Highway Patrol compromise reached

UPDATED 5:10 p.m.: The House approved the budget late Monday afternoon. The Senate must now review it. BISMARCK–The group of legislators negotiating the Highway Patrol budget reached a compromise this morning.

The revised bill restores the three FTE trooper positions that the House cut and provides funding for two additional motor carrier positions in western North Dakota to enforce size and weight limitations of trucks.

Funding for State Fleet Services mileage is restored to reflect an estimated mileage rate of 61 cents per mile for Highway Patrol vehicles. This was the governor’s recommendation.

Lawmakers and the Highway Patrol agreed to delay immediate plans for a shooting range and emergency vehicle operations course.

Instead, legislators will study during the interim the feasibility of relocating the Highway Patrol Training Academy or portions of the academy. The study must review options for relocating the emergency vehicle operations training course and options for constructing a shooting range. Legislators would then take any action during the 2013 session.

Sen. Karen Krebsbach, R-Minot, said she had been set on getting the emergency vehicle training course funded this session but decided a long-range plan was needed.

Legislators have assurance the city of Bismarck will hold land offered to the Highway Patrol, she said.

The bill also includes $1.2 million for a digital radio equipment upgrade.