The 59th Legislative Assembly adjourned after 76 legislative days and proved to be quite unique as NDPMA was more active in the process than ever before.

Although the session was long, it was a good session for your association – though not ideal. 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 Fair Competition Legislation SB 2389) – 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. A special thank you to the NDPMA board that spent countless hours and days at the Capitol lobbying for SB 2389. Your involvement was a key element in the total success of our legislative agenda.

This report will focus on the major issues NDPMA dealt with this session.

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 good session for its members.

  • NDPMA introduced SB 2389 to address predatory pricing of gasoline and codify that it is illegal to sell fuel below cost. North Dakota was one of at least four states who initiated this type of legislation. No state was successful in enacting the legislation but North Dakota advanced its legislation further than any other state. SB 2389 passed the Senate 30-13 but was defeated in the ND House of Representatives. It is very probable that another attempt to enact this legislation will be introduced in 2007.
  • SB1012 was the legislation utilized the maximum amount federal highway money by implementing a $10 annual vehicle registration fee increase, a two cent fuel tax increase, and reclassifying pick-ups as passenger vehicles over a two year period. This turned out to be quite a contentious issue and we were disappointed that the fuel taxes were part of the funding package.
  • You will not be subject to a lawsuit from someone who believed they became obese by patronizing your business by the enactment of HB 1241.
  • HB 1346 limits the number of packages of ephedrine based medicines that may be sold (2 packages) and at no more that 2 grams total weight. It also placed some restrictions on the placing of the product. But it did not limit the sales of the product to a licensed pharmacy.
  • Smoking in public place was addressed with the enactment of SB 2300. It exempts stand alone bars, truck stops, and tobacco stores.
  • There was legislation enacted to promote the utilization of E 85 and biodiesel by enacting HB 1478 & SB 2217.
  • You will not have any new taxes to pay such as sales tax, tobacco tax, liquor tax, income tax, or use tax.
  • There are no new employer-employee mandates. These issues were dealt with in multiple pieces of legislation.
  • Gift card were addressed with SB 2335 and outlaws dormancy fees while still allowing for an expiration date.
  • The state will not define what printed material is deemed objectionable and where that material must be located with the defeat of HB 1415.

SB 2346 outlaws the sale of gasoline containing MTBE but a provision was added to provide immunity for dealers who may unknowingly sell fuel with trace amounts. The amendment was attached at the request of the industry.

In summary, the 2005 Legislative Assembly turned out to be favorable for NDPMA. 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 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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