“North Dakota’s citizen legislators, unlike the federal government, they come to work every day and they care for all of you and they get stuff done and get it done across party lines.” Those were the words from an emotional Governor Doug Burgum on Thursday as he talked about the work the North Dakota Legislature has done to distribute $1.25 billion of emergency funds from the federal government.
“Never before has the state, in recent years, had to deal with a pandemic,” Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said.
Burgum, in his weekly press conference, noted that 33 percent of the funds provided economic support for individuals, while 31 percent provided economic support for businesses across North Dakota. 24 percent supported North Dakota’s public health and safety sector, while just 12 percent provided support for the continuation of government services.
Wardner says he was “really pleased” that a lot of the funds went to economic support for individuals and businesses, including the Payroll Protection Plan. He also says the state put $30 million into K-12 education, helping school districts and teachers by bringing resources to them.
Another big change for North Dakota is video conferencing in all the committee rooms used by the North Dakota Legislature, Wardner says. The system will have ‘a lasting benefit—transparency.’
Rep. Chet Pollert, House Majority Leader, says the state executive branch leaders met daily to brief each other on the happenings in their hometowns—because North Dakota is a citizen-led legislature. Those meetings evolved into an open dialogue between state officials and legislators.