Local Lawmakers Hear from Citizens at Legislative Forum

Issues that came up include education, diversion, and infrastructure

WEST FARGO, N.D. — The second of a series of three legislative forums lets people ask questions about what’s happening in local government.

The legislative process is basically broken into three periods. The first is when bills are introduced.

The second, which is the crossover period, is when bills are either finished in the House or Senate and go to the other chamber to be discussed more.

“The difference between the three sessions is where you are in the process. Last time, every bill was still on the table, ideas hadn’t all been fully vetted, now everything’s had a chance to go through committee, go through the floor one time,” State Sen. Kristin Roers of District 27 said.

The last period in the legislative session consists of conference committees, where the differences in the House and Senate bills are put together. That’s also where budget differences are worked out.

“The big issues we have facing the Fargo–Moorhead community right now revolve around workforce, higher education, F–M flood protection,” State Rep. Thomas Beadle of District 27 said.

Other issues include career and technical education. Operation Prairie Dog, which would fund infrastructure projects with oil and gas tax revenue, was also brought up.

Some people at the session were interested in hearing about education funding, especially with the West Fargo school district growing so quickly.

“I think on-time funding is a huge deal, I personally see the influx of students at the high school and secondary level, so being able to get those extra dollars to help get students the services they need is a huge deal,” Rachel Baughman said.

Lawmakers say hearing directly from people they represent is most meaningful in helping guide their decisions.

“We get emails, we get phone calls, you hear rumors about what people think, and really getting people’s actual opinions from them to really help us understand what’s important to people of our district,” Roers said.

“There a lot of policy issues that surround education, and I think it’s interesting to see people who are removed from schools and how they try to get input from people who are truly the boots on the ground and in the trenches working with our students,” Baughman said.

“I can assume one thing but until I hear from actual constituents I don’t necessarily know. I really appreciate the people who do reach out,” Roers said.

The next legislative forum will be on April 13.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News, Politics / Elections