February 10, 2021

Once again, N.D. lawmakers ponder the benefits, costs of annual sessions

By Brayden Zenker
Sen. Brad Bekkedahl, RWilliston, drew a few nods from other senators recently when he explained to the Government and Veterans Affairs Committee why he was bringing a familiar but often rejected measure back to the Legislature. “I’m sure that most of you that have been here before have heard from constituents, ‘Well, that’s really stupid
[about some law, regulation or situation]. Why don’t you fix it?’ I hate having to tell them we have to wait two years to fix it.” Bekkedahl is lead sponsor of Senate Bill 2218, which would allow for annual sessions. It would not change how sessions are conducted now during odd-numbered years, but Bekkedahl proposes adding a short session
in even-numbered years. Legislative Management, a bipartisan committee with 17 members, would decide the timing and duration of sessions during even-numbered years.
“Operationally, nothing changes in how we do business now in the oddnumbered session years,” Bekkedahl said. “When the Legislature can come back and deal with an issue, we
have public hearings. We have public input and have the public involved in that decision making.”

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