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Senate approves spending ARPA money

The state Senate has approved the spending plan for just over $1 billion of federal Coronavirus relief money.

The dollars will go toward various projects.

But an attempt was made to take money for college buildings out of the measure.

Sen. Janne Myrdal (R-Edinburg)made the motion to remove the buildings. She told the Senate she’s not anti-higher education, but believed those buildings needed further review.

"When there's money available, we run to it like molasses in a trough," Myrdal said. "I have lots of horses, and if I put molasses out there, they're all going to run to it, whether they're fat, or whether they need it or not."

But Sen. Dick Dever (R-Bismarck) believes using the money for one-time projects like these is appropriate.

"When I looked at Section 14 of the bill, I thought that hall was in pretty good shape when I was there," Dever said. "That was some time ago. Now my grandkids are about ready to go there, I hope, and I think they deserve to have as good a facility as I did."

Section 14 of the bill appropriates up to $50 million for the renovation of UND’s Merrifield Hall.

Myrdal’s attempt failed, and the bill passed on a 41 to 6 vote.