It's conference committee time at the North Dakota Capitol, when legislators in the state House and Senate negotiate the final versions of bills they've passed in their respective chambers with differing amendments.
The city of Grand Forks will be keeping an eye this week on several bills in conference committee, including House Bill 1014 for Industrial Commission funding, House Bill 1435 for funding a statewide interoperable radio (or SIRN) and Senate Bill 2020 for funding state water projects.
• HB 1014 provides funding for the North Dakota Industrial Commission, which is in charge of industries, enterprises and business projects established by state law (like the Bank of North Dakota). The Senate amended the bill on Thursday to include funding for an infrastructure revolving loan fund, which had previously been provided for in Senate Bill 2275 that the House killed in March. Grand Forks city leaders have said they support this amendment.
• HB 1435 seeks to fund the beginning phases of creating SIRN, a statewide radio system for emergency responders. When the House approved the bill, legislators there amended it to create a $120 million loan the state would take from the Bank of North Dakota to fund SIRN. The Senate amended the bill to provide a $40 million grant and an $80 million loan from the Bank of North Dakota.
• SB 2020 provides funding for several large state water projects, including the Red River Valley Water Supply Project, the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion and local water projects (city leaders expect to receive funding for the new Water Treatment plant from this bill).
Governor to sign speed limit fine bill
On Friday, the Senate agreed to accept amendments from the House on Senate Bill 2304, which allows cities and counties to set their own fines for drivers who violate local speed limits. The House amended the proposal in March, and now according to the bill fines can only be up to double what the state's fines are. City and local law enforcement leaders say they support any efforts to raise fines as a means to deter people from violating the law.