Both chambers endorse DOH-DHS merger; returns to House

DOH-DHS merger
DOH-DHS merger(kfyr)
Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 11:28 AM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Merging the Departments of Human Services and Health is called it the “easiest 263-page bill this session,” but it didn’t go down all that easy with state lawmakers.

Thursday morning, state senators passed the merger bill with a one-vote margin.

Supporters for the merger argued the two agencies have overlap and redundancies which make programs inefficient.

But the opposition said merging the two won’t solve that problem.

“Efficiency and government don’t go together. Government is inherently inefficient. Agencies and government aren’t businesses. They don’t have the same motivation and they don’t have the same obligations. Their obligation is to provide services whether it’s cost-effective or not,” said Sen. Ronald Sorvaag, R-Fargo.

The Senate gave the agencies until 2023 to complete the merger.

Lawmakers added the goal of the bill is to not lose any employees during the transition.

The bill will return to the House for a final vote. It passed the House 73 – 21 in February.

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