Week 14 Legislative Update
It's the final countdown... Dadada dun, dada da dun dun, da da duun, da da dun dun, duuuun dada duuuun dada dun dun dun dun dun, duuuun, duuuuuuuun
Monday was the start of day 63. As we've previously mentioned, the legislative session is restricted to 80 days per the ND Constitution. Legislative leadership does not want to use all of these days as there will still be some work to do specific to North Dakota's current and future needs. The two biggest issues that will require future gavel-ins are redistricting and federal stimulus money.
Redistricting is the process where legislative districts are redrawn because U.S. Census Bureau has released population figures. This is to ensure that our representative government reflects populations appropriately or as closely as possible. North Dakota, like other states, completes this process through the legislative process with bill passage and governor action. While this redistricting won't be finalized until December, activity will be ongoing - a sub-committee will meet during the interim and census data will be released in September. This is a complicated process due to the data and terminology. GNDC will continue to monitor this process as these lines will determine the state's future.
The other issue requiring legislative days is the most recent federal stimulus package. The American Rescue Plan has yet to have clear written guidance or specifics provided for allocations. Those are being developed but will not be completed before the Session's work is complete. North Dakota is set to receive over $1 Billion, which will be used in various industries and greatly benefit all North Dakotans.
The Governor can request the legislators to return for action on matters such as these, which would not require the use of these allotted 80 days.
BILLS THAT HAVE BEEN ACTED UPON
HB 1141 Innovation Technology Loan Fund (LIFT). This program was first passed by the legislature during the 2019 program with great success. LIFT is a loan fund established for the purpose of providing financing for the commercialization of intellectual property within North Dakota. The Senate passed the bill 46-1 on April 7th with an appropriation of $15 million. The bill had a small technical correction amendment that the House of Representatives will likely concur with.
HB 1431 Infrastructure Bonding Package – This bill unanimously passed the Senate on April 8th. Since this bill passed in its original form as sent over from the House, it will go directly to the Governor for signature. The Governor has indicated that he will sign the bill.The bill contains $680 million in infrastructure investments that include funding for water projects, roads and bridges, and education infrastructure.
$435.5 million – Fargo Diversion Project
$74.5 million – Resources Trust Fund
$50 million – Infrastructure Revolving Loan Fund
$70 million – Highway Trust Fund ($35 million will target bridge infrastructure needs)
$50 million – NDSU – Agriculture Products Development CenterThe Senate was working on other projects to add to the bill which included funding for a clean sustainable energy fund, career and technical education centers, township highway infrastructure, university system improvements, state parks investments, and a cultural arts endowment. Some of these initiatives will be amended into other pieces of legislation.
The bond payment for this bill is a dedicated stream within HB 1380. GNDC will continue work with legislators on HB 1380 as it makes its way through the legislative process.
CONCUR CALENDAR - BILLS ON THE 12th ORDER
- 1207 Asbestos Reform – House to concur with Senate amendments, GNDC supports
- 1323 Prohibition on Mask Mandates – House to concur with Senate amendments that added based off business concerns