Week Three Legislative Report
Rep. Rick Holman. January 22, 2015
Colleges: This week the Institutions of Higher Education presented their case to the House Appropriations Committee. The Higher Ed Board presented a look at future needs followed by a brief report from each school. These presentations provide a global view of current status as well as what is projected for the future. Detailed budget analysis will follow. Pres. Gary Hagen and VP Steve Bensen were present to make the case for Mayville State as were leaders from the other institutions. Oil Price and Connection to State Income: Informal and formal discussions indicate a tone of caution when considering budget projections for the next two years. The Governor’s budget was developed based on departmental recommendations developed six or eight months ago. Because of the recent drop in oil price and the resulting drop in oil field activity, current predictions of tax collections will likely be lowered. Sales tax, being the largest funding source for the state makes up over half of ND tax collections. Present fund balances are larger than predicted, stabilizing any short term funding needs but it’s impossible to predict how long the lower oil price will last. Projections for long term income and resulting funding levels will be difficult to develop.
AHEC HB1282: Located in Mayville and Hettinger and working with the Center for Rural Health at UND, the Area Health Education Centers work with rural school age children and younger adults to acquaint them with the many career opportunities that exist in the health care field. Their purpose is to encourage young people to enter the field and eventually return to the rural setting. This is one step in the process of building and maintaining an excellent system of health care in rural areas of our state. A hearing before the House Human Services Committee on Wednesday made the case for continuation of this needed program.
Developmental and Intellectual Disability SB2219: I serve on the Board of the Red River Human Services Foundation which provides support for several hundred people in Southeast ND. Seeing that our neighbors and friends are able to work and live a rich and full life is a goal of this foundation. In Fargo and Grand Forks two centers exist to provide socialization and recreation. Staff at these centers can visit with and observe attendees and discover any unmet needs whether with health care, rent, diet or some other issue. These centers receive support from various community organizations, but also need some support from the state. This bill provides a base level of support for these two centers.
High School Civics Test: Earlier this week we passed a bill to require that all high school graduates pass the same test as is required of those seeking citizenship in the US. I took the test and felt that everything in the test would be covered in high school civics class. Even though I don’t like the legislature mandating specific curriculum elements I voted in favor of the bill. There was a rush by some in the Legislature to get is passed by the House and Senate and signed by the Governor to have North Dakota as the first state to do this……..Oops! Arizona beat us by a few hours…So it goes. Until next week, stay tuned.
Rep. Rick Holman, ND District 20, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call 701-1-238-1124. If you wish to be added to my weekly email list, let me know.