My first legislative report. I’ve got to say – I am thrilled to be writing this!
Last week was an exciting time for us here in District 20 – Rick Holman was sworn in to his second term in the House, I to my first House term, and Phil Murphy sworn in to the Senate.
Monday started off bright and early with a 7 am caucus in which our Minority Leadership was elected. From there it was off to the Capitol Building for a quick tour to get the “lay of the land” and begin settling in. The actual swearing in process took place that afternoon and was conducted as a group with all the newly and re-elected house members taking the oath at the same time. The house chamber is impressive, and it makes a person proud to be there.
Tuesday was filled with organizational meetings, training classes and an ongoing exchange of information with peers. This was also the day we were assigned seating… you can find me at Seat 16 throughout the coming months! It’s wonderful to open the middle desk drawer and see a variety of previous legislator’s names etched in the grain of the wood. A sense of tradition and history is everywhere.
The Governor presented his budget proposal on Wednesday, which proved to have hit upon many of the hot points we in North Dakota are keen to see addressed – items that include property tax relief, funding relief to local governments, increased educational funding, one-time and long term infrastructure relief for both Western and Eastern ND – and much more. How much of this remains once legislation session is completed, remains to be seen. But, the fact that the Executive Budget contains these items are an important first step.
Committee assignments were given during this time and I was pleased to find myself placed with Human Services and Government Veterans Affairs. I strongly suspect both will have their challenges and will have a steady stream of bills to consider, but will no doubt will be interesting. And, since they both affect the personal lives of so many of our citizens, it is so important to have well rounded minds at the table. I’m thinking my contributions will be positive and solution based since this is so fundamental to who our district is as a whole.
A couple side items I found very interesting during the three day session… the number of young newly elected officials, and the number of women newly elected. I find this trend terribly exciting and sincerely hope the trend continues in future elections! In both cases, it just stands to reason that new and diverse ways of thinking are good and needed for greater representation of all.
So! Come January 8, how does one go about the business of Commission and Legislator when they aren’t in the same neighborhood? Ahhhh…. thank goodness for technology and the wonderful world of Apple. With my iPad mounted in the Commission Room, I’ll be able to log on for a “virtual” presence with each Commission meeting. Being a very visual person, it was important to have the ability to see, as well as hear, so that while in session I can remain a productive part of our Commission meetings. It will be great to bring the legislation directly to the commission – and visa versa.
As the session progresses, we’ll submit reports such as this to the papers. You can also follow along with regular updates online – or for anyone wishing to receive email updates, just contact any one of us to be added to the list. Whether online, by email or by phone, you are always welcome to contact me with suggestions, concerns or ideas. And, if you’re inclined to come to Bismarck for business or pleasure and would like to spend some time with us during session, please let us know! With some advance notice and planning, you’re bound to have a memorable experience!
Til next time… Wishing you safe and warm holidays filled with love.
Rep. Gail Mooney