July Legislative Report, 2016 – Senator Murphy
Opioids, Drones and a Special Session.
Mayville State was the site of a Fentanyl/Opioid forum hosted (I believe, in the main, anyway) by our Traill County Health Unit led by Director Brenda along with Kelly and Chris. Well done! It was moderated by Hillsboro’s Dr. Chuck Breen and featured two local BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation who work under the ND Atty. General) agents, another doctor, a SE Human Services director, a recovering addict and our ND States Attorney Chris Meyers. These people brought a passion for their work and we all received an education worthy of the time taken to attend. I would say the main take-aways included the stunningly potent lethality of fentanyl which thereby renders street drugs even more dangerous than in the past as well as the availability of drugs in our small towns. Memorably stated was that the norm for using drugs is now intravenous, a fairly new phenomenon just within the past couple of years for our area. One panelist urged the audience to consider that our best immediate defense was once again to just say no. I wish that could fix it, but we all know better which is why the event was so well attended. Lastly, the cost of these drugs is driving our recent upsurge in property crimes.
This past week I also drove up to Grand Forks for a DroneBiz luncheon at the Herald community room. For a couple of hours, we heard from Brandon Baumbach who is working for the GF EDC which hosted the event and Tom Swoyer who is the head honcho behind Grand Sky, the private/public enterprise taking shape on the west end of the GF AFB. There were close to two hundred of mostly business types in attendance trying to learn how this new unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology might be able to help or affect them. As a faithful reader would remember, I have been working on this since before the ground breakings of Northrup Grumman and General Atomics, so it is exciting to know that by November, Northrup Grumman will have people in their building with 100 or so employees, according to the execs from that company I was seated with. UAS can be a world-changing technology and the prime mover at the forefront is sitting right in the northernmost township of our own Legislative District #20. What this potential repopulation of that area could mean for our local schools, real estate and other commerce is easily imagined.
Lastly, you may have heard that we will be going into special session in an effort to balance the budget in a manner more intelligent than across the board cuts. I applaud that call to Bismarck, although I had asked for it many months ago based on the idea that if any business or family finds itself short of funds, they look for places in their budget where savings can be made rather than cutting everything. I had a hand in reducing our taxes to this point and am willing to reconsider delaying corporate tax cuts we passed and certainly the last-minute oil tax cut passed with no scrutiny (or good reason) that I protested against should be annulled. Without public outcry, however, that will not happen.