BISMARCK – Legislators finished up a three-day organizational session Wednesday, and some in the leadership told The Dakotan what they expect for the upcoming legislature starting in January.
The election in November brought in a large amount of turnover for this year’s legislature.
“I think it’s always exciting to see new faces,” said Senate Minority Leader Kathy Hogan, D-Dis. 21, Fargo. “The average citizen doesn’t understand what we do, and the learning curve is hard, because we hit the ground running. I think for some people it’s been hard to understand this. These are 12-hour days.”
Hogan said the first month is very overwhelming for a lot of freshmen, saying that those who have been there longer have to take care of each other.
“The thing that I’ve always loved is, I’ve mentored many Republicans,” said Hogan. “I think it’s a really rich way to build relationships and partnerships. It’s going to be a challenge because of the numbers, and everybody’s going to have to help each other.”
Senate Majority Leader David Hogue, R-Dis. 38, Minot, said he felt old when he walked into the Capitol this week.
“I looked across the chamber and I didn’t recognize anybody,” Hogue said. “There was so much turnover. It’s like when you’re working with people and you know all your co-employees, and then all of a sudden, a fourth of them are gone.”
Hogue expects there will be much discussion on both income and property tax relief, and in the senate there will probably be much discussion on workforce development initiatives.
“We’re going to deal with the aftermath of Dobbs,” Hogue explained. “Now that the state has the ability to regulate life decisions.”
Hogue believes there will be more bills this session, because he thinks younger, freshmen legislators tend to introduce more.
House Minority Leader Josh Boschee, D-Dis. 44, Fargo, agreed that there will be much learning to do for such a large freshman class and new committee chairs.
“It’s my hope that legislators, whether new or experienced, remain focused on the issues that we continue to hear about such as childcare, funding public education, retaining and recruiting a skilled workforce and investments in roads, bridges and waters projects, rather than national talking point issues that do little to move North Dakota forward,” said Boschee.