On Friday, April 30, shortly after midnight, Senator Holmberg finished explaining HB1015 – the OMB budget bill with the many riders attached. It passed unanimously and the 67th session ended. While a lot was going on these past two days, to me the most significant measure for rural ND and Agriculture was millions of dollars for township roads. As Holmberg quipped in his aforementioned carry of HB1015 which contained this money “There is $30 million of hard dollars” … for township roads. $20 million will be disbursed through the Dept. of Transportation because the director of DOT says there is a good chance to leverage that $20 million into $40 million from Federal funds. Please thank your legislators this spring and summer for their positive votes and other efforts to support you.
In blog #40, I cautioned that the Research and Extension budget, while almost a lock to be signed by the Governor, could suffer portions of it being vetoed because he does have veto power for line items in appropriation bills. More threatening is a repeat of one of the last session’s vetoes on township roads. Governor Burgum crossed out funding for the townships because of the way the money was distributed. That was a flat amount ($5,000) to each regardless of need. While most of these current dollars are based on miles maintained, there still is, I believe, $10 million on a flat per township basis. So there is a chance some of it could be vetoed. This could be the most successful session in modern times for your industry and I will summarize it in the June issue of The North Dakota Soybean Grower Magazine. While it is uncertain if I will ever blog about a regular legislative session again, I expect to be explaining whatever I am assigned to cover in the upcoming Interim and special sessions. Hope you all get seed in the ground soon and stay safe.