How can you tell when North Dakota’s boom era is over? When lawmakers start cutting back on the number of bills they introduce.
Less money to spend means less legislative activity.
I got a lot of heat recently when I wrote a post that was widely shared which put forward the idea that North Dakota’s boom was over. My point, which many missed, wasn’t that the boom is going to be followed by a bust. Only that the era of almost exponential growth in things like tax revenue, etc., was over.
More fodder for this is the big decline in legislative activity. According to Rep. Ben Hanson, a Democrat from Fargo, the number of bills introduced in the House and the Senate combined was so far is 555:
Bill count: 342 on the House side and 213 submitted on the Senate thus far. For context: It was 468 House, 375 Senate total in 2013 #NDLeg
— Rep. Ben Hanson (@BenjaminWHanson) January 14, 2015
By contrast, during the 2013 session the House and Senate combined to introduce 842 (Hanson’s count is one less, but my number is from Legislative Council).
That’s a 34 percent decline in the number of bills introduced.
Of course, we’re going to get more bills in the 2015 session, but not many more. As of Monday, members of the House are only able to introduce 5 more bills each. This coming monday, Senators will be limited to just 3 more bills each, and House members will not be able to introduce any more without going through the delayed bills committee. On the 26th, Senators will hit a similar deadline.
The bulk of the legislation is in, and the number of bills is way down.
Of course, there’s been a downward trend in introduced legislation for some time now, as I pointed out last month.