'Operation Prairie Dog' in motion at the Capitol

Dec 6, 2018

“Operation Prairie Dog” is underway.

That’s the nickname for a proposal to create new “buckets” for oil tax money to fund infrastructure projects outside of the oil patch. It would affect cities, counties, airports and townships.

The bill has been now introduced in the House.

"We wanted to start in the House for a couple of different reasons," said the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Mike Nathe (R-Bismarck). "We think it might be the heavier lift of the two chambers, just because we have a bigger body (than the Senate)."

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) has been one of the main lawmakers behind the measure. But Nathe said there's a lot of support throughout the Legislature.

"I have a number of co-sponsors," Nathe said. "I could probably have had 30 sponsors, if the rules would allow."

Nathe said it is a big and bold idea.

"We have a lot of support outside the Legislature," Nathe said. "We're looking forward to getting this passed. With big, new and bold ideas such as this, it's going to take everyone to get behind it and push it forward."