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Legislative Report • Senator Phil Murphy • Jan. 8, 2013

Week one of the 63rd Legislative Session – January 8, 2013

Hello, District 20!  Two days into it and I thought I would give you an idea of how it goes if you want to know.  One thing that happens continually is that people pull you aside (or ask if they can) to press their case for help.  Today it was a person from the northwest part of ND that wants help with six different issues concerning oil and land owners; 1) Mandatory installation of flow meters and pressure cut-off switches on all oil and salt water lines and that they be adequately bonded to cover damage if they leak/break.  This water is many times saltier than ocean water and simply ruins the ability to grow anything.  And a salt spill expands with time as rain and snowmelt push it around.  2) Treat private land to the same consideration level that State Land is where oil is concerned.  3) Setback for drilling operations from 500 to 1320 feet from occupied dwellings.  4) Mediation of differences prior to lawsuits. 5) Clarify the damage notification section of the Century Code 6) Define what commencement of operations means.  That was one twenty minute conversation. 

Another stopped me who wants roads to be built with the process known as Design/Build as opposed to Bid/Design/Build. Someone else who wants to help me with protecting our elderly with mandatory reporting of physical or financial abuse and providing immunity from such reporting.  Then there was a three hour primer from the Tax Department on all of our state taxes.  That followed our initial Industry, Business & Labor committee meeting.  Then came a joint house meeting to listen to the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court explain how our Judicial System needs to add judges and some office space.  Higher Education issues were discussed, K-12 issues, computer problems like calendar coordination, Township issues, local road issues and on and on.

The point is that this is a chaotic place with a lot of people from all over the state as well as constituents from District 20 who wish to speak with their representatives.  Not to mention a construction project at home and a looming winter storm that will probably cancel my 60th birthday party.  Off now to an Education, Standards and Practices Board event and later in the evening, a Tribal College Presidents reception.  Day Three awaits!

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