The 58th Legislative Assembly proved to be quite unique. For the first time, the legislators were called back to a special session after adjournment to re-address several pieces of legislation vetoed by the Governor. Although the session was long, it was an outstanding session for your association. NDPMA was a constant presence at the Capitol representing your interests. While the session will be generally labeled fairly generic and lacking of hot issues (other than budget issues) – there was an abundance of legislation that affected each member’s business.

NDPMA monitored over 70 pieces of legislation, testified on many of them, and was a constant source of information for legislators at the Capitol. Many thanks go to the membership who responded to requests to contact legislators or appear at the Capitol. Your involvement was a key element in the total success of our legislative agenda.

In general terms, below are some very positive aspects that were initiated this session that are good for your business and the business community. After reviewing these changes, I think you will agree that NDPMA had a great session for its members.

You will not have to increase the price of your petroleum products due to a gas tax increase (HB1012). The Legislature looked at avenues other than increasing fuel taxes to garner additional federal highway money by implementing a $3 annual vehicle registration fee increase. This turned out to be quite a contentious issue and we are pleased our position prevailed.

  • You will not have to increase the price of your tobacco products due to a tobacco tax increase (SB 2307 & SB 2076). North Dakota was one of the few states in the nation to successfully defeat numerous attempts to raise the tobacco tax.
  • HB 1353 limits the number of packages of ephedrine based medicines that may be sold (2 packages
  • You can still control smoking in your place of business (HB 1408)
  • You will not be forced to market products containing biodiesel (HB 1309) or ethanol blends (SB 2027 & HB 1493).
  • If you are a convenience store operator, you will not have to become a depository for used beverage containers (HCR 3045).
  • You will not have any new taxes to pay such as sales tax, tobacco tax, liquor tax, income tax, or use tax. These issues were dealt with in multiple pieces of legislation.
  • There are no new employer-employee mandates. These issues were dealt with in multiple pieces of legislation.
  • As an employer, you may decide to issue paychecks electronically if you choose (HB 1382).

In summary, the 2003 Legislative Assembly turned out to be as favorable for NDPMA as we could have imagined. We did not implement Fair Competition legislation to deal with predatory pricing/below cost sales of gasoline. But be assured the issue is of paramount importance and the association will continue to address it.

We must keep in mind that the industry will continue to deal with onerous legislative proposals in future sessions. Certain issues (mandates in particular) are certain to re-appear again next session. So we can enjoy the successes of today if we keep in focus that there will be much work to do again another day.

Thanks again for all the assistance and cooperation from the membership this session. Your involvement makes a difference for the betterment of the entire industry.

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