The Legislature’s Procedures and Arrangements Committee has voted to spend $750,000 of federal money to wire Legislative committee rooms and the two chambers for remote access.
The money comes from the federal “CARES Act.” It will be a line item in the Information Technology budget.
"I'm optimistic that we're going to be meeting, just like we have always met, in person," said the Commitee chairman, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson). "However, we do need to have a back-up, in case something comes up that we're not aware of."
The plan is to have the rewiring and other work done soon – in case Gov. Doug Burgum calls a special session to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Already, some Interim meetings have been done remotely. Legislative Council executive director Jon Bjornson told the Committee that later next month and into July, there will likely be more in-person meetings, as conditions warrant.