2023 North Dakota legislative session preview

BISMARCK, N.D. (KVRR) – North Dakota’s Legislative sessions begins Tuesday.

Republicans have 43 more seats than Democrats in the Senate and 70 in the House, but that doesn’t mean they are all on the same page.

“There’s not universal agreement among the majority of Republicans on certain things and they may need some Democratic votes to get over the finish line. They have their own ideas and their own thoughts about what to do. Especially when you’ve got a couple billion dollars surplus because of tax collection,” Prairie Public Radio’s News Director Dave Thompson said.

Thompson has heard about a proposal by Republican State Senator Donald Schaible of Mott to reduce property taxes and have the state take over more of the funding for human service centers and education.

“The governor, of course, is proposing income tax breaks and that eventually that at least half of taxpayers in North Dakota will not have to pay income tax, but there is a real feeling among lawmakers that the number one thing they here among their taxpaying constituents is property taxes are too high,” Thompson explained.

It will be a difficult session for Senate Democrats as they only have a four-person caucus.

“They’re going to have a lot of work to do because they’re going to have to keep their thumbs and eyes on committees overall and at least try to make their presence known and make their opinions known,” Thompson said.

Many feel one of the biggest tasks for the Legislature is too fix the state’s workforce issues. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Dakota is tied with Minnesota with the second lowest unemployment rate in the country at 2.3 percent. There are still several businesses looking for employees.

“They’re looking to have maybe some statewide efforts in terms of childcare, in terms of attracting people to the workforce here in North Dakota,” Thompson said.

Republicans would like to codify certain abortion provisions into law. They want to make no questions about state law only allowing rape, incest and risking the mother’s life as the only exceptions. They are also looking into bills on gender-affirming surgery and counseling.

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