UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

VIDEO: UND and the 2023 legislative session

President Armacost talks with Peter Johnson, one of state’s most experienced legislative observers, about 68th Legislative Assembly

President Andrew Armacost is joined in this week’s video address by Peter Johnson, director of government relations and public affairs at the UND Alumni Association & Foundation, to talk about UND and the ongoing session for the 68th North Dakota Legislative Assembly.

Armacost asked Johnson about what he has observed of the state’s lawmaking branch as far as themes, keys to success and how people in the UND community may be participating in the 80-day session, whether as representatives of the University or as private citizens.

As someone who has been in touch with the state’s legislature for the past 40 years, Johnson has observed the ebbs and flows of what he calls a “citizen legislature.” The fact that North Dakota lawmakers are part-time legislators plays into how UND and peer institutions approach matters such as bills and funding, as well as relationships with lawmakers, Johnson said.

Johnson remarked that money and inflation are the most prominent factors behind policymaking in the 2023 session. Along with that, he included salaries and benefits for state employees and the state’s income tax as topics of conversation.

Both Armacost and Johnson advised people in the UND community who are perhaps testifying in Bismarck to make it clear who or what they are representing – whether it be themselves or the University – when they appear in front of a House or Senate committee.

Armacost further pledged to do his best to keep campus informed on bills of interest to higher education and the University as the session progresses.