BISMARCK – One of the most anticipated issues of the session finally comes up for its hearing this week. It’s the pharmacy ownership bill, which proposes to repeal a 1960s law that requires pharmacies in North Dakota to be majority-owned by pharmacists. Other bills getting hearings this week call for a new issuance of license plates, higher traffic fines, a ban on bottle rockets, no sales tax on clothing and a mandated annual football game between the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University. The pharmacy law repeal is House Bill 1440, and such a huge crowd is expected for the hearing that it has been moved to the Heritage Center auditorium. It is 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Both supporters and opponents of the repeal have been running television ads for months asking the public to contact legislators.
Supporters of the repeal include chain stores Wal-Mart and Walgreens, which helped form North Dakotans for Affordable Health Care, www.ndrx.org.
Opponents, who want to keep the law, countered with North Dakotans for Prescription Facts, www.knowtherxtruthnd.com.
Last week, a group of opponents of the repeal – the North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Retail Association and North Dakota Grocers Association – said that if HB 1440 is enacted, it could mean the loss of 600 rural North Dakota jobs and 70 small town pharmacies.
They quoted from the New Rules Project of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis, which published “The Benefits of North Dakota’s Pharmacy Ownership Law,” www.newrules.org.