Last week on Friday, October 29, 2021, Gov. Burgum issued an executive order convening a special session of the North Dakota Legislature beginning November 8. See here: Burgum details special session 2021. With this announcement, legislators will no longer be limited to four Legislative days, which was what was remaining from the regular 2021 legislative session, as there is no limit to how long a Special Session can last. The Legislature will use this time to consider how to spend federal American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding, legislative district redistricting plans, and any approved additional bills.

The Interim Senate and House Appropriations Committees agreed October 29 on a plan which would spend approximately $622 million of the state’s $697 million of ARPA funds.

On November 1, Legislative Management, made up of legislative leadership, will meet and review the ARPA spending plan, the proposed redistricting plan and other bill drafts dealing with a range of spending and policy issues. The Legislative Management Committee will vote to forward the various bills to the Special Session. See link to meeting with handouts here: ND Legislative Management 11 01 2021

The draft will include the agriculture-related proposals:

• $21 million – Provide for fuel production facility loan forgiveness program (NDCGA testified in support)

• $10 million – Provide for autonomous agriculture matching grant program to accelerate innovation and research within the autonomous agriculture industry (Grand Farm Initiative)

• $8 million – Provide $446,000 for projects at the Carrington Research Extension Center (REC), $2.2 million at the Dickinson REC, $1.93 million for projects at the Central Grasslands REC, and $3.42 million for projects at the Hettinger REC

• $3.2 million – Creates abandoned oil well conversion to water supply grant program to convert 10 to 15 abandoned wells to livestock freshwater supply wells for permanent drought resiliency

• $401,000 – Provides a grant to the North Dakota Stockman’s Association for the conversion of a paper-based livestock branding inspection program to an electronic system

The committees also proposed allocating $317 million for highway road and bridge repairs and construction. This proposal was originally appropriated in House Bill No. 1395 that was passed during the 67th legislative session but the legislature had to change which pool of federal money was used due to a change in federal rules. The proposal includes $200 million for state highways, $100 million for counties, that would be split 50/50 for roads and bridges, and $17 million for townships.