Past NFIB/North Dakota Legislative Victories

Date: July 21, 2015

Related Content: Victories State North Dakota

From the 2013 Session

Won across-the-board income tax reductions
NFIB/North Dakota helped win passage of legislation reducing individual income tax rates by an additional 19.3 percent ($200 million in savings over two years) and state corporate income tax rates by 12 percent ($50 million over two years).

Won further property tax reductions 
NFIB/North Dakota supported legislation that will further reduce property taxes on top of significant reductions passed in 2009 and 2011. North Dakota property owners will see their property taxes reduced by an additional 20 percent on their November 2013 property tax bills.

Passed Workers’ Compensation reforms to reduce rates
Enacted workers’ compensation reforms to define pain as a symptom and not a substantial acceleration or substantial worsening of a pre-existing injury, disease or other condition. This will help limit inappropriate claims that drive up workers compensation rates.

Successfully defeated Big Labor by enacting a prohibition on Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) in North Dakota
A PLA is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement with one or more labor union that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project. PLAs shut out small business non-union contractors from bidding on such projects.

Obtained new tort reform law shortening filing periods
Of all the worries small businesses have just running a daily operation, a frivolous lawsuit is the joker in the deck that can shutter an enterprise for good. That’s why NFIB will always push for tort reform aimed at reducing this unexpected worry. This year, NFIB helped win a law shortening the period for filing cases, for both general damages and personal-injury claims, from the current six-year statute of limitations to three years. Not only will this dampen lawsuit abuse, it could also lead to lower insurance premiums as well.

Secured new property rights law against trespassing
NFIB advocated for the passage of a new property-rights law that says owners or lessees of land don’t owe a duty of care to an adult trespasser and are not subject to liability for any injury to an adult trespasser.

From the 2011 Session

Won across-the-board tax reductions
Intense lobbying from NFIB/North Dakota helped win passage of legislation reducing individual income tax rates by 18 percent ($120 million in savings over two years) and state corporate income tax rates by 20 percent ($20 million over two years).

Obtained new tort reform law shortening filing periods
Of all the worries small businesses have in just running a daily operation, a frivolous lawsuit is the joker in the deck that can shutter an enterprise for good. That’s why NFIB will always push for tort reform aimed at reducing this unexpected worry. This year, NFIB helped win a law shortening the period for filing cases, for both general damages and personal-injury claims, from the current six-year statute of limitations to three years. Not only will this dampen lawsuit abuse, it could also lead to lower insurance premiums as well.

Secured new property rights law against trespassing
NFIB advocated for the passage of a new law property rights law that says owners or lessees of land don’t owe a duty of care to an adult trespasser and are not subject to liability for any injury to an adult trespasser.

From the 2009 Session

Saved North Dakota millions of dollars from future unemployment insurance tax hikes
In the depths of a national recession and with their unemployment insurance trust funds facing insolvency, numerous states jumped at the opportunity to get some of Uncle Sam’s free money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. NFIB was the first business association to sound the alarm that it wasn’t free, but in fact had so many strings attached that future increases in unemployment insurance taxes would come soon, repeatedly, and expensively. Working with State Rep. George Keiser, who also saw the hidden costs, NFIB put together a business coalition that gave the governor enough political cover to say to Uncle Sam, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Won $90 million in tax cuts
We lobbied heavily for Senate Bill 2199, which provided $90 million in tax cuts. The cuts reduce all five state income-tax brackets by a collective 12.3 percent. The highest tax bracket falls from 5.54 percent to 4.84 percent; and the lowest falls from 2.1 percent to 1.84 percent. Additionally, changes in the corporate income-tax rate eliminated two of five brackets. Now, those businesses earning $50,000 or more will be in the highest bracket with a new, lower rate of 6.4 percent. Those corporations earning less than $25,000 will see a new rate of 2.1 percent.

Secured $295 million in property tax relief
We worked with Gov. John Hoeven to help pass Senate Bill 2199, his property tax relief measure, which reduces the levy by $295 million. SB 2199 used a reduction in the mill levy to help fund school districts on a dollar-for-dollar basis. In effect, property taxes drop by 15 percent to 18 percent for the 2010 and 2011 tax years. The law also sets aside another $295 million from the permanent oil trust fund to sustain the property tax relief for the following biennium.

Guarded against premium increases in the state’s workers’ compensation system
We monitored more than two dozen bills dealing with the state’s workers’ compensation system, after voters ended the Workforce Safety and Insurance agency’s independent status and moved control of it over the governor’s office. Much of the legislative attention was focused on keeping WSI on solid financial footing and guaranteeing its reserves. We succeeded in making sure none of this activity resulted in higher workers’ compensation premiums for small business owners.

Defeated product liability legislation aimed at punishing North Dakota businesses for defects in foreign-made goods
We succeeded in stopping House Bill 1560, which would have put North Dakota businesses on the hook for faulty foreign-made goods. Had it become law, businesses would have been subject to potential liability if a product or component was manufactured in a foreign country.

Prior Years’ Victories

Led reform of unemployment insurance funding, improving rates
Unemployment rates were adjusted to slightly improve those for positive-balance employers, while requiring that negative-balance employers pay more of their fair share. Appropriations approved for North Dakota Job Service included $1.255 million for Workforce 20/20 funding, a program that is very popular with NFIB members. Small business is represented on an Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council created to advise NDJS regarding program operations, effectiveness and fairness.

Passed business-friendly safety legislation, helping keep insurance rates down
Workforce safety insurance and tort reform bills were supported by a business coalition, of which NFIB was a part, and were passed into law. The most significant of those, placed a limit on the period of time an injured worker can remain on temporary partial disability. Another measure, known as the “Cheeseburger Bill,” limits the liability of retail and wholesale food sellers for obesity and other health-related claims.

Blocked paid vacation bill, avoiding increased payroll costs
A paid holiday for veterans on Veterans Day was defeated as a result, in part, of NFIB opposition. The bill would have required employers to give veterans a paid holiday on Veterans Day, if they requested it, to the exclusion of other workers. Employers could have applied to the state for relief in individual cases.

Defeated minimum wage increase, protecting jobs and keeping payroll costs down
A bill was introduced that would have raised the state minimum wage for workers above the current federal standard of $5.15 per hour. We testified against the bill in committee and it was defeated in the House.

Stopped youth-incentive tax credits
Due primarily to our strong opposition, the youth investment initiative measure was soundly defeated in the fall of 2002. This ill-advised proposal would have provided tax refunds and tuition credits to citizens aged 20 to 30 over a period of five years simply for living in the state.
 

Related Content: Victories | State | North Dakota

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