2017 Legislative Session
65th Legislative Assembly - 2/24/17 Update
The 65th Legislative Session began on January 3rd, 2017 and the North Dakota Motor Carriers Association (NDMCA) has been at the Capitol since day one, ensuring the interests of the trucking industry are represented and protected.
The seventh week of the session saw longer floor sessions as both chambers sought to get through the remaining bills on the calendar and limited committee work took place any remaining appropriations bills. The longer floor sessions were due to the Crossover deadline on 2/24, which means that all House Bills (HB) must be voted on by the ND House of Representatives and all Senate Bills (SB) must be voted on by the ND Senate.
One bill the ND House took action on this week was HB 1255, which creates a large truck permit (129K) for certain US Highways. NDMCA strongly supports this bill as it effectively creates weight harmonization with most surrounding jurisdictions on the US Highway Network. In addition, the bill allows weight increases on I-94 & I-29 subject to action by Congress.
Next week, after a short legislative recess, policy committees will return to work taking up bills from the opposite chamber.
Bills that will be heard in committee next week include.
SB 2093, which relates to WSI subrogation liens. NDMCA supports this bill as it allows WSI to recover benefits when an employee sues for and receives damages in another state (essentially double dipping), thus protecting the WSI fund and minimizing premium increases to ND employers.
SB 2094, which relates to securing premium payments, employer noncompliance, and employer false statements. SB 2094 clarifies what instruments WSI can use as a security instrument for premiums when a new employer comes to ND and when a non compliant employer seeks to become compliant. In addition this bill clarifies what the fine is for an employer who makes false statement related to a claim. NDMCA supports this bill as it protects the WSI fund and minimizes premium increases to ND employers.
SB 2341, which would have mandated tarping of certain loads by industry, mud flaps and excluded vehicles used in agriculture from load securement requirements was opposed by NDMCA and received a 6-0, Do Not Pass from the Senate Transportation Committee. SB 2341 was debated by the full Senate and was amended into a mud flap only bill, as there is no mud flap requirement in state law. The amended version of SB 2341 passed the Senate, with NDMCA neutral on the bill in its current form.
SB 2012, which is the DOT budget bill. This bill drastically cuts the DOT budget for the 17-19 biennium, essentially returning the agencies operation to a pre-oil boom level. General funds and one-time funding from the strategic investment and improve fund have been cut reducing total appropriations by nearly two billion dollars. HB 2012 also reduces the number of rural maintenance shops and drivers license locations. NDMCA will be monitoring this closely as budgets could be further impacted by a revised revenue forecast set to come out on March 9th.
SB 2011, which is the Highway Patrols budget bill. This bill essentially offers the Highway Patrol a hold-even budget, while reducing the number of agency staff slightly. Given the budget climate, HB 2011 offers the HP with a better budget outlook than most other general fund agencies.
SB 2341, which requires mud flaps on certain vehicles. SB 2341 originally required tarping of certain loads by industry as well as mud flaps and was opposed by NDMCA. This bill received a do not pass recommendation by the Senate Transportation but was amended to a mud flap only bill and overturned on the Senate floor. While NDMCA does not oppose a mud flap requirement, the bills language could be improved. NDMCA will seek to have this bill amended into a better form this week in the House Transportation Committee.
To learn more about these bills and see a full list of bills being tracked by NDMCA, click on the Bill Tracking link at the top of this page.
To see NDMCA's Crossover Report on key bill, click on the Crossover Report at the top of this page.
If you have any questions on a bill NDMCA has tracked, please email email@example.com with the bill number and question.