Seeks State Employee Benefits Clarification
BISMARCK – Several interesting bills are being introduced this session in the North Dakota Legislature.
Representative Nathan Toman, R-Dis. 34, Mandan, introduced House Bill 1285, which would require bills coming from the executive branch’s agencies or the judicial branch to be sponsored or requested by a legislator.
“Agencies have a lot more power than we think,” said Representative Donna Henderson, R-Dis. 9B, Calvin, co-sponsor of the bill. “They’re able to put these bills forward, and they’re prefiled, which means legislators don’t see them yet. They say they’re just clean up language, and it’s no big deal.”
Prefiled bills made up over 200 of the total bills this session. Most sessions average around 1,000 total bills introduced.
“We really need a bill sponsor on these so one of the legislators knows what these changes mean and are accountable,” said Henderson.
The Legislative Council introduced House Bill 1040, which was heard by the Government and Veterans Affairs committee Friday, which would close the defined benefit plan, putting new state employees on the defined contribution plan. The bill would have no impact on current employees. The defined benefit plan has an unfunded liability of $1.8 billion.
Representative Jim Kasper, R-Dis. 46, Fargo, is in favor of the idea, but noted that 60% of employees on the plan are political subdivision employees, saying those subdivisions should be responsible for their liability.
Kasper introduced House Bill 1321 which would allow for more legislative influence on the Public Employees Retirement System board, as well as House Bill 1319 which would outlaw rank voting in North Dakota.