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Forum News Service, Published May 03 2013

K-12, college budgets still awaiting action on the last day of ND session

BISMARCK – After starting the day with the House defeating a bill that would have increased funding for K-12 schools and provided about $714 million in property tax relief, the final day of the North Dakota Legislature is dragging on.

School funding could again be addressed when lawmakers return from a recess and go back into session at 3 p.m.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s office issued a statement regarding the K-12 funding bill.

“We’re very hopeful that the House and Senate will be able to compromise on their differences. The ball’s in their court.”

Dakota Draper, North Dakota Education Association President, said he was “profoundly disappointed,” in the vote.

“Too often during this legislative session, partisanship has won out over reason as gamesmanship has replaced policymaking,” he said. “Games should be played on the playground, they should not be played in the Legislature, especially when it comes to funding our state’s most important responsibility – the education of our children.”

Other bills awaiting action include the budget for North Dakota colleges and universities and the budget for the Office of Management and Budget.

Legislators also are working to reach an agreement with the Three Affiliated Tribes today regarding oil tax revenue from oil wells on the Fort Berthold Reservation.

The North Dakota Legislature is making history today by entering the 80th day of a legislative session.

The longest session in modern history was 2009 when legislators met for 79 days. Under the state constitution, legislators can meet for 80 days every two years.

In 2011, the session lasted 78 days.