State Sen. Ray Holmberg has been representing District 17 in the state Legislature since 1977. This will be his ninth session chairing the senate Appropriations Committee and his 22nd session overall.

"We are the committee that reviews the budget for all of the state agencies and make recommendations," said Holmberg, R-Grand Forks.

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This year, the chairman said his group will focus on keeping a balanced budget that supports the Legislature's current priorities.

"And that we save some money and we replenish some of our rainy day funds that were spent in the last session," he added.

There are 13 other members in his group, including two vice chairs.

A large part of the group's efforts is organization and "putting together a time to reach consensus," he said.

"One of my goals has always been to strive for consensus and we certainly achieved it two years ago, in my opinion," Holmberg said. In the last session his committee unanimously passed 43 out of 49 agency budget bills it received.

Holmberg has already signed onto pre-filed Senate bills amending the criteria for granting Outdoor Heritage funding and exempting physicians licensed in other states from North Dakota licensure procedures.

In the state House, Holmberg is supporting a pre-filed bill that will give North Dakota businesses the option to open early on Sundays, currently prohibited for some by the state's blue laws.