Letter: Senators busy working on bills
Greetings from your District 36 senator. I would like to give you an update for the month of March.
We have come to the time where we have taken action on most of the House bills. This is the beginning of the time when the pressure is somewhat off for all senators who are not on the Appropriations Committee.
The Appropriations Committee is now under the gun to work on the money bills and refer them to the full Senate for their vote. After this, we will then go into the conference committees to work out the amendments between the Senate and the House bills. I should be assigned to a conference committee at this time. It will be interesting!
The Federal Stimulus program has created some headaches for the legislature as it has so many strings attached to the program. The latest dollar amount that North Dakota could receive is around $650 million.
Some of us have suggested that we transition (set aside) up to $341 million of our state surplus money we now have into the next biennium and use the stimulus money to replace it. Others say we should spend all of it. This may be one of our biggest debates until the end of the session. Isn't that interesting -- we have too much money to fight over instead of too little money to fund all the programs.
I believe we should set aside every dollar we can to protect our state government and get through the projected tough times in the next two years. Anything can happen! As I write this letter, we are experiencing devastating floods in our state. We will need some of this surplus money to help these towns, farms and people get back to a normal life.
Please contact me with your thoughts. I can be reached by phone at the Capital at 1-888-635-3447 or by e-mail at email@example.com.