Special Session Day 2

When Your NDU Member Senator Steals Your Lead

I was going to write this until Sen. Erin Oban, D-35, did it better:

“Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the votes came up short this morning to amend in any way the majority’s special session bill. Our amendments would have upheld the promises we made for property tax relief, serve individuals with autism, disabilities, and addiction disorders, who are getting care in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, while maintaining 87% of the cuts ordered to keep our budgets balanced and leave millions in reserves.”

Well stated, Senator.

All of us know the challenges that too many of our fellow citizens face in trying to find adequate mental health and drug treatment services. These are vital services that help ND families and make our communities stronger. At the very least, we must protect those least equipped to protect themselves.

While the amendments offered by the minority party were turned away in the interest of efficacy, the fact that they were heard and considered prompted leaders from both parties to commit to address these concerns in January, prior to the end of the fiscal year. I am confident that Senate and House Leadership will do just that.

I attended the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeff Delzer. Amendments similar to those offered in the Senate were offered in the House Appropriations committee by Rep. Kathy Hogan. They were defeated. Another more challenging amendment was offered by exiting (not read, exciting) Rep. Mark Dosch. His take on the budget shortfall and his proposed remedy were a bit more than Al Carlson could allow. Rep. Dosch’s amendment that would cut each agency by a total of 10% from February’s levels died for lack of a second.

That, of course, did not stop Rep. Dosch, from speaking to his amendment under the guise of speaking to the original bill. He lambasted the lack of transparency on the part of party leadership in crafting the only bill to be considered in this Special Session. Say what you will, but it is always a good thing to speak truth to power. Even when they are trying to quick fix an unforeseen problem.

Tomorrow promises to be a short day at the Capitol. Both houses will hear and vote on the bill and the 15th Special Session in ND’s history will end. The Constitutional requirement for a balanced budget will be met and the groundwork will be laid for the important work of the Legislature come January.

While the Legislature’s work will end tomorrow, your work advocating for your interests is just beginning. Expect to be contacted en masses and then individually to be an activated member of ND United. YOU are NDU and YOU are the number one advocate for our interests.

Bet well, friends! See you tomorrow!!

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