BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum on Wednesday signed his first piece of legislation since becoming North Dakota’s 33rd governor on Dec. 15.
Senate Bill 2174 authorizes the adjutant general, as head of the Department of Emergency Services, to borrow up to $8 million from the state-owned Bank of North Dakota to defray law enforcement costs related to unlawful activity associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
The state Emergency Commission previously approved $17 million in borrowing authority to cover protest-related costs. The bill signed Wednesday increases the total borrowing authority to $25 million.
It also authorizes the adjutant general to borrow up to $3 million from the Bank of North Dakota to provide a grant to a county for extraordinary costs related to protest activities, which have occurred mainly in Morton County.
Gov. Burgum signed the bill into law at 10:55 a.m. Wednesday. Because of its emergency clause, the bill takes effect immediately.
The bill directs the adjutant general to request a deficiency appropriation from the Legislature to repay the bank for the amount borrowed, plus interest.
The legislation was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford, House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, and House Minority Leader Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks.