Gov. Jack Dalrymple today signed into law House Bills 1012 and 1020, important legislation that will enhance North Dakota's quality of life by providing services to the state's most vulnerable citizens and investing in North Dakota's water supply, and flood protection and water management projects. Dalrymple was joined by legislators and other state officials during a signing ceremony at the state Capitol.
"These two bills reflect historic investments in our people, especially our most vulnerable citizens, and in our infrastructure to ensure that our communities have access to reliable, quality water supplies and permanent flood protection," Dalrymple said. "I am pleased to sign these bills into law and congratulate everyone who played a role in passing this important legislation for our state."
House Bill 1012 allocates more than $2.9 billion for the North Dakota Department of Human Services, with $1.2 billion of that allocation coming from the General Fund. This budget includes an increase of more than $93 million to take over what the federal government used to cover for the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), which funds Medicaid and other department programs.
This bill provides valuable services to North Dakotans, especially the state's most vulnerable citizens, such as seniors and the disabled, and provides additional funding for healthcare providers, including critical access hospitals and rural health clinics.
Highlights of the legislation include:
- An investment of more than $4 million in home and community-based care services to help seniors remain in their homes longer. Additional funding will be available for senior meals, mileage reimbursements for Qualified Service Providers, and in-home services for seniors and others with extended care needs.
- An increase of $2.2 million for additional bed capacity for the transitional living program and long-term residential program for individuals with mental illness and chemical dependency issues.
- A wage and inflationary increase of more than $123 million for staff and service providers to help remain competitive in North Dakota's growing economy and maintain a high standard of care across the state. An investment of $2.7 million to assure that reimbursements for critical access hospitals and rural health clinics are closer to their actual costs.
House Bill 1020 is the State Water Commission budget, which allocates more than half a billion dollars from the Resources Trust Fund. This historic level of funding supports permanent flood control in communities across the state, as well as infrastructure to bring fresh water to households and to industry in our growing Western communities.
Of the many projects identified in the bill, highlights include:
- The Western Area Water Supply (WAWS) will receive $40 million for the Williston Water Treatment Plant expansion, as well as an additional $79 million to expand the fresh water supply into rural areas and communities in western North Dakota. This brings the total WAWS project funding to nearly $230 million.
- The Southwest Pipeline Project is allocated $79 million to move forward with construction of transmission lines in Dunn and Oliver Counties from the new water treatment plant near Zap, an upgrade of the Dickinson Water Treatment Plant, and expansion of the raw water transmission. Funding will also expand rural water supplies.
- To enhance water supply statewide, $96 million will fund the Northwest Area Water Supply ($14 million), the Red River Valley Water Supply project ($11 million), and several rural water supply district expansions, treatment plant upgrades and improvements, and system storage or pump station improvements.
- $100 million will fund permanent flood protection in Fargo and surrounding communities.
- $61 million will go toward permanent flood protection in Minot, including planning, design, engineering, and home acquisitions.
- $31 million will support both Sheyenne River and Devils Lake flood control. On the Sheyenne, $21 million will be used for permanent flood control projects in Valley City, Lisbon, and Fort Ransom, including property acquisitions, and flood walls and levees. For Devils Lake, $10 million will continue operations of the east and west end outlets that continue reducing water levels and flooding.
- For general water management statewide, House Bill 1020 includes $33 million for rural and other flood control, dam safety, repairs and reconstructions; snagging and clearing; studies and planning; and Devils Lake outlet downstream mitigation.
"As progress is made with each water project, there is no doubt that we will see the benefits," Dalrymple said. "It all relates back to quality of life. For generations, North Dakota has been the best state to live, work and raise a family. These water projects will play a significant role in ensuring that, while we may be growing and in some respects changing, our reputation for a great quality of life continues for generations to come."
In total, House Bill 1020 provides $515 million to support flood control, water management and water supply needs across North Dakota.