ND Legislative Update – March 15, 2015

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Synod Attorney, Murray Sagveen, has been following the current legislative session and providing the synod with updates on legislation which may impact congregations and ministry in the synod.  Find his latest update below:

Memorandum|
To: Bishop Mark Narum
From: Murray Sagsveen, Synod Attorney
Subject: Status of Selected Legislation

Date: March 14, 2015

Friday, March 13, was the 46st legislative day. The following bills may be of interest to the synod:

House Bill 1241 – This bill, when introduced, would have allowed any person with a concealed weapons permit to possess a firearm or dangerous weapon in a church without first obtaining the permission of the church council or the “primary religious leader.” The House amended the bill to reinstate part of the current law (i.e., a person with a concealed weapons permit may possess a firearm or dangerous weapon in a church if authorized by the church council or the “primary religious leader”) and to slightly redefine “public gathering” (i.e, replace “churches or church functions” with “church”). The House passed the bill 67-26. The Senate hearing will be 10:15 on March 19 in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  I will monitor the hearing; if not further amended, it should not be a concern to the synod. The current bill language is at http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/64-2015/bill-index/bi1241.html.

House Bill 1276 – This bill would have entitled an individual to take a $250 tax credit on the state income tax return for contributions to a nonprofit organization that is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (which would include a church).  This bill failed in the House 32-59.

Senate Bill 2253 – This bill would provide a $2,250,000 appropriation to the ND Department of Human Services to expand the healthy families home visitation program in all ND human service regions during the 2015-2017 biennium. Although the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended “do not pass,” the Senate passed the bill 27-19. The House Human Services Committee hearing was March 9; the committee has not yet acted on the bill. The current bill language is at http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/64-2015/bill-index/bi2253.html.

Senate Bill 2351 – This bill would, as an exemption to the corporate farming law, allow a domestic corporations or limited liability companies to own a small dairy or facility for the production of swine, provided the site of the operation did not exceed 640 acres. The Senate Agriculture Committee recommended “do pass,” and the Senate passed the bill 27-18. The House Agriculture Committee heard the bill on March 5 and 13, and it recommended “do pass” 8-5 with additional amendments to further limit the exemption. The House will consider the amendments on March 16 and will act on the bill soon thereafter. The current bill language is at http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/64-2015/bill-index/bi2351.html.

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