The International Legislators Forum (ILF) is an annual meeting of legislators from Manitoba, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. It provides an opportunity for delegates to share information, understand problems, build relationships, and develop collaborative agreements on a wide variety of issues relevant to the participating jurisdictions. Forums have been hosted in Winnipeg and Gimli, Manitoba; St. Paul and Moorhead, Minnesota; Brookings and Pierre, South Dakota; and Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The Legislators Forum grew out of the International Flood Mitigation Initiative (IFMI), which developed agreements to mitigate flooding in the Red River Basin following the 1997 flood. However, through its annual meetings, the Legislators’ Forum has considered many other issues on a much broader range of issues that have directly impacted the region. These discussions have addressed water quantity and quality, regional energy production and transmission, renewable fuels, human and animal health and food safety, methamphetamines, rural access to health care, broadband technology, outmigration and immigration, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), tourism and other public policy issues.
Over the years, the delegates have found that their jurisdictions have mutual concerns and similarities (even across an international boundary) and that programs and efforts that originate in one jurisdiction to deal with public policy issues can be useful in other jurisdictions.
The discussions during the annual meetings have transcended politics and ideology and have been practical and common sense in their approaches. Additionally, the delegates have formed long-lasting friendships that have enabled them to stay in touch and to help each other deal with their shared challenges.
The Forum’s 12th annual meeting was hosted in Grand Forks, North Dakota, June 20 – 22, 2012. 25 legislators (see sidebar) from the four jurisdictions attended the 2012 forum that addressed energy (production, future needs, transmission, regulation, etc.), water (the Red River and Missouri River Basins), and cross-border trade issues (economic impact, the Beyond the Borders Initiative, policies, regulation, etc.).
In an effort to be more environmentally sensitive, reduce printing costs, utilize available technology, and provide a document array that is concise and user-friendly, the final report from the 2012 International Legislators’ Forum is being presented in a summary format with supporting materials available online.
The event information will be offered in this summary document, while the presentations (including a synopsis provided by each presenter) and the key points from the follow up discussions will be posted by topic on the Consensus Council’s website: www.agree.org.
The recommendations and conclusions developed by the participants will be featured in the concluding section.
All ancillary materials (including biographical and contact information on delegates, dignitaries and presenters, handouts and other meeting materials, and links to related documents) will also be available on the website.
Actual presentation materials are displayed according to the issue (water, energy, trade) in files identified by the name of the presenter. These files include copies of the actual PowerPoint presentations and a brief synopsis of the presentation. Any additional handout materials related to the topic/presentation will also be found in the respective file.