Monday was the first day of North Dakota’s special session, and Bismarck Rep. Mike Nathe who spearheaded a popular bill during the regular session to allocate Legacy Fund dollars for in-state investing introduced a bill aimed at speeding up the process.
House Bill 1425, which passed in the legislature with overwhelming support, allocates 20% of the Legacy Fund for in-state investing. The first 10% goes toward infrastructure. The other 10%, which has been at the center of recent media attention, is devoted to equity allocations.
The first 3% of the equity tract, however, has already been spoken for: it’s going toward venture capital investments. The remaining 7%, which is estimated between $700-800 million dollars, is meant for much bigger projects.
Nathe says the process for applying for the 7% percent has been slowed down because of mismanagement by the Legacy Fund advisory board.
“Legacy advisory board is up here. They set kinda the policy and direction and the State Investment Board (SIB) is below it. The problem with this right now is the Legacy advisory board has not given any directions to SIB, what to do with that 7%. We passed this bill eight months ago, eight months ago. You name one other law that we passed that nothings happened, eight months ago, nothing has moved,” Nathe said.
Nathe’s amendment would establish the “in-state impact investment committee,” consisting of the governor, state treasurer, insurance commissioner – or their designees. The committee would supersede the Legacy Fund advisory board with the goal of speeding up the process.
“Every month that we do not invest in our in-state businesses, every month that money then goes to different companies around the country. Different companies around the world. All the while our North Dakota businesses are circling and there’s nobody to talk to,” explained Nathe.
The bill passed in the delayed bills committee by a vote of 4 to 1.