Legislative Update

Jordan Kannianen

District 4 Senator

The 2021 legislative session is behind us. 

The package of three Legacy Fund bills is one of the biggest items to review (the Legacy Fund currently sits at $8.42 billion). HB 1380 provides a basic structure for the usage of Legacy Fund earnings. It establishes a Percent of Market Value method for determining the earnings available for use, setting the bar at 3.5%. Any earnings above this will be reinvested into the fund. It pays for bonds (authorized in HB 1431) that will fund large diversion projects (Fargo and Minot), allowing existing State Water Commission Funds to be used for rural water and other projects. It provides $60 million each biennium to the Highway Tax Distribution Fund (for road projects), allowing for better roads and bridges without raising the motor fuels and special fuels taxes. It also provides up to $50 million to be used for state income tax relief and other tax relief, along with $30 million for university research and $30 million to the clean sustainable energy fund. 

HB 1425, the third Legacy Fund bill, will direct up to 20% of the Legacy Fund to be invested within the state. Numerous organizations and businesses are excited about the possibilities. 

SB 2144 allows for the electronic posting of land in ND, which follows the 3-county pilot project over the past two years. Landowners will now have the option of either posting physically or online with the Game and Fish system. It also clarifies that pastureland enclosed by a fence is closed to trespassers. After many years of debate on the land posting issue and hard feelings on both sides, an interim committee consisting of legislators and non-voting citizen members representing hunting groups and landowner groups got the job done, creating a product that sailed through both chambers and satisfied all parties. 

A total of eight 2nd Amendment-related bills passed this session, including HB 1498, which expands “stand your ground” laws in ND. An individual will no longer have a duty to retreat before exercising deadly force in self-defense when subject to a life-threatening attack. This right applies to any location an individual is legally permitted to be. Along with this package of bills, Governor Burgum signed an executive order declaring ND to be a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary State. State officials and state and local law enforcement are not required to comply with any Federal laws or orders that infringe on our 2nd Amendment rights. 

SB 2145 will allow long term care facilities to appoint one or more essential caregivers, such as family members, to provide in-person support and visits, including during a declared disaster. It loosens restrictions on long-term care visitation experienced during the Covid pandemic. We know that the loneliness and isolation our elderly faced was probably just as bad as the pandemic itself. 

HB 1475 created an Ag Diversification and Development Fund and grant program. The money in the fund will be used to develop new agriculture technology and innovate our ag markets. 

HB 1478 allows alternative and hand-on educational opportunities to count toward class credit for grades 6-12. This could include pre-apprenticeships, internships, and community programs.

It has been an honor to serve you during another legislative session (my third), and we await our interim committee assignments. Interim committees will begin meeting in August and will study various topics and issues and eventually propose legislation to be introduced in the 2023 legislative session. 

I look forward to hearing from you throughout the 20-month interim (which will include redistricting).

Have a great summer!

Jordan Kannianen, District 4 Senator

[email protected], 701.421.8813 (cell)