Tuesday Marks Second Half of Session, Liability Reform Top Issue for Small Business
The second half of the 67th Legislative session began on Wednesday, March 3. The NFIB was successful in lobbying against bills that would have placed unnecessary mandates on small businesses, but there’s still work to be done to keep small businesses viable as the pandemic continues. Small business owners are urging lawmakers to keep the momentum going in the final weeks of the legislative session. Especially important to small business owners is passing COVID-19 liability reform. In a recent survey of NFIB North Dakota small business owners, 92% were in favor of protections from frivolous lawsuits.
“There are still bills under consideration that have a huge impact on small businesses in North Dakota,” said NFIB State Director in North Dakota, Alison Ritter. “Passing liability protection from COVID-19 remains a top priority for small business owners as many struggle to recover from the pandemic. We remain committed to fighting for common sense legislation that keeps North Dakota business friendly. Our small business owners are doing everything they can to keep their customers and employees safe. The last thing they need is an aggressive lawyer trying to take advantage by threatening to sue unless they pay up.”
Here’s a look at where small business bill are right now:
- HB 1087 – Reauthorizes the invisible reinsurance pool for the individual healthcare marketplace. Includes a study that would combine the individual marketplace and the small business marketplace to help control rates for small groups. This bill received a Do Pass recommendation out of committee and passed on the House floor. NFIB supports this legislation.
- HB 1147 – This bill would require fertility treatment to be included in health insurance plans in North Dakota. NFIB opposed similar legislation last session. This bill received a Do Pass recommendation out the House Industry Business and Labor Committee but failed on the House floor 31-63. NFIB opposes this legislation.
- HB 1175 – This is the main COVID-19 liability bill that a coalition of business groups, schools and hospitals have rallied behind. This bill relates to business immunity from COVID‑19 liability claims and provides for retroactive application. This bill passed the House and heads to the Senate for consideration. NFIB Supports this legislation.
- HB 1341 – Increases the ND minimum wage each year until it reaches $15/hr. in 2027. This bill received a Do Not Pass recommendation in the Industry Business and Labor Committee and was defeated in the House 12-82. NFIB opposes this legislation.
- HB 1374 – This bill ensures that any state or federal COVID-19 relief benefit is not considered taxable income. This bill received a Do Pass recommendation in the Finance and Taxation Committee and also passed the House 62-32. NFIB Supports this legislation.
- HB 1441– Creates a paid medical leave program. This bill was amended into a study on the issue and passed in the House of Representatives and will now be considered in the Senate. NFIB opposes this legislation.
- HB 1464 – Increases fuel taxes. This bill received a Do Pass recommendation out of committee and passed on the House floor 62-32. NFIB opposes this legislation.