Legislative Update, Week 3, 64th Session Senator Phil Murphy
Our state can expect world oil prices to remain volatile over the long run. That is about the only consensus that the oil industry analysts can affirm at this point. I can tell you that we will be extracting oil out of our state for the next fifty to seventy five years, according to the engineering firm we hired to do a report for our Energy Interim Committee. They also stated in their update yesterday in front of our caucus that they do not believe we are overbuilt in the Oil Patch and that we will probably continue,on average, to produce 1.2 to 1.4 million barrels a day as the years go by. So, we need to continue to strengthen our infrastructure out in that part of the state. As we debate whether the Surge Plan or the Kick Start Plan to help the west, I am trying to see how they will benefit our eastern part of the state. We cannot forget our infrastructure needs there as well.
In his State of the Union speech President George W. Bush stated that “We need to prepare our children to read and succeed in school with improved Head Start and Early Childhood Development Programs” That was in 2002. Last month, Governor Dalrymple finally said “I believe that the time has come to support a proposal that will be brought before the legislature to place funds behind every four year old child in ND wishing to enter a certified Pre-K program…” I am offering a universal Pre-K bill that will allow that to happen. I envision that someday soon, we will join the 44 states that have had those in place for years so that our children can more comprehensively compete with their peers from other countries and states. This is not only an educational effort, but will help alleviate the waiting lists that daycare providers experience and hopefully allow more parents to stay in the workforce without having to shuttle their charges from daycare to school or vice versa.
I am a signatory on the bill that would begin to transfer payment for some Social Services mandated by the State (Foster Care is one) from the Counties to the State. Nothing like an unfunded mandate, right? That will result in a dollar for dollar reduction in our property taxes. I am also on a bill that will provide incentives to move natural gas to our unserved areas as well as another to study that effort and keep it moving along. We lost three businesses last year in Traill County simply because they had no access to natural gas. And am primary sponsor on a bill that would lead to the expansion of some small businesses. There are hundreds of other issues swirling out here and I will write some more next week.
Thanks for caring enough about your state to read this column – it is an important step to being a good citizen.