16 Nov 2021 Legislative Special Session Update
The Special Session of the North Dakota Legislature concluded on Nov. 12 after five days, during which the House and Senate appropriated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, approved legislative redistricting, provided income tax relief to North Dakota residents and wrestled with COVID-19 and social issues. Gov. Doug Burgum called the Special Session to deal specifically with ARPA funds and redistricting. Of the 26 other bills introduced by legislators, eight were ultimately approved by the Delayed Bills Committee and heard by the Joint Technical Corrections Committee, including legislation dealing with mandatory vaccinations and the teaching of Critical Race Theory. Burgum signed all passed bills on Monday, Nov. 15.
Central to the session was appropriating ARPA funds distributed to the state by the federal government for coronavirus relief. SB 2345 appropriated $571 million to infrastructure and one-time spending projects and $150 million for a natural gas pipeline that will take natural gas from western to eastern North Dakota. Nearly $400 million more was used to cover commitments made during the 2021 legislative session, leaving more than $60 million to be used by the 2023 legislature. A summary can be found here.