- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Less than a month after the finishing the 2015 Legislature, some North Dakota lawmakers will be back at the Capitol selecting study topics that could spur legislation for the next session.

Grand Forks Republican Sen. Raymon Holmberg, chairman of the Legislative Management committee, said the 17-member panel will meet on May 27 to select subjects legislators will study to prepare for the 2017 session. They’ll also decide which committees will perform the studies.

The Legislative Management panel will meet again on June 16 to choose committee chairs and vice-chairs, Holmberg said.

The panel has 11 Republicans and six Democrats, and includes legislative leaders from both the House and Senate. The committee oversees the Legislature’s business between sessions and has a GOP majority because Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature.

The Legislature normally meets from January through April of odd-numbered years. Besides dealing with bills and constitutional amendments, lawmakers also request studies in the interim on an array of subjects.

John Walstad, an attorney for the Legislative Council, which is the Legislature’s research arm, said lawmakers this session requested study of 111 resolutions. That’s a record and about 30 more than the average over the past few sessions, he said.

All of the resolutions “had legislative support,” but many are redundant, with as many four or five covering the same topic, Holmberg said. Some of the interim studies were done to delay funding or passing certain legislation, or “kicking the can down the road,” he said.

“There is typically a number of them that legitimately need to be studied,” Holmberg said.

Taxes, higher education, behavioral health, the prison system, alternatives to incarceration, water and energy are issues that lawmakers are most likely to study during the interim, Holmberg said.

The 2015 legislative session adjourned Wednesday afternoon after 78 days.


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