FEDERAL - LEGISLATIVE: H.R. 266– Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Late last week, the U.S. Congress passed another round of COVID-19 stimulus, passing H.R. 266, known as the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which President Trump signed into law. The legislation provides $484 billion in new funding due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was negotiated between the Trump administration and congressional leaders. It provides $310 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, which was part of the $2 trillion stimulus approved late last month and which recently ran out of money. The law allows the government to take new applicants for the program, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses that keep employees on their payroll for eight weeks. The bill sets aside $30 billion of the loan funds for banks and credit unions with $10 billion to $50 billion in assets and another $30 billion for even smaller institutions. The plan also includes $60 billion in loans and grants for the separate Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and makes farms and ranches eligible for the loans. The package also includes $25 billion for expanded testing capacity and $75 billion for hospitals and health care providers. As reported, Republicans originally wanted to pass a smaller package, but Democrats demanded more funding for hospitals and testing. Democrats did fail to secure $150 billion for aid to state and local governments, which may be part of future stimulus. Read more.
STATE - LEGISLATIVE: Tax Liens on Mineral Production – Wyoming. (Update to 3/2/20 Weekly Report) On March 24, Gov. Mark Gordon (R) signed SF 139 into law. The Act, sponsored by the Select Committee on Coal/Mineral Bankruptcies (R), amends prior law regarding enforcement of tax liens on mineral production, including provisions for perfecting tax liens, notice provisions, and amendments to the definition of “delinquent taxpayer.” The House companion bill, HB 182, did not move in favor of the Senate version which is effective July 1, 2020. Read more.
STATE - REGULATORY: Shut-In Discussions – North Dakota. On April 21, the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) met to consider what actions might be appropriate amidst the current oil market problems. Lynn Helms, director of the Oil and Gas Division of the state’s Department of Mineral Resources, told the commission about 5,000 oil wells in the state have been shut in, an approximation based on his division’s conversations with producers. Those shut-ins have cut the state’s production by almost 300,000 b/d or about 20 percent from its February average of 1.45 million b/d. Helms advised against a decision to order output pro-rationing for now. The Department of Mineral Resources will continue to monitor the market situation and gather information and plans to conduct a hearing to consider the impact of such an emergency order. NDIC has yet to announce a date for the hearing. Read more.