North Dakota lawmakers received an official memo outlining tentative dates for an upcoming special session. The session is necessary to approve new district lines and appropriate federal money provided through the American Rescue Plan. They’ll have a lot to accomplish in very little time.

North Dakota is set to receive over $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden earlier this year. The rescue plan passed Congress along party lines. North Dakota’s three Republican Congressional delegation – John Hoeven, Kevin Cramer, and Kelly Armstrong – voted against the relief. State Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner was appreciative of the Democratic passage. Wardner told Prairie Public Radio, “The ‘Prairie Dog’ didn’t come in from the Oil Patch this time, but he flew in from Washington.” He was referring to promised investments that hadn’t been fulfilled with state dollars being bailed out by federal dollars. Now is the time to be creative with the federal dollars.

The committee tasked with drawing new district lines has begun to release proposed changes to the legislative map. Thanks to the work of North Dakota Voters First, the public has access to see these proposals rather than being left in the dark. As we’ve noted before, expect the final proposal to draw the ire from some of ND’s fringe GOP lawmakers. Reasonable Republicans are looking to rid themselves of the extreme members and this process is a tool to accomplish that desire. If some of the early proposals are any indication, expect a lively NDGOP primary in select rural parts of the state.

Whether or not other lawmakers attempt to inject their own agenda into the special session is yet to be known. Don’t be surprised if pandemic mandates and reproductive rights are brought up in delayed bills. Both of which could extend the stay of legislators in Bismarck and cost taxpayers even more. Stay with NDx for more updates on the upcoming special session.

Tyler Axness
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