House rejects funding mechanism for a new state radio system

Mar 24, 2017

Rep. Rick C. Becker (R-Bismarck).
Credit ND Legislature

The House has rejected a bill to fund an upgrade of the state’s law enforcement and first responders radio system.

The issue of interoperability has been aroud for years. The new system would allow different agencies to talk to each other. It has a large price tag -- $172 million. With a tight state budget, supporters proposed funding the upgrade through a surcharge on such things as traffic fines and other court costs. The surcharge would double those fines.

Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck) said this project should be funded through state general funds – and not by these kinds of surcharges.

"If that's how we're going to fund things to make our lives as legislators easier, we can be like Oprah Winfrey," said Becker. "'You get a surcharge! You get a surcharge!' It's not the way to do it."

The bill failed on a 56 to 35 vote.