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Published April 17, 2009, 07:20 AM

Session notes: Horse slaughter

Legislators have given final approval to spending $50,000 in state funds to study building a horse slaughter plant in the state. The House took final action Thursday on House Bill 1496, which passed 86-5 The $50,000 was appropriated to the state Department of Commerce, which is to determine whether a horse slaughter plant is feasible, what the costs would be of constructing a new plant or converting an existing facility, how it could be financed.

By: By Janell Cole, N.D. Capitol Bureau, The Jamestown Sun

BISMARCK — Legislators have given final approval to spending $50,000 in state funds to study building a horse slaughter plant in the state.

The House took final action Thursday on House Bill 1496, which passed 86-5

The $50,000 was appropriated to the state Department of Commerce, which is to determine whether a horse slaughter plant is feasible, what the costs would be of constructing a new plant or converting an existing facility, how it could be financed.

The final bill creates a check-off system that calls for $5 from each horse slaughtered to be used to pay back the $50,000 study. Once that is paid, the income from the check-off would then be split three ways, with the horse study programs at Dickinson State University and North Dakota State University each getting 40 percent and the final 20 percent for public or private groups doing equine research or offering “hippotherapy” to persons with disabilities.

In separate voting, the Senate took final action approving a resolution urging Congress “to recognize the need for the United States Department of Agriculture inspection and regulation of horses processing facilities in the United States and to allow the transportation and processing of horses and the marketing and exportation of wholesome horse meat.”

It is Senate Concurrent Resolution 4021. It passed on a voice vote.

The bill and resolution were introduced because the last few horse slaughter plants in the nation recently closed up because the USDA is no longer inspecting them.

The bill goes to the governor for signature. The resolution is to be forwarded to Congress.

DAY CARE PILOTS OK

The House on Thursday gave final passage to a bill meant to spur more workers and quality improvement in childcare facilities.

House Bill 1418 funds pilot projects, which may use federal child care funds in the federal stimulus bill. The bill passed 77-15 and now goes to the governor for signature.

It calls for the state Human Services Department to provide “training opportunities leading to credentials” and a voluntary quality improvement process for licensed facilities that could create higher reimbursement rates for participating providers.

The program may provide technical assistance and grants to support to people who want to start a new program or expand existing capacity.

“It is a start in trying to do an infrastructure for quality child care, to be there for people, to help with training to help both centers and home-based providers,” said the bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo.

Hawken has been working on bills providing incentives for child care facilities for more than 10 years, mostly to no avail.

HEALTH STUDY KILLED

The House defeated Thursday a proposed study of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, sponsored the bill, which passed the Senate 44-3 lat week.

The House voted it down 61-31.

ROOSEVELT

QUARTER ENDORSED

The House has given final action to a resolution “urging the secretary of the treasury to authorize the placement of the image of President Theodore Roosevelt on quarters in a national parks quarter coin series. It is Senate Concurrent Resolution 4034. It was part of the House’s consent calendar on Thursday.

Cole works for Forum

Communications Co., which owns The Jamestown Sun

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