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Articles written by Senator Joan Heckaman


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  • Legislative Report: November 21, 2022

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Nov 21, 2022

     As the 2021-2022 Legislative Interim work concludes, I want to provide a short summary of my work over the last few months.  The Budget Section Committee received reports from several agencies as well as from the Office of Management and Budget. Because of increased oil production, North Dakota has taken in significantly more revenue from the oil taxes than projected. The oil tax increased over the summer months due to a trigger placed in Century Code that increases the tax to 6 percent when the price per barrel averages over $90 for thr...

  • Dem-NPL lawmakers are fighting for N.D. families

    Senator Joan Heckaman and Rep. Josh Boschee|Mar 15, 2021

    Nearly halfway through the 67th legislative session, Democratic-NPL lawmakers continue to fight for policies that support North Dakotans and their families. We have had many successes and a few missed opportunities so far this session, and we remain committed to strengthening communities and families, ensuring strong public services and building a vibrant and diverse economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on our economy, with many losing their jobs and some businesses closing their doors. Stores and restaurants found new ways to serve...

  • Legislative Report: March 1, 2021

    Senator Joan Heckaman|Mar 1, 2021

    The Senate is almost finished with its first half work. We will complete our voting on all Senate bills by next Tuesday morning, so I will not be providing a legislative report next week, but instead join my colleague in the House, Rep. Josh Boschee, to provide a first half summary to all newspapers across the state. Appropriations completed our agency budgets and other bills with fiscal effects. I carried the information for the Highway Patrol and Judiciary Branch to the floor as well as a bill to increase the funds in the Challenge Grant...

  • Legislative Report: Feb. 22, 2021

    Senator Joan Heckaman|Feb 22, 2021

    This week Senate Appropriations finished up policy bills that either have appropriations in them or they affect the revenue/expenditures of agencies. We are also continuing our subcommittee work on agency budgets, so it was a very busy week. The committee heard SB 2256 which would provide for a study of the Developmental Disability Division of the Department of Human Services. The question is not whether the study should be conducted, but how the funding requested ($150,000) would be distributed. Should there be a firm hired, or should the...

  • Legislative Report: February 15, 2021

    Senator Joan Heckaman|Feb 15, 2021

    While this week has been extremely busy, my report will be shorter because of subcommittee work in Senate Appropriations. This week I worked on subcommittees for the agency budgets for the Department of Transportation, Information Technology, Judiciary Branch, Legislative Branch, Council on the Arts, Commerce, Career and Technical Education, and Highway Patrol. My subcommittees consist of two from the majority party and one from the minority party. The full committee moved on the aeronautics budget and the Indian Affairs Budget. A compromise...

  • Legislative Report: Feb. 8, 2021

    Senator Joan Heckaman|Feb 8, 2021

    This week Senate Appropriations heard several bills and held subcommittee hearings into agency budgets. MONDAY: Appropriations heard the budget for the Commerce Commission. We heard not only the Commission’s programs, budget, and requests, we also heard from many other connected entities. These entities that rely on grants and programs through Commerce include Economic Development, Housing Finance, Convention and Visitors Bureau, DOT, Hospitality Industry, and Grand Sky UAS development in Grand Forks. This view was an overview and I will be s...

  • Legislative Report: February 1, 2021

    Senator Joan Heckaman|Feb 1, 2021

    MONDAY and TUESDAY: The first two days of this week were dedicated to hearing budget requests from the 11 campuses in the North Dakota University System. We began by hearing an overview from the system office on their three focuses: 1. Innovation, 1. Student Success, and 3. Adequate Financing and Budget Stabilization. President of the Board, Nick Hacker, presented the report with information on the current status of on-line education, E-COR which is electronic curriculum open resources, the Dakota Digital Academy, COVID mitigation, tele-med...

  • N.D. Senate Update: Jan. 25, 2021

    Senator Joan Heckaman|Jan 25, 2021

    MONDAY: In Appropriations, we began the week with the Department of Transportation budget. This agency’s funding comes from special funds derived from a combination of federal funds along with income generated from the public use of services. This biennium the department completed 345 construction projects. Motor vehicle and driver license data systems have been combined and improved. Challenges for the department include saving lives, modernizing funding for roads and bridges, and improving conditions of existing roads and bridges. Costs to c...

  • N.D. Senate Update: January 18, 2021

    Senator Joan Heckaman|Jan 18, 2021

    I am pleased to be back presenting a weekly legislative report for all of you in D-23 and across the state. I will again be serving as Senate Minority Leader for the biennium. In addition, I will also be serving full time in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The 67th Legislative Session began January 5 with addresses by Mark Fox, MHA Chairman, Chief Justice Jon Jensen, and Governor Doug Burgum. Mark Fox, Chairman of MHA, provided an update on the current status of programs relating to all five tribal nations in North Dakota. Chief Justice Jo...

  • N.D. Senate Recap- May 6, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|May 6, 2019

    We finished the 66th Legislative Session around 10 p.m. Friday, April 26 with the passage of SB 2015 which is the budget for the Office of Management and Budget. This is usually the last bill passed. I joined leadership on the conference committee. We only needed two meetings to complete our work on this budget. Some of the bills defeated this week were: • HB 1513- This bill would have removed some of the tax credits currently in law that North Dakota residents can use to reduce their tax liability. The conference committee could not come to a...

  • N.D. Senate Update - April 29, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Apr 29, 2019

    Tuesday evening, I met with the delegation from the Midwest Higher Education Compact. This Compact works with 12 states to increase productivity, access to higher education services and streamline the higher education system across the Midwest. Work continues in all committees between the House and Senate for Conference Committee. We still have many bills to concur on. Leadership told us not to get excited about heading home on Saturday, April 27. That may indicate our work will continue in to the week of April 29. The Ethics Committee in the...

  • N.D. Senate Update for April 22, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Apr 22, 2019

    We started the 62nd legislative day Monday, April 8. This week's report will be rather short considering that many, many bills are in Conference Committee and are in limbo. To report on any of them would be premature. This time of the session there is a lot of compromising and collaboration taking place, both in committees and in the halls. Lobbyists are still working to get amendments on bills or to get a specific piece of legislation passed or defeated. Currently most bills are out of regular committees except for the House and Senate Ethics...

  • ND Senate Update April 15, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Apr 15, 2019

    The week began with committee work and hearings. The Senate accepted the House version of the pay package for state workers. That proposal is a 2 percent the first year with a minimum of $120 per month and a maximum of $200 per month with a 2.5 percent increase the second year of the biennium. Because of that acceptance, the first agency bill came to the floor of the Senate for approval. Agency budgets began rolling to the floor of the House and Senate for approval after the adoption of that package. Most of these bills will eventually end up...

  • N.D. Senate Update for April 8, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Apr 8, 2019

    Tuesday afternoon the Senate resolved itself into a Memorial Service to remember those previously serving senators who have passed away in the last 2 years. The service is always moving as families receive a copy of the Memorial Resolution, a commemorative plaque and a flower. This year we remembered Bob Albers, John Andrist, Stephen Farrington, Harry Iszler, Byron Langley, Herbert Meschke, Charles Murphy and George "Bud" Sinner. The Memorial address was given by PSC Commissioner Randy Christman. He did an excellent job of talking about family...

  • N.D. Senate Update- April 1, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Apr 1, 2019

    The Senate had Sophia Richards from Hope-Page High School serving as the Page for the Day. She assisted the Senate pages in distributing material to the Senators before and during session, attended committee work, and got a deeper look into the workings of the North Dakota Legislature. Thanks, Sophia, for your interest in and help with the Senate. Tuesday evening, I attended the North Dakota Council on the Arts Governor's Awards event at the Heritage Center. New Rockford-Sheyenne music teacher, Annette Hovey, received the Educator in the Arts...

  • N.D. Senate Update- March 25, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Mar 25, 2019

    First, Congratulations to the New Rockford-Sheyenne Rockets for their Consolation Championship at the State B Basketball Tournament. It was exciting to watch the team on TV and listen on the radio when I could not be there. There are also many other important events and activities taking place in our D-23 schools with our students and staff that bring so much pride to our schools and develop lifetime skills. Congratulations on a successful 2018-19 school year. Graduation will soon be here. I was also proud to have Sandra Larson and Logan Munson...

  • N.D. Senate Update for March 18, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Mar 18, 2019

    A highlight this week was to have the Lakota High School and Hope-Page High School students visit the Capitol. Besides a tour of the building, a visit to committee hearings, and lunch, some students had the opportunity to sit with House or Senate members for the afternoon voting session. I hosted students from both schools and enjoyed visiting with them about their experience and their future plans. Thanks, students for taking your time to come visit, and to your teachers for preparing you for the experience. I also visited with and presented...

  • N.D. Senate Update - March 11, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Mar 11, 2019

    Crossover break is over, and both chambers are back to work. Some committee hearings were held Wednesday morning, while other committees chose to wait until afternoon. The Senate held session at 1 p.m. and cleared our calendar of a few House bills we had moved out of committee before the break. Even though it was a short week, I had a busy schedule. Wednesday was the final hearing for SB 2149 in the House Education Committee. This is a constituent driven bill about ways to decrease suicides in young people. Kennedy Gjovik and her family drove t...

  • N.D. Senate Update - March 4, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Mar 4, 2019

    The Senate completed its work for the first half of the session on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 20. We will have a few days off while staff take time to remove bills from the bill books in committees and place the House bills in the Senate Committee bill books. It is also a time for us to rejuvenate and prepare for the second half of the session. The Senate passed several bills of interest, defeated a few bills, and left us shaking our heads about a couple of bills. SB 2148, which is the Senate bill to implement Article XIV of the North Dakot...

  • N.D. Senate Update for Feb. 18, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Feb 18, 2019

    This week I completed the testimony in the Senate on the last few bills I sponsored. I introduced SB 2266 which would provide that K-12 schools have a policy on the seclusion and restraint of students. This bill is similar to one from last session. Families came from across the state to provide testimony in favor of this bill. Schools not only need a policy, they need funds to train teachers and staff in techniques in deescalating students, planning positive interventions and notifying parents. The bill is still in committee. SB 2228 would...

  • N.D. Senate Update- Feb. 11, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Feb 11, 2019

    This week I introduced four bills to various committees for their consideration. Monday, I introduced SB 2276, which asks the State Investment Board to return $100 million in fixed asset allocations from the Legacy Fund principal invested outside of North Dakota back in to the state to be invested here. These funds would not be removed from the Legacy Fund portfolio, but they would be invested through the Bank of North Dakota for a variety of programs that the Bank does not have a loan program for right now. These programs are designated in...

  • N.D. Senate Update- Feb. 4, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Feb 4, 2019

    This was an extremely busy week at the legislature. It started with holding session on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Special recognition was provided in the Senate by Senator Erin Oban and Senator Dick Dever. Remembering an individual who fought so hard for an end to discrimination was ironic given the fact that later in the week, SB 2303 was heard in the Senate for a vote. This bill would have ended discrimination in the workplace and in housing for all people. The bill was defeated by a vote of 20-27. The week began with the Midkota High...

  • N.D. Senate Update for Jan. 28, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Jan 28, 2019

    Jan. 14 was the deadline for the House to submit bills and limits the Senate to only three more bills each, other than some defined resolutions, after this date. I currently have seven bills in the Senate that I am the prime sponsor on and one Senate Resolution. I am co-sponsor on 14 Senate bills and 24 House bills as well as one House Resolution. Many of my bills will be coming before committees this next week, so I will have plenty of work to do to prepare for those hearings. This week I submitted SB 2324 which would establish a nonpartisan...

  • Senate Legislative Report for Jan. 21, 2019

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Jan 21, 2019

    The 66th Legislative Session is moving forward with a few tweaks that have made the first few days interesting. We gaveled in for our first day's roll call on Jan. 3 at noon to hear the Governor's State of the State Address. Prior to that, in the morning, we gathered in the House to hear the State of the Tribes Address and the State of the Judiciary Address. Neither of those were heard last session but have been returned to the protocol and process that is important to hear how both of those entities have issues coming into the session. The...

  • Legislative Report: Senator Joan Heckaman

    Senator Joan Heckaman, District 23|Dec 17, 2018

    The Organizational Session for the 66th Legislative Assembly concluded Wednesday, Dec. 5. That session brings all legislators in to the Capitol for training, seminars, committee assignments, and other meetings to prepare us for the 66th Session which begins Jan. 3. I am honored to be elected Minority Leader of the Senate again. Because the minority party made gains in numbers, I will not be sitting on a committee this session. However, as leader, I can always sit at the table in any committee hearing. I will also have several bills I am...

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