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Legislative Report – Week Six

Legislative Report, Week 6, 64th Session Senator Phil Murphy

Last week I mentioned that things were at full boil out here in Bismarck. I would refer to this past week and perhaps the next as the killing season. We are in a part of the first third of the session whereby bills that start in either house have to be sent over to the other at the end of February. So, most ideas are being decided on. The effort to power up rural North Dakota with a natural gas infrastructure appears to be defeated. The propane dealers have been very effective with their lobby efforts to keep our rural communities from having a chance to host large users of energy such as manufacturing plants. Those would mean jobs and the growth that comes with them. My assertion is that a rising tide lifts all boats, but we are evidently going to have to find another way.

We passed out the surge bill that had money for our non-oil patch areas, but it is being held up in the House as they try to figure out what oil revenue is going to do. Guns in schools are coming our way (the Senate) as the House passed it out. I have yet to speak to a Superintendent that likes the idea. It seems to me that during my 36 years of teaching in our small schools, it is possible that a gun might have been pulled a few times when tempers flared. Often, fear of the unknown wins out, but in our haste to ensure our safety we incur unintended consequences which include fanning that fear/insecurity. I also inserted an amendment into the Political Subdivisions Committee dealing with seat belts on busses after two different constituents asked for it. The bill I used as a vehicle for the amendment deals with the ND Insurance Reserve Fund which handles most school district insurance, so it is germane to the issue. A bill of that type has been introduced often in the legislature and obviously has never passed as national research shows inconsequential safety results.

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