House passes commerce budget despite concerns over homeless grants
BISMARCK — House lawmakers voted Thursday, April 6 to move homeless shelter grants into a discretionary fund, a move that some Democrats warned could harm North Dakota's efforts to address homelessness.
The House passed the budget bill for the Department of Commerce in a 66-25 vote Thursday. It includes $29.9 million in general fund spending, reducing it almost to 2007-09 levels, said Rep. Roscoe Streyle, R-Minot.
Lawmakers have been looking to trim budgets in the face of reduced tax revenue, and the House has passed several spending bills in recent days that have attracted debate.
Much of the discussion Thursday morning centered on the homeless shelter grants, which the Senate proposed funding at $300,000. The House's version of the bill lists no money set aside for the grants, but Streyle was quick to point out that they proposed shifting that into a discretionary fund worth $1.5 million.