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District 13 Legislative Report: Legislative session pace picking up, work intensifying on major issues

The 62nd North Dakota Assembly is in full swing. Following largely ceremonial activities during the first week, which included the State of the State, State of the Judiciary, and State of the Tribes addresses, committee assignments and orientation for new members, the pace has picked up and work has intensified.

By last week, committees had full hearing schedules and the calendars for floor action on bills were growing. This week promises even more intensity as legislators tackle major issues on a variety of topics.

Bill introduction deadlines in the House and Senate will have passed, by the time this is published, and legislators focus will turn from crafting public policy proposals to scrutinizing bills in committee, considering amendments, and recommending action for the full House and Senate.

This week, 12 bills of which I am either the prime sponsor or a cosponsor will have public hearings in the House and Senate. This makes for a heavy workload, when coupled with usual committee responsibilities.

Two are proposals to slow the growth in property taxes, which has been so burdensome to so many citizens. Others tackle issues ranging from Job Service and unemployment insurance processing to fighting crimes of technology and managing sex offenders.

A bill I sponsored at the request of the West Fargo School District was heard last week in the House Education Committee. It would allow readiness testing during the school year, for kindergarten students. It received the committee's unanimous endorsement.

Another will be heard this week. It would allow schools to place portable classrooms without having to install them on permanent foundations.

For more information on activity in the legislature, please join us this Saturday at 10 a.m., at West Fargo City Hall, for our first Legislative Forum of the session. Watch future editions of the Pioneer for our legislative reports, as well.

Your legislators appreciate hearing from you. You may reach us by mail, e-mail, or telephone: Sen. Judy Lee (; 282-6512); Rep. Alon Wieland (; 282-9470); Rep. Kim Koppelman (; 282-9267).