BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — The special session of the North Dakota Legislature is over.

State lawmakers passed 14 bills and one concurrent resolution declaring support for Israel.

Governor Burgum had issued an executive order convening a special session of the state Legislature on October 23rd to address the components of the appropriations bill for the state Office of Management and Budget that was recently voided as unconstitutional by the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Essentially, the court ruled the OMB bill unconstitutional because it violated a single-subject requirement for bills as stated in the North Dakota Constitution. The bill has traditionally been used as a catch-all or cleanup bill, passed at the end of the biennial session, covering numerous bills other that just the OMB budget.

Lawmakers were faced with having to pass all groups bills as separate pieces of legislation.

“We got in, got the job done, and got out. We addressed what we needed to and had important discussions on a number of other issues, some of which the assembly will wait to take action on until next regular legislative session,” said House Majority Leader Mike Lefor (R-Dickinson) “Overall, we did what we set out to do and we did it in two and a half days.” I’m very proud of the effort from all those involved.” 

“We were efficient and thorough. We addressed the necessary appropriations and avoided a disruption in services. We kept focused on the task at hand and put the state in a good position for the remaining interim,” said Senate Majority Leader David Hogue.

In addition to finalizing the OMB budget and appropriations for the office of the Governor and Department of Environmental Quality, the Legislature took up funding issues related to judicial branch retirement, facility-related projects at Bismarck State College, workforce development grants, and the infrastructure loan fund.  

The legislature also dealt with a handful of policy bills, ranging from incentives for fertilizer projects and Public Employee Retirement Board membership to Coal Development Trust Fund, school aid, penalties for illegal drugs, and water resource boards.

Gov. Doug Burgum expressed disappointment after state Senate members rejected an income tax relief bill that would have saved taxpayers $46 million in tax year 2024 and effectively eliminated the state income tax for an additional 50,000 wage earners and small business owners filing as individuals.

While the House approved the income tax relief in House Bill 1549 on a 71-19 vote Tuesday, the Senate voted 16-31 to defeat the bill today.

“This is a missed opportunity. Senators could have followed the House’s lead and deliver much-needed tax relief to North Dakotans struggling with high inflation. Instead, they squandered that opportunity and ensured this special session will be remembered for spending taxpayer dollars to fix a legislative mistake,” Burgum said.