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Legislative Report District 13: Legislative session transition continues at steady pace

The 62nd North Dakota Legislative Assembly is moving into the phase where most bills have been acted upon in one chamber and in committees in the other, and have been sent to the House or Senate floor for votes. As final action is taken on these bills, conference committees will be formed on several, to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of various bills. As the session draws to a close - probably about a month from now - budget bills will typically be the last to be resolved.

The Constitutional Revision Committee, which I chair, has been hard at work since returning from the crossover break. The deadlines for this committee are different from any other, as resolutions to amend the Constitution can be introduced later than bills. This week is the deadline for action on them.

The committee has considered 17 resolutions introduced by the House. Coming into this week, 15 had been acted upon, with the other two scheduled for action Monday so, by the time you read this, all will have been forwarded to the House floor.

Topics of proposed changes to the Constitution have varied widely, from the simple to the technical; from the subtle to the sweeping. Topics range from state land, to taxes, to the structure of education in state government.

Of course, most issues the Legislature deals with are general and statewide, in scope, but some become specific, such as infrastructure aid for roads battered by heavy equipment in the Western oil fields and flood protection for Fargo.

Some legislation would have broad effect, but would also help our area, specifically.

One bill which I introduced would streamline the process for cooperation among law enforcement agencies, giving neighboring agencies from other states reciprocal authority and protection. Another would preserve traditional standards for temporary, portable classrooms erected by schools, rather than forcing them to have permanent foundations, as the recently-adopted international building code would require.

Another would clarify statutory language to facilitate easier prosecution for surreptitious intrusion (hidden cameras secretly taking inappropriate photos or videos without permission) such as occurred in a recent case. Yet another would bring North Dakota into an interstate compact to coordinate education for the children of military families transferred throughout the country.

These and other issues will be dealt with in the coming weeks as the Legislative session draws to a close.

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).