Governor wraps up busy session with 526 signed bills


Bismarck, ND – For the first time this session, Governor Doug Burgum testified in support of legislation. He also vetoed some bills and signed 526 others.

“We’re honored to announce that the governor’s office today will begin to display the flags of the five tribal nations with whom we share geography,” Gov. Doug Burgum said while fighting back tears at this year’s State of the State Address.

It was an emotional start to the 2019 legislative session.

At the same address, he also proposed changes to the state prison system that would have closed the women’s prison in New England. It did not happen this time, but lawmakers hinted it still could. A study will be conducted and presented in the next session.

Then, there was more reform surrounding corrections. The first bill signed this session was House Bill 11-83. It removes mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug-related crimes, giving the courts more flexibility with sentencing.

Some bills, the governor did not sign. His first veto blocked a bill that would have doubled drivers license fees. He won that fight. His next veto was to stop a bill that gave the budget section spending authority in the interim. That veto though was overturned.

Just this week, he also issued a line-item veto of a bill that says Legacy Fund projections cannot be considered when crafting a current budget.

“Section 19 manipulates the recognition of state revenues which artificially reduces the balance of the general fund by hundreds of millions of dollars. It misleads legislators tasked with voting on appropriation bills and taxpayers who deserve to know the true financial status of the state,” Burgum said in his veto message.

Then there was Gov. Burgum’s testimony to lawmakers. He appeared before the Senate Education Committee to push for a multi-board system for higher education. Lawmakers instead decided to expand the existing board.

He also testified for the presidential library.

“The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum would be destined to become the number one tourism attraction in the state of North Dakota,” he said at one of his hearings.

He testified twice, and the last week of the session, he got the funding. But that is just the beginning.

“This is a challenge to donors everywhere,” he announced at the bill signing.

The state still needs to raise $100 million in private donations to make the library a reality.

Governor Burgum joined us for an extended interview about the legislative session. You can catch it Sunday morning on Legislative Review. at 10:30 a.m. on KX News.

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