From the Sideline

As the Legislative Session edges closer to the crossover recess, many of the bills that are controversial are starting to come to the floors of both houses.Schatz

Posted Feb. 22, 2013

The Herald

Coach Mike Schatz District 36 Representative

The media is picking up and highlighting some of them. This past week, a number of tax bills were defeated because they were not liked by the members, but there is tax relief on the way. I feel that the tax relief bills that are more likely to pass will be up for votes this week.

The bills with the largest appropriations are usually alternated between the House and the Senate. This session, the House has the pre K-12 funding bill, and the Senate has the Human Services funding bill and the Higher Education funding bill. I call these the Big Three because they comprise 69.7 percent of all the money we spend from our general fund and 53.6 percent of all funds spent including federal dollars and special fund dollars. These bills will also be up in the next two weeks.

The Education Committee met three times and worked on HB 1319 which is the Governor’s main funding bill. Rep Rust gave a presentation about the main aspects of the bill and several amendments were attached. The bill was then passed on to the Appropriations Committee, and Chairman Nathe appeared before their committee to define the bill.

Two other bills of major importance are HB 1261 and HB 1237. They spell out two concepts of how rapid enrollment should be handled. HB 1466 also came out of committee with a 7 to 6 do pass before it went to Appropriations, and it will generate a lot of discussion.

The House Transportation committee met on Thursday and Friday and had few bills to hear , but did do some committee works which means voting “do pass” or “do not pass” on a number of bills that had been heard. Again, the more controversial bills are left to right before crossover and the end of the session. After the committee makes a recommendation, the speaker will place it on the calendar. One member of the committee has volunteered to carry the bill to the floor where it will be presented with a “do pass” or “do not pass” recommendation and the reasons why. Then there is a debate and a vote.

HB 1335 is the mandatory seat belt bill, and it makes not using your seat belt a first offense which would allow police to fine you even though you were doing nothing else wrong. It received a “do not pass” out of committee on a vote of 8 to 5 but will most assuredly see a great debate on the floor.

I have written previously about my skate boarding accident when I was in the 8th grade and all the strange things that seemed to happen to me. At that time, St. Joseph’s had many nuns volunteering in the hospital. I arrived with this leg that was broken so badly that my knee was up, but my foot was 90 degrees to the right. An elderly sister with glasses that resembled coke bottles was to take me to x-ray. As she wheeled me through the door, my foot hit the door frame. I yelled. She clipped it at the next door. I yelled again. She said, “Is that the foot?” Yep. Have a good one!

Yours in the Spirit

of the Republic, Coach

Dist. 36 Representative

mischatz@nd.gov

 

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