North Dakota’s 63rd Legislative Session begins

The 63rd North Dakota Legislature began Tuesday, Jan. 8th as Governor Dalrymple gave the State of the State Address to a joint session of Congress.dgschaible

Kevin Schaefer

The Herald

Posted 1-10-13

Legislative leadership expects ongoing and one-time spending in infrastructure, education, water projects and the issue of tax relief to be among the top items to addressed in a record $12.8 billion budget proposal. But, like any other budget, it is only guideline for the state’s spending. The Legislature needs to do more than fund the right priorities for the upcoming two years. However, they cannot commit funding too strictly for anything beyond the two years, because no one has a crystal ball.

The governor outlined four major topics which will receive most of the debate on both sides of the aisle and will involve the most dollars. They include: 1) Infrastructure 2) Taxes 3) Education and 4) Water.

Dalrymple’s 2013-15 executive budget is a record $2.74 billion package to rebuild the state’s highways and local road systems. More than $1 billion of the proposal calls for investments in expanding and improving oil patch roads in the western part of the state. That seems like an an awful lot of money, but, the need for road repair is overdue, not only in the oil fields, but statewide. “I think we have a moral obligation to stick by those communities in western North Dakota that have really paid the price for the prosperity of our Minority Leader Mac Schneider, D-Grand Forks.

Just as a couple of examples of how fast dollars can be spent on infrastructure are two bridges in Hettinger County. The bridge just west of New England across the Cannonball River known as the “Dump Grounds Bridge” was built in 1944. The county plans on replacing it in 2014 at the cost of $850-$950 thousand dollars. The second bridge west of Regent that also crosses the Cannonball is scheduled to be only repaired. That cost is estimated at between $350-$450 thousand. Law enforcement and child care are also included in infrastructure, primarily again in the oil patch.

With rising property valuations affecting homeowners and businesses, the pressure is on legislators to address property taxes. Legislators expect to see several tax relief bills once the session begins. Dalrymple’s budget proposal calls for $372 million in local property tax relief as part of his K-12 education formula. The property tax relief would be part of a $549 million increase in state funding to K-12 schools. The plan calls for ending the current mill levy buydown program while providing an additional 60 mills in property tax relief on top of the 75 mills already provided. With all of the attention that Measure 2 received in last June’s election, the members of the legislature are more than aware that something drastic has to be done.

Higher education will face increased scrutiny because of recent incidents and scandals at state institutions in the last couple of years. The legislature has a responsibility to find some way that the higher education system is held accountable for all the moneys that they receive.

Lastly, with all the major flooding that occurred in recent years and the growing need for water in the west, legislators expect many requests for funding of water projects.

Members of the legislature also expect driving offenses, primarily driving under the influence, and gun control to receive a considerable amount of discussion.

Your area members of the legislature from District 31 include Republican Senator Donald Schaible a farmer from Mott. Don received a degree from NDSU and is past President of the Mott/Regent School Board; EMT-I Mott Ambulance Service; FFI Mott Volunteer Fire Brigade and is a Trustee for Congregational Church He is married (Carmen) has four children and has been in the Senate since 2011. He can be contacted at 9115 Highway 21, Mott, ND 58646-9200 Home Telephone: 701-824-3168 Email:

His committees include: Interim, Information Technology Committee, Education (Vice Chairman), Government and Veterans Affairs, North Dakota Statutory Committee, Education Commission of the States and

Statewide Longitudinal Data System Committee.

Republican Representative Jim Schmidt is retired from USDA and is a farmer from Mandan. Jim has a degree from Utah State University and is President, North Dakota Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils; Board, Morton County Water Resource Board; Board, Missouri West Water Systems; Board, Morton County Soils Committee; Council, Dakota Prairies RCD; Member, Jacobson Memorial Hospital Foundation. He is single with two children and has been in the House since 2011. He can be contacted at 5165 Highway 1806, Mandan, ND 58554-8721, home telephone: 701-663-0009, Email: His committee membership includes: Standing,Energy and Natural Resources, and Finance and Taxation.

Republican Representative Karen M. Rohr is from Mandan and is the Bioethics and Clinical Research Director, has a PhD Nursing Research, MSN Nursing Administration & Board Certified Nurse Practitioner. She has three children and has been in the House since 2011. She can be contacted at

1704 Fourth Street NE, Mandan, ND 58554-3814, Cellphone: 701-202-1956. Email: Her committee membership include

Standing, Education and Government and Veterans Affairs.

From District 36 we are represented by Republican Senator Kelly M. Armstrong. Kelly is from Dickinson and is a Partner, Reichert Armstrong Law Firm. He has a degree in Psychology from UND; JD, UND School of Law. He is currently a 2012 Community Service Award winner, State Bar Association of ND; President, Dickinson Baseball Club 2006-2012 and a Volunteer Fireman. He is married (Kjersti) and has two children. He is newly elected to the

Senate and can be contacted at 513 Elks Drive, Dickinson, ND 58601-2974, Office Telephone: 701-483-8700, Cellphone: 701-290-0447, Fax: 701-483-8714, Email: His committee membership are: Standing, Judiciary and Transportation (Vice Chairman).

Republican Representative Alan Fehr is from Dickinson and is a Clinical Psychologist PhD, Clinical Psychology, UND. He was in the US Navy; ND Army National Guard; Army Reserve, Scouter of the Year, Boy Scouts Roughrider District; VFW and AMVETS. Alan is married (Kris), has three children

and is newly elected. He can be contacted at 10641 Highway 10, Dickinson, ND 58601-9567, office telephone: 701-225-1050, Cellphone: 701-590-0136, Email: His committee memberships are Standing, Agriculture and Human Services.

Last, but certainly not least is Republican Representative Mike Schatz is a retired teacher and coach businessman from New England and has a degree from MSU. Mike is a former Vice President, Education Standards & Practices Board; Former President, New England Park Board; Lifetime Member, ND Coaches Association; NRA, Rotary, ND Stockman’s Association and Elks. He is married (Patti)and has four children. He was a member of the House 1988-1990 and now since 2009. He can be contacted at 400 Ninth Street East, New England, ND 58647-7528, home telephone:701-579-4823, cellphone: 701-333-8610, Email: His committee memberships are Interim, Administrative Rules Committee, Standing, Education (Vice Chairman) and Transportation.






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