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N.D. LEGISLATURE: A guide to North Dakota's special session

Redistricting Every 10 years, legislators study the results of the U.S. Census to determine legislative district boundaries. The goal is for districts to have roughly the same number of people. The bill submitted maintains the same number of dist...

Redistricting

Every 10 years, legislators study the results of the U.S. Census to determine legislative district boundaries. The goal is for districts to have roughly the same number of people.

The bill submitted maintains the same number of districts, 47, but includes changes to reflect North Dakota's growing population in urban areas.

Bismarck and Fargo would each gain a district, while two rural districts in northeastern and north-central North Dakota would be eliminated. In a handful of districts, incumbents would need to run against each other or decide not to seek re-election.

Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, said the legislative committee developing the new map did "a much better job" at following county lines when creating districts.

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The hearing on this issue is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday in the Brynhild Haugland Room in the Capitol.

Health care reform: Under the federal health care reform law, states must decide whether they want to create a state health insurance exchange or let the federal government design an exchange that would be implemented in the state.

The bill before legislators proposes a state-administered exchange. This would create a North Dakota Health Benefit Exchange Board to establish policy for the administration of the exchange.

A new Health Benefit Exchange Division in the Office of Management and Budget would implement the policy and administer the exchange.

There would also be a Health Benefit Exchange Advisory Group and Technical Advisory Group to provide information and advice to the board.

The hearing on this issue is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CST Monday in the Brynhild Haugland Room in the Capitol.

Fighting Sioux nickname:

After approving a law earlier this year that requires UND to keep its Fighting Sioux nickname, legislators will reconsider their action.

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Legislators had hoped the show of state support would soften the NCAA's stance on the nickname. However, state officials were told during an August meeting with the NCAA that the university will still face sanctions if it continues to use the Native American name.

Lawmakers have discussed bills that would repeal the current law or amend it to transfer authority for the nickname and logo issue to the state higher education board.

There are also legislators who say they will continue to support the Fighting Sioux nickname law.

The hearing on this issue is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Disaster relief

This bill was not finished as of Friday, but Gov. Jack Dalrymple gave some insight. He expects to see assistance for homeowners trying to rebuild and remain in their homes after flood damage. This would apply to recipients of individual assistance through FEMA.

The bill should also include an infrastructure grant fund for political subdivisions impacted by flooding to help with recovery and new housing development, he said. This likely would be limited to the nine counties designated for individual assistance, he said.

Dalrymple also sees the bill addressing financially-struggling townships affected by flooding this year. There will also be a proposal to expand a state housing tax credit program in hopes of stimulating more investment in low-income housing, Dalrymple said. The credits would be targeted to oil counties and disaster areas.

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The hearing on this issue is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

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