A Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you, especially if you don’t need to travel. One of the benefits of being in the Capitol building is that from time to time, you can get some good fresh information. The example today is that I bumped into the Director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) who told me that the weather was so bad around Jamestown and east that they were pulling snow plows off I-94 because they couldn’t see. Again.
There are a few bills that are trying to help our state get animal feeding operations and related businesses going. HB 1437 gives some aid to counties and townships where updating zoning is a concern; thus, proposing money for counties and township boards while also providing opportunities for those political subs to indicate if they wish to participate in such endeavors. Counties, townships, the Ag Department, Economic Development Association, Farmer’s Union, Farm Bureau, Corn, Ethanol and your NDSGA were amongst those testifying in favor today to give dollars to help. Only the Dakota Resource Council was opposed. The Senate Ag Committee will act next week on that bill, I presume.
SB 2329 met a quick death on the House Floor today after having passed the Senate and having an overwhelmingly positive hearing the other day in House Finance and Tax. But leadership has evidently told legislators that township road and bridge funding would be taken care of elsewhere. The Appropriations committees heard from two economic advisory firms this week, each saying that state revenues were going to stay flat. That had a sobering effect on spending, I guess. Another week or two of hearings for some committees and then it will be Conference Committee time. More on that later.
You may not know about the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (UGPTI), an elite transportation research center we have in our state....