North Dakota’s 2019 Legislative Session is fast approaching. December 3rd – 5th will be the organizational session for the legislature as mandated by Article IV, Section 7 of the State Constitution. As you can see by the agenda that governs the three days, it’s filled with things like new legislator orientation, returning laptops, swearing in newly elected members, elections, appointments to committees, and a host of other things.
The 66th Legislative Assembly will convene in their regular session on Thursday, January 3, 2019 and the State of the State Address will be given by Governor Doug Burgum at 1pm. I’m told that the traditional Tribal-State message will be given at 10am. The State of the Judiciary will take place at 11am. Neither of the latter two addresses were given at the 2017 Legislative Session in the aftermath of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
One important aspect of the legislative session are the bills proposed as new legislation. North Dakota is one of the more unique states in the nation. Every bill submitted by legislators is given consideration and is voted upon. It’s important to remember that these bills affect us— the citizens of North Dakota.
What’s also nice about our state is that we have a Legislative Assembly whose make up includes legislators who take suggestions from constituents for legislation and often have them drafted and submitted as bills. If you’re fortunate enough to have representatives in your district willing to do such a thing, then it’s important that you be aware of the deadlines that legislators face in regards to submitting bills.
You can see all legislative deadlines here. But here are some important ones for you to keep in mind if you plan on making suggestions to your legislators:
- January 7th — No more than five bills may be introduced by each Representative after this date.
- January 14th — Deadline for Representatives to introduce bills. No more than three bills may be introduced by each Senator after this date. A Senate bill containing an appropriation clause may not be introduced after this date.
- January 21st — Deadline for Senators to introduce bills.
- January 24th — Deadline for introducing resolutions except amendments to the Constitution of North Dakota and study resolutions.
- February 19th — Deadline for introducing amendments to the Constitution of North Dakota and study resolutions.
Now, please remember, these are their deadlines, not ours. If you have ideas for your legislators, it’s best to visit with them as soon as possible. Don’t delay. They’ll be very busy in the days leading up to the 2019 session.
Also, don’t forget that as bills move through the committee process there are opportunities for concerned citizens to testify — in person at the State Capitol — in regards to specific legislation that concerns them. And if you can’t make it to Bismarck, there’s always phone calls and e-mails. Whether your idea becomes proposed legislation or not, get involved. The 2019 Legislative Session should be an interesting one.