legislative Assembly general information, including
Bills, journals, calendars, legislators, committes, deadlines, live videos, roll calls etc
http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/63-2013/regular

Legislative Bill Tracking System -
click here:
http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/63-2013/regular/legislative-bill-tracking-system

Dates and Deadlines of 63rd Legislative Session:
http://www.legis.nd.gov/files/resource/63-2013/legislative-deadlines/2013-legislative-deadlines.pdf

Contact your Legislator:
https://www.legis.nd.gov/lcn/assembly/constituentViews/public/publicviewpointormessage.htm
Telephone: 888-635-3447

Find your legislative district:
http://www.legis.nd.gov/districts/2013-2022

District Legislators:
http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/63-2013/members/members-by-district


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2013 Legislative Reports

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NDTOA Final Legislative Report

By Ken Yantes and Larry Syverson / Directors of Inter-Governmental Relations

The 63rd Legislative Session adjourned on the 80th day at 4:23 am having completed its work and went into the record book as the longest since the very first legislative session.

Your legislative team, President Larry Syverson and Executive Secretary Ken Yantes, opened the legislative office/apartment in Bismarck in early January of 2013. Your Township Officers Association was present every day that the legislature was in session.

The membership of the NDTOA at the 2012 annual meeting passed a resolution directing the legislative committee to seek increased funding for townships, especially those in the oil producing counties.

Prior to the beginning of the session, Larry, Ken and Barb Knutson met with the other transportation providers of our state. We established goals for the legislative session that could provide reasonable future funding for each entity and agreed to work together to accomplish these goals.

Now that the session is completed, it is time to reflect on the accomplishments of our efforts. The state budget for the next two years has been set at $13.7 billion. That is a staggering amount of money, but if North Dakota government lives within the set budget we should have $87 million left at the end of the biennium.

Bills giving $850 million in property tax relief, $200 million in individual income tax and $50 million in corporate income tax cuts were passed this session. Part of the property tax relief will come as a 12% credit against all property taxes paid in the state - even the 1 mill for the UND Medical School!

Through the passage of HB1358, SB2012 and SB2176, it seems reasonable township funding has been secured.

SB2012 was a bill that contained the Department of Transportation’s budget. $620 million was to go to the oil producing area for state highway work and $100 million of funding for the non-oil producing counties, cities and townships.

The need for early funding was recognized, so the $720 million was cut out of SB2012 and put into SB2176 with an emergency clause and a fast track designation placed upon it to get it passed and the money into the hands of the infrastructure that needed it. This bill was passed by both houses and signed by the Governor and distributed to the townships in the non-oil producing counties in time to be included in their budgets at their annual meetings on the third Tuesday in March.

This money was wired from the state treasurers office on February 25 to the county auditors; all townships in the non-oil counties should have gotten this deposited to their accounts in early March. If not, there is a problem at the county level that may need to be addressed.

With the passage of HB1358, townships in the oil-producing counties that receive less than $5 million in oil revenue from the state are to receive two $15,000 allocations -- one $15,000 allocation in July of this year and another $15,000 allocation in May of next year. The oil-producing county townships must meet the criteria of levying at least 10 mills for township roads in a taxable year after 2012 and have some township roads within the township to service. The counties that receive more than $500,000 but less than $5 million are Bottineau, Renville, Golden Valley, McLean, Slope, and Ward.

The counties that receive less than $500,000 were included in the non-oil disbursements in SB2176, earlier; included were Mercer and McHenry.

HB1358 states that if a county that receives $5 million or more in oil funding in a state fiscal year, the townships of that county that qualify may receive from the state treasurer three percent of the gross production tax on oil. This would be distributed by the state treasurer to the townships in proportion to the miles that the township has to the county total township miles of road.

Another three percent would be distributed to each township by the state treasurer in equal shares with the other townships in the oil producing counties that receive more than $5 million. The unorganized township funding must be placed in a special fund and used only for the roads in the unorganized township by the County Commissioners. The counties that receive more than $5 million are Mountrail, McKenzie, Williams, Dunn, Bowman, Divide, Stark, Billings, and Burke.

Much of our time was spent the last month of the legislative session attending the many conference committee hearings that could be held or cancelled at what seemed to be at the drop of a hat.

HB1025 is a bill that clarifies the responsibility of a governmental entity during declarations of a disaster regarding responses of financing of repairs. This bill was created through coordinated action of the Advisory Commission on Inter-Governmental Relations which the NDTOA has been a long time voting member.

HB1123 is a new law that will exempt the driver of a motor vehicle from needing to report an accident from a collision with an undomesticated animal (deer).

SB2025 allows the entity that controls the road to receive the fees from the overloaded vehicle violations. The Senate passed this by a 45 to 0 margin and the House passed it by a 66 to 26 margin.

The passage of HB1332 moved the responsibility of township judges to challenge a voter’s right to vote and placed the responsibility on the county auditor and the ND Secretary of State.

A lot of money was placed in the Oil and Gas Impact Grant Fund through the Board of University and School Lands Fund. Section 8 of HB1358 placed $249,299,174 in the fund for the purpose of oil and gas impact fund grants. As the Land Board establishes programs and criteria for application, we hope to receive this information and forward it to our membership so they may be able to apply for the grants as they become available. Our newsletter, the Grassroots Report, will have the latest information in it as it becomes available.


Week 16 of the 2013 Legislative Session

4-26-2013

The 2013 Legislative Session is expected to conclude by next Thursday evening, April 30, 2013. The leadership has told us that there are about 50 bills that remain to be decided on.

HB1358 and SB2012 are both being handled in conference committees. Sections from one bill are being combined into the other and vice versa. Duplicate language could be found in these two bills and this justified some of the committee actions. These two bills have considerable township funding in them but at the present we don’t know what will continue or be lost in further committee action.

HB1234 is a bill that deals with oil extractions taxes, stripper wells, stripper properties and Fort Berthold Tribal oil agreements with our state. We have attended at least 6 committee meetings on this bill and will attend at least one more tomorrow. The time for settlement is close and the Legislators are still quite aways apart from settling their differences.

HB1020 is the Water Commission budget bill. It includes $450 million for the Fargo Flood Control Project. Representative Clark Williams from Wahpeton defended the local rural residents from South of Fargo. His remarks included: why hold water on farm land that has never had flooding on it before? He passed out documents from the township residents that were opposed to any flooding of their farm homes and businesses.

In a temporary settlement with Fargo and West Fargo legislators, amendments were attached to HB1020 that would put off any construction for a year and that an agreement with the Federal Government on who funds what and how much were to be entered into before construction could begin.

Several attempts have been made to put caps on local government entity funding bills.

HB1290 was amended into HB1286 twice but they have failed to pass.

The legislative team has been attending fro2m six to ten of these conference committees per day.

SB2171 is a bill that allows a property tax credit on your homestead. People that have income that is not in excess of $22,000 can get as much as 100% of the taxable value of their homestead exempted up to a maximum of $4500. The exemption is reduced in dollars as your income increases. If your income is in excess of $38,000 the maximum reduction is $900. If you have a homestead valued at over $75,200 you are ineligible for this bill’s homestead credit. The bill is still in conference committee and will likely be handled next week.

Your Legislative Team,

Ken and Larry


April 19, 2013 Legislative Report

This week started off on Monday with a cancellation of the Legislative Session due to the 19.5 inches of snow we had in a weekend blizzard. The parking lot of the NDTOA Legislative apartment/office had about 5 feet of snow piled up on it. Where is spring????

Some of this week’s bill action took place in conference committees as they turned bills that they could agree on to their respective houses.

The House of Representatives and the Senate would start business at 8:00 am and work until they had most of the bills handled that came from the evening conference committee’s efforts. The houses would go into recess and the Legislators would go back to their conference committee’s and seek to find agreement on more bills. The Senate and the House would reconvene at 12:30 after noon lunch and act on the bills passed to them by the Conference committee’s morning work and then recess again. The Legislators would again return to their conference committee efforts. The Houses would reconvene at 4:30 pm and be in session until they ran out of bills and then adjourn until 8:00 am. The Legislators would return to their Conference committee efforts again as long as they could take it in order to have a list of bills for tomorrow morning.

Some of the bills that are in Conference committees yet are:

HB1358 and SB2012 are the funding bills for transportation and local entities. We expected them to be close to the last ones to be finished up and it looks like we are going to be right. They both have spent some time in conference committees already. SB1358 has been on the Senate’s 6th order for the last several days and that is just one of the hurdles left; it will have to go through the house again. SB2012 has had several conference committee meetings and another one was scheduled for today which we attended. Several sections of this bill met with agreement by the conferees but about half of them did not.

SB2036 passed the House as amended and was sent back to the Senate for concurrence. This bill has over $700 million in property tax relief for the citizens of our state over the next two years.

HB1290 is a bill that asks for a study on property tax levies. This bill is in conference committee and has Senators Burckhard, Miller and Triplett and Representatives Headland, Owens and Zaiser..

HB1250 is a bill that eliminated the financial institutions tax and allocated it to the political subdivisions of our state. This bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on 4-18-13 and has a 13 to 0 do pass recommendation. This should help to increase the township state aid dollars if it passes and is signed.

SB2020 is the Extension budget which contains funding for the Northern Crops Institute, the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, Branch Research Centers and the Seed Farm. This bill passed the Senate 46 to 0 after passing the Senate Appropriations Committee by a 20 to 0 margin and then the House amended it and sent it back to the Senate which refused to agree with the House amendments so the bill went to conference committee.

Your Township Legislative Team,

Ken and Larry


April 12, 2013 Legislative Report

Township officers, the 2013 Legislative Session is nearing an end. This past week the last of the bills were heard in their respective committees.

There are quite a few bills left to be voted on that were heard earlier in the session and then send them to their houses for a floor vote. Many have already been sent to the second house for their consideration. Should their second house disagree with the decisions of the first house and amendments to their bill are made, the bill goes back to the first house. Should the first house disagree with the amendments of the second house, conference committees made up of three members from each house try to work out the differences. If they cannot, another committee is appointed and they try to come to agreement.

Conference committee season is upon us now and it is not easy to keep track of what committee is meeting or where and when they are meeting. Many times your lobbyists must rely on the grape vine system to be at the right place and the right time to support the bills that affect townships.

HB1358 is the bill that has a lot of funding in it for local governmental entities. When it passed the House of Representatives it had $1.258 billion in it. The Senate Finance and Tax committee cut out a lot of the entities and reduced the bill to just over $800 million. The townships in the oil producing counties that did not get last session’s $10,000 cash payment or the $15,000 that came from SB2176 earlier this session, but they would have received $15,000 this year and $15,000 next year if the township had less than $100,000 in uncommitted funds at the end of the 2012 year and if they were levying at least 10 mills for roads in their township. The Appropriations Committees have restored some of the funding but not all of it and they continue to disagree. We continue to lobby for adequate funding for all townships, oil producing or not.

SB2012 is another funding bill that has been changed and changed. It has befallen disagreement from both houses. I would be surprised if agreement is reached any time soon on this one. We will keep a close watch on these funding bills.

A lot of tax relief bills have been floating around this year. One of the most interesting remains to be HB1198 This bill, if passed and signed, could bring a homestead credit of $1000 for married couples and $500 for single tax payers. This could bring about $123 million in property tax relief to property tax payers on a state wide level.

HB1465 is a bill that would have changed the statutory references from mills to a decimal expression in numerals of number of cents per dollar of taxable valuation equivalent to the number of mills stated. It also had a 3% maximum mill levy increase for all governmental entities. The bill failed by a 0 to 47 margin in the Senate.

HB1342 was a bill that would have allowed road authorities to issue overweight permits of up to 10% over the limits on local road systems. This bill failed in the Senate by a 4 to 43 margin.

HCR4017 is a resolution passed by the ND House and Senate, signed by the President of the Senate and the Secretary of State on 4-9-13, that opposes the current form of the United Nations Arms Treaty which infringes on the individual right to keep and bear arms.


April 5, 2013 Legislative Report

Bill action in the Legislature is slowly winding down. The following is a report from this last week’s activities:

HB1206 is a bill which directs the State Water Commission to develop a comprehensive water plan on a river basin perspective for the Red River, James River, Mouse River, Upper Missouri River, and the Devils Lake drainage basins. This study committee shall report to the 64th Legislative Assembly. The Senate passed it by a 47 to 0 margin.

SCR4030 authorizes an amendment to section15 of Article X of the North Dakota Constitution to be submitted to the qualified Electors at the 2014 General Election.

The amendment sets the debt limit of any county, township, city, town, school district or any other political subdivision never to exceed five percent of the assessed valuation of the taxable property therein. The legislative assembly may provide a lower percentage of indebtedness on political subdivisions. This bill passed the House of Representatives by a 59 to 33 vote margin.

HB1306 is a bill that allows disabled veterans to increase the property tax on the buildings, fixtures and improvements of his homestead by $6750 this year compared to the allowable $5400 in the past.

HCR4017 is a bill that speaks up for the rights of citizens to hold and bear arms. It asks our federal government to not adopt or be a part of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. This bill passed the House of Representatives by a 68 to 25 margin.

HB1428 is a bill that passed the Senate by a 32 to 14 margin. It called for a review of presidential executive orders. The President of the United States executive orders which have not been affirmed by a vote of the US Congress and signed into law as prescribed by the Constitution of the United States should be declared an unconstitutional exercise of legislative authority by the President of the United States.

HB1332 is a bill that passed the Senate by a 30 to 16 margin that deals with the eligibility of a voter to vote. It called for the repeal of 58-04-09 which was township law on the duty of township judges to challenge a township voter. It also repealed the section of law that allowed us to use an affidavit to confirm residency in the township.

We can now demand a driver’s license or a non-driver ID issued by the ND DOT of any one we question. Anyone without that ID showing an address in the precinct or township can be refused unless someone can vouch for them.

The county auditor shall generate a poll book for each precinct in the county from a central voter file by the day before an election with all of the pertinent information on each voter. This law is meant for township officers to use at their meetings.

The law now requires that you prove that you are qualified, with the proper ID, before voting so there will be no questionable ballots in the box.

HB1025 is a bill that passed the Senate by a 45 to 0 margin that will allow payment for property commandeered by a government entity during a disaster or emergency declaration.

HB1278 is a bill that creates the ND Outdoor Heritage Fund. This bill is an attempt to meet and discourage the initiated measure proponents that wanted a similar change to the ND Constitution last year. This language is a lot more palatable to the residents of North Dakota. It also has a price tag of $15 million instead of the $100 million increasing to $300 million per year as the constitutional proposal prepared last year.

This bill also forbids any purchase of North Dakota land and any projects outside of this state.

HB1358 was worked on several times this week in the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee and today (4-4-13) it was brought to the Senate for approval of the amendments they had made to it. The bill proposal as passed by the House of Representatives had $1.258 billion in it from oil tax revenue. It was to be distributed to many local entities. The Senate Committee reduced the funding level to $851 million by failing to fund some of the entities that the House wanted to fund and then recommended a do pass, as amended, with a 7 to 0 vote. In the Senate there was an attempt to resist the amendments because of the deep cuts to funding. However after a spirited debate the amendments were approved and the bill was re-referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for their action. It will likely be heard in the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday April 9.


March 29, 2013 Township Legislative Report

This week’s bill action consisted of the following:

SB 2101 Failed in House. The bill would have allowed property owners to challenge assessments with an appraisal from a qualified appraiser. Also, it would have required notice to be sent if an assessment increased $1,500 or more and to 5% or more than the amount of the last assessment (current requirement $3,000 and 10%). The bill was killed by a 3 to 89 margin.

SB2025 Final Passage in the House by a 66 to 26 margin. This bill allows that extraordinary road use fees go to the owner of the road on which the overload occurs. This should result in more overload enforcement activity at the county level and thus protect township roads from a great deal of overloading. Also if an overloaded truck is apprehended on a township road, the township would get the fees to apply to road repairs. Note: Fees must go to the road fund. It is on its way to the Governor!

HB1372 is a bill that said if a petition for initiative, referendum and recall was turned in to the Secretary of State they would be considered filed and could not be returned to the sponsoring committee. This bill passed the Senate by a 46 to 1 margin.

HB1226 was a bill that would have directed the assessor to mail out notice of increased valuation to a taxpayer if property values were increased by $1500 or more or 5% over last year’s assessment. This bill failed in the Senate by a 20 to 26 margin.

SB2180 is a bill that would give township zoning boards 60 days to respond to a request for a building permit. This bill passed the House of Representatives by a 92 to 0 margin.

HB1425 was a bill that would have allowed an optional enhanced driver’s license for a fee of $45. This would have simplified border crossing for those that have frequent need to cross; no other document would be needed to return from Canada. It was sponsored by Representative David Monson and it passed the House 74 to 17. In the Senate the only supporter was Senator Joe Miller; 46 Senators voted against it.

SB2012 and HB1358: Two big ticket bills still being worked on in committees and watching these two is nearly a full time job. Both bills have sections that address the disparity of funding for the oil-county townships. Larry prepared a report for the House Committee on SB2012 that shows that the oil county townships got shorted $25.5 million compared to the non-oil county townships since the 2011 session. We are also defending the $27 million bridge rehabilitation amendment in SB 2012.

For some reason HB1358 is in Senator Cook’s Senate Finance and Tax Committee. We have explained the need to keep the section regarding township funding intact to several committee members and the reception seemed favorable from all. Once Senator Cook is done with HB1358, it will have to get through the Senate Appropriations Committee, too. It has yet a rough and rugged trail ahead. Both these bills need all the support they can get; please call or email your legislators and get your friends to do it also.

Township mileage payment: The DOT projected budget for the coming biennium pegs our 2.7% of the Highway Users Fund at $16 million or $8 million per year. Dividing that out to 56,826 miles of township roads in the state, we should get a little over $140 per mile per year. That would be $35 per mile quarterly; last quarter’s payment was $39.70 and if that rate holds we may well beat the forecast.

NDTOA Legislative Team,

Ken and Larry


March 22, 2013 Township Legislative Report

This week in Bismarck found Ken and Larry busy with property tax bills and always keeping an eye on the remaining road funding bills.

SB2025 is a bill that needs your immediate attention. This bill will be heard in the House on Monday or Tuesday. Extraordinary road use fees for the violation of weight and length restriction must go to the general fund of the jurisdiction having authority over the road on which the violation occurred. Townships will get the fees if the violations are done on township roads. It seems the right thing to do but there is a lot of opposition. Shouldn’t the fees go to the entity that has to fix the damage to their roads? Urge your Representatives to vote for SB2025.

HB1465 and HB1290 were heard together in the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee as they both deal with property tax limits of 3% increase to all governmental entities.

HB1465 varies in that it will change the statutory reference in NDCC and in county records from mills to decimal reference in cents per dollar. What kind of confusion would that create for us all? We opposed these two bills.

The Association of Counties testified that to limit the mill levy increase to 3% could violate the voter intent and that local voter decisions should not be overturned by legislated actions. A question was surfaced asking if the local voters shouldn’t be allowed to decide what services they want to have.

SB2012 has not been passed out of the House of Representatives yet and needs mention to your Representatives that it should be passed as it still has a lot of funding left in it for townships especially in the oil-producing county townships. One of the sections of the bill contains $27 million for bridge rehabilitation and reconstruction for all of North Dakota.

HB1358 is another funding bill for townships and transportation infrastructure. Urge your Senator to vote for it when it hits the Senate. This bill has a lot of needed road and local governmental entity funding in it.

HB1252 has passed the Senate by a unanimous 46 to 0 margin. This was a housekeeping bill that clarified the township treasurer’s salary cap.

SB2101 is a bill heard in the House Finance and Taxation Committee last week that would allow a taxpayer to hire a qualified appraiser to challenge the true and full value of a parcel of property if a tax payer disagreed with the assessor’s valuation. If this appraisal is more than 5% lower than the assessment, the board may: 1. Accept the appraisal; 2. Compromise between the two values or; 3. Require a re-assessment under the direction of the State Director of Assessments and at the cost of the property owner; the value determined by this re-assessment would be final and not appealable, this value cannot be greater than the original assessment.

SB2221 is a bill that was heard in the House Transportation Committee that provides $20 million for grants to Counties and Townships for improvement in scenic roadways and roadways providing access to recreational areas. The bill is still in committee but it looks like it may pass if the funding holds out.

HB1372 is a bill that deals with the requirements for initiative, referendum and recall petitions. It says that petitions are considered filed and may not be returned to the sponsoring committee. The Senate Political Subdivisions Committee gave this bill a 6 to 0 Do Pass vote.

Your Legislative Team,

Ken and Larry


March 15, 2013 Township Legislative Report

The after Crossover bill rush is on; this week’s action included:

HB1198 is the House version of property tax credit for home owners. It was heard in the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee and likely will be held there until most other tax bills are heard so combinations of legislator’s ideas can be included in a large bill later on in the session.

HB1123 is a bill that exempts drivers from reporting accidents with undomesticated animals if the damage results to the drivers vehicle only. The accident does not need to be reported regardless of the amount of damage done to the vehicle. This bill passed the House of Representatives and the Senate also gave it unanimous passing vote.

HB1234 Is a bill that changes the oil severance tax rates and laws. The Senate Finance and Tax Committee heard this 19 page bill on 3-11-13 and appeared to be happy with the changes in the stripper well laws but failed to vote on it.

SCR4027 was a bill that would create and enact a new section to article X of our ND Constitution that would establish an outdoor heritage fund and Committee. The original bill directed 4% of the total revenues from the oil and gas production extraction taxes to be administrated by an outdoor heritage commission. One hundred million dollars a year was to be put into this fund and administered by the fund commission. If this was approved by the voters the measure would expire in 2039. The bill failed to pass the Senate by a 10 to 36 margin

SB2012 is a transportation funding bill that contains many provisions. One of them sets up $27 million to be used to reconstruct and rehabilitate county and township bridges. This funding cannot be used for routine maintenance. The funding may be used to provide 90% of the cost for approved projects which include the costs of engineering and plan development.

SB2012 also has $142 million in it for the oil and gas producing county and township road reconstruction program.

This bill also includes $10 million for counties and townships in the oil and gas producing counties to be distributed at $15,000 to each organized township and $15,000 for each unorganized township to the county in which the unorganized township is located.

The sections I have mentioned have an emergency clause attached to them and will become effective as soon as the bill is passed and signed by the leadership. At present the bill is in the House Appropriations Committee and will undoubtedly take quite a long time.

Grant Levi, the Interim Director of The DOT, presented SB2012 to the Government Operations Division of the House Appropriations Committee on Monday: it was a full day, less about an hour for the House floor session. There were opportunities for comment, Larry emphasized the importance of the rural bridge rehabilitation section and the townships in oil-producing counties section while stating NDTOA support for the entire bill. The committee was informed that the funds for townships should be directed to townships as the plan for grants through the counties rarely provides any funding to townships, section 8 of this bill does that.

SB2171 is in the House of Representatives Finance and Tax Committee and will be there for awhile. It pertains to the homestead property tax credit and there are many other similar bills to be heard yet. They will likely be combined to make one strong bill.

HB1106 is a bill that adds the wordage to the notice of tax equalization meetings that a tax payer has the right to appear before the board of equalization for correction of the tax payer’s assessment.

This bill has passed the house by a 86 to 0 margin and has been sent to the Senate Finance and Tax Committee but has not been voted on in the Senate yet.

HB1358 was heard in a jam packed Brynhild Haugland hearing room on 3-11-13. This is a bill on distribution of the oil and gas severance taxation to local political subdivisions in oil and gas producing counties. Both the oil producing and non-oil producing townships in the oil producing counties will receive $15,000 per year for the next two years if this bill passes. The total dollars to those townships could be $8,760,000. In order to be ineligible for funds your township must not have $100,000 or more of uncommitted funds on hand or if your township is levying less than 10 mills for road maintenance efforts. A township must be maintaining some roads in the township in order to qualify for funding.

Many other governmental entities will qualify for funding from HB1358. The Commissioner of University and School Lands is to get $5 million to provide distributions to eligible counties experiencing new oil and gas development activities beginning on July 1, 2013 and ending on June 30, 2015. The Commissioner shall provide $1.25 million to the county and the county shall consider and address the needs of other political subdivisions in the county as a result of the impacts of oil and gas development. Some of the other entities receiving funding are Fire districts, Schools, Emergency Medical Services, Sheriff’s departments, Cities, Job Services of ND, the Energy Infrastructure Impact Office, Hospitals, Nursing homes, Basic care facilities and many more will be affected by the passage of this comprehensive funding bill. It has passed the House of Representatives and was in the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee this last week. The main sponsor for this bill is Representative Bob Skarphol from Tioga and many other legislators have co-signed in support of his bill. HB1358 will spread the benefits of oil and gas funds across the entire state providing money for things like EMS services and money for non-oil counties

HB1252 is a bill we asked to be introduced to correct a two word typo from last session. It was passed by a 6 to 0 Margin in the Senate Political Subdivisions Committee on 3-15-13 at 9:12 AM. The typo was created by leaving the two words "up to" out of the sentence in Chapter

58-08-01 that clarifies the salary of the township treasurer.

HB1226 is a bill that has passed the House and has been heard in the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee which states that when any assessor increases the true and full value of any lot or tract of land by one thousand five hundred dollars or more and to over five percent or more than the last assessed valuation the amount of increase must be delivered to the property owner in writing. It looks like this bill may pass.

Remember March 19 is the 3rd Tuesday in March…Annual Meeting Day! Have a good one!

NDTOA Legislative Team,

Ken and Larry


March 8, 2013 Township Legislative Report

Township officers, this is the first report after the 2013 Crossover period. We started the 9th week’s work on Wednesday, the 6th of March.

SB2036 was heard in the House Finance and Taxation Committee. This bill is one of the Senate’s best bills relating to property tax credit through depositing the state’s share of oil and gas taxes for state funding to school districts for mill levy reduction grants. The bill also set up a property tax credit of $25,000 reduction on your primary residence. The bill will set up $403 million of our states excess general fund to the mill levy buy down program.

HB1198 is the House of Representatives preferred bill on property tax relief. It closely resembles what we have had in the past, which includes $147,600,000 in state paid property tax relief credits

SB2211, a bill on animal cruelty penalties, was heard on Thursday, March 7 and it drew a large crowd of testifiers and observers. Dennis Johnson, Chairman of the House Ag Committee, held the meeting in a jam packed Brynhild Haugland hearing room. The committee has not voted on the bill at this time.

Hearings for two bills that deal with the ND Outdoor Heritage Fund were held on Thursday, March 7.

HB1278 needs oil tax funding of 8% of the money available in NDCC 57-51-15 but not to exceed $15 million per fiscal year or $30 million per biennium. These funds cannot be used to finance projects outside this state This bill was to put funding into the oil and gas impact fund, but not in excess of $100 million per biennium. This bill was not voted on this day. It has a 12 member advisory committee

The second bill, (SCR4027) that dealt with the Outdoor Heritage Fund, would set up in the ND Constitution under Article X a $100 million per year to the Outdoor Heritage Fund out of the oil tax funding. This fund must be used for grants to state agencies, tribal governments, local governments, political subdivisions and nonprofit organizations for wildlife purposes. This proposal would have a 12 member commission to govern its activities. This was given a 5 to 2 DO NOT PASS RECOMMENDATION.

Upcoming events for the week of 3-11-2013 through 3-15-2013 include:

HB1198 9:00 am hearing in the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee 3-11-13

property tax credit bill.

SB2012 9:00 am hearing in the House Appropriations Committee, DOT and other Transportation provider funding bill (including township and county bridge funding amendments).

SB2171 Homestead Tax credit on property tax bill. 9:00 am on 3-11-2013 in House Finance & Tax (Fort Totten).

HB1358 9:00 am on 3-13-13 in Senate Finance and Tax Committee. This is the most comprehensive oil and gas production distribution to political subdivisions offered this session

SB2020 2:00 pm on 3-14-13 contains the budget for the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute.

HB1252 9:00 am on 3-15-13 in Senate Political Subdivisions Committee; this bill is the correction of NDCC on the Township Treasurers salary.

SB2364 is a bill passed by the Senate by a 46-0 margin which will increase township state aid funding. It is being held up in the House Finance and Tax committee at present.


March 1, 2013 Township Legislative Report

We have reached the Crossover recess and all bills must be voted on in their houses of origin and sent to the other house.

.It has been very busy the last 8 weeks for your legislative team. We had several grassroots passed resolutions that needed legislative action to correct the local problems. One of the first indicated we were to work to increase funding for townships. Last legislative session we were able to secure a cash payment to the townships in non-oil-producing counties of $10,000. This Session we supported a bill (SB2176) which secured $15,000 for each township in the non-oil-producing county townships. In addition to that we were successful in helping to get another $16 million increase to our quarterly payment from the Highway users fund for road maintenance. SB2176 is the bill that allowed these 2 increases and it passed the House and Senate unanimously and on 2-4-13 the Governor signed it. The funds should be in your accounts by this time. The $15,000 had to be reduced to $14,716.70, due to an accounting error in Morton County but it is still a good chunk of change, the difference will be made up later. The $16 million was divided out on a basis of $375.38 per mile on your maintained miles list. Also, your share of the state aid dollars should go up this year if the house agrees with the $500,000 increase granted by the Senate.

We have been suggesting since before the beginning of the Session that townships in the oil-producing counties were shorted last session when they did not get the $10,000 payment that the rest of you got, and many of those townships don’t get any of the oil revenues either. We repeatedly spoke of the damage from exploration and extraction of oil and no funding to repair those damages. Representative Bob Skarphol from Tioga introduced HB1358 which, if passed by the Senate as written, should help them. It sets up $8,760,000 for distribution to the oil-county townships. The bill states that the state treasurer shall distribute the funds as soon as possible to the counties and the county treasurer shall allocate the funds to or for the benefit of the townships in oil-producing counties through a distribution of $15,000 each year to each organized township and a distribution of $15,000 each year for each unorganized township to the county in which the township is located. The funding must be distributed in equal amounts on or before May 1, 2013 and May I, 2014 in the oil-producing counties.

On the Senate side an amendment introduced and attached to SB2012 by Senator Bill Bowman will raise the similar funding for the oil-county townships. Both bills may not pass but their ideas certainly will be continued.

In the same manner, bills have been introduced to increase the funding to the energy impact office and one is sure to pass, be sure to apply if you have oil and gas impact damage in your township.

SB2012, the original DOT funding bill, has $142 million in it for oil-producing counties and township road reconstruction programs. This bill passed by a 47-0 margin and is expected to be passed by the House of Representatives.

Both the House and the Senate have many bills on property taxation and it is pretty hard to say which ones will survive the second half of the session. It seems that most of them have a statement regarding the amount of property taxes that the state reduced due to the buy down of school mill levies with state money. A lot of them mention proposals of setting a limit on mill levy increases to the 3% level. In a surprise move today the Senate passed SB2221 which is a bill that would set aside $20,000,000 to improve county and township scenic roadways and roads providing access to recreational areas. The bill passed by a 30 to 17 margin on 2-28-13. The house may see it differently.

HB1465 is a bill that relates to property tax levies and includes change of references to mill levies. It states that the Legislative Council shall change all reference to mills in the property tax laws to a decimal expression in numerals of the number of cents per dollar of taxable valuation equivalent to the number of mills stated there-in.

These are just some of the bill actions out of about 1,000 bills and resolutions introduced this 2013 Legislative Session.

The bills that have been stated as passed means that they were passed out of their houses of origin unless they had an emergency clause attached to them as was the case of SB2176. The emergency clause makes them become effective immediately after the leadership signs them.

There were a lot of good bills and bad bills introduced and somehow we work to get the bad ones killed and the good ones passed as we have done for many years.

Your Directors of Inter-Governmental Relations (DIGR),

Ken and Larry


February 22, 2013 Township Legislative Report

This week we attended many Senate Appropriations Committee meetings. Our main concern was what kind of amendments were going to be put on
SB2012 which is the Department of Transportation funding bill. We heard many proposals but when the committee decided which ones they wanted it really didn’t take very long to put it together.

Senator Bowman’s $10 million grant program amendments for the Western oil-producing county townships passed easily.

Senator Wanzek’s proposal for $27 million for township and county bridge rehabilitation and reconstruction was amended into SB2012.

Senator Wanzek withdrew his $25 million for the Eastern ND townships and another $10 million for the oil-producing Western county townships. He felt he was asking for an awful lot of dollars from the states treasury this session. Several other amendments were added and the bill was given complete approval by the Senate Appropriations committee. It is on its way to the Senate for their action now.

SB2364 passed the Senate by a 46-0 margin and has been sent to the House of Representatives for their consideration. If this bill becomes law, it will provide funding for the State Aid Distribution Fund. It will be a continuing appropriation for counties and townships into the future and should increase the present state aid by a considerable amount.

HB1445 was a bill that demanded that political subs (counties or townships) make a decision on the 8770 railroad crossings in North Dakota as to whether the crossings were private or public. If townships made the decision that a crossing was private, the trains would not have to blow their whistles before crossing. Should there be an accident at a crossing because the train didn’t blow its whistle, then the township would be liable for deciding that the train didn’t need to blow it’s whistle. We testified that townships did not need or want the legal responsibility for a possible accident. The committee voted 10-1 for a Do Not Pass and the House voted 8 to 83 to kill the bill. Representative Dennis Johnson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, deemed it an unnecessary piece of legislation.

HB1256 was a bill that the House of Representatives voted to defeat by a 41 to 48 margin. It called for townships and other political subdivisions to send into the State Data Base copies of their annual budgets. After 4 days of lobbying the House members, we were successful in getting the bill killed. However, the leadership turned the idea into a legislative management study for the ACIR interim committee to study in the next interim period. This proposed study is found in HB1132 and it passed by 86 to 5 margin.

SB2020 was passed in the Senate by a 46-0-1 margin on 2-22-13. This was a large funding bill for many NDSU programs including the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, the University Extension Service Research Center and Agronomy Seed farms.

SB2036 is one of the main property tax bills submitted by the Interim Tax Committee. It passed the Senate by a 46-0 margin. This bill deals with deposits of the state’s share of the oil and gas taxes and property tax relief through allocation of state funding to school districts for mill levy reduction grants for all property owners.

SB2197 (the farm home tax exemption bill) lost in the Senate today; the vote was 14-36-1. Farm homes will still be exempt from property taxes but for how long remains to be seen.

SB2171 is a bill that allows a homestead property tax credit. It did pass the Senate by a 46-0 margin.

SB2362 was submitted and defended by Senator George Sinner. SB2362 was a $800 million property tax reduction bill but it was defeated by a 14-32 margin.

HB1121 is a bill that will compliment some of our township road ditch preservation laws. It speaks to correcting damage to a ditch by the landowner. The bill passed the House and is now in Senate Transportation Committee.

HB1123is a bill that does away with the requirement to report a collision with an undomesticated animal such as a deer. It passed the Senate Transportation Committee so it just needs to go through the Senate yet.

COMING ATTRACTIONS:

Very important Bill - SB2012 The DOT funding bill will be voted on in the Senate on 2-25-13. This bill includes considerable funding for townships.

Urge a DO PASS to your Senator on SB2012.

Watch for HB1358 which is the House of Representative’s main bill on the distribution of oil and gas taxes to political subdivisions. It was introduced by Representative Bob Skarpohl from Tioga and has comprehensive funding for oil-producing counties political subdivisions within it.

Urge a DO PASS to your Representatives on HB1358

Ken and Larry


February 15, 2013 Township Legislative Report

Bill introduction deadlines have come and gone. The referral of bills to the Appropriations Committees have also passed their deadlines.

The Legislature still has a lot of bills to handle before the March 1st Crossover date.

Following are some of the bills heard this week:

HB1440 allows cities to be excluded from Water Districts. On the surface it seems that the rural areas would be picking up the total cost of supplying the cities with water BUT after reading the whole bill it seems that there has been a compensation figure arrived at which seems to be fair for all.

HB1445 is a bill that the NDTOA testified in opposition to as the bill seeks to transfer liability from railroads to counties and townships. The bill states that the local governmental body of a political subdivision shall determine if a railroad crossing is a public or private crossing. Certain crossings require a train to blow their whistles and others do not.

If townships had to determine which crossings needed a whistle warning and which did not, it could result in legal problems if someone was hurt or killed at a crossing that the township decreed a whistle warning was not needed.

NDTOA testified that township officers did not need the extra work of deciding which crossing needed a whistle warning and which did not. We, therefore, did not need the legal responsibility of making the decision either. Questions were raised by committee members as to whether townships would have to sign those crossings also. The answers were unclear.

On Friday Feb. 15, 2013 the House Agriculture Committee voted 10 to 1 do not pass recommendation on HB1445. Please urge your Representatives to vote no on this bill when it gets to the House floor.

SB2153 passed the Senate Transportation Committee with a 7 – 0 Do Pass recommendation. This bill will take 1% of the Highway Tax Distribution Fund for Highway Rail Grade Crossing safety projects – not to exceed $4 million per biennium. This money is to be used for projects such as the development of Railroad Quiet Zones, installing or upgrading warning devices, crossing surfaces, relocating crossings, building grade separations, eliminating sight distance obstructions and other projects of the Federal Highway Safety Improvement program.

Past policy of the NDTOA has been to oppose any highway distribution tax reductions. This bill would not affect the township share of the fund as it takes the 1% from the State’s share of the fund. The Senate Appropriations Committee heard this bill on Thursday, the 14th, and is still holding it without a recommendation one way or the other

SB2328 is the appropriation for county and township bridge rehabilitation and reconstruction program. It has been amended down from $95,700,000 to $27 million and includes $350,000 to fund future Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute projects of infrastructure needs for county and township bridges. We see this as a very useful study; we support SB2328 and the needed upgrading of our bridges.

URGE YOUR SENATORS TO VOTE YES ON SB2328

SB2362 is another tax relief bill that was heard in the Senate Tax Committee this week. Senator Dotzenrod explained the 8 page bill to the committee members. It contained up to $150,000 exemption of true and full value of all new single family, condominium and townhouse residential property. The bill allowed 40% of the property tax paid in 2012 as an exemption for future property taxes on residential, agricultural, mobile homes and centrally assessed property.

Railroad owners operators or lessee’s were also to have the 40% exemption along with Air Carrier transportation companies.

Many bills on tax relief have been introduced and most are being held by their committee chairmen. This is just one. All bills must be heard in their House of Origin by Crossover time which is Friday March 1.

SB2328 also included placement at how much the legislative property tax relief dollar amounted to for the preceding year on your property tax statement.

HB1358 is a major comprehensive funding bill for governmental entities in western North Dakota. Rep. Skarphol introduced it and explained it to the House Finance and Tax Committee. They gave it a unanimous 14 – 0 Do Pass recommendation on Thursday, February 14.

A joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations committees was held in a fully packed Brynhild Haugland room last week. Governor Dalrymple and his staff presented a legislative revenue forecast report. The report showed a 1% reduction in the state’s income from the last quarterly report. The last report was a new high from any other before and North Dakota is still growing at a very high rate. Sales and Use Taxes lead the list of income revenue at $2,161,188,016.

SB2012, the DOT funding bill, is still in the Senate Appropriations Committee. We attend weekly meetings every Tuesday, after the Senate adjourns for the day, to sit in on the discussion of SB2012,. Many amendments were put on this bill and now no other amendments can be added.

HB1256 was a bill that directed townships to send their financial budgets in to a state budget data base. Today the house voted 41 to 48 to kill this bill. We had worked very hard to inform the members of the House of Representative that townships should not have to do this. We were successful in defeating this bill and now townships will not have to send another form in to the state.

Your Legislative team,

Larry and Ken


February 8, 2013 Township Legislative Report

On Monday Feb. 4 Representative Bob Skarphol presented and defended HB1358 in House Finance and Taxation Committee. This is his bill on funding infrastructure in Western North Dakota oil country. HB1358 is comprehensive funding for Schools, Counties, Cities, some Townships, Medical Services, County Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Districts.

One of our funding bills (SB2176) has received unanimous votes in the House and Senate and was signed by the Governor and Secretary of State on the afternoon of Feb. 4th. There was an emergency clause attached to the bill which means it will take effect immediately and all townships in the non-oil producing counties will get a share of the $16 million increase in the dollars that we were receiving on a quarterly basis from the Highway User Funds on a per mile of township serviced road.

Non-oil producing county Townships will also receive a $20 million distribution of $15,000 for each township. This funding should be out within the next two weeks. Check with your bank to see if the electronic fund transfer for an even $15,000 has arrived. Of the funding that is left over from the $20 million, townships will get 20% of the overage added to the Highway Users Distribution quarterly payments based on the miles of roadway that they are servicing.

Remember when we were getting the one cent gas tax that amounted to $70 per mile per year? Please remind your membership about this one.

Senator Terry Wanzek has introduced SB2328 which had $95,700,000 in it for county and township bridge rehabilitation and reconstruction. Larry and Ken attended the hearing on this bill and supported passage of it. Senator Wanzek forwarded an amendment that reduced the bill to $25 million instead of $95,700,000 but the committee amended the amendment up to $27 million and passed it unanimously 7-0.

Larry and Ken have been in regular attendance of the Senate Appropriations Committee. We still have an interest in the outcome of SB2012 (the NDDOT budget bill). Recently two interesting amendments were offered to SB2012. The first one was by Senator Bill Bowman and it called for $10 million to go to townships in the Western oil producing counties on a $15,000 per township basis.

Senator Terry Wanzek submitted another amendment to SB2012which grants another $10 million to the Western oil producing counties for distribution of $15,000 per each township.

Senator Wanzek also included in his amendment another $25 million to all counties and townships in North Dakota for township road maintenance through the distribution formula which is used for the Highway Users Distribution Fund.

One of the resolutions passed at the 2012 annual meeting directed us to seek increased funding for townships in the Western Oil Producing County and we have done that.

SB2283 was a bill that required the establishment of an audit committee, consisting of from 9 to 15 members, to audit all political subdivisions. We spoke in opposition to this audit committee’s establishment as townships have their own audit committee. The legislative committee voted a unanimous 6 to 0 do not pass and the Senate killed the bill by a 3 to 44 margin.

HB1322 is a bill that requires the ND Game and Fish Department to give notice of the intent to purchase land to every land owner within one mile of the boundary of land proposed to be appraised. HB1322 originated from a purchase of 1800 acres in Northern Ramsey County that was purchased without notice to the local folks.

The Director of the ND Game and Fish Department shall send notice to the governing body of a city, county or township if the land appraisal for acquisition is within 12 miles of the entity. The Director of the ND Game and Fish shall publish in the official county newspaper once a week for two weeks the appraisal proposal.

HB1256 would require townships to submit their budget information to a state database. This bill received a do pass in the House Political Subdivisions Committee today.

In upcoming attractions for next week:

On Monday, 2-11-13 SB2221 will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee. It sets up $20 million to improve scenic roadways and roadways to recreational areas. This bill will be heard at 9:00 AM in the Harvest Room.

HB1396 directs the local tax assessor to reassess a parcel of property if it sells at a different price than it was appraised at by the local assessor. This bill was given a do not pass by the Finance and Tax committee and is expected to fail the house.

HB1445 is a bill that directs the governing body of a subdivision to, if requested by a private property owner, make a determination if the Railroad crossing is a private or public crossing. This bill will be heard at 9:00 AM on 2-14-13 in the House Agriculture Committee.

Your Legislative team,

Larry and Ken


February 1, 2013 Township Legislative Report

This morning I testified in opposition to HB1256 which insists that all townships send in their financial reports to the state data base just like last sessions bill demanded we do. I hope that it will be killed in future committee work. Please pass the word along that it should be killed .......

SB2283 establishes a audit committe to come around and audit the transportation spending in townships ......urge a no vote on this bill also .....This is very important .....

The most important legislative bill that is in the legislature for townships remains to be the funding bill SB2176. SB2176. passed the House 88-0-6 today. It is on its way to the Governor. By the next week’s report we should be able to report to you and say it has been signed by the Governor. It has an emergency clause attached to it so it will become law as soon as the Governor signs it. The funds should be in your Bank account by mid-February. The first payment should be an even $15,000. Check with your bank to be sure.

This last week I testified in favor of another bill HB1318 which has the potential of securing $44 million for the organized townships in North Dakota. This funding will go to the counties but townships must apply with specific project plans and cost estimates of the projects you want to accomplish.

SB2328 was introduced on the last day of the Senator’s bill introduction period. It would set aside $95,700,000 for county and township road bridge rehabilitation and reconstruction programs in our state. $66,170,000 can be used for bridges in serious condition and $29,530,000 is to be used for the bridges in critical condition. The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute study on county and township bridges indicated that to fix all county and township bridges in ND it would take about $300,000,000.

HB1358, introduced by Representative Scarphol, is a comprehensive funding bill for governmental entities in the Western oil producing counties. It is being held in the House Finance and Taxation Committee. This bill addresses the funding needs for all townships in the oil producing counties. Very few bills speak to the needs of the non-oil producing townships in the oil patch. We know that most of them have the road damage from exploration and oil well service delivery. This bill, if passed, would help them all.

HB1322 is a bill that would require the Game and Fish Department to notify local governmental units (counties and townships) of the proposed land acquisitions before it is made. Last summer an 1800 acre acquisition was made in Ramsey County without prior approval by the residents or their local governmental agencies. This bill would help to create sharing of information prior to the purchase.

HB1106 is a bill that passed the House of Representatives unanimously. It requires that townships and cities place two notices of the meetings of the boards of tax equalization in their local newspapers prior to the meetings. These notices must contain a statement that tax payers have the right to appear before the boards and seek correction of the tax payer’s property tax assessment.

A couple of township house cleaning bills were heard in committees and unanimously passed to their respective houses. The first one, HB1252, was a two word omission in last sessions compensation for township treasurers and the next one (SB2180) was the setting of 60 days as a time limit for township zoning boards to act on a building permit.

HB1265 relates to the regulation of political signs with counties and townships being prohibited from restricting sign placement. Be advised that the restriction pertains to signs on private property -- not township rights of way. We still regulate the signs on our road side rights of way.


January 25, 2013 Township Legislative Report

SB2012 was the main transportation funding bill for the ND DOT, Cities, Counties and Townships. This bill was introduced for the first hearing in Senate Appropriations Committee and it was divided into two parts. The first part set off was called SB2176 and it had $620 million dollars in it for the North Dakota Department of Transportation for state highway construction and maintenance. The second inclusion in SB2176 was to set $100 million to fund Cities, Counties and Townships.

A sixteen million dollar grant was to go to the townships in the non-oil producing counties on a per mile of township road serviced by the township.

In addition $20 million was to go to the Counties and Townships in the non-oil producing counties through the distribution of $15,000 to each organized township and a distribution of $15,000 for each unorganized township to the county in which the unorganized township is located.

If any funds are left over from the $20 million allocation after the $15,000 distribution has been made, then 20% of the remainder goes to the townships in per mile payments as set up in the first $16 million distribution

This means that the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s $620 million and the townships $16 million and our share of the $20 million distributed at the $15,000 per township are all in the SB2176.

On Thursday, January 24th the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee reported to the full Senate that his committee had voted a 13 to 0 do pass recommendation on SB2176 and urged the full senate to do the same.

The Senate voted a unanimous 47 to 0 in favor of passage of SB2176 with an Emergency measure attached which means if the House of Representatives passes this bill it will become effective as soon as the Governor signs it.

It looks like the funding will be in your checking accounts in early Feburary. This is what Governor Jack Dalrymple and the Legislative Assembly wanted to see happen so the Eastern ND townships could get a jump start on the 2013 road maintenance season.

SB2012 still has $142 million in it for the Western North Dakota oil producing counties and townships for road rehabilitation and reconstruction but their funding probably will not get there until after the first of August 2013.

There are several other amendments being proposed for attachment to SB2012:

One would include a $15,000 payment to the townships that are non-oil producing in the oil producing Western counties.

Another proposal would grant $15,000 to all the townships in the oil producing Western counties.

Another would set up a $90 million grant for bridge replacement and – or repairs should the bridges be found to be in serious or critical condition in order to qualify for funding.

Many hours of listening, suggesting and working with our legislators have taken place to bring this funding report to you. When I look back on the $75 township officers used to get per mile out of the one cent gas tax, and consider the amount of dollars I have mentioned to you in this report it seems that the last 20 years of truthfully speaking with our legislators has really paid off.

In other bill action:

On January 23, SB2197 was heard in the Senate Finance and Tax Committee. This bill would eliminate the farm home property tax exemption. Larry Syverson offered testimoney in opposition to the passage of this bill as our policy calls for. The bill is being held in committee for future action.

SB2156 is a bill that calls for a reduction in the North Dakota income tax. This bill is also being held up in committee for a future decision.

On January 24, SB2153 was heard in Senate Transportation. This bill would take dollars away from the Highway Distribution fund that we share in. We oppose it.

A HB1358 has been introduced by 7 house members and 6 Senators.

This bill will allow proper funding in the Western townships. Please support it.

Urge your legislators to give positive support to this one.

Your Legislative Team

Ken and Larry


January 19, 2013 Township Legislative Report

Legislative activity is picking up in Bismarck. I will try to address some of the action on early bill proposals and then follow with some of the future proposals that we are aware of for the next week.

First and foremost, at this time we have been involved in the funding for townships as found in the DOT budget bill SB2012. This bill has $142 million for the Western North Dakota counties and townships. It also has $100 million in it for counties, cities and townships in the non-oil producing counties. Of the $100 million, $16 million is to go to the townships on a quarterly distribution according to the miles of township road serviced by the township.

SB2012 has another $20 million in it to go to the townships in the non-oil producing counties at a $15,000 per township rate and of the balance of the $20 million, 20% would go to the townships in the same manner as the first $16 million allocation.

Last week in the Senate Appropriations Committee Senate Bill 2012 had $100 million appropriation removed from it and placed in SB2176 and an emergency clause was added. This means if this bill is passed, the township officers could expect a payment in February of this year. We could actually budget these dollars for current repair projects. SB2176 will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee in the Harvest room at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, January 22.

There are other rumored proposals floating around that include $300 million for bridge work and funding increases for non-oil producing townships in oil producing counties and a $250 million bridge proposal as proposed in the Upper Great Plains Transportation Study.

The Senate Finance and Taxation Committee will hear SB2197 which would eliminate entirely the farmstead residence property tax exemption and will be heard on January 23 at 9:00 AM.

On January 24, SB2180 will be heard in the Senate Political Subdivisions Committee at 10:15 am. This bill would give township supervisors or other appropriate officials 60 days to respond to a building permit application.

The House Political Subdivisions Committee will hear HB1252 which is a bill that will set the maximum pay cap for township treasurers at the same rate as other officers of the township at up to $60 per day. This will be heard on January 24 at 2:30 pm. This is a housekeeping bill as the words "up to" were inadvertently left out last session.

At this time the Senators have 248 bills introduced for them to handle and the House members have 370 bill proposals before them. We continue to monitor them as they come in.

Our phone # in the Legislative Office in Bismarck is 701-258-5903

Your Legislative Team,

Ken and Larry


January 11, 2013 Township Legislative Report

The first week of the 2013 Legislative Session is over. Larry and Ken spent the week renewing old friendships and making new friends in the Legislative Assembly. This session has 8 new Senators and 17 new Representatives learning the ropes. Your lobbyists have met most of them and seek to gain their confidence as the session continues.

We attended the Governor’s State of the State Address on January 8th. January 9th we attended Chief Justice VandeWalle’s address on the State of the Judiciary and a joint meeting of the Finance and Tax committees for a Tax Department overview of state tax issues.

We sat in on the committee work on HB1025 which deals with liability and immunity during disaster responses. The ND Department of Transportation held a joint meeting of the House and Senate Transportation Committees on January 10th where the accomplishments, challenges, budget information and proposed legislative actions for 2013 were explained. The distribution of the Highway Distribution Fund was revealed for the next two years. Townships received $11.1 million in the 2011 -2012 biennium and projections for 2013 thru 2015 will be about $16 million. This is a $4.9 million projected increase in the 2 year period from the Highway Distribution Fund.

January 11, 2013 we received the next week’s bill schedule and found that our funding bill SB2012 will be heard at 8:30 AM on Thursday, 1-17-2013 and SB2025, our bill on the overweight and oversize vehicle fees to go to the jurisdiction in which the violation occurred, will be heard at 9:00 AM in the Lewis and Clark room in front of the Senate Transportation Committee.

The above mentioned bills are just a few of the many that are up for hearings next week.

Your Legislative Team,

Ken and Larry


The Legislative NDTOA Lobbyists

President Larry Syverson and Executive Secretary Ken Yantes

 

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