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Rep. Rick Holman – Legislative Report

Rep. Rick Holman, ND District 20, Legislative Report, 3-26-2015

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Rail Safety: It was interesting that SB 2293, which had earlier passed the Senate with a strong majority, could not get more than 34 votes in the House. All it did was ask the Department of Transportation (DOT) to report to the Legislature on things that they were already looking at. Here are the requested reports.

1. Current railroad conditions, including crossings and rail lines;

2. A review of train speeds;

3. Existing railroad freight and passenger demands and future needs;

4. A review of emergency response procedures in the state;

5. A review of tank car specifications; and

6. A review of economic, safety, and environmental impacts on the state, including correlation with other modes of transportation, such as highways, pipelines, and air.

One of the things we have been hearing from our colleagues on the other side of the aisle has been to repeat the Reagan quote “Trust but verify”. Isn’t that what this bill is doing?

Income Tax vs. Property Tax: HB 1223 and SB 2349, which are presently in House and Senate Committee discussion would cut corporate and personal income taxes by $125 to $150 million. I believe that It’s important that we focus on the continuation of the property tax relief that was put in place in the last session. The lower revenue projections set forth by Moody’s Analytics makes it difficult to support additional corporate or personal income tax reductions at this time. If things change, those items could be back on the table.

SCR 4007, which I did not support, sends a message to the US Congress to ignore and eliminate the US Department of Education. Here’s a brief explanation:

A concurrent resolution urging Congress to take a pro-education position, extricate the federal government from any role it has unconstitutionally usurped with respect to the education of our children, and eliminate the United States Department of Education.

In my 37 years of involvement at all levels of education I have seen the result of government  involvement in the educational process. When Bill Guy was Governor, state funded kindergarten was added. The Civil Rights Act and the Brown case forced schools to treat all children equally. In the early 70’s, special education was added with federal support requiring schools to educate a population that had been previously ignored. Uniform curriculum across states insures that all children receive a similar education, whether in Mayville or Miami.

Most North Dakota lawmakers were encouraged by the news from Moody’s that the state continues to be an attractive destination for workers. The report said “The increase in public and private investment in our state continues to attract more workers than any state in the nation.” Rep. Ron Guggisberg added. “North Dakota weathered the recession with a strong energy (and agriculture) sector that created jobs, raised wages and increased revenue….., now is the time to invest in infrastructure and the education needed to train tomorrow’s workforce.” This is a great time to be in North Dakota.

Rep Rick Holman, 3-26-15, rholman@nd.gov or phone/text 701-238-1124

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