BISMARCK — The North Dakota Emergency Commission will vote on Thursday, June 18, whether to distribute more than $400 million in federal funds to state agencies responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The commission will evaluate the requests of 40 different agencies and institutions of higher education that are looking for a piece of the state's CARES Act funding. Back in March, Congress allocated $1.25 billion to North Dakota from the massive $2.2-trillion relief package.
Job Service North Dakota, which has sent unemployment checks to thousands of residents during the outbreak, is asking for the biggest slice of funding at $200 million. The Department of Commerce is requesting nearly $69.7 million, while North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota will look to get about $19.8 million and $13.6 million, respectively.
The Industrial Commission is seeking about $33.2 million in funding as part of a two-part plan to fund the plugging and reclamation of abandoned oil wells. The plan is meant to keep several hundred workers employed during turbulent times in the Oil Patch.
The commission approved the distribution of more than $500 million in CARES Act funding a month ago when most of money went to programs providing economic support to businesses and individuals hit hard by the pandemic. The remainder of the state's portion of the package sits on deposit at the Bank of North Dakota.
The all-Republican commission is made up of Gov. Doug Burgum, Secretary of State Al Jaeger and four legislative leaders.
If the commission votes in favor of the proposed distribution, the Legislature's Budget Section would also have a say at its meeting the following week.