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Senate turns down 'parent's choice' tax deduction bill

Mar 26, 2015

The state Senate has narrowly defeated a measure to give parents who send their children to a non-public school an income tax deduction for certain educational expenses – such as fees and textbooks.

It was dubbed the “parent’s choice” bill.

The Legislature is considering eliminating the internal audit positions in the North Dakota University System –and move them to the state auditor’s office.

I think that the Legislature has decided that the University System is not doing a good job of giving them data or providing the transparency that they want,” said State Auditor Robert Peterson. He supports that proposal. He says the Legislature would give his office six positions – and he says they will not be internal auditors.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota is considering either filing its own lawsuit over the Bureau of Land Management’s new fracking rules – or intervening in an existing lawsuit.

The state’s  top oil regulator says the new federal rules will make it much more difficult for new wells to be fracked.

“We are 12,000 wells into a 60,000 well program here," state Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms told the state Industrial Commission. "Maybe as many as a third of those 40,000 wells are at risk of the BLM denying a hydraulic fracturing permit.”

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A House committee is considering a bill that would allow a college student facing suspension or expulsion to have a lawyer present at the hearing.

The Senate has already passed the bill.

Senate passes education opt-out bill

Mar 24, 2015

It’s been dubbed “the opt-out bill.”

But some members of the Senate say that’s a mis-nomer.

The bill allows parents to keep their children from taking certain assessment tests. But Sen. Donald Schiable says under the Senate version, students will still have to take tests required for graduation – like the ACT, the Work Keys Test and the new Civics Test.


Mar 24, 2015

With oil prices still hovering at multi-year lows, companies are choosing to store, rather than sell their oil. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports for Inside Energy, it’s being stored in tanks and tankers... but also in the ground.

The House has approved a resolution calling on Congress to eliminate the federal Department of Education.

In doing so, the House returned to the initial intent of the resolution. The Senate softened the language, so that it would call on the federal government to work with the states to improve the educational system. But the House decided to go back to the way it was introduced.

Rep. Jim Kasper (R-Fargo) says the Department itself is unconstitutional – and education is best left in the hands of the states – and local administrators and teachers.          

Natural North Dakota: Summer Equinox

Mar 23, 2015

Studies Near Completion for New Williston Airport

Mar 23, 2015
Sloulin Field International Airport

With a planned ground breaking next spring, officials with Williston’s Sloulin Field International Airport say things are on track for a potential relocation of the airport. Airport Manager Steven Kjergaard says the project is needed as the level of air service demand increases, and the City of Williston continues to grow…

One of the big issues the Legislature will have to resolve is the oil tax distribution formula.

Currently, 75 percent of the oil production tax goes to the state, and the other 25 percent goes back to the oil patch. Western legislators and Governor Dalrymple had proposed that 60 percent of those tax collections go back to the patch, and 40 percent to state coffers. The House made it a 30-70 split – with the 70 percent going to the state.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) has been pushing for the 60-40 concept.


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Our Monthly Editors' Rountable for March

Our Monthly Editors’ Roundtable with news director Dave Thompson and special guests, Jack Zaleski of the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, and Steve Andrist, executive director of the ND Newspaper Assn.
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