News and Updates

2021 Bylaw Updates

We at District 24 Dem-NPL are updating our bylaws. Take a look at the draft and come by tonight (May 10) for their final adoption at the District Meeting for May. Come for the juicy bylaw conversations, stay for the great work and service all of us at the Dem-NPL can do for our district.


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August Legislative Report from Sen. Larry Robinson

By the time you read this article, we will see the end of the month of August. The Summer has once again passed quickly. In the last couple of weeks, it has been good seeing our farmers harvesting wheat. Early reports indicate some decent crops with good quality and yield. Challenges continue getting around water issues in most fields.

The Budget Section of the legislature met by way of a TEAMS lately to approve millions of Federal Stimulus funding. A significant portion of this funding went to our cities and counties. They have been on the front line in the response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Counties will receive a total of $25.4 million and Cities will receive a total of $33.5 million. In addition, local Health Departments will receive some $20 million. Needless to say, local governments welcomed the approval of these funds. Our local governments have experienced increased costs in responding to the COVID Pandemic, and in many cases reduced revenues caused by the economic turndown. We send special thanks to all font line workers during this challenging time. Our front line workers have stood tall  during this Pandemic.

Many of our City and County employees are front line workers, be they medical/EMT professionals, Health Department, Law Enforcement, Fire Departments, and numerous other city and county employees. A total of $59 million will be paid out to local law enforcement jurisdictions based on the number of law enforcement personnel and overall payroll costs during the months of March through September. According to Joe Morrissette, Director of the office of Management and Budget, “These funds will be a welcome form of tax relief to jurisdictions experiencing a loss of revenue.”  The dollars also come at a time when our local sub divisions are preparing their budgets for the upcoming year. State aid to political subdivisions has declined including aid to the highway distribution fund allocations as well as significant reductions in hotel and lodging taxes.

North Dakota has received a total of $1.25 billion from the COVID 19 Pandemic Relief Fund as part of a $2.2 trillion CARES Act appropriation. The Budget Section of the legislature approved a total of $319.7 million during the recent meeting. Funding was allocated to a host of State Departments including the Commerce Department, Health Department, Department of Corrections, Higher Education, Department of Human Services, Job Service, Judicial Branch and several other state departments and agencies.

As I write this article, all state agencies are working aggressively preparing their budgets for the next budget cycle beginning July 1, 2021. Those budgets are then submitted to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.  The Governor and OMB will work over the next couple of months drafting the budget for the state of North Dakota. That document is referred to as the Executive Budget Recommendation. It is the blueprint that the legislature will work from when the session convenes in January of 2021. Given the uncertainty of the economic situation with agriculture, energy, and overall business activity in our state, coupled with the ongoing COVID 19 Pandemic, the challenge preparing  this budget will be especially difficult.

Thank you.

Until next time, you can reach me at Take care and stay safe.


Legislative Report – July 2020

Legislative Report – Senator Larry Robinson

Water, Water, and More Water-

Weather wise, we have been in an interesting pattern for the past few years. Either we have too much or too little water. Our area has been inundated with water this year. Water issues have plagued Barnes County and many areas in eastern North Dakota. This comes at a time when western North Dakota has been dry. The recent rains in the west in many cases have been too little and too late to save the crops in that region. Our county Commissioners and Water Resource District personnel have had their hands full dealing with water issues. The past few years there have seen challenges with Hobart Lake, Sanborn Lake, Meadow Lake and Ten Mile Lake among others. The challenges are real and they are causing serious issues for our farmers and small towns. In many cases, farmers have only been able to plant a small portion of their cropland due to high water and roads that are not passable. There are a number of instances where it was impossible to get the 2019 crop off so the 2020 crop could be planted. We have situations in the county where folks have to drive through roads covered with water to get to their farmsteads. Farmers have also  invested significant dollars in drainage ditches and other efforts to move the water off their cropland and roadways. Needless to say, the situation is dire. These roads are often the lifeline for EMT vehicles in the time of an emergency. Farmers need these roads to move their commodities. And yes, these roads are used for our school buses as well.

During the 2019 session the legislature passed the Prairie Dog bill in an effort to direct funds toward our roads and bridges throughout the state. The dollars in the Prairie Dog bill (in excess of $220,000,000) would come from taxes on oil production in western North Dakota. I was a co sponsor on the bill. Unfortunately, with the collapse of oil prices, those dollars are certainly in question. According to a study by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute in Fargo, there is a need totaling $1 billion dollars statewide to address county and township roads and bridges. The cost is only increasing each and every year.

The challenge to maintain our roads and bridges will not go away. It will clearly have to be a very high priority as we approach the 2021 legislative session. Yes, the cost to maintain the system of roads and bridges statewide is  high. I suggest that the greater cost is not making that investment. When we do to not invest  the necessary dollars in maintaining our roads, we often find that we end up with a much higher cost in the replacement of those roads. Our farmers and ranchers are dependent on these roads. The safety of our folks living in rural North Dakota is at stake. Our children ride in school buses that use these roadways. This is an investment that we must make.

I can assure you that serious discussions are underway in how we respond to this crisis. I will attempt to keep you informed on those discussions as we move toward the Fall and the next legislative session scheduled to commence in January 2021.

In the meantime, I can be reached at Stay safe and stay healthy!