North Dakota Legislature: Legacy Fund, Property Tax discussions continue

Photo by: North Dakota Legislative Branch
Photo by: North Dakota Legislative Branch

(Bismarck, ND) -- As the 68th legislative session marches on, everything from Property Tax legislation to water skiing is being discussed in Bismarck.

A North Dakota House committee is considering a tax relief measure.

The House Finance and Taxation Committee heard testimony Monday on a resolution to eliminate property tax. Backers are looking to put the measure on the ballot for voters to approve. Supporters say the measure "upholds individual liberty" and will help residents have more economic opportunity.

In the meantime, lawmakers are considering a measure to return some royalty money to the Legacy Fund.

The House resolution calls a portion of royalties from intellectual properties that were paid for using Legacy Fund money to be contributed directly to the fund. The goal would be to keep the program's focus on helping North Dakota businesses.

Lawmakers are also considering a bill that would set up a special group to review suicides in North Dakota.

A House bill would establish a suicide fatality review commission made up of mental health professionals, a county coroner, a state forensic examiner, and representatives of a crisis line, schools, veterans organizations, the faith community, law enforcement, and tribal nations. The goal of the commission would be to identify risk factors and recommend policies and procedures to improve the response to people at risk for suicide.

The State Senate meanwhile is advancing a bill that would provide resident rates for out-of-state National Guard members to obtain hunting and fishing licenses.

The bill would allow non-resident National Guard members to be granted in-state hunting and fishing privileges at the resident rate. Supporters say it will give National Guard members an equal opportunity to enjoy recreation while serving in North Dakota. The bill is headed to Governor Burgum's desk for signature.

And finally the state senate is also passing a bill requiring people engaged in barefoot water skiing to wear specific equipment.

The skiers would have to wear wetsuits designed with flotation pockets to keep a person afloat. The towing vessel would also be required to have an approved flotation device as a backup. The bill passed unanimously and is also headed to Governor Burgum's desk.