Legislative Day 73 of 80. In most of the many office pools around this building, Day 74, 75 or 76 were the most popular guesses to end the session and it appears they were wrong, although there is an outside chance Friday late at night could do it.
What is getting done? Yesterday 1171 passed the Senate and is set to become law. It combines two bills which set up both a loan forgiveness and a grant system for helping skilled workforce development in our state. One must be a resident with a loan from the Bank of ND and have graduated from one of our colleges in a program judged to be serving high demand fields by a committee set up to look at that. All neighboring states have programs like this and we needed to do something to compete. With our producers needing mechanics, welders, computer people and the like, we felt it was worthy of our support.
Another huge benefit to your agricultural industry is research. 1020 is the bill which funds NDSU Ag Research and Extension. They took some double digit cuts these last two sessions and the House Appropriations committee is holding fast to cut some more at a time when ND is getting a lot of revenue and the Senate is at least trying to hold their budget even. How is it that in our state, we punish Ag research when the results that it produces brings so much better yields to you the grower? When it brings in talent and funds from around the world to ND? It strikes me as short-sighted and petty to use these crucial state budgets as bargaining chips. What is not getting done? Full funding of Ag Research and Extension. You can call someone from your district today to help if you agree.