Longest Session into Its Final Hours - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Longest Session into Its Final Hours

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Donnell Preskey is at the Capitol waiting to hear more on an alternative property tax relief bill.

In the meantime -- this has been a long session all those involved.

She standing by live -- with more on what this final day has been like..

With the big 8-0 starring lawmakers in the face, legislators slowly chip away at the dozen or so remaining bills.

It's a little bit of a hurry up and wait on this last day of the longest legislative session in history.

Representative Dan Ruby says, "If it takes us 80 days to do something right then we'll use the days. I feel much better doing that than leaving early and not being happy with some of the final bills we are working on."

While they wait to give their last approval or have their final say on some of the big ticket items remaining. Lawmakers reflect on their 80 days inside these chambers...

"Some of the infrastructure things doing, taking care of roads and needs for western North Dakota and all over the state," says Ruby.

Senator Kelly Armstrong of Dickinson says, "take care of western North Dakota as far as infrastructure. I'm proud of 1358, I think that will help out west."

The large surplus has allowed legislators to fund many one time projects, improve roads and help residents in ways the state couldn't afford in the past.

Senator Larry Robinson of Valley City says, "the medicade expansion, something very, very positive for our elderly and vulnerable citizens, help for nursing homes and DD providers, the $500 million in water projects is positive."

Ruby says, "If people look at our budget they're going to say it's certainly a very large percentage increase."

"We are going to move things down the road a long ways because of the revenue we have available," says Robinson.

Many budget requests were brought forward this session because of the state's large surplus, some of those ideas were funded, some not to the level expected.

"I think the biggest message when I go home is that there's a lot of work that still needs to be done. I don't think people's needs for property tax cuts have been met, there's still a huge childcare crisis in North Dakota," says Representative Marie Strinden of Grand Forks.

In the end, lawmakers will have decided how to spend $13 billion. And they say the people of North Dakota will notice.

Representative Curt Kreun of Grand Forks says, "It'll all come out and I think it will be positive, it won't be perfect, but it will be a good positive aspect for North Dakota."

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