Burgum signs remaining bills from 2019 legislative session
Gov. Doug Burgum finished signing the remaining 53 bills from the recently adjourned 2019 legislative session on Thursday, exercising his veto authority on one additional bill.
The Legislature adjourned last Friday, finishing its biennial regular session in 76 days. Burgum had 15 business days to sign bills delivered to the governor’s office within the last three days of session.
Burgum signed a total of 526 bills out of more than 900 bills introduced by the Legislature. The final 53 bills included most appropriations bills, with funding for key priorities such as a K-12 per-pupil funding formula that will top $10,000 per student for the first time, $28 million for a statewide network for unmanned aerial systems to help diversify North Dakota’s economy, and multiple measures to address the state’s workforce shortage.
“This session brought a renewed spirit of collaboration with legislators to fund our priorities, make strategic investments and balance the budget without raising taxes,” Burgum said. “The executive branch looks forward to a successful interim as we carry out the many laws, policies and initiatives passed by the Legislature and signed into law.”
Governor and First Lady attend Vietnam veterans memorial event
The Governor and First Lady were on hand to help kick off Vietnam Memorial Week at the Fargo Air Museum on Saturday. Hundreds attended the event, which is held every other year to honor the men and women who fought in the war and to offer educational opportunities for the public.
More than 2.7 million Americans, including more than 15,000 North Dakotans, served during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1975. During that time, more than 150,000 servicemen and women were wounded and more than 58,000 lost their lives, including 198 North Dakotans. The event features a memorial wall to these service members, including those from Minnesota and South Dakota.
First Lady Kathryn Burgum spoke to the group about the behavioral health issues that many veterans of the Vietnam War and other conflicts often face.
"If you are struggling with addiction or mental health issues, please reach out and share with someone. This act can bridge the gaps in understanding and open the doors to healing, connection and recovery," she said.
The Fargo Air Museum will have exhibits on display until May 10 for its Vietnam Memorial Week event.
POW/MIA flag raised in front of Capitol after signing of legislation
In accordance with a new law passed by the 66th Legislative Assembly and signed by Gov. Burgum, the POW/MIA flag was raised on the south lawn of the Capitol last week. In addition to this new location, HB 1056 requires the flag to be flown at the All Veterans Memorial and the Heritage Center, two locations where the flag was already on display.
Veterans and active duty personnel attended the event, including Korean War veteran Vern Huber, who helped raise the flag. A resident of Mandan, Huber was held as a prisoner of war for 16 months after his plane was shot down over North Korea in May 1952.
"We have an opportunity to have this flag fly permanently in front of our Capitol," Burgum said. "It will be a great reminder of those who have served and those who didn't come back."
HB 1056 was introduced by Rep. Pat Heinert and co-sponsored by Reps. Matthew Ruby, Lisa Meier, Jason Dockter, George Keiser, Lawrence Klemin and Brandy Pyle; and Sens. Dick Dever, Brad Bekkedahl and Richard Marcellais.
Sanford praises increased emergency response capacity in Arnegard
Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford attended the ribbon-cutting and open house Saturday for a new facility to serve the Arnegard Rural Fire District in McKenzie County. He congratulated the all-volunteer fire department on their ability to keep up with growing demand for services.
Population growth tied to strong economic activity in the Bakken region has led to an increase in calls for emergency services. The Arnegard Rural Fire District received 96 calls for service in 2018, up from just two calls in 2011. This fire station is expected to help accommodate that growth.
The project was funded by local governments, businesses and private individuals. It has been in operation since the facility was completed this winter.
Strong tribal relationships discussed in new podcast
Gov. Burgum is joined by Scott Davis, Executive Director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission (NDIAC), for the latest episode of "Work Worth Doing," a bi-monthly podcast dedicated to exploring the diverse work done by members of Team ND.
The latest episode talks about the work of the NDIAC and how the Burgum/Sanford administration is working to build better government-to-government relationships and partnerships with the tribal nations that share geography with North Dakota. Davis, who has been in his role since 2009, offers his perspective on the positive outcomes thus far and the work left to be done.
Past episodes can also be heard at the link below.