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'Prairie Dog' infrastructure bill now in the Senate; could be fast-tracked

The so-called “Prairie Dog” infrastructure bill gets its first Senate hearing Tuesday in the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee.

The bill creates a new “bucket” for oil tax money to provide a permanent source of money for city, county and township infrastructure needs.

It overwhelmingly passed the House, just before crossover.

Sen. Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said once it gets through Finance and Tax, the Senate Appropriations Committee will look at it – and if all goes well, it’ll go through the Senate unchanged from what the House passed.

"There's really no reason to keep it around very long," Wardner said. "Let's get it moved on."

And Wardner said as it passed the House, the bill is in "very good shape."

"Contrary to what people said on the floor of the House, I'm telling you -- this is not a re-election bill," Wardner said, referring to remarks made by Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck). "The bill was put together by people out here in the trenches."

Wardner said local governments statewide outside the Oil Patch have many infrastructure needs.

"They need to get things up to par so we can attract people to this state," Wardner said. "If you have infrastructure, streets that are broken, they aren't going to come. You have to have good infrastructure, and you have to have good schools -- and we have to keep working on that."

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