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March 3, 2017

The North Dakota Legislature reached Crossover Day on Friday, Feb. 24, with approved Senate bills moving to the House for consideration and approved House bills moving to the Senate.

Some bills are passed as is by the other legislative body, but those where there are differences—be it changes in language or more substantial differences, including appropriation levels—are ironed out in conference committees with members of each body participating. The new versions coming out of conference then require approval by each body.

Of primary concern to VCSU is the higher education appropriations bill, SB 2003, which has moved from the Senate to the House. That bill will get considerable attention in the House, likely move to conference committee and be one of the last bills to come out of the legislature.

The appropriations bill in its current state at crossover calls for roughly an 80 percent budget for the 2017–19 biennium, based on the 2015–17 budget. Higher education institutions in the North Dakota University System had already been asked to submit a 90 percent budget (in our case, a $2.77 million reduction) at the beginning of the legislative session, so now our task at VCSU is to come up with an additional 9.4 percent, or $2.4 million, budget reduction for the biennium.

VCSU’s proposed Communication and Fine Arts Building, which would replace Foss and McCarthy halls, is not a part of the higher education appropriation bill under consideration, but legislative discussions continue on the topic of capital projects in the NDUS system, including the VCSU project.

NDUS staff continue to monitor legislative activity carefully and share information with President Mason and other system presidents and key administrators weekly via conference call. Legislative tracking info can be found at inside.ndus.edu/legislative (log in with your system password).