BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum on Friday, April 26, signed a two-year budget for his office with provisions for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library at Medora.
"It's going to have impact longer than a generation," Burgum said at a signing ceremony with North Dakota lawmakers. "It's going to have impact that goes beyond a city or a region, and it's going to be a national and international impact."
The long-pondered library concept became Burgum's biggest legislative push this session.
Lawmakers proposed provisions for at least four bills for the library, finally attaching it in amendments to the governor's office budget while mandating Burgum take a salary. The former Microsoft executive pledged as a candidate in 2016 to decline his pay.
The House on Wednesday passed a conference committee's amendments to the budget bill in a 70-22 vote after its 34-13 Senate passage.
Supporters of the library praised it as a "legacy project" with future impact as a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. Opponents criticized its funding mechanism and pointed to other items as more pressing.
Legislative leaders joined Burgum in giving remarks, with Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, emphasizing the library as a legacy project despite no Legacy Fund dollars involved, as Burgum had originally proposed.
Burgum proposed the library as the flagship of his nine proposals for projects using $300 million in Legacy Fund earnings. It quickly became his biggest lobbying point — testifying twice on his plan and hosting legislative receptions with guests such as Theodore Roosevelt V.
But the library passed with no Legacy Fund earnings involved. The amendments involve an endowment fund for operation and maintenance built from $15 million in combined excess funds and authorization for a $35 million loan.
That money is only available after $100 million in cash or pledged donations are raised. Burgum previously told the Bismarck Tribune of $52 million of "generation indications" so far for the project.
Additionally, $10 million of the $100 million to be raised would go to Dickinson State University for ongoing digitization of Roosevelt's papers and records and for a scholarship program.
The city of Dickinson also will receive $300,000 for previous planning expenses related to the library before its concept moved to Medora in 2018.
Burgum's signing came as lawmakers aimed to wrap up their work on day 76 of their 80-day limited session.
He declined to comment on how he may use his $274,112 two-year salary, saying he has until July 1 to decide.