2013 Legislative Session and ND Parks and Recreation
By Arik Spencer, Recreation Division Manager
The 63rd North Dakota Legislative Assembly is well underway and the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department (NDPRD) is tracking nearly 20 bills which impact the department in one way or another. HouseBill (HB) 1019 is the most significant of these as it authorizes funding for NDPRD parks, programs and construction projects for the next two year budget cycle. Also of interest is HB1278 which would create a new ND Outdoor Heritage fund to support conservation and park and recreation efforts. This bill is supported by the department and would establish a 30,000,000/biennium fund controlled by the Industrial Commission, which would then award grants to state agencies, political subdivisions and non-profits. This bill has broad support from the conservation, recreation, agriculture, business and energy industries, all of which testified for passage of the bill.
While both HB 1019 and HB 1278 deal with funding for NDPRD, some bills affect NDPRD staff which is the case with Senate Bill (SB) 2134. SB2134 adds NDPRD law enforcement officers to the Workforce Safety and Insurance Presumption Clause, which covers law enforcement personnel with additional insurance benefits in the case of a death, injury or work related illness. Currently NDPRD law enforcement officers are the only state law enforcement agency not covered by the Presumption Clause. In addition to SB 2134, there are a number of other bills which affect state employee pay, travel expenses and retirement which are tracked by NDPRD. To learn more about these bills and others, check out the website for the ND Legislative Assembly at http://www.legis.nd.gov/.
Recreation Division Manager