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Legislative Report District 22: Session reaching benchmark milestone regarding fiscal impact related bills

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By Sen. Gary Lee

The Legislature is reaching another important benchmark this coming week. All bills with money or that have a fiscal impact must be reported out of the Policy Committee’s by Monday, Feb. 11. The Committee on Appropriations will then have a very busy couple of weeks getting them to the Senate floor before the crossover deadline. The first month of the Session has gone by quickly.

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This week the Governor signed SB 2176 which will make $720 million immediately available for state highway and road improvement projects. I am proud to be one of the bill’s sponsors. The appropriation invests $620 million for major highway improvement projects in North Dakota’s oil producing region and other areas of the State.

The bill also includes $100 million for cities, counties and townships outside the 17 non oil producing counties. It is estimated Cass County will receive over $15 million from this distribution.

The bill was fast tracked through the Senate and House receiving unanimous support. With an emergency clause included, the bill took effect with Governor Dalrymple’s signature. Without this priority action the law would not have gone into effect until July 1, well into the construction season. This quick action allows the early bidding of projects, gives contractors an opportunity to order material and even allows movement of equipment before road restrictions are in place.

With the infrastructure needs across our state, this type of legislation makes good sense.

District 22 Legislator’s will have public forums in Casselton at the City Hall on February 16 and March 16 starting at 10 a.m. The forums are open to the public. We would encourage and enjoy having you come to share your questions.

It is always enjoyable to have students visit the Capital. This week Able Nelson stopped for a visit and sat with me during the Senate session on Monday.

District 22 Legislators can best be reached by e-mail at: wbelter@nd.gov, psilbernagel@nd.gov, galee@nd.gov.

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