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North Dakota Senate passes federal shutdown relief bill

The North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck. Photo illustration by Troy Becker

BISMARCK — The North Dakota Senate easily passed legislation Tuesday, Jan. 29, mandating the state-owned bank to guarantee loans made by financial institutions to federal workers in the state who are affected by a government shutdown.

The emergency measure now moves to House after it sailed through the Senate in a 41-4 vote. It requires the Bank of North Dakota to implement the loan guarantee program during and for 30 days after a federal shutdown.

As passed by the Senate, the bill would only be effective during the two-year budget cycle that starts in July, but it could be amended in the House.

The longest shutdown in U.S. history ended just a few days ago, but another one looms in the coming weeks. The recent shutdown centered on President Donald Trump's demands for funding his long-promised wall along the Mexican border.

Roughly 800,000 federal employees across the country were on unpaid leave or working without pay during the shutdown. As of last week, about 300 of the nearly 2,000 federal workers in North Dakota affected by shutdown had filed unemployment insurance claims, Job Service North Dakota previously said.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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