BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum has signed legislation providing more funding for fire districts and moving the Office of the State Fire Marshal to the North Dakota Insurance Department.
Senate Bill 2211, introduced by Sen. Mark Weber of Casselton, would require that 100 percent of funds collected through property insurance premium taxes are allocated to fire districts. All funds collected through premium taxes were given to fire districts for decades. During the 1980s farm crisis, a significant portion of funds was redirected away from fire districts into the General Fund. This continued until the passage of SB 2211 during the 68th Legislative Assembly.
“The men and women of the fire service give so much of themselves to protect and serve their communities,” said Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread. “Fire districts play a crucial role in the state’s insurance industry. The more prepared our communities can be if a fire breaks out, the more comfortable the insurance industry is when insuring property in the state, which can lower premium rates.”
SB 2211 also funds the North Dakota Firefighter’s Association, which provides training for fire departments and districts without in-house trainers. The bill also moves the Office of the State Fire Marshal from under the Attorney General to the Insurance Commissioner.
“I am excited for this new chapter for fire safety in North Dakota,” said State Fire Marshal Doug Nelson. “We’re all about having strong fire regulations and educating the public on fire safety – something we look forward to continuing in the Insurance Department.”
The Office of the State Fire Marshal will move to the Insurance Department effective July 1, 2023.