2020 PUBLIC POLICY GUIDE A guide to the area’s political and legislative landscape and overview of The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber’s public policy views and efforts. i
A note from your Chamber One of the foundational pillars of our Chamber’s work is advocacy. We take our work in public policy seriously, and we believe it’s one of the best benefits of Chamber membership. This guide is designed to help you better understand relevant policy issues and get connected and involved.
Remembering Craig Whitney 1959—2019
After an impressive professional career at the White House, Olympic Committee, Hudson Institute in Indianapolis, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and Cerberus Capital Management, Craig Whitney, our dedicated leader for 10 years, assumed his role at The Chamber in March 2010. His leadership transformed the organization, and his impact has been—and will continue to be—nothing short of incredible. His expertise in public policy has resulted in the largest and most active committee, successful Eggs & Issues event series, and our rich policy program. His dedication to strengthening advocacy at The Chamber made us become a respected voice for business. Though he passed away in December 2019, his legacy for public policy and advocacy at The Chamber will live on through the events he started and the relationships he developed.
We’re interested in the issues that affect our members. Our ongoing efforts on behalf of the business community have earned us the respect of elected officials and employees as a fair, consistent voice for balanced policy that both supports the business community and enhances our quality of life. One of our top priorities in 2020 is workforce attraction and retention. We realize a strong workforce leads to a healthy economy. This makes having conversations about workforce and identifying solutions to attract and retain talent in our region, vital. Through supporting local Career Academies and advocating for key workforcerelated legislation aimed at removing barriers, we hope to see positive progress in making career opportunities accessible, and our region a vibrant livable community. We also stand firm in support of the FM Area Diversion project as the best solution to reduce the flood risk in the metro and provide protection of lives, property and economic opportunity, and remain committed to making sure that the necessary funding is secured. We are confident that this solution will allow for a vibrant community and strengthened economic stability. As 2020 brings elections at the local, state and federal level, we are again committed to providing educational information on measures and candidates through candidate forums, roundtables, online resources and updates in our newsletter. Though we don’t endorse candidates, we make it a priority to educate our membership and community on candidate’s stances and provide valuable resources. Thank you for your Chamber membership! Please join us in this important advocacy work.
As the largest local chamber in both Minnesota and North Dakota, we are proud to serve as the voice of business in the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo metropolitan region. Representing more than 2,100 members and over 109,000 employees, we take advocacy and public policy very seriously.
The Chamber is committed to representing our members’ interests. Whether lobbying for specific legislation or brining policy makers and business leaders together to generate innovative solutions, we work to advance sound policy for the business sector.
Election Year Info 2020 is another presidential election year and is sure to be full of exiting races all across the country! North Dakota and Minnesota will have no shortage of these races, with elections for federal, state, county and city offices all happening within the year. Though The Chamber does not endorse candidates, as always, we are committed to educating our members and the greater community on what elections are happening, who is running for office and how you can make your voice count. Flip through this guide, recognizing an asterisk (* ) as a symbol of an election taking place this year. Visit our website at fmwfchamber.com throughout the year to stay up to date on election resources and events. Happy voting!
—Upcoming legislative dates— MINNESOTA
• February 11, 2020 – Session begins
2020 isn’t a legislative session year. The 67th legislative assembly will convene in January 2021. For interim committee schedules, check the legislative page at: legis.nd.gov/assembly/66-2019/ session-interim
• May 18, 2020 – Session must end *There is no yearly deadline for the introduction of bills. However, each year the legislature establishes deadlines for committee action on bills. Committee deadlines are announced during the first half of the session. For details, check the legislative page at: leg.state.mn.us/leg/schedules
ABOUT THE PUBLIC POLICY COMMITTEE
The Chamber’s Public Policy committee acts as the organization’s advocacy arm, working to advance sound public policy and promote a stable regulatory environment for our business community to thrive. The committee consists of a cross-section of Chamber members who are committed to preserving the integrity of the business climate.
Some accomplishments from the last ﬁscal year include: • Met with legislators in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo on member issues • Took a trip to Bismarck for Chamber Day at the Capitol • Advocated for Permanent Flood Protection in Bismarck • Co-sponsored legislative forums to allow legislators to give updates from session • Hosted legislative wrap-ups for ND and MN which included legislators from both sides of the river and the MN Governor • Advocated for various pro businesses legislation on both sides of the river • Hosted forums and roundtables with members our federal delegations 2019-2020 Chair: Tim Flakoll, Tri-College University Staff support: Katie Mastel, Government Affairs & Advocacy Manager
G E T VE D I N VO L
Interested in more information on this committee? Email Katie at email@example.com.
Public Policy Program Sponsor
Supporting Sponsors Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. Moore Engineering, Inc.
Energy and Natural Resources Agribusiness
The Chamber is a strong advocate of agricultural business in Minnesota and North Dakota. The Chamber supports initiatives that enhance agricultural vitality.
The Chamber supports predictability in energy markets by opposing burdensome, unnecessary regulations and mandates that increase costs for businesses and consumers. The Chamber supports responsible regulations driven by and in response to local conditions and needs.
The Chamber supports the development of essential energy infrastructure including transmission lines, power generation facilities and pipelines to produce and transport local energy to market. The Chamber encourages increasing refining capabilities to drive additional investment in local energy resources, strengthen the economy and increase the availability of a reliable supply of natural resources.
Comprehensive Energy Policy
The Chamber supports the thoughtful development of regional energy resources. Local access to a vast array of resources provides the link to comprehensive energy solutions and supports energy independence.
The Chamber values our natural environment and encourages responsible stewardship of state water, State Trust Lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources. The Chamber supports sound policies and programs that promote environmental sustainability.
Education, Training and Workforce Development Alignment of Education and Employment
21st Century Workforce Skills
The Chamber encourages a curriculum that emphasizes science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) as well as the acquisition of resources necessary to support the STEAM disciplines. Additionally, The Chamber encourages the modernization of education to incorporate effective new technologies and cutting-edge teaching methods beginning with middle and high school learning.
The Chamber supports the strategic development of a skilled workforce that aligns with regional employment opportunities and encourages increased communication between employers, students and educators. The Chamber supports programs that provide internships, mentorships and on-the-job training opportunities.
Early Education Expansion
The Chamber supports public policies that increase the availability of affordable, quality, early childhood learning opportunities and career advancement opportunities for professionals in the early childhood industry, to meet the burgeoning demand and critical importance of early childhood education.
The Chamber supports an educational and employment environment that embraces a diverse workforce and capitalizes on unique talents.
a funding level that reflects the importance of higher education and the workforce shortage in order to see the continued success of higher education in North Dakota adequately preparing middle and high school, academy and college students for the workforce.
The Chamber supports the allocation of financial resources to support student success. Funding should leverage programs that increase retention and on-time graduation, attract and retain the most effective teachers and accurately reflect population growth. Regarding higher education, The Chamber supports increased programs that increase students understanding of postsecondary education including costs, employment prospects and earning potential in their chosen fields. The Chamber recognizes quality career academy and higher education as one of its top priorities that ensures the economic vitality of our region. The Chamber advocates for
The Chamber advocates for the continuation of the current higher education funding formula in North Dakota and the ability of students to transfer credits they have earned, which lead to timely graduation. The Chamber advocates for continuous and, if necessary, bold improvements to higher education governance.
Strategic Workforce Development
The Chamber recognizes the continued need to train, recruit and retain a talented workforce and encourages an integrated approach to meet the workforce needs of employers and employees. The Chamber supports the expansion of the H-1B and J1 visa programs to reform the highly-skilled immigration program, the development and expansion of public and private outreach efforts to promote local opportunities and the strengthening of career counseling programs to reflect all options and opportunities available to graduates after high school.
The Chamber is aware that along with attracting a dynamic workforce, there is equal value in developing quality of life programs and initiatives that retain said workforce.
Health Care Health Information Exchanges
The Chamber supports the confidential exchange of health information to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data regardless of the setting of treatment. This exchange of information will reduce the duplication of services, reduce costs and increase the quality and efficiency of care.
The Chamber supports policies that address regional disparities for health care providers to ensure continued access to health care services, including behavioral health.
The Chamber supports policies that incentivize individuals for and saving for their long-term care needs while targeting limited public dollars toward those who can least afford their own care. Given the projected wave of seniors utilizing long-term care, The Chamber encourages greater participation in information sharing by employers and employees and supports innovation in the delivery of long-term care that promotes consumer choice and reduces costs.
The Chamber supports investments in evidence-based worksite wellness programs that encourages a personal responsibility role in reducing the costs of health care.
Innovative Health Care Strategies
The Chamber recognizes the need for affordable health care and supports public policies that address the growing cost of care including: the promotion of wellness programs, the implementation of telehealth, tele-pharmacy and other innovations, the examination of medical liability laws and supporting payment methodologies that reward providers for quality, coordinated care and the management of chronic diseases.
Healthy People/Healthy Communities
Improve the wellness of North Dakotans and Minnesotans by supporting prevention and proven interventions to address behavioral, social, environmental determinants of health, including housing and nutrition and access to high-quality, cost-effective health care. Healthy living initiatives foster a community that attracts a strong workforce and positive economic impact. The Chamber advocates for the incorporation of healthy living initiatives (e.g., walkability, parks, wellness, trails, etc.) in all aspects of development.
Regulatory, Economic Development and Tax Policy Tax Relief
The Chamber supports the continued reduction of property taxes, business taxes, individual income tax and sales tax while recognizing the need to maintain local control. The Chamber strongly supports the examination of reducing the state income tax to zero as a means to attract workforce and reward personal and corporate success.
Border City Competitiveness
The Chamber will continue to support programs that allow Minnesota border cities to be competitive, including Local Government Aid and the Disparity Reduction Credit. The Chamber will support efforts to eliminate business to business taxes as well as protect and create new border-city exemptions.
The Chamber supports ventures that foster the formation and advancement of business incubators to encourage start-ups, accelerate time to market and increase the rate of long-term success. The Chamber encourages the advancement of programs that provide access to capital or spur capital investment in the private sector to promote and support entrepreneurship.
The Chamber supports efforts to expand fair global trade opportunities for North Dakota and Minnesota businesses by removing trade sanctions and barriers and enforcing existing trade agreements. The Chamber recognizes that foreign trade distortions require a balanced trade policy.
The Chamber supports the viability of tax incentives that support workforce participation.
Tort Reform and Legal Climate
The Chamber supports identifying opportunities to improve the legal climate to be fair and predictable for all parties and to discourage the practice of costly, frivolous lawsuits.
The Chamber supports studying all reasonable options in regards to special assessment reform. The Chamber also supports a community conversation that encompasses a public education effort of its complexities and proposed fixes.
Multiple Funding Sources
The Chamber supports the allocation of financial resources for the construction and maintenance of the diversion project from all available local, state and federal partners.
Permanent Flood Protection
The Chamber holds permanent flood protection as one of its highest priorities to help protect the economic vitality of our region. The Chamber supports the FM Area Diversion project as the best solution to reduce the flood risk in the metropolitan area and provide protection of lives and property, as well as avoid recuperation costs and ensure economic opportunity. The Chamber recognizes this as a multi-state issue facing everyone.
The Chamber recognizes that achieving the necessary flood risk reduction will not come without a cost and encourages sponsors and stakeholders to make every effort to minimize the impact to affected landowners.
Quality of Life
The Chamber supports the integration of recreational opportunities into the development of the diversion project to contribute to a healthy, vibrant economy.
Planning, Transportation and Infrastructure Comprehensive Transportation Planning
The Chamber supports a quality, multi-modal transportation system that allows people and goods to move efficiently, conveniently and safely into and around the metropolitan area. The Chamber supports efforts to develop, integrate and maintain rail, air, bus and pedestrian services, including the expansion of services to new growth areas.
The Chamber supports a strategic and synergetic approach toward community development and will participate in such initiatives. This includes implementation of proven economic tools to promote investments in the greater metropolitan area. Additionally, The Chamber supports an unbiased study of construction and/or expansion of a multifunctional convention center to accommodate enhanced professional, educational, cultural and recreational opportunities.
Rail Safety and Efficiency
Support minimizing risk of accidents and initiatives that enhance traffic flow. Support ongoing efforts for public outreach and first responder training to ensure officials are properly informed and trained to respond to potential situations.
The Chamber supports the continued investment in technology in our communities.
Air Service & Pilot Shortage
The Chamber supports the vitality of air service to ensure sustainable access for commerce. The Chamber also recognizes the importance of quality, predictable and affordable service to support our business in the region. The Chamber realizes that the nation is facing a major shortage of military and commercial pilots, and thus, advocates for additional programs and efforts as well as reducing the regulatory burden, in order to encourage pilots training and qualification.
Transportation Infrastructure Investments
The Chamber supports investments in the National Highway System, Minnesotaâ€™s Interregional Corridors, and the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund through the examination of the motor fuel tax to ensure adequate resources are available for transportation infrastructure needs.
The Chamber understands the increase in residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural water use places a growing demand on existing water supplies that will be inadequate during periods of drought. The need to supplement the water supply to the Red River Valley has been clearly demonstrated; therefore, The Chamber supports the prioritization and advancement of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project to ensure the availability of a long-term, high-quality water supply.
The Chamber supports the continual investment in community assets and improving the quality of life, which may include building a convention center and/or performing arts center.
Residential/ Commercial Development Housing Attainability
The Chamber supports public and private efforts to provide adequate and attainable housing in the region for all local residents in the form of affordable, safe and quality housing for purchase or rent. The Chamber supports subdivision and zoning regulations that encourage efficient, orderly development, while allowing flexible and innovative development strategies.
Development and Infill
The Chamber supports initiatives that promote a balance of diverse housing stock by providing new housing in outlying areas, while revitalizing the cores of our cities through thoughtful infill development.
Economics of Construction
The Chamber supports an atmosphere friendly to construction of residential and commercial structures to serve local residents. The Chamber supports incentives that sustain a robust business sector, encourages homeownership, and the creation of neighborhoods to maintain strong, vibrant communities. It recognizes that investment in residential/commercial development has a ripple effect felt throughout a multitude of industries through job creation and consumer spending.
Consistent, Reasonable Codes
The Chamber supports efforts for consistency among local jurisdictions in regard to residential and commercial building code.
Emerging Opportunities for Commerce Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles
The Chamber will be a strong voice supporting the safe integration of autonomous systems while addressing any security or privacy issues that might arise.
The Chamber supports technology advances that support the security and privacy of business and personal information.
SIIF (Strategic Investment and Improvements Fund) The Chamber supports a reevaluation of the current distribution formula of North Dakota’s oil tax. This includes a review and changes to the tax that can improve the short and long-term infrastructure backbone in Cass County and across the state.
The Chamber acknowledges the detrimental effect of vacated commercial spaces including “big box” buildings with large amounts of unutilized square footage. The Chamber supports efforts of the public and private sectors to determine promote and activate creative solutions for repurposing of these vacated commercial spaces.
Military Prevention and Defense
The Chamber supports our local military, especially the Air National Guard, and will continue to advocate that they are not negatively affected by the next round of base closures due to the important missions they carry out that are crucial to our nation’s security
Public policy can be a dynamic, fast-paced process that at times requires swift action in order to support or oppose critical, but unexpected ideas or proposals. The FMWF Chamber President/CEO is authorized to take a position on behalf of The Chamber’s best interests on issue(s) not covered in the Policy Guide provided that they have secured approval from the Board of Directors.
Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan
Attorney General Keith Ellison
Secretary of State
In Minnesota, constitutional officers include the governor/lieutenant governor, attorney general, state auditor, and the secretary of state. Offices including the commissioner of education, commissioner of agriculture and commissioner of revenue are appointed positions.
State Auditor Julie Blaha
MINNESOTA SUPREME COURT
Lorie Skjerven Gildea Barry Anderson David Lillehaug* Natalie Hudson Margaret Chutich Paul Thissen* Anne McKeig
* indicates an election for the seat this year.
NORTH DAKOTA Constitutional Officers
Secretary of State
Superintendent of Public Schools*
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
NORTH DAKOTA SUPREME COURT
Randy Christmann, Chair
Alvin A. Jaeger
Gerald W. VandeWalle
Lisa Fair McEvers Jerod Tufte Jon Jensen*
* indicates an election for the seat this year. Justices are elected to 10-year terms.
Congressional Delegation Senator Amy Klobuchar 302 Hart Senator Office Building Washington, DC 20510 | 202.224.3244 121 Fourth Street South | Moorhead, MN 56560 218.287.2930 | klobuchar.senate.gov
Senator Tina Smith* 309 Hart Senate Building Washington, DC 20510 | 202.224.5641 819 Center Avenue, Suite 2A | Moorhead, MN 56560 218.284.8721 | tsmith.senate.gov
Representative Collin Peterson* 2204 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | 202.225.2165 714 Lake Avenue, Suite 107 | Detroit Lakes, MN 56501 218.847.5056 | collinpeterson.house.gov
MINNESOTA STATE LEGISLATURE State Capitol Building 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Saint Paul, MN 55155 651.296.8338 | leg.state.mn.us
* indicates an election for the seat this year.
NORTH DAKOTA Congressional Delegation Senator John Hoeven 338 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 | 202.224.2551 1802 32nd Avenue, Suite B | Fargo, ND 58103 701.239.5289 | hoeven.senate.gov
Senator Kevin Cramer 400 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 | 202.224.2043 657 Second Avenue N | Fargo, ND 58102 701.232.5094 | cramer.senate.gov
Representative Kelly Armstrong* 1004 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | 202.225.2611 3217 Fiechtner Dr. Suite B | Fargo, ND 58103 701.353.6665 | Armstrong.house.gov
NORTH DAKOTA STATE LEGISLATURE State Capitol Building 600 East Boulevard Avenue Bismarck, ND 58505 Legislative Council | 701.328.2916 | legis.nd.gov
Minnesota legislators are assigned offices and a legislative assistant to help coordinate their work and constituent requests. It is acceptable to call, email, write letters or visit the Minnesota Capitol. For assistance, you can reach out to legislative assistants. Visit house. leg.state.mn.us/members/hmem.asp or senate.leg.state.mn.us/member/index/php to find out more.
NORTH DAKOTA State Legislature LEGISLATOR CONTACTS
House and Senate leaders are the only members assigned an office and receive assistance from a legislative staff member. The best ways to reach legislators during a non-session year are by email, telephone or mail. Legislators contact information may be found at legis.nd.gov/contact-my-legislators.
Rep. Gretchen Dobervich firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Kim Koppelman email@example.com
Rep. Ron Guggisberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Austen Schauer email@example.com
Rep. Ben Koppelman firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. LaurieBeth Hager email@example.com
Rep. Andrew Marschall firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mary Schneider email@example.com
Sen. Judy Lee firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Tim Mathern email@example.com
Sen. David Clemens firstname.lastname@example.org
* indicates an election for the seat this year.
Sen. Kathy Hogan email@example.com
Sen. Kent Eken 651.296.3205 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Ben Lien 651.296.5515 email@example.com DISTRICT 4B*
Rep. Paul Marquart 651.296.6829 firstname.lastname@example.org
A great way to stay up to date on the latest issues being discussed at the state legislature is to utilize legislative tracking options. MINNESOTA: leg.state.mn.us (navigate to MyBills) NORTH DAKOTA: legis.nd.gov/legislative-bill-tracking-system
G E T VE D I N VO L
Rep. Michael Howe email@example.com
Rep. Thomas Beadle firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Brandy Pyle email@example.com
Rep. Ruth Buffalo firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Pamela Anderson email@example.com
Rep. Josh Boschee firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Michelle Strinden email@example.com
Rep. Karla Rose Hanson firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mary Johnson email@example.com
Rep. Jim Kasper firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Tom Kading email@example.com
Rep. Shannon Roers Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Gary Lee email@example.com
Sen. Kristin Roers firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Kyle Davison email@example.com
Sen. Merrill Piepkorn firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Ronald Sorvaag email@example.com
Sen. Jim Roers firstname.lastname@example.org
MINNESOTA Local Leaders CITY OF MOORHEAD
MOORHEAD CITY COUNCIL
218.299.5305 | ci.moorhead.mn.us Mayor Johnathan Judd email@example.com FIRST WARD
Sara Watson Curry* | firstname.lastname@example.org Shelly Dahlquist | email@example.com SECOND WARD
Heidi Durand* | firstname.lastname@example.org Shelly Carlson | email@example.com THIRD WARD
Deb White | firstname.lastname@example.org Joel Paulson | email@example.com FOURTH WARD
Steve Gehrtz | firstname.lastname@example.org Chuck Hendrickson | email@example.com
CITY OF DILWORTH
DILWORTH CITY COUNCIL
218.287.2313 | dilworthcitymn.com Mayor Chad Olson
firstname.lastname@example.org ELECTED CITY OFFICIALS OF DILWORTH
Jim Aasness | email@example.com Steven Jesme | firstname.lastname@example.org Julie Nash | email@example.com Kevin Spaulding | firstname.lastname@example.org
CLAY COUNTY COMMISSION
218.299.5002 | co.clay.mn.us DISTRICT 1*
Jim Haney | 218.979.1085 email@example.com DISTRICT 2*
Frank Gross | 218.2872152 firstname.lastname@example.org
* indicates an election for the seat this year. Members to the Dilworth City Council are elected at large. 18
Jenny Mongeau | 701.238.2987 email@example.com DISTRICT 4
Kevin Campbell | 701.318.0030 firstname.lastname@example.org DISTRICT 5*
Grant Weyland | 218.236.6557 email@example.com
NORTH DAKOTA Local Leaders FARGO CITY COMMISSION
CITY OF FARGO
701.241.1310 | cityoffargo.com Mayor Tim Mahoney 701.241.1310 | firstname.lastname@example.org FARGO CITY COMMISSIONERS
Tony Gehrig | 701.893.8185 | email@example.com Tony Grindberg* | 701.241.1310 | firstname.lastname@example.org Dave Piepkorn | 701.809.5449 | email@example.com John Strand* | 701.241.1310 | firstname.lastname@example.org
WEST FARGO CITY COMMISSION
701.433.5317 | westfargond.gov Mayor Bernie Dardis 701.367.2784 | email@example.com
CITY OF WEST FARGO
WEST FARGO CITY COMMISIONERS
Eric Gjerdevig | firstname.lastname@example.org Brad Olson | email@example.com Mark Simmons* | firstname.lastname@example.org Mike Thorstad* | email@example.com
CASS COUNTY COMMISSION
701.241.5720 | casscountynd.gov DISTRICT 1*
Chad Peterson | firstname.lastname@example.org DISTRICT 2
Rick Steen | email@example.com DISTRICT 3
Ken Pawluk | firstname.lastname@example.org DISTRICT 4
Duane Breitling | email@example.com DISTRICT 5*
Mary Scherling | firstname.lastname@example.org
* indicates an election for the seat this year. Members to the West Fargo City Commission are elected at large. 19
Advocacy explained One of the foundational pillars of our Chamber is advocacy. We take our work in public policy seriously, and we believe it’s one of the best, though intangible, benefits of Chamber membership.
Advocacy refers to the activities a group engages in with the aim to influence decisions within political, economic and social systems and institutions. Advocacy at The Chamber is displayed in a variety of ways: engagement within and from our Public Policy committee, actively taking stances on critical issues, election education, encouragement of voter participation, and serving as a resource for information and connections to best serve our members’ interests. Public policy doesn’t mean politics—though it does often involve government. Rather, it refers to issues that affect businesses and individuals. This can be legislation, regulation, or even cultural and social movements. They are governing principles that affect all of us every day. We’ll monitor and work for these issues because we know you’re busy running your own business. A collective voice through an association like a chamber matters because we can do more together. With your support, we can work for you, for the community. We know that a strong business climate is essential for economic growth and prosperity as a region. The Chamber has continually spoken out on issues that are critical to our member, and this past year was no exception. Hot-button issues included the Fargo diversion, talks of a convention or performing arts center, special assessments, military friendly policies, blue laws, higher education governance structure and the United States Mexico Canada trade agreement.
Select Legislative Terminology BIENNIUM
The two-year period by which North Dakota and Minnesota budgets are set. Unless called into special session, lawmakers in North Dakota meet once during the biennium, while Minnesota lawmakers have a flexible schedule, which means by law, they are not required to meet annually but are authorized to do so.
A group of members from the House and Senate appointed to resolve differences in a proposal passed by both chambers in different forms.
A proposal calling for a new law, a change in current law, the repeal of current law, or a constitutional amendment is drafted into a bill for consideration by the legislative bodies.
Typically non-controversial bills that are awaiting their second reading. Fiscal notes are intended to be an objective assessment on the price tag on proposed legislation on the change in expenditures and revenues that will result from a bill. The months between adjournment of one regular session and the next is referred to as the “interim.” When the legislature is not in session, committees continue to work on assigned studies and often produce legislation to introduce in the following session.
House and Senate members of the same political party or faction meet a “caucus” to elect leadership and discuss priorities. COMPANION BILLS
In Minnesota, identical bills can be introduced in the House and the Senate. The bills can be passed out of both chambers into committees for further action. If both bills return to the House and Senate floor, a conference committee would be appointed to work out the differences. Companion bills are not used in North Dakota as typically a bill is introduced in the House or the Senate, is referred to a committee. Once it returns to the House or Senate floor it is voted on and if passed, sent to the second house. If the bill is amended by the second house, a conference committee ultimately is appointed to work out the differences.
The official records of the House and Senate. Records are recorded and posted on their respective legislative websites. LOBBYIST
Lobbyists are individuals who are hired, or act on their own behalf to influence action in a particular manner. Information on how to register as a lobbyist, rules and reporting requirements can be accessed from each state’s Secretary of State office. REFERENDUM
Legislatures can refer law making proposals to the voters by passing a referendum. The referendum would be placed on the ballot for a vote.
When changes or amendments are made to a proposal, the original body can concur or not concur. Concurrence is an action in which one body approves or adopts a proposal or action taken by the other house.
This guide was developed by the Public Policy committee and adopted by the Board of Directors of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. Photography provided by 5foot20 design lounge, Explore Minnesota Tourism, and North Dakota Tourism/Clayton Wolt.
202 First Avenue North | Moorhead, Minnesota 56560 218.233.1100 | fmwfchamber.com