North Dakota Legislature: Higher ed budget taking shape
BISMARCK - Lawmakers charged with finalizing the state's higher education budget agreed to a few campus projects on Monday. This includes funding for the Rhoades Science Center at Valley City State University and the Bisek Hall renovation and add...
BISMARCK - Lawmakers charged with finalizing the state's higher education budget agreed to a few campus projects on Monday.
This includes funding for the Rhoades Science Center at Valley City State University and the Bisek Hall renovation and addition project at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton. Each project will receive $10.5 million.
The committee also approved $5 million in general funds for a geothermal energy project at Minot State University.
The committee of three House members and three Senate members is still working out details on the rest of the budget.
Lawmakers negotiating the Extension Service budget wrapped up their work on Monday.
The budget provides $97 million in general funds and includes $9.5 million for the main research center greenhouse project.
Funding is provided for a state Board of Agricultural Research and Education initiative relating to livestock stewardship. Soil conservation and productivity funding is also included.
The conference committee nixed $200,000 for grape-growing research grants and did not include funding for the agronomy laboratory capital project at the Carrington Research Center.
Sen. Bill Bowman, R-Bowman, said capital project money should be available next session for the agronomy labs in Hettinger, Carrington and Langdon.
Also absent from the budget is $830,000 to expand the Gearing Up for Kindergarten program to a statewide scope. Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo, fought for the funding but failed to gain enough support.
The budget must now go to both chambers for review.
Lawmakers moved a step closer to protecting student athletes from concussions.
The state Senate approved a compromise bill on Monday that requires school districts and private schools to have concussion management programs if they sponsor or sanction athletic activities.
Students who exhibit signs of concussion must be removed from play or practice and be examined by a health care provider.
Each official, coach and athletic trainer must receive biennial training regarding the nature and risk of concussion.
Before a student is allowed to participate in athletic activity, the student and the student's parent must document that they have viewed information regarding concussions incurred by students participating in athletic activities.
The bill also requests a legislative study of concussion management with respect to youth athletics. The House still needs to act on the bill.
Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.