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Building STEM Education in ND

Apr 17, 2015
ND STEM Network

A group of nearly 70 Educators from around North Dakota are meeting in West Fargo for a three-day conference focused on STEM Education in North Dakota. Reporter Todd McDonald has details...

Income and Corporate Tax Breaks Approved

Apr 17, 2015
State of North Dakota

With a final vote of 59 to 32, members of the North Dakota House have approved a bill to cut the state’s income and corporate tax rates.

Reporter Todd McDonald has details...

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Republican majorities in the state House and Senate are introducing what they describe as a “monumental” bill to overhaul oil taxes.

“The bill itself has a unique name," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo). "It;'s a 'trigger on the trigger.'”                     

Carlson of Fargo says the bill would take effect – if the so-called “large trigger” fires June First.

An early childhood education bill is on its way to Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

The Senate agreed with the House on a bill providing $3 million in grants to low income parents to send their children to pre-K educational programs. The original bill was $6 million. The House focused the money toward children who receive free or reduced cost school meals. And that was acceptable to the Senate sponsors.

Senate defeats income tax relief bill

Apr 16, 2015

03043 Income tax                                        4-16-15 ddt

The state Senate has killed a bill to give further individual and corporate income tax relief.

First, the bill was amended from a $150 million tax relief bill to $33 million. Those who spoke against the relief bill say North Dakotans want property tax relief, not income tax cuts – and they say the $33 million could be used other places to shore up things like education and human service budgets.

The House has passed its version of an early childhood education bill – which slices the proposed appropriation in half.

The program is designed for pre-Kindergarten aged children.

Originally, the bill would have made $6 million available for grants to parents to send their children to early childhood education programs. The House cut it to $3 million – and the grants would be available on a needs-based basis – so that children who qualify for free and reduced school lunches would be the ones eligible for the grants.

Higher education budget passes Senate

Apr 16, 2015

The Senate has passed its version of the higher education budget.

Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) used a “Goldilocks” analogy to describe his committee’s action.

"We had Goldilocks going to the House and finding one bowl of porridge a little too hot, and you could lable that the 'Executive Recommendation,'" said Holmberg in his floor speech, explaining the Senate changes to the bill. "One of the bowls was too cold, and that would be the House amendments to the bill. So we ate the middle bowl, which was really right down the middle."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Newly released figures show North Dakota oil production declined slightly in February.

"It's the first time since December 2010 and January 2011 that we had back-to-back production declines," said state mineral resources director Lynn Helms in his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing. Helms says production dropped 14,000 barrels a day -- 9000 of which were due to production restrictions for gas capture goals.

The House has passed a bill to allow state employees to use earned sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child.

It had earlier passed both chambers – but differences in the versions led to a conference committee.

The bill would allow both parents to take up to six weeks of sick leave in that instance.

Rep. Vernon Laning (R-Bismarck) urged his House colleagues to kill the bill.

The House has rejected the Public Service Commission’s proposal to start inspecting railroads – and to beef up its pipeline inspection program.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple had proposed those in his executive budget. And House Democrats attempted to add those back in to the PSC’s budget.

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