By Rep. Kim Koppelman
Hearings on bills are winding down and the North Dakota Legislature is beginning the final stages of the Legislative session, which will revolve around final action on bills heard, followed by conference committees and budgetary matters.
Floor sessions are longer, as bills passed by one chamber have been heard in the other, recommendations have been made, and floor votes are taken. If bills have been amended, often Conference Committees are formed.
The work of these committees is to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions of bills, before final passage. Occasionally, differences cannot be resolved and the bills ultimately fail in one chamber or the other, but usually they ultimately pass. This process typically takes a few weeks.
Similar activities take place in the respective Appropriations Committees, as final versions of budgets are grappled with, as the session nears its completion. These appropriations bills are often the last passed, before the close of the session.
The last of the bills assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, which I chair, will be heard and probably acted upon this week, marking the beginning of the Conference Committee process for our Committee. Once again, the Judiciary Committee was among the busiest in the Legislature, hearing about 70 bills prior to Crossover and about 40 since. The Committee also deals with most proposed Constitutional Amendments, previously handled by the Constitutional Revision Committee.
A myriad of issues were included in these bills. During the first half of the session, a major focus was upon several bills dealing with the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms, as well as North Dakota’s concealed weapons laws. These were passed and are in the Senate.
Since Crossover, issues have varied. Some deal with the courts, including one proposal to add three judges--one in our area and two in the oil patch. Several bills dealt with real estate law, while others focused upon the treatment of sex offenders, criminal penalties, and other matters.
The other Committee I serve on--the Political Subdivisions Committee, made final recommendations on three bills, completing its work, late last week.
The session is expected to wrap up within a month.
Your District 13 Legislators appreciate hearing from you. You may reach us by email, during the session, as follows: Rep. Alon Wieland (firstname.lastname@example.org); Rep. Kim Koppelman (email@example.com); Sen. Judy Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org). You may also check us out on Facebook at West Fargo Legislators. If you’d like to receive these updates by email, please send me an email (email@example.com) to let me know.
By Rep. Kim Koppelman