So far, so good for Minot at Legislature

Several bits of good news came out of Saturday’s legislative forum held in Minot at the State Fair Center.

First of all, thanks again to the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce for planning the legislative forums held on certain Saturdays while the Legislature is in session. And, thanks to our senators and representatives for making themselves available for comment and to take questions from the public. This is how government should work.

The updates from Saturday included: Minot’s water projects could fare well in the state’s biennium budget.

“I think there’s pretty good agreement that two of the biggest water projects are NAWS and flood protection for the Mouse River Basin so I think we’re going to do okay there,” Sen. Randy Burckhard said. “I think they know how important those two projects are.”

Sen. David Hogue agreed funding for the Northwest Area Water Supply Project appears to have widespread support among legislators.

“Widespread support among legislators” is always good news, isn’t it? If only we could ever say the same about Congress. The jab at D.C. aside, it is especially important that regionalism not become the driving force when it comes to water issues in the state. We all need water and some of us at times have far too much. Cooperation and understanding has done this state well throughout history, and that lesson should not be forgotten today, be it water/flood projects or money for higher education.

We were also pleased to hear that the Legislature might find some money to assist in moving the Pioneer Village from the State Fairgrounds to a new location in Burlington. We have advocated strongly for that to happen and are pleased that the Legislature is listening.

Another bit of good news came from Rep. Larry Bellew who addressed his bill to eliminate the state income tax on Social Security benefits. The good news here is that somebody is addressing this important issue since North Dakota isn’t exactly retirement friendly. Bravo Rep. Bellew. We’d like to hear a lot more about his plan in the future.

Perhaps that will come at the next legislative forum, planned for 9 a.m. this coming Saturday at the same location. Hopefully the weather will be understanding and cooperative.