Dakota Transporter
Volume 17, Issue 1Spring 2005

Legislative Issues

Ron Baumgart, DTA President

DTA has hired two lobbyists, one in North Dakota and one in South Dakota. The purpose is to assist the transit operators in developing congressional bills, monitor their movement through the congressional process, and updating transit operators when hearings occur, and when support for their bills is needed in either Pierre or Bismarck. The transit systems throughout both states struggle each year to raise sufficient local match dollars for the federal dollars and to finance the current level of services to their clients. For many transit operators, the task of raising money for local match demands as much, or more, of their time as running their primary business of transit.

Here are the two lobbyists working for South and North Dakota and a short bio of each. This is followed by some information on the congressional bills that are in the respective state legislatures.

South Dakota

Picture of Steve WillardSteve Willard is the President and CEO of Willard and Associates in Pierre, SD. Since 1989, Steve and his four person staff have served as the administrative and support staff to several different statewide associations, including the SD Broadcasters, the SD Funeral Directors, the SD Beef Industry Council, the SD Board of Dentistry and the SD Oilseeds Council. He is the executive officer of each.

He has lobbied for those groups and others since the 1990 legislative session, making this his 15th session. He lobbies for the SD Funeral Directors, the SD Broadcasters, the SD Municipal League, the SD Firefighters, the American Petroleum Institute, and the SD Association of Community Based Services.

Steve is a long-time presenter to grass roots organizations, has served as the treasurer on three statewide initiatives, and consults as a long-range planner to many different groups around SD and the country. Steve and his wife Marla have lived in Pierre since 1989 and have two children, Sam (16) and Jesse (13). He is proud to be able to assist the Dakota Transit Association accomplish its goal of establishing long-term funding from the State.

Steve Willard of Willard and Associates
106 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 7
Pierre, South Dakota 57501
Phone: (605)224-1591
E-mail: steve@willardandassociates.com

The South Dakota Legislature is working on Senate Bill 103:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to authorize the funding of public transportation from the state highway fund.


Section 1. That § 10-12-6 be amended to read as follows:

10-12-6. The secretary of revenue and regulation may levy annually a sufficient tax, not to exceed one-tenth of one dollar per thousand dollars taxable valuation for any year upon each dollar of the taxable valuation of all taxable property in this state, to provide a special fund in the state treasury to be known as the state highway fund. All money received by the state treasurer pursuant to such the levy shall be placed in such the fund, to be used and expended under the direction of the Department of Transportation, for the purpose of constructing and maintaining highways and bridges in this state and , paying the salaries and expenses of the Department of Transportation, and funding public transportation, as the same moneys may be appropriated for these purposes by the Legislature.

Section 2. That § 31-2-14.2 be amended to read as follows:

31-2-14.2. All moneys in the state highway fund shall be used only for the construction, maintenance, and supervision of highways and bridges in this state and , for the administrative costs necessary to perform such duties, and for the funding of public transportation.

North Dakota

Picture of Erica CermakErica J. Cermak is originally from Mandan, ND, and has resided in the Bismarck-Mandan area for most of her life. The exception was a few years while she was attending college before returning and graduating from the University of Mary in 2004, with a bachelors degree in social work.

Erica was hired as the Executive Director of the North Dakota Senior Service Providers (NDSSP) on May 1, 2004. Although she is new to the transportation arena, her experience primarily stems from her education at the University of Mary, and particularly my internship with America Association of Retired Persons (AARP), North Dakota. She is a registered Lobbyist for the NDSSP, a member of the Graying of North Dakota Coalition and has participated in several other key organizations geared at improving the lives of the aging population in North Dakota.

Since beginning her employment with NDSSP, she has had the opportunity to meet many Dakota Transit Association members, as well as staff with the Small Urban & Rural Transit Center. "I would just like to state how excited I am to be working with such great organizations," she says. "I am truly amazed at the level of commitment each of you has for seeing that your organization moves full-speed into the future. I truly hope that I can become a continued part of that effort. This year has been exciting to say the least! Thank each of you again for supporting my position, and for the enthusiasm you bring to your organization, it has truly been a pleasure. I look forward to working with each of you."

Erica J. Cermak
Executive Director
North Dakota Senior Service Providers
107 West Main Ave, Suite 125
Bismarck, ND 58504
Phone: (701)471-6570
E-mail: ericac@ndseniorserviceproviders.com or becermak1@hotmail.com

The North Dakota Legislature is working on several bills:

  • House Bill 1458
    A BILL for an Act to create and enact a new section to chapter 24-02 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to transportation funding; and to amend and reenact section 57-43.1-02 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to motor vehicles fuels tax; and to provide a continuing appropriation.
  • Senate Bill 2348
    39-04.2-03. Additional registration fee - Deposit in fund. At the time of registering a motor vehicle subject to registration under section 39-04-19, the owner shall pay to the director in addition to the registration fee a fee of two three dollars for each motor vehicle registered. The fee must be deposited with the state treasurer, who shall credit the fee to the public transportation fund.
  • Senate Bill 2267
    SECTION 1. APPROPRIATION. There is appropriated out of any moneys in the general fund in the state treasury, not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $3,000,000, or so much of the sum as may be necessary, to the department of human services for the purpose of providing matching funds for services and programs for senior citizens under North Dakota Century Code section 57-15-56 for the biennium beginning July 1, 2005, and ending June 30, 2007.

The Congressional Delegation on the Web

North Dakota:

Byron Dorgan • http://dorgan.senate.gov/
Kent Conrad • http://conrad.senate.gov/nd/se-nd.html
Earl Pomeroy • www.pomeroy.house.gov

South Dakota:

John Thune • www.johnthune.com
Tim Johnson • www.senate.gov/~johnson/
Stephanie Herseth • www.hersethforcongress.org

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