Sen. Don Schaible
We have now reached the halfway mark of the 66th legislative session. At this time, all bills that have been passed in the House will be moved over to the Senate for further consideration and vice versa.
There is still work to do on many of the bills, and as the bills continue through the next chamber and conference committees, we will fine-tune them so that by the time the bill is signed we feel confident that we have the best possible product for the people of North Dakota.
We will hear the second budget forecast in March, and after the appropriate adjustments have been made, we will adopt a final budget for the biennium.
We are committed to passing a budget that funds our priorities, ensures adequate reserves for the future, and balances the budget without increasing taxes.
As always, our top priorities are education and taking care of our state’s most vulnerable citizens. In K-12 education, we have proposed an increase in per-pupil funding throughout the next biennium. Additionally, we have proposed inflationary wage increases in the next two years for our K-12 employees, our higher education human service employees, and our state employees after their wages were held constant throughout the last biennium.
The recent passage of measure one which established the North Dakota Ethics Commission has been drawn much attention in both chambers and although the measure was far from perfect, we remain dedicated to passing a bill that gives clarity to Article XIV and allows citizen participation in the democratic process. Both houses have passed their versions of what the bill should look like and we will ultimately decide what the final version will look like on the other side of crossover.
Already this session, wehave taken big steps toward developing a strong workforce, a diverse economy, an improved infrastructure network, reduced taxes, and improved health services. Our policies benefit the individuals, families, and businesses of North Dakota, making ourstate a great place to live and work.
After a few days off, we will be back to business of doing the people’s work. As always, we appreciate the calls and emails with your views and suggestions.
Senator Don Schaible