A bill countering the Grand Forks Residential Rental License program, mostly active in neighborhoods around the UND campus, died in the state Senate earlier this week.
House Bill 1227 from Rep. Steve Vetter, R-Grand Forks, would have prohibited cities from charging property owners who rent single unit homes and duplexes. Senators voted against the bill 34-12 on Monday, after it passed the state House 86-6 in January.
Grand Forks city officials and Sen. Curt Kreun, R-Grand Forks, testified against the bill during a Senate Political Subdivisions Committee hearing earlier in March. Grand Forks Wards 1 and 2, served by City Council members Danny Weigel and Katie Dachtler, also submitted testimony opposing Vetter's bill.
Another bill from Vetter received a "Do Not Pass" recommendation from the same Senate Committee Friday morning, according to North Dakota League of Cities Director Blake Crosby. House Bill 1165 would let eligible property owners of nonconforming structures rebuild their properties to the same dimensions and standards they were before sustaining significant damage.
Vetter, a property appraiser, previously said the bill would help nonconforming property owners, whose banks typically won't finance out of fear they won't pay back a mortgage in the event their homes sustain significant damage.
Crosby said the committee voted against the bill 4-1. The votes were not available Friday afternoon on the legislative website.
Upcoming House vote on infrastructure bill
A bill to help finance infrastructure projects across the state received a poor recommendation from the House Appropriations Committee on Friday, Crosby said.
That's Senate Bill 2275, an infrastructure revolving loan fund bonding bill, and Crosby said committee members voted 15-3 to give the bill a "Do Not Pass" recommendation.
"Just to mention a few talking points about how important that bill is, this bill is actually a compliment to the Prairie Dog bill, as it allows for more infrastructure capital projects to be completed," Crosby said. The Prairie Dog Bill is a nickname for House Bill 1066, which passed both chambers of the state Legislature and seeks to provide infrastructure funding from the legacy fund to non-oil-producing communities across the eastern side of the state.
"It provides property tax relief because it's low interest long-term loans, and it'll save taxpayers millions of dollars," Crosby went on.
The committee votes were unavailable on the Legislature's website Friday afternoon.
"Why bonding continues to cause concerns among legislators is kind of an emotional issue for many of them. But we need to stay on this bill," Crosby told city officials. He encouraged cities to call and email their state representatives now that the bill is on its way to the House floor.