budget section | Prairie Public Broadcasting

budget section

Some members of the Legislature’s Budget Section believe lawmakers should have had more of a say in how federal money from the CARES Act is spent.

That act provided North Dakota with $1.25 billion for COVID-19 –related spending.

The state’s Emergency Commission is made up of Gov. Doug Burgum, Secretary of State Al Jaeger, and the majority leaders and Appropriations Committee chairs of both chambers of the Legislature, all Republicans. The Commission makes decisions on how to divvy up that money, and the Budget Section can only vote “yes” or “no” on those expenditures.

The Legislature has overridden Gov. Doug Burgum's veto of a bill dealing with the Legislature's Budget Section.

The Budget Section is a 42 member committee, made up of members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, plus the floor leaders from both chambers. In a lawsuit, Burgum argued it was an unconstitutional grant of spending authority to a subset of the Legislature.

In his opinion, Chief Justice Gerald Vandewalle wrote that the Legislature needed to set some parameters on the powers and duties of the Budget Section.

An interim committee will be taking an in-depth look at the duties and responsibilities of the Legislature’s Budget Section.

The Budget Section is made up of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as both parties’ floor leaders. Its roles have expanded over the years, and some critics say it is a mini-Legislature.