Second Half Of North Dakota Legislative Session Begins
BISMARCK, N.D. — State lawmakers are back in Bismarck for the second half of the legislative session.
North Dakota Public Radio’s Dave Thompson says the biggest item facing lawmakers is the multi-million dollar bonding bill, much of that for the FM Diversion Project.
“As it stands right now, it’s $680 million for bonding, with virtually all of the money going towards water projects,” said Thompson.
“The big thing of course, is F-M Diversion. And there is some money for Minot, but that’s the House version of the bill. It’s going to the Senate and the Senate might be looking at adding some things to it. So when we get to conference committee time, that could be one of the conference committees to really watch because it’s a big spending thing.”
Thompson says one of the most unusual bills would temporarily keep the results of future presidential elections secret.
“One that is crossing over from the Senate to the House would protect the actual vote total in a presidential election in North Dakota until the Electoral College meets, which I think is interesting, They were talking about that as an anti-fraud device—and there are questions being raised on that now, as it gets to the House.”
State Rep. Luke Simons was recently asked to resign following reports he threatened and sexually harassed women at the state Capitol. Thompson says the House may decide quickly whether to take more drastic action.
“That’s correct. Listening to what Chet Pollert, the House Majority Leader is saying—he said he would support only two things, severe reprimand, whatever that means, or expulsion—and he’s leaning towards expulsion. He may have the votes to do it. We don’t know just yet, but we think it’s going to be debated on the House floor as early as tomorrow.”
Lawmakers still have hundreds of bills to consider.
The session must end by May 4th.