Interim appropriations committees continued the process to determine how to appropriate the more than $1 billion the state was granted from the federal government through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Of the $1 billion available, about $300 million was appropriated during the 2021 Legislative Session so about $700 million is still available. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees met again this week to receive information on the various proposals submitted by legislators, the executive branch and other interested parties.
The Senate Appropriations Committee heard testimony regarding infrastructure, aid to political subdivisions and capital improvements that the House Appropriations Committee heard the previous week. The House Appropriations Committee heard several proposals ranging from information technology to economic development that spanned across several industries.
On October 26-27, the proposals heard before each interim appropriations committee will be discussed, prioritized and put in bill form to be presented to Legislative Management prior to the legislative session slated to begin on November 8. Interim Senate Appropriations Chair Holmberg outlined a plan for the week and said on October 26, each committee will go through the list of proposals and vote for those they would like to see move forward. At noon, the proposals will be swapped between the two committees and repeated for the proposals heard in the other committee. On October 27, each Appropriation Committee will take the ranking of proposals from both committees and formulate the priorities into a bill draft to be submitted to Legislative Management. Proposals will be ranked by the current need of funds, the impact that was seen by the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgency to appropriate these dollars. Per federal guidelines, the ARPA funds need to be appropriated by 2024 and spent by 2026.
NDCGA is tracking the following proposals:
• $30 million for township road and bridge projects brought forth by Sen. Wanzek (proposal #17)
• $50 million for township and county road crossing and drainage improvements brought forth by Sen. Wanzek (proposal #18)
• $220 million to fill the remaining Operation Prairie Dog buckets, including $115 million for counties and townships, $85 million for cities, and $20 million for airports brought forth by Rep. Nathe and Rep. Thomas (proposal # 35&36)
• $2.7 million to purchase land for Area 4 Soil Conservation Research Farm brought forth by the Governor (proposal #53)
• $89.8 million for capital projects and other programs at North Dakota State University, including $70 million for an agronomic, pathology, and soils field lab facility, $2.2 million for high performance computing, $2.5 million for student scholarships, $11million for a campus boiler system, $3.65 million for a feed mill, and $420,000 for a transportation data intelligence center brought forth by Sen. Sorvaag (proposal #71)
• $42.25 million for a fuel production facility loan forgiveness program brought forth by Rep. Brandenburg (proposal #130)
NDCGA has submitted attached testimony in support of ARPA funds going to townships and county roads crossing and drainage improvements as well as Rep. Brandenburg’s proposal for a fuel production facility loan forgiveness program, as per the board’s earlier policy direction during regular session. In addition, see attached testimony from the North Dakota Water Resource Districts Association in support of Sen. Wanzek’s road crossing legislation. A full list of proposals can be found here. Video replay of this week’s meetings can be accessed here: Interim House and Senate Appropriations meetings 10/19/2021 and Interim House and Senate Appropriations meetings 10/20/2021 Next week’s legislative action can be viewed here: ND interim state legislative meetings October 2021