Legislature | Prairie Public Broadcasting


Normally, interim legislative committees will come up with bills for the upcoming Legislative session, based on the studies assigned.

But the chairman of the interim Commerce Committee has a different idea.

"I would prefer, as the chair, to not have an interim committee bill introduced," said Rep. Scott Louser (R-Minot), the chairman of the interim Commerce Committee.

Instead, Louser prefers bills to be introduced by individual legislators.

Louser had a bill during the 2019 session that would have prohibited interim committees from introducing measures.

Dustup over interim committee chairmanships

Jun 11, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Democrats on the Legislative Management Committee say the committee chair, House Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R-Carrington), did not live up t6o a commitment made that Democrats would be chairing some interim study committees.

But Pollert disputes that.

Around this time in 1945 things were heating up for North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Oscar Erickson. The state House had adopted a resolution for articles of impeachment for Erickson, and his Senate trial was scheduled for May.

Erickson was an early member of the Nonpartisan League. He served six terms in the Legislature, first as a representative, then as senator. Erickson also chaired the North Dakota Republican Party for four years when Wild Bill Langer was governor. It was in 1936 that Erickson was elected as state insurance commissioner.

The Senate has passed a bill prohibiting cities and counties from establishing their own “living wage” requirement for businesses.

Sen. Randy Burckhard (R-Minot) said cities in other states have set their own minimum wage requirements that are higher than the federal or state minimums. Burckhard said what has happened in those cities should be a warning to North Dakota.

"Mandated higher minimum wages usually results in layoffs, less hours worked and more automation," Burkhard said.

Opponents of the bill said this is a decision that belongs at the local level.

When the Legislature gavels in Thursday, it will spend that day listening to speeches.

Chief Justice Gerald Vandewalle will give the “State of the Judiciary” address Thursday morning, followed by a Tribal representative giving the “State of the Relationship” talk following that. In the afternoon, lawmakers will hear Gov. Doug Burgum’s “State of the State” address.

It’s a change in tradition, because normally, those speeches would be given on different days.

The Legislature convenes Thursday.

That day, lawmakers will hear speeches given by Gov. Doug Burgum, Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Vandewalle and a representative of tribal governments. Then the Legislature will devote Friday and Monday to committee hearings – and there will be no floor sessions on those two days.

"Usually, the first bills we hear are agency bills with housekeeping," said Sen. Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson). "They're simple."

Wardner said the committees can hear them, act on them, and get them to the floor.

Gov. Roger Allin

Dec 18, 2018

North Dakota went through seven governors in its first decade of statehood, none of whom served more than one two-year term. One of them was Roger Allin, the state’s fourth governor. Allin was born on this date in Devonshire, England in 1848. He was North Dakota’s first foreign-born governor.

North Dakota House Republicans have chosen their leaders for the 2019 Legislature.

Rep. Chet Pollert (R-Carrington) was elected House Majority Leader. He succeeds former Rep. Al Carlson (R-Fargo), who was defeated in the November election.

Pollert was elected on the second ballot, besting Rep. Dan Ruby (R-Minot) and Rep. Mike Nathe (R-Bismarck).

Pollert was first elected to the North Dakota House in 1998. He has served as the chairman of the Human Resources Division of the House Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) has been elected to another term.

And he's reaching a milestone.

"This was my 12th election," Holmberg said. "I have already completed 42 years. Next election, I would tie with two other for the longest serving Senator in state history."

Those other lawmakers are David Nething (R-Jamestown) and Duane Mutch (R-Larimore).

To what does he attribute winning re-election so many times?