Annual session bill introduced | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Annual session bill introduced

Jan 26, 2021

The North Dakota Legislature will again consider a measure for annual sessions of the North Dakota Legislature.

It’s the third time Sen. Brad Bekkedahl (R-Williston)  has introduced the bill.

Bekkedahl said the state’s budget has grown – it’s now about $15 billion for a two year period. And he said the Legislature is still meeting every two years to decide how to spend it.

"The Attorney General has put out an opinion that questioned the legitimacy of the Budget Section, which now acts on financial requests between sessions," Bekkedahl said. "I've always been a proponent that every legislator, constitutionally, needs to act on all of those decisions."

The Budget Section is made up of House and Senate leadership, plus the members of the Appropriations Committees in each chamber.

But Bekkedahl said it’s not just financial issues that could be addressed.

"There are times when there are corrections needed to the policy bills we work on every session," Bekkedahl said. "They have to wait two years to get corrected. And I don't think that's appropriate for our citizens as well, to not have an avenue to correct those."

Bekkedahl said the Legislature must still come up with a two year budget, in the odd-numbered year sessions. He said the bill keeps the 80 day maximum for Legislative days.

"The even-year session would be a reduced session, if this goes the way that I have planned," Bekkedahl said. "The Legislature will decide how many days, and they can pick the time of the year."

Bekkedahl said he's tried to make it flexible and agile, to meet the needs of the Legislature, as well as the needs of the rest of the state.