Local Stories

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.

ND Legislature

The majority leaders in the House and Senate said they believe the Legislature could end its session Saturday.

When the session started, they had hoped to have 10 days in the bank in case they needed to come back – but that’s not going to happen – and  both House Majority Leader Al Carlson and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner said it’s more likely they will get done this weekend.

"I'd like to be done before Saturday, but I think that's probably as good a guess as you can find," Wardner told reporters.

As to what could be roadblocks to adjournment?

Xcel and buried power lines in Fargo

Apr 17, 2017

The Public Service Commission said a plan to have Fargo’s Xcel Energy electric customers to pay for a project in downtown Fargo is raising questions.

Fargo city leaders have asked Xcel to bury power lines in the downtown area. It proposes a “special facilities rider” on Fargo’s Xcel customers’ bills.

"It basically allows a company to develop a plan," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "They (Xcel) would account for the costs that are higher than standard construction parameters. If the city agrees, Xcel would allocate it to all the city customers."

A Conversation About Refugee Resettlment

Apr 13, 2017

The Fargo Human Relations Commission has released the findings of a study looking at refugee resettlement programs. The study was called for by City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn last October. Piepkorn was critical of the programs and questioned the cost of the programs to a city. In delivering a summary of the report, Human Relations Commission member Barry Nelson says the results reflect how a community can benefit from resettlement programs which he says help boost the regional workforce.

Amy Sisk / Prairie Public

Oil production is bouncing back, but North Dakota is having trouble finding workers to fill new energy jobs.

North Dakota is once again producing over 1 million barrels of oil per day, after the number dropped below a million this winter. It rebounded in February, according to figures released Thursday from the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.

Thursday, April 13 – Our weekly news chat with Dave Thompson. ~~~ Matt Olien is here with a movie review as we head into the Easter holiday weekend. ~~~ Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon introduces us to the immigrants who want to become U-S citizens. ~~~ From NPR’s Morning Edition, we learn about a new book from Peter Deveraux. He’s the author of The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures. The book pays tribute to the card catalog. ~~~ Chef Rosey is here to talk about grilled cheese.

Drug Court: A Criminal Justice Success Story

Apr 13, 2017

One of the success stories in North Dakota’s criminal justice system has been its drug courts. In this  Journeys Through Justice story, Meg Luther Lindholm looks at how drug court works through the experience of one man who tried and failed at everything else.

Every Thursday at 4pm the gavel comes down to signal the start of drug court in Fargo, North Dakota.  This week approximately 20 drug offenders have shown up to report on their efforts to stay clean of drugs and alcohol.

Its sponsors call it “landmark legislation.”

The state Senate has passed a bill that rewrites the medical marijuana initiated measure – to make sure the state can regulate it. The bill sets out the allowable forms medical marijuana can take – including smoking. It sets limits on the amount of allowable THC in the product. And it works to make sure it isn’t used for recreation.

House says 'no' to parking meters

Apr 13, 2017
ND Legislature

The House has said “no” to parking meters.

The meters have been banned in North Dakota since the 1950s. The House had earlier amended the bill – saying parking meters could be allowed in a city if voters okay it. But a conference committee  came back with the original Senate language – allowing that decision to be made by local elected officials.

Rep. Jim Grueneich (R-Jamestown) said he doubted whether many cities would install parking meters.

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News from NPR

The Cherokee Nation is suing top drug distributors and pharmacies — including Wal-Mart — alleging they profited greatly by "flooding" communities in Oklahoma with prescription painkillers, leading to the deaths of hundreds of tribal members.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration cannot withhold federal funds from jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with immigration authorities, commonly known as sanctuary cities.

For the first time in more than a decade, Mexicans no longer make up the majority of immigrants staying in the U.S. illegally, according to new estimates by the Pew Research Center.

TV and film writers resumed contract negotiations Tuesday with Hollywood producers with a powerful bargaining tool. Late Monday, the Writers Guild of America said members had overwhelmingly authorized a strike if an agreement is not reached by May 1. That's when the current contract runs out.

More than 90 percent of eligible writers voted to authorize a strike, even though the last strike a decade ago cost some writers their jobs and shut down TV and movie production.

In November, young boxer Amaiya Zafar traveled from Minnesota to Florida to fight her first competitive bout.

But before Zafar even had her gloves on, officials called off the fight – they told the 16-year-old she had to remove the hijab she wore or forfeit the match. A devout Muslim, Zafar refused, and her 15-year-old opponent was declared the victor.

More News

Main Street

Horticulturist Ron Smith ~ Tom Isern on Vineyards in Grassy Places

Horticulturist Ron Smith joins us to take your calls and answer your email questions. Call in toll free to 888-755-6377 or email us at mainstreet@prairiepublic.org . ~~~ We’ll also have a Plains Folk essay from Tom Isern called “Vineyards in Grassy Places.”

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