VOLUME 13, NUMBER 1             January 9, 2009

To: Members

From: David Crothers, Executive Vice President

The North Dakota Association of Telecommunications Cooperatives welcomed members of the Sixty-First Legislative Assembly back to Bismarck this week.  As you will see on the following pages, telecom issues continue to be an important part of the State’s public policy discussions. 

Issues run the gamut from funding of the State’s Information Technology Department to next-generation 911 services and a ban on texting while operating a motor vehicle.  The Association will also continue to be a participant in developing policy regarding the appropriate use of the University System’s Northern Tier Network.

As you will note, we are “hitting the ground running” with all of the committee hearings already scheduled for next week.  If you have a particular interest on any of these bills or would like additional information, please feel free to contact the members of the Association’s Legislative Committee or myself.  Members of the committee are:  Derrick Bulawa, BEK; Leo Meier, BEK; Paul Schuetzler, Consolidated; Keith Larson, Dakota Central; Jeff Wilson, Dickey Rural; Kent Klima, Dickey Rural; Mark Wilhelmi, Midstate Telephone; Hilman Anderson, Reservation Telephone; Jim Newman, SRT; and, Mick Grosz, West River Telecommunications.

To call your legislator toll free the number is 1-888-635-3447.  Bismarck-Mandan residents should call 328-3373.


HB 1054- A bill that directing the State’s Adjutant General to study next generation 911 on the public safety answering points in North Dakota.  Specifically, the language requires a study of the technology needs relating to next generation 911, the most efficient method of implementing the new technology and exploring the use of shared technologies.  The measure also questions whether there need to be any changes to the current 911 funding model.

Jan. 6 Introduced in House.
Jan. 8 Political Subdivisions Committee Hearing.



HB 1135- A measure that expands the powers of the Emergency Services Communications Coordinating Committee.  The three-person committee has representatives from the North Dakota 911 Association, Association of Counties and State Radio.  The bill provides that the committee will also “serve as the governmental body for coordinating plans and implementing emergency 011 services and internet protocol enabled emergency networks.”

Jan. 6 Introduced in House.
Jan. 16 Political Subdivisions Committee Hearing – 9:00 a.m. in Prairie Room.

HB 1208- A bill that will provide penalties for “texting” while operating a motor vehicle.  The proposal prohibits drivers from composing, reading or sending “electronic messages” while driving.  The legislation does not ban or restrict voice communications.  It does, though, specifically target e-mail, text messages, an instant message or accessing the world wide web.  The first violation would result in a 2 point penalty, while a second and subsequent violations are 4 point violations.

Jan. 4

Introduced in House.  Referred to Transportation Committee.


SB 2003-The appropriations bill for North Dakota’s university system.  The measure includes specific language reducing the funding of Northern Tier Network from its $2.7 million level in 2007 to no dollars in the 2009-2011 biennium.  However, in Section 6 of the legislation there is a provision giving the Board of Higher Education quite a bit of discretion in spending over $30 million in technology projects.

Jan. 6 Introduced in Senate.
Jan. 12 Appropriations Committee Hearing – 11:00 a.m. in Lewis and Clark Room.

SB 2021-The bill is the Information Technology Department’s (ITD) appropriations bill.   Of particular interest to members of the Association is ITD’s request for “one-time funding” in the amount of $1.2 million for increased bandwidth for K-12 institutions.

Jan. 6 Introduced in Senate.
Jan. 9 Appropriations Committee Hearing.

SB 2093-A measure to provide a sales and use tax exemption for equipment used in telecommunications infrastructure development.  Specifically, it will allow for gross receipts from sales of tangible personal property used exclusively in expanding or constructing telecommunications service infrastructure in the State are exempt from taxes under NDCC 57-39.2.

Jan. 6 Introduced in Senate.
Jan. 12 Finance and Taxation Committee Hearing – 9:00 a.m. in Lewis and Clark Room.

SB 2133-Legislation that permits the North Dakota Veteran’s Home in Lisbon to purchase telecommunications services from the private sector.  The Veteran’s Home would like an exemption from North Dakota law requiring that State agencies and offices receive their telecom from the Information Technology Department.

Jan. 6 Introduced in Senate.
Jan. 15 Government and Veterans Affairs Committee – 9:30 a.m. in Missouri River Room.

SB 2142-Language the modified the powers and duties of the Information Technology Department (ITD) and modifies the “required use” and information technology plan policies.  Of particular concern to the Association is a provision within the proposal that will exempt institutions of higher education from  ITD review of 1) project descriptions;  2) project objectives; 3) business needs; 4) cost-benefit analysis; 5) project risks; 6) information summarizing project objectives achieved; 7)project budget and schedule variances; and, 8) lessons learned regarding any major information technology project.

Jan. 6 Introduced to Senate.
Jan. 9 Political Subdivisions Committee Hearing.