NDMA Legislative Highlights
Week of February 22-26
February 26 marks the official crossover date and although it's hard to believe that we are at the half way point for the 67th Legislative session, we still have much to do.
To summarize the workload, NDMA is tracking 192 bills. Crossover resulted in 53 bills failing and 4 withdrawn for further consideration. This narrows the tracking list by 30 percent - 135 bills - leaving a heavy lift for the second half of the session. The session will reconvene on Wednesday, March 3rd.
Some priority bills on the floor for the final crossover week were as follows:
HB 1012 A bill for an Act to provide an appropriation for defraying the expenses of the department of human services as it relates to Medicaid expansion and Medicaid reimbursement.
The Governor’s budget recommendation proposed to transition Medicaid from a managed care program with commercial rates into the traditional Medicaid program. However, the legislature declined the Governor’s recommendation, reauthorizing it for two more years at commercial rates. The only compromise was to remove the nineteen and twenty year-olds from Medicaid expansion and placed them in traditional Medicaid.
The House passed HB 1012 as amended (73 yeas, 21 nays). Overall, there are no decreases to reimbursement expansion rates or funding of the program. The focus now shifts to the Senate regarding the Department of Human Services budget.
The House version of HB 1012 contained 1% x 1% inflators. This means any fee schedule reimbursement will be increased by 1% in July 2021 and July 2022, with an impact to Inpatient Hospital of $2.2 million, Outpatient Hospital $1.0 million and physicians $1.6 million..
NDMA SUPPORTS the Medicaid Expansion and reimbursement components of this bill, which successfully PASSED on the House floor (YEAS 73, NAYS 21).
Relating to Marijuana.
As medicinal marijuana issues continue to emerge, an interesting development is a proposed bill that would legalize recreational marijuana.
HB 1420 - Use of Recreational Marijuana would legalize adult use of marijuana in North Dakota regulated through the Medical Marijuana Division of the Department of Health, which passed the House floor vote (56 yeas, 38 nays).
Proponents of the bill believe the State needs to take a pro-active approach to get ahead of a potential constitutional ballot measure that would allow home-grown marijuana and marijuana use in public settings. By approving an accepted recreational use approach, it is possible to resist a ballot measure. Here are some limitations to the proposed bill:
HB 1501 - Adult use marijuana tax - This is the companion bill to HB 1420 which applies a 10% tax on the sales of products from a manufacturing facility and a 15% tax on the sale of products from a dispensary. Of the 15% tax on dispensaries, 3% will go back to the political subdivision for enforcement.
- Adult use only - age 21 and over.
- May only be used in a private home and not in the presence of minors.
- Home growing is prohibited - only available through licensed growing/manufacturing facilities.
- Products can only be purchased from licensed dispensaries regulated through the Medical Marijuana division.
- Products consist of capsules, solutions, topicals, edibles, concentrates, leaves & flowers that are tested for THC quantity before consistency and safety.
- Purchase is limited to 300 milligrams of THC product every 15 days per person. Purchases are tracked so users cannot hop from dispensary to dispensary within the 15 days.
NDMA is NEUTRAL on HB 1420, which PASSED on the House floor (YEAS 56, NAYS 38).
HB 1213 Relating to medical marijuana designated caregivers and a waiver of the criminal history check; allows for a grace period if the health care provider moves out of state for the patient to get a new one. STATUS: NEUTRAL; PASSED HOUSE (YEAS 84, NAYS 5)
HB 1359 Removes the application fee for medical marijuana designated caregivers; changes the makeup of the medical marijuana advisory board. STATUS: NEUTRAL; PASSED HOUSE (YEAS 80, NAYS 13)
HB 1391 Relating to regulating edible medical marijuana products – allows edibles that are a soft or hard lozenge. STATUS: NEUTRAL; PASSED HOUSE (YEAS 63, NAYS 31)
HB 1400 Adds to the list of debilitating medical conditions with a catch-all, allows qualifying patient applicants to submit medical records in lieu of a written certification, allows qualifying patients from other states to obtain a temporary card, and requires conducting unannounced sampling at a dispensary. STATUS: NEUTRAL; FAILED HOUSE (YEAS 16, NAYS 76)
SB 2234 Medical marijuana plants. Will allow up to 8 plants to be grown in an enclosed, locked facility, but not within 1,000 feet of a school. STATUS: NEUTRAL; FAILED SENATE (YEAS 4, NAYS 42)
SB 2284 Removes 6% THC cap on pediatric products; allows flower and concentrates not intended for inhalation for minors; caregiver is responsible for ensuring not over 6%. STATUS: OPPOSE; FAILED SENATE (YEAS 0, NAYS 47)
HB 1201 Relating to violations of marijuana possession – increases the amount allowable for an infraction. STATUS: NEUTRAL; PASSED HOUSE (YEAS 58, NAYS 36)
SB 2059 Definition of marijuana and scheduling of controlled substances. Relating to the definition of marijuana and the scheduling of controlled substances, introduced at the request of the board of pharmacy. STATUS: NEUTRAL; PASSED SENATE (YEAS 47, NAYS 0)
SB 2264 Possession of marijuana by individual under twenty-one. Relating to penalties for the possession of marijuana by an individual under the age of twenty-one; and to amend and re-enact section 5-01-08 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to prohibiting an individual under the age of twenty-one from using alcoholic beverages; and to provide a penalty. STATUS: NEUTRAL; PASSED SENATE (YEAS 46, NAYS 0)
Relating to Authority of Health Officer and Health Council.
This year's session has been particularly critical of the authority and role of the State's Health Officer, and one bill - HB1247 - proposes to merge the North Dakota Department of Health and North Dakota Human Services. This bill not only impacts the authority of the Health Officer, but also impacts the authority of the Health Council.
Following is a brief summary of some of the bills as well as one resolution:
HB 1118 Relating to the duration of a gubernatorial declaration of disaster or emergency relating to public health and extension requests; and to declare an emergency; limits to geographical area, no state-wide order without governor declaration. STATUS: NEUTRAL; PASSED HOUSE (YEAS 88, NAYS 6)
HB 1418 Relating to qualifications of the state health officer; requires health officer to be a physician. STATUS: SUPPORT; PASSED HOUSE (YEAS 87, NAYS 7)
HB 1495 Relating to the state health officer's authority and the governor's and legislative assembly's authority during a declared state of disaster or emergency; restricts health orders to no longer than thirty days; requires application to district court in judicial district; executive orders limited to thirty days and cannot exceed sixty days; governor may not suspend a regulatory statute, order or rule. STATUS: NEUTRAL; PASSED HOUSE (YEAS 75, NAYS 19)
SB 2124 Relating to permitting a virtual special session of the legislative assembly during an emergency or disaster; and to the state health officer's and governor's authority during a declared disaster or emergency; and to provide a penalty. STATUS: NEUTRAL; PASSED SENATE (YEAS 40, NAYS 7)
HB 1247 Relating to merging of the state department of health and the department of human services. STATUS: NEUTRAL; PASSED (YEAS 73, NAYS 21)
SB 2331 Requires the state health officer to be an elected position. STATUS: OPPOSE; FAILED SENATE (YEAS 3, NAYS 44)
SCR 4015 Changes the constitution to require the state health officer be an elected position. STATUS: OPPOSE; PENDING – Note that resolutions have until March 10
If you would like to provide testimony for any bills, please contact NDMA executive director Courtney Koebele @ firstname.lastname@example.org