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Dalrymple's State of the State address leads off N.D. legislative session Tuesday

BISMARCK - Gov. Jack Dalrymple will open the legislative session Tuesday with a State of the State address that will highlight North Dakota's progress, opportunities and challenges, he said.

BISMARCK – Gov. Jack Dalrymple will open the legislative session Tuesday with a State of the State address that will highlight North Dakota’s progress, opportunities and challenges, he said.

Dalrymple said the 141 members of the 64th Legislative Assembly also will hear about goals for sound fiscal management, creating job opportunities, providing tax relief and efforts to improve the state’s quality of life.

“I think there’ll be a lot for people to think about,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

The 2013 session marked the first in which lawmakers used all 80 regular days allowed under the state constitution, finalizing the budget with just a few hours to spare. Work wrapped up on the 79th day in 2009 and on the 78th day in both 2011 and 2007. The Legislature meets every other year.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said he’d like to leave five days unused at the end of this session – something that hasn’t happened since 1999, when lawmakers finished on the 71st day – in case the Legislature needs to reconvene. If all 80 days are used, only the governor can call the Legislature back into session.

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Legislative Council has budgeted nearly $6.2 million for the session, or about $77,000 per day, based on a 77-day regular session and the three-day organization session held Dec. 1-3, budget analyst Allen Knudson said. Actual costs for the 2013 session were about $5.9 million, he said.

The budget includes lawmakers’ salary of $167 per day, housing allowance of up to $1,569 per month and mileage reimbursement of 56 cents per mile. It also covers the 75 to 80 temporary staff hired for the session, Knudson said.

The session kicks off at 1 p.m. Tuesday with Dalrymple’s State of the State address to a joint session in the House chamber.

North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle will update lawmakers with his State of the Judiciary address at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, also in the House chamber. Afterward, Dalrymple will present VandeWalle with the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest honor.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault IIwill give the State of the Tribal-State Relations address at 1:15 p.m. Thursday, also in the House chamber.

Smith said standing committees will organize and may hold a few hearings next week, but the session reaches “full speed” the following week, Legislative Council Director Jim Smith said.

Lawmakers introduced 842 bills last session, and the governor signed 503 of them into law. Forty-one of 74 concurrent resolutions also passed, along with two memorial resolutions.

The most bills passed by a Legislature in recent history was 774 bills approved in 1989, a year in which 1,216 bills were introduced, according to Legislative Council records compiled since 1983. More bills were actually introduced during the 1987 session, but fewer passed – 763 out of 1,259.

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For the upcoming session, state lawmakers, agencies and committees pre-filed a total of 279 bills and 13 resolutions, slightly more than before the last two sessions.

Many more bills will be introduced when the session begins Tuesday.

“It’s kind of a blizzard with that,” Smith said.

Key dates for 2015 Legislature

Jan. 6: Session begins

Jan. 19: Deadline for representatives to introduce bills

Jan. 26: Deadline for senators to introduce bills

Jan. 29: Deadline for introducing resolutions, except constitutional amendments and study resolutions

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Feb. 9: Deadline for re-referral of bills in house of origin to appropriations committees

Feb. 24: Bills and resolutions must be reported out of committee in house of origin. Also, deadline for introducing constitutional amendments and study resolutions

Feb. 27: Crossover date for bills

March 2-3: Recess

March 6: Study resolutions and proposed constitutional amendments must be reported out of committee

March 11: Crossover date for resolutions

March 27: Deadline for re-referral of bills in second house to appropriations committees

April 8: Bills and resolutions must be reported out of committee in second house

April 29: 80th and final day of regular session

Source: North Dakota Legislative Management

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