NDSGA | Murphy’s Law 2021 #31 – Culverts Bill, Big Bonding, Getting Done

April 2, 2021

If you had heard of SB2324, it was a bill Senator Terry Wanzek brought which got a lot of Township, County and Water people talking. A matter of enforcing the law, a constituent was frustrated and pointed out an injustice when a culvert needed to be replaced or right-sized. Law states that the local government is responsible in some cases but if that political subdivision did not follow through, the only remedy was going to court. This is expensive and in the eyes of many is not how it should work. The House Political Subdivisions committee worked on it several times and did so thoughtfully, in my view. With the bill pointing to some inadequacies, it was decided that SB2324 should be wrapped into the water study embodied in SB2208 and so was defeated on the Floor today with that understanding.
HB1431 is the $1.1 billion bonding bill with Ag Products Development Center/Northern Crops Institute, Township money, DOT money, Water project funding and too much to mention it all. It had a hearing this afternoon in Senate Approps followed by airing out HB1380, the so-called Streams bill because it divides money from the Legacy Fund earnings into various paths that the Legislature can use going forward. It would begin to be used in the next biennium rather than immediately were it to pass. Legislators asked questions such as do some of these streams need spending caps? (I suppose they would be dams), why not begin now rather than wait two years? etc. Senator Brad Bekkedahl, who I know to be generally wise, circumspect and level headed, “vented” as he put it when discussing HB1380. He basically stated that he saw little or nothing in the bill which would benefit the West while the majority went to the East and the Valley Prosperity Partnership.
Both Houses are taking Friday off while mostly Approps committees may meet. It saves an official Legislative Day when they do not gavel in for floor sessions. On Monday they will begin to do two floor sessions per day and are trying to save some days to figure out how American Rescue Plan dollars may be utilized. Leadership hinted that could be in late autumn or early winter. With probably about 15 or so left, we are on Day 56 of potential 80.