Good turnout for Legislative Forum
The Legislative Forum held on Saturday, Feb. 7 was well attended with over 30 people filling Room 112C at the West Fargo High School. A lot of important issues were discussed by the legislators during their opening statements and as they fielded questions asked by local residents attending the meeting.
Response times were closely monitored in order to allow each legislator to answer as many questions as possible. However, legislators weren't able to get through all of the questions submitted on note cards during the two hour session; a good indication that the forum was a valuable tool to help address some of the concerns of residents.
Legislators taking part in the public forum included Sen. Judy Lee, Rep. Kim Koppelman, and Rep. Alon Wieland, representing District 13; Sen. Jim Pomeroy and Rep. Lee Myxter, representing District 27; and Rep. Wesley Belter from District 22. Some of the topics covered included concerns about how the state's surplus should be used, daycare regulatory policies and affordability, the pending pharmaceutical bill, property taxes, and the federal stimulus package.
Rep. Wieland discussed his disappointment that House Bill 1494 was defeated on the floor by the education committee. The bill, introduced by Wieland, and co-sponsored by Sen. Lee, Rep. Koppelman, along with Sen. Gary Lee from District 22, and Rep. Randy Boehning from District 27, asked for a $2.5 million supplement to state funding to help cover the cost of West Fargo's enrollment increase of 400 students this year that is not covered because of the cap put on the per student funding formula. Wieland felt that it was a good bill, and even though it was defeated, he hopes something will come out of it in some other form during the session. In the very least, introducing the bill has raised awareness across the state to West Fargo's dilemma.
For those of you who missed the Legislative Forum, it will air on Cable One and Midcontinent on Channel 12 on Thurs., Feb. 12, and Sunday, Feb. 15, at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m., 10 p.m., and at 1 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 16, at 1 a.m.
Two more Legislative Forums are scheduled on March 14 and April 4, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the West Fargo High School, 801 9th St. E., in Room 112C.