Governmental Affairs Legislative Update

Posted: Feb 19 2021
The legislative session is moving closer to crossover, as committee work has wrapped up for the most part as we kick off this week. Legislators will be spending more hours in floor sessions to get bills voted on before crossover recess. The Minot Area Chamber EDC Governmental Affairs Committee works to keep up to date on the legislative issues facing business both locally and statewide. This group prepares the Chamber EDC's Legislative Agenda and hosts an open forum during the session for the community to connect with local legislators. The Chamber EDC also aligns with key partners, like Greater North Dakota Chamber (GNDC). Collaborative in nature, GNDC's work throughout the session can be best summarized in three objectives:
  1. Stop legislation that would hurt ND business
  2. Advocate for solutions to our three primary policy area: Business Climate, Workforce Development, Infrastructure
  3. Support and promote bills that are positive for the state's business community
 
The work here is non-partisan, and the approach is bipartisan focusing on promoting the best business climate possible. Here are a couple of bill highlights from both the House and Senate the Minot Chamber EDC supported.
 
COVID-19 Business Liability Protection
Minot Area Chamber EDC is a coalition partner working alongside GNDC and others on COVID-19 business liability protection. A coalition of over 20 organizations called for legislation that protects businesses and workers that rely on them. HB1175 is based on model legislation from Iowa, which has served as an example for other states. By offering civil liability protection, the bill recognizes that businesses and organizations from all industries have worked hard to stay open and provide ongoing goods, services, and employment that ND relies on.
 
Intermodal Transportation Assistance Program
Intermodal service is the movement of international containers so producers and processors can directly load containers on rail in Minot to ship to international destinations. The largest beneficiaries of establishing the port are agricultural producers, processors, and shippers across the state. The Intermodal Transportation Assistance Program is an appropriation to the Department of Commerce to sustain the stable operation of intermodal service in ND that commenced under new management in October 2020. While the facility is in Minot, the benefits of the strategic location serve the entire state and region.