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ND Legislature

A behavioral health bill that originally called for $28 million in spending has now passed the Legislature – but at a significantly reduced spending level.

A House-Senate conference committee agreed to $350,000.

"This is a significantly smaller number than we would like to have," said Sen. Judy Lee (R-West Fargo), the chairman of the Senate Human Services Committee. "There's no doubt about that."

Lee said at least this will help start a pilot program with the schools for early childhood intervention.

A House-Senate conference committee has reached an agreement over a proposal to have the state take over funding social service programs that had been paid through county property taxes.

This replaces the 12 percent buydown the state had set aside for property tax relief.

Right now, counties can levy up to 20 mills to pay for those programs.

Senate rejects 'shared parenting' bill

Apr 20, 2017
ND Legislature

The State Senate has rejected a “shared parenting” bill.

The measure would have required courts to consider granting “shared parenting” time to divorced parents – if one parent asks for it. It said that time would be anywhere between 35 and 50 percent. And the judge had to spell out the reasons for ruling either in favor of it or against it.

'Andrew's Law' headed to Gov. Burgum

Apr 19, 2017
ND Legislature

“Andrew’s Law” is on its way to Governor Burgum.

The law sets out rights and responsibilities when law enforcement uses confidential informants. It was named for Andrew Sadek, a student at the State College of Science in Wahpeton, who was a drug informant. His body was found in the Red River, and his parents believe he was murdered.

"Obviously, this is an emotional issue," said Sen. Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson).

April is Poetry Month, and we start today’s show by sharing an interview with Elizabeth Acevedo, a National Poetry Slam Champion, Beltway Grand Slam Champion and the 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam representative for Washington, D.C, where she lives and works. She was in Vermillion, South Dakota recently as part of National Poetry Month events and for conversations on race and civility.

ND Legislature

A group of 9 NDSU professors said the future of higher education in North Dakota is being threatened by deep budget cuts to the North Dakota University System.

In a letter, the professors suggest the Legislature use “rainy day” funds – including the Legacy Fund – to restore some of the cuts.

But Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said the Legislature will use the interest the Legacy Fund has earned – as is allowed by state law – but it will not touch the fund’s principle.

ND Legislature

The House has passed a retooled “Andrew’s Law” – deigned to protect confidential informants.

It was introduced after State College of Science Student Andrew Sadek’s body was found in the Red River. He had been acting as an informant – and his parents believe he was murdered.

New Town Republican Representative Terry Jones was on the conference committee that worked out the final version of the bill. He told the House informants will now have protections.

Initiated and referendum study okayed

Apr 18, 2017
ND Legislature

The Legislature has passed and sent to Governor Burgum a bill that creates a commission to study North Dakota’s initiative and referral process.

Study subjects include the  costs of placing such measures on the ballot and whether there should be limits on out of state funding of measures.

New voter ID bill heads to the Governor

Apr 17, 2017
ND Legislature

The Legislature has passed and sent to Governor Bugrum a new voter ID bill.

It replaces the law that was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in North Dakota.

The law – passed in 2013 – got rid of the “voter affidavit.” A person who wanted to vote but did not have proper ID could sign that affidavit – and would be allowed to vote. But Judge Daniel Hovland ruled that because the affidavit was discontinued, there was no “fail safe” mechanism for voters without an ID. Hovland said that would put an undue burden on the Native American population.

ND Legislature

The North Dakota Highway Patrol funding bill is now on its way to Governor Burgum.

In that budget bill – the Patrol is authorized to set up a “weigh station bypass” program for trucking companies that have a good safety record.

"Think of it as a 'pre-check' for trucking," said Rep. Mike Nathe (R-Bismarck).

Nathe told the House this program uses technology to allow the trucks to be pre-screened for compliance with safety and weight regulations as the trucks approach fixed or portable weigh stations.

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News from NPR

Several Democrats joined Republicans in the Senate to confirm former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as the next secretary of agriculture.

The vote was 87 to 11. Perdue's cousin, Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., voted "present" and presided over the vote.

Sonny Perdue grew up on a farm in central Georgia and has owned several agriculture companies. He is not associated with the food company Perdue or the poultry producer Perdue Farms.

NPR's Geoff Bennett reports for our Newscast unit:

For only the third time ever, the government released today a national report card examining the knowledge, understanding and abilities of U.S. eighth-graders in visual arts and music.

And in many ways, the numbers aren't great, with little progress shown in most categories since the last time the assessment was given in 2008. One bright spot: The achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white peers has narrowed. But Hispanics and African-Americans still lag far behind white and Asian eighth-graders.

As a hurry-up execution schedule plays out in Arkansas this week, the U.S. Supreme Court and Arkansas Supreme Court have stepped in to block two of the eight executions initially scheduled for an 11-day period.

In the 1950s, television producer Albert Freedman captivated audiences with his carefully crafted game show Twenty-One, which had been foundering before he helped turn it into the most popular program in the country.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

An article on a State Department website about President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort has been removed after criticism that it was an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds.

Critics complained that resources were being used to tout the for-profit club, which Trump refers to as the Winter White House. The club, in Palm Beach, Fla., is held in Trump's trust, of which he is the sole beneficiary.

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Jessie Veeder’s "Coming Home" is a visual journey through the seasons that includes beautiful photography, poetry, recipes, stories and memories carefully handpicked to tell the story of why the prairie continues to pull us home. She joins us to talk about the book and her Coming Home Concert Tour . ~~~ Caring for people with disabilities is a persistent challenge, a need that gets even more acute as state budgets tighten. In this Friday’s Prairie Pulse television show, host John Harris...

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