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Major tax relief, school funding bills reach Round 2

BISMARCK - The Legislature's three biggest school funding and tax relief bills come up for their second round this week. Two are presumed to have claim to a single $100 million pot of money, which means one could be slated for sacrifice. Other is...

BISMARCK - The Legislature's three biggest school funding and tax relief bills come up for their second round this week.

Two are presumed to have claim to a single $100 million pot of money, which means one could be slated for sacrifice.

Other issues, many aimed at consumers' well-being, also face their second hearings this week.

First thing Monday morning, Senate Bill 2200, the bill that is saving the state from a court-ordered school funding plan, gets its House Education Committee hearing.

In the past two weeks, bill supporters, including plaintiff school districts whose action is currently stayed, urged it be returned to its original form.


The nine districts and the governor's Commission on Educational Improvement, which created the plan in SB 2200, said the plan lost some of the financial equity it's supposed to bring to schools when the Senate changed its formulas affecting oil and gas tax revenues, teacher pay and special education payments.

On Wednesday, a bill that combines property tax relief with a change in school funding, SB 2032, and a property tax relief bill backed by the governor, House Bill 1051, get back-to-back hearings.

SB 2032 mandates many school districts lower their property tax mill levies in exchange for dollar-for-dollar state money.

As with SB 2200, the state funds are to be distributed by a complex formula. It was written by the Legislature's interim Finance and Tax Committee.

Its hearing is in House Finance and Tax at 9 a.m.

That will be followed by the Senate Finance and Tax Committee's 10:30 a.m. hearing on HB 1051.

HB 1051 calls for $116 million in state oil tax money to subsidize a 10 percent cut in residential property owners' tax bills and 5 percent off commercial and agricultural property.

House action amended the bill to include money to make the existing state homestead tax credit program more generous.


It pays all or part of disabled and low-income senior citizens' property tax bills.

The House also added a section cutting the marriage tax penalty.

SB 2032 and HB 1051 cannot both pass, legislators say.

A rundown on some of the other bills coming up for hearings this week:

Monday-- Senate Bill 2341: Heritage Center expansion, 9 a.m. House Appropriations.

-- Senate Bill 2260: Law calling for stricter background checks for certain government employees, inspired by the murder of Mindy Morgenstern last year in Valley City, N.D. Unspecified time on Monday, seventh of seven bills to be heard beginning at 8 a.m. in House Judiciary.

-- House Bill 1049: Repeals home heating fuel sales and excise taxes, 10 a.m., Senate Finance and Committee.

-- House Bill 1451: Regulates sake of soft drinks on school property, 10 a.m., Senate Education Commission.



-- Senate Bill 2348: Sets up a public hearing process for picking sites of high school tournament sites, 10 a.m. House Education Committee.

-- Senate Bill 2379: Aids establishment of a mobile nursing simulation lab designed to give rural citizens nursing education, 9 a.m., House Human Services.

-- House Bill 1505: Regulates tattooing, body piercing, branding, subdermal implants and scarification, 11:15 a.m., Senate Human Services Committee.


-- Senate Bill 2163: Would have the state adopt a national uniform anatomical gift law, designed to facilitate more organ donations, 10:30 a.m., House Human Services Committee.

-- Senate Bill 2256: Regulates convicted sex offenders presence on school property, unspecified time, House Judiciary Committee; fourth of seven bills to be heard starting at 8 a.m.

-- House Bill 1450: Would allow retailers to assist customers get refunds when their local sales tax payment is more than the local cap. 8:30 a.m., Senate Finance and Tax Committee.


-- House Bill 1460: Adds members to the Workforce Safety and Insurance board of directors. Unspecified time, Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee; bill is sixth of six bills schedule to be heard starting at 8:30 a.m.


-- House Bill 1154: Regulates and licenses tanning salons, 11:15 a.m., Senate Appropriations Committee.

-- House Concurrent Resolutions 3028 and 3042: Resolutions urging Congress and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to ease prohibition on growing and processing industrial hemp, 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., Senate Agriculture

-- House Concurrent Resolution 3032: Resolution declaring March 9 North Dakota Equal Rights Amendment Recognition Day and encouraging a recommitment to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in all states and final passage in Congress. North Dakota ratified the ERA in 1975. 11 a.m., Senate Government and Veterans Affairs Committee.

-- House Bill 1166: Sets plans for making a portion of U.S. Highway 52 southeast of Minot a four-lane road. 11 a.m., Senate Transportation Committee.

-- Senate Bill 2333: Creates financing plan for rural homebuilding "financing gap" problems. Unspecified time, House Political Subdivisions Committee; second of two bills being heard beginning at 9 a.m.

Friday-- House Bill 1183: Regulates the height of motorcycle handlebars, 11 a.m., Senate Transportation Committee.


-- House Concurrent Resolution 3049: Authorizes study of "scattered site" renaissance zone projects, 11:45 a.m., Senate Political Subdivisions Committee.

Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.

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