Okay, Day 48 of what some are saying will be a 72 day session and the dragged-back subsurface water management bill had extensive hearings on Day 47 and a decision Friday. The Senate Ag committee amended out that tilers don’t have to notify their Water Resource Districts if the project is less than 80 acres and draining into their own slough. If draining into an assessed drain, you still would have to report. No permit, just let em know. So HB1437 will go back on the Calendar with a 6-0 Do Pass Rec.
HB1475 has been through the meat grinder and now looks like $20 million will be at the Bank of North Dakota (BND). This iteration would look at projects like any bank would vet a proposal and if they think an ag processing or value added item looks good, but could use a little more help they can refer it to the newly formed Ag Diversification and Development Fund. The board running the fund could use up to 25 percent of the dollars from the BND pot for grants. The rest would be in the form of interest buy downs or loans. If it passes the Senate it will be in Conference Committee as it will be different than the House version. Same with HB1437, BTW.
Friday, NDSU Research and Extension’s budget (SB2020) was being discussed by House Appropriations Education and Environment subcommittee when Chairman Monson got some pushback on cutting $1 million for what he called “negotiating purposes”. Longtime member Rep. Bob Martinson decided to break his traditional silence and stand up for ND Agriculture. You can watch it yourself like all committees, but he said something to the effect of “Agriculture is what we do in this state. Why do we want to cut it?” Pretty cool and if you have watched as much Netflix as you can handle, check it out. It still has to go to the whole committee before heading to the Floor.