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House passes Parks and Rec measure with $5 million for Peace Garden improvements

2009-0521-ND-StateCapitol_6.jpg

The House has passed the budget bill for the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department.

But one section of the bill generated some floor debate.

It’s a $5 million one-time enhancement to the International Peace Garden, to allow it to build a new greenhouse for its cactus collection.

"If I want to see cactuses, I will go down to Arizona," said Rep. Daniel Johnston (R-Kathryn). "We don't have a revenue problem -- we have a spending problem. When most of our nursing homes are operating at a loss, and we fund junk like this, we're ripping the North Dakota taxpayer off."

But Rep. Jon Nelson (R-Rugby) told the Senate the Peace Garden has a “world class” cactus collection, and the greenhouse is just part of the one-time spending project.

"People in our part of the state are very proud of it," Nelson said.

The bill passed 61 to 29. It will now be returned to the Senate for further work.

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