Ag-related issues are going to be some of the last to be dealt with as far as I can tell. Neither animal feeding operations (2345), automatic trespass (2315) nor 2346 (grain licensing) have met in conference committee. It would be more surprising than Tiger Woods winning the Masters if any of those three are done in two, let alone one conference. It is day 67 and they want to save 5 or 6 from the 80 days allowed because people see vetoes coming.
I spent some time in the second conference today for 1383 which is a wind energy mitigation bill. Maybe they can wrap it up in 4 or 5 meetings, but what will come out is hard to predict, so I am not going to prognosticate. I also attended a conference which combined the two bills on skilled workforce development. 1171 combines its idea of providing forgivable loans for college students entering into fields where there is a great need in ND such as welders, mechanics, etc., with the other bill which did the same thing except instead of loans it was grants. We are competing with all of our surrounding states who offer money like this to those people who take those classes and wish to make a living like that. This is our state’s attempt to even the playing field on getting young people to stay and work in ND.
My day ended around 5 having just left an hour long conference on 1020 which is trying to reconcile the House and Senate versions of funding Research and Extension, the NCI and UGPTI. Basically, the House took the Governor’s recommendations when money was cut and ignored them when any raise in funding was proposed. The Senate was restoring money from the last couple of session cuts or at least trying to hold even so that those aforementioned entities suffered no further cuts. They will have to hash it out.