N.D. legislative study committees formedNorth Dakota lawmakers will be looking into property taxes, higher education finance, health insurance costs and job training as they study an array of subjects to prepare for the 2011 Legislature.
By: By Dale Wetzel, The Associated Press , The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers will be looking into property taxes, higher education finance, health insurance costs and job training as they study an array of subjects to prepare for the 2011 Legislature.
The Legislative Council on Tuesday named the members of 25 study committees that will be exploring more than 60 subjects. They will submit reports in the fall of 2010, including suggested bills for the next Legislature to consider.
The council is a committee of 17 lawmakers that oversees the Legislature’s business between sessions. It is headed by Rep. Al Carlson, R-Fargo, the House majority leader.
Carlson said competition among lawmakers was the most intense for a spot on an interim committee to study North Dakota’s higher education system. The panel has 13 representatives and 10 senators, and could have been much larger, Carlson said.
“I think you need a mix,” he said. “I think you need some with the college perspective, and you need some that have no perspective at all with that — they’re in a little, rural town that doesn’t have anything to do with higher education.”
The panel’s chairman, Rep. Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga, said one of its goals is to review a higher education formula that provides discretionary money to North Dakota’s 11 public colleges.
The “equity” money is meant to help colleges that university officials say are underfunded when compared to similar colleges in other states. Skarphol and other lawmakers have been skeptical of how it is distributed.
The committee, Skarphol said Tuesday, wants to find “a mechanism to fund higher education that actually works, other than giving away money.”