The May 15th blog from Mike McFeely, "N.D. legislators not in session but, seriously, where are they?” missed some glaring context.
The same week the column ran, Dem-NPL House and Senate Minority Leaders Josh Boschee and Joan Heckaman called for greater legislative and public input for the next round of COVID-19 relief spending. Their call came as the Emergency Commission – chaired by the governor – and the Budget Section passed more than $500 million in COVID-19 relief out of the state’s $1.25 billion. The legislative committee had only an up or down vote.
We can’t speak for the NDGOP, but the Dem-NPL has been right here, engaged from the start of the pandemic. Most weeks since February, the caucus has met virtually twice a week to discuss COVID-19 response.
As other states began seeing increasing numbers of cases, Dem-NPL legislators researched how they were responding and what issues they faced. Most importantly, we began contacting the executive branch and agencies urging them to take proactive measures to protect North Dakotans' lives and livelihoods. We are reaching out and responding to the people we work for, the citizens of North Dakota, and advocating on their behalf on health care, access to housing, human services, public safety, and support for small businesses.
If the governor calls a special session, we will participate with full focus and whole hearts to ensure our state spends federal money wisely and enacts policies that ensure every North Dakotan can recover from the pandemic.
Dobervich, D-Fargo, represents District 11 in the North Dakota House of Representatives.