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Tuesday, February 26, 2013


This morning, the North Dakota House of Representatives defeated House Bill 1398 by a vote of 36 Yeas to 57 Nays (a constitutional majority of 48 yeas is required to pass legislation in the House).

The defeated bill had been amended from the original draft which we have been updating you on.

The amendments changed the bill by:

  • instead of 11.5% tax, they are now imposing a 20 cents per 100 gallon "user fee".
  • instead of being placed in the general fund, the revenue will go into the Oil and Gas Impact Fund.
  • fee will be imposed at point of dispensing, not point of extraction.
  • still applies only to water for oil and gas industry use.

These amendments were proposed and adopted by the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, but then the committee gave it a DO NOT PASS recommendation by a vote of 8 to 5.

Representative Todd Porter (R-Mandan) spoke from the floor in favor of the bill, this is note-worthy since Porter is the chairman of the House Energy and Natural Resources, and it is fairly uncommon for a chairman to speak in opposition to his/her committee's recommendation.

Even more amazing is the fact that more Republicans voted for this bill than Democrats.

The unofficial roll call vote showed 26 Republicans and 11 Democrats voting for this bill. This means that had the Democrats voted in party line, it would have passed the House and moved on to the Senate.

While this battle is over, the greater question remains: "why were so many Republicans so eager to raise taxes?"



Dustin Gawrylow is Managing Director ND Watchdog Network

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