At this time, the majority of bills have had their hearings. The Agriculture committees have finished their work, and other committees are working to finish theirs. The majority of bills left are appropriations and will start to get passed out of committee this week.
HB 1151 is known as the “spill bill”. NDFU supported the amendments that excluded older oil sites that did not have an impermeable lining, and mandated that inspection reports be available to landowners online. However, the bill was amended in the Senate to only exclude wells that were “spud after Sept. 1, 2000, or on a facility, other than a well site, constructed after Sept. 1, 2000.” NDFU opposed these amendments in the hearing, but the committee added them to the bill on a 6-1 vote. The bill has not been heard on the Senate floor.
SB 2135 creates an initiated measure committee to study the state’s process for putting measures on the ballot. This bill was amended substantially in the House. While the committee kept NDFU on the initiated measure committee, it removed North Dakota United, made the member organizations ex-officios and added a tedious process for citizens to be appointed to the committee. NDFU is opposed to the amendments. The bill has not yet been voted on in the House.
SB 2263, which reforms the permitting process for installing drain tile, was passed out of the Senate Agriculture Committee with no amendments.
SB 2327 creates a new Department of Environmental Quality from the Environmental Section of the Department of Health. The bill originally meant one seat for agriculture on the department’s advisory council. After advocating in the House subcommittee to add additional seats for the industry, two more were added for agriculture. The bill has not yet been voted on in the House.
At this time, NDFU has prioritized monitoring SB 2020, which houses the NDSU Extension Service budget, and SB 2019 that Houses Adult Farm Management. After bills have been passed through their second chamber, those with changes will begin to go to conference committee.
– Kayla Pulvermacher, NDFU