Legislators recessed Thursday, Feb. 23, just before their Crossover deadline.
On Wednesday, the Legislature reconvenes and the House begins hearing passed bills from the Senate, and vice versa. Next week, they are expecting to receive an updated revenue forecast in order to have a better picture of where the budget needs to be by the end of the session.
Here are a few of the bills NDFU has been following. To get the full NDFU Legislative report, pick up your copy of the Union Farmer this week.

AGRICULTURE
SB 2020 is the appropriation bill for NDSU agriculture research and extension, including the 2017-2019 SBARE priorities. Following budget recommendations set forth by Governor Doug Burgum, the Senate Appropriations Committee cut the budget 13 percent and provided no funding for any of SBARE’s priorities. SB 2020 passed the Senate 43-2.

HB 1126 made significant changes to the way the Public Service Commission deals with grain insolvencies in North Dakota. The bill removed the commission’s regulatory duty, changed the grain insolvency process and decreased the number of grain inspectors. The House adopted amendments relating to elevators not needing to notify the PSC if they are closing or reopening, clarifies the PSC no longer pays interest on claims and that commission may use electronic communication. The rest of the bill was removed. The bill later passed the House.

LANDOWNER RIGHTS
SB 2225 repeals current law on the posting of land and creates the assumption that “all private land is considered posted.” North Dakota Farmers Union testified on this bill, citing that “our members have had longstanding policy in support of landowner rights, and that all land should be considered posted.”

The bill was later amended in committee. The amended bill created a pilot project in which an electronic registry developed by North Dakota Game and Fish would be created for five counties selected by the Governor. The county commissions would have to vote on being a part of the pilot. The registry would designate land open and closed to hunting and allow landowners to provide contact information to prospective hunters. The bill designates $250,000 from the Outdoor Heritage Fund for database development.
SB 2225 failed in the Senate 17-28.

OTHER BILLS
SB 2314 became a “hog-housed” bill to study wind energy development in North Dakota, and also included a two-year moratorium on wind energy. After dividing the bill on the senate floor, the wind energy study survived but the two-year moratorium failed.

– Kayla Pulvermacher, Member Advocacy Director, NDFU