N.D. LEGISLATURE: Legislature approves financial help for oil counties
BISMARCK -- Money to help the state's stressed infrastructure and provide some relief in oil country is one signature away from being official. The state House voted 91-0 on Tuesday to approve the Department of Transportation budget. This include...
BISMARCK -- Money to help the state's stressed infrastructure and provide some relief in oil country is one signature away from being official.
The state House voted 91-0 on Tuesday to approve the Department of Transportation budget.
This includes $370.6 million in one-time funding for oil counties and $60 million in one-time funding for the non-oil producing counties.
The oil money is slated to be split so $142 million goes to townships and counties and $228.6 million goes to state highways in the state's oil-producing counties.
As for the non-oil county money, $35 million will go out by July, with the other $25 million for the 2011-13 biennium.
Eighty percent will go to counties and cities and 20 percent to townships. The money will be allocated using the highway distribution formula.
The bill now goes to Gov. Jack Dalrymple for his signature.
Lawmakers are still struggling to find common ground on a bill related to abstinence education in schools.
A committee of House and Senate members will meet a third time to try to find a resolution.
The House thinks abstinence education should be left to local school districts to determine. Those legislators want a bill that simply directs school districts to ensure their health curriculum includes teaching students about abstinence-based concepts.
However, the Senate approved a bill that would require schools to ensure their health curriculum has as its objective to teach the benefits of abstaining from sexual activity.
The Senate version includes specific criteria for the curriculum.
The committee is scheduled to meet again on Friday.
Higher ed budget
The state Senate voted 40-7 on Tuesday to approve its version of the higher education budget.
The approved bill is the same as the proposal from the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill restores $6.6 million to limit tuition increases and $10 million for equity funding that the House cut.
Appropriations Chairman Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, said the Senate's proposal is an 8.7 percent general fund increase from last biennium, or an additional $51 million in general fund money.
The Senate's version of House Bill 1003 allocates $644.7 million for higher education for 2011-13, compared to the $615.4 million approved by the House. The governor recommended $648.2 million.
The bill now goes to the House for review and will most likely go to conference committee where the House and Senate will work out their differences over the bill.
Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.