Burgum, Sanford attend signing ceremony for oil tax revenue sharing legislation
Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford joined Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation leaders, legislators and other state officials for a signing ceremony Thursday for Senate Bill 2312. The legislation ratifies the historic compact Burgum signed in February with MHA Chairman Mark Fox to change how the state and tribe share tax revenue from new oil and gas activity on trust and fee lands.
“This historic legislation is the result of nearly two years of good-faith dialogue and collaboration between tribal and legislative leaders, the Governor’s Office, industry representatives and the state tax department. Finalizing this agreement sends a clear signal that North Dakota supports a stable tax and regulatory environment, which will help us compete with shale oil plays in other states and help the tribe address infrastructure needs and other priorities,” Burgum said.
During the ceremony, members of the MHA Tribal Council shared their support for the new agreement and expressed their hope for economic growth that will help MHA Nation expand and improve infrastructure and other priorities. Industry representatives echoed the governor's comments, adding that the clarity provided by this new agreement will spur further growth and help bring more development to the oil patch.
Senate Bill 2312 was introduced by Sen. Jordan Kannianen and co-sponsored by House Majority Leader Chet Pollert and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner. The bill received wide bipartisan support, passing 40-5 in the Senate and 84-8 in the House of Representatives.
Governor signs bill exempting military retirement benefits from state income tax
Burgum also proclaims April as Month of the Military Child
Gov. Burgum signed legislation last week that exempts military retirement benefits from state income tax, one of several proposals included in his executive budget recommendation designed to address the state’s workforce shortage.
House Bill 1053 exempts military retirement benefits from state income tax for retired military personnel and surviving spouses of retired military personnel of the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserve, effective with the 2019 tax year.
“This legislation promotes workforce participation by military personnel in North Dakota after retirement, improves our state’s competitiveness for federal military investments and, most importantly, honors the courageous service of our military servicemen and women,” Burgum said.
The bipartisan bill was introduced by Rep. Steve Vetter and co-sponsored by Reps. Jim Kasper, Craig Johnson, Mary Schneider, Matt Eidson, Thomas Beadle, Jake Blum, Dan Johnston and Austen Schauer and Sens. Scott Meyer, Ron Sorvaag and Randy Burckhard.
This month, in honor of the 8,500 children in North Dakota with a parent or step-parent serving in the military, Burgum proclaimed April as the Month of the Military Child. North Dakotans are encouraged to observe this month by connecting with military children, families and their communities where they live, work and play to provide support to all children affected by the deployment of family members.
Burgum meets with DOCR Parole and Probation Division team members
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation hosted a training seminar in Bismarck this week for their parole and probation team members across the state. Gov. Burgum addressed the group to thank them for their service to the state and to the 7,000 individuals under their supervision.
Burgum emphasized their work as a perfect example of the administration's mission to Empower People, Improve Lives and Inspire Success, noting that their work is making a difference in North Dakota's corrections system and communities.
During their discussion, team members from around the state gave insight into the challenges faced by the individuals under their supervision, who often struggle with addiction, mental illness, generational poverty, inadequate social supports, a lack of job skills and other issues.
Several officers spoke of the potential benefits that could be seen by expanding Free Through Recovery, which has already connected more than 1,000 participants with care coordinators, recovery services and peer support. During White House meetings on criminal justice and prison reform earlier this month, the Governor and First Lady shared this program as one of the many ways that North Dakota is leading the way on this issue.
As part of efforts to help formerly incarcerated individuals reenter the workforce, Burgum recently signed House Bill 1282, which prevents certain public entities from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal past until they’re selected for an interview. The governor also recently signed HB 1183, which repeals minimum mandatory sentences for various drug crimes.
Burgum signs bill creating unified cybersecurity approach for North Dakota
Gov. Burgum on Thursday signed Senate Bill 2110, a milestone that makes North Dakota the first state to authorize a central, shared service approach to cybersecurity strategy across all aspects of state government including state, local, legislative, judicial, K-12 education and higher education.
“This important investment in 21st century critical infrastructure recognizes the increasingly digital world in which we live and the growing nature of cybersecurity threats,” Burgum said. “A unified approach to cybersecurity strengthens our ability to protect the state network’s 252,000 daily users and more than 400 entities from cyberattacks.”
North Dakota is also pursuing a comprehensive, statewide approach to computer science and cybersecurity education, with a goal of “Every Student. Every School. Cyber Educated” as part of its “K-20W Initiative.” Efforts include new Computer Science and Cybersecurity standards recently adopted by the Department of Public Instruction and legislative authority to the State Superintendent to credential trained instructors to teach these standards.
In addition, North Dakota State University has a new cybersecurity education focus in its Ph.D. program, and Bismarck State College was recently designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. The two federal organizations stated that BSC’s ability to meet the increasing demands of program criteria will serve the nation well in contributing to the protection of the National Information Infrastructure. The programs at NDSU and BSC create greater career opportunities for students in a highly competitive global economy.
“The jobs of today and tomorrow involve significant emphasis on technology skills, and providing training and resources for our students and workforce in computer science and cybersecurity will also benefit us as a state as we continue to lead the nation in our cybersecurity approach,” Burgum said.
For additional information on the K-20W Initiative, click here.
#ReentryMatters: Q&A with the National Reentry Resource Center
As part of the national Second Chance Month, The Council of State Governments Justice Center is running a series of interviews with governors across the country to learn why supporting reentry programs for formerly incarcerated individuals is important to their respective states. Reentry supports a successful transition from prison by helping to attain a basic level of well-being that allows individuals to become members of the community with dignity, fulfillment and the achievement of life goals.
"People released from the criminal justice system become our neighbors when they reenter our communities, and it’s in everyone’s best interest that they are well-positioned to become productive members of the community with dignity and opportunities to succeed," Burgum said.
North Dakota has improved processes around reentry by assuring that individuals have an ID upon release; increasing supportive housing opportunities through use of reentry centers; providing sober living houses and other housing options; and supplying a 30-day prescription for medications and working to schedule follow-up appointments.
Burgum also pointed out the opportunity for more reentry programs that develop skills to match North Dakota's workforce needs. Timely access to higher education and stable, affordable housing continue to be a challenge for many returning citizens. Affordable health care and access to behavioral health services are also challenges.
Burgum meets with Main Street Initiative's student advisory committee
Gov. Burgum met this week with students from across the state to discuss what issues and opportunities are facing young people in communities of all different sizes. They were joined by representatives of the Department of Commerce, Department of Public Instruction, State Historical Society and the Council on the Arts.
As part of the Main Street Initiative (MSI), Burgum has encouraged local leaders in every town to include student perspectives in all aspects of civic life. At the state level, the MSI student advisory committee meets regularly to inform leaders on what might be effective ways of retaining youth beyond graduation and attracting young jobseekers to expand our workforce.
During their conversation, several students drew attention to the need for direct communication between city leaders and students and made suggestions to improve this connection in cities that have already made steps toward greater involvement. Members of the committee also shared ideas such as expanded educational and extracurricular programming in their schools and improved community centers.