From the Sideline Coach Mike Schatz District 36 Representative

Days 47 through 51 passed without too many debates until Friday, when the House heard four abortion bills that generated a great deal of discussion. This session, we will likely use about 75 of the 80 days that the legislature is allowed to use.

Posted March 29, 2013

The Herald

I have heard from the leadership that they would like to save five days in the event that we need a special session in order to deal with huge changes in our economy or disasters that could befall us.

One of the debates is about lowering oil taxes from 11.5 percent to 9.5 percent if the industry reaches one million barrels per day. The Bakken is one of the richest fields in the world, but it is not the only field. The new technology of fracking has been applied to older fields, and they have seen a 50 percent increase in production. So if the world sees an oil glut, and the price drops below $50 per barrel, then it wouldn’t be feasible to drill in the Bakken. Our economy would see a sharp down turn, and the billions of dollars the Legislature has so generously awarded to Human Services, Higher Education, and K-12 Education will have to be reevaluated, just like during the last oil boom when we put a 6.5 percent tax on the industry.

On Wednesday, the House and Senate recognized their former members who have passed away during the two years since we last met. These memorial services mean a great deal to the families and to the present members themselves. We have a choir that sang four songs, and there were prayers, speeches, and shared fellowship. It was good to see the sons of my good friend, Frank Wald. We reminisced about his time in the Legislature, and what an interesting character he was. I still miss him, he taught me a lot.

The House Education Committee had a busy week, but we have now gotten through all of our bills. We heard testimony on nine Senate bills this past Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. SB2267 would give an appropriation to school districts for safety reasons to try to prevent an incident like Sandy Hook, Conn. SB2329 dealt with home schooling and the type and quantity of standardized testing that is required. North Dakota has the most rules about home schooling of any of the 50 states. SB2361 would give the Bank of North Dakota the ability to pick up student loans that the current national administration has federalized.

The House Transportation Committee only heard two bills on Thursday and Friday, and neither had any opposition. Once all the bills are heard, the conference committees start to meet. These committees are made up of members of the House and Senate, and they try to find a middle ground on bills that have been amended in the other chamber. Also, once all the money bills are heard, the three appropriations committees must do their work to approve the money.

I have always liked to sing, so when the House organized a chorus, I was there to join. I don’t really know what I am doing or how to read notes, but I can fake it and listen to the people who do know. Every time I have tried to sing solo, it has been a disaster, and so I don’t try very often. But at least I am not having a wardrobe malfunction like Janet Jackson did at the Super Bowl. Not that anyone would care if it happened to me. I love that phrase, “wardrobe malfunction.” Have a good one!

Yours in the Spirit of the Republic, Coach

Dist. 36 Representative

mischatz@nd.gov

 

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