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Legislative leaders discussing 'fast-tracking' some bills

Senate Majority Leader David Hogue (R-Minot)
Legislative Council
Senate Majority Leader David Hogue (R-Minot)

North Dakota Legislative leaders are discussing “fast-tracking” a handful of bills, so that they would pass before the legislature’s crossover.

Senate Majority Leader David Hogue (R-Minot) said says one concerns emergency snow relief for counties.

He said Gov. Burgum mentioned it in his "State of the State" address.

"I think the Legislature is very sympathetic to some of the counties that have been overwhelmed by Mother Nature," Hogue said.

Hogue said if the counties have exceeded their road maintenance budgets by more than 200 percent, the state is willing to help them with a portion of the additional snow removal expenses that exceed the 200 percent threshold.

Another fast-track measure could be to allow Bank of North Dakota loans to cover construction costs for local career academies. Those were to be paid for through federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars. But Hogue said those monies have not yet come through.

"The idea of an expedited bill would be to authorize the Bank of North Dakota to extend a line of credit," Hogue said. "So those career and technical education centers have the resources they need, so they can start construction this year."

Hogue said in addition, another $40 million would be made available for those academies, because of construction inflation.

And Hogue said there could be some money going toward a popular Bank of North Dakota program — which is an interest rate buy-down program, called "PACE."

"The Bank is out of money for that program," Hogue said. "They're looking for a $20 million authorization to take them through the end of this biennium."

Hogue said those discussions are on-going, and other matters may be added to that list of fast-tracked bills.

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