Local Stories

PSC pushing to keep two rail inspectors

Mar 21, 2017
PSC

The Public Service Commission is asking the state Senate to restore one of the positions the House cut in the state rail inspection program.

The budget request calls for two full time employee. The House cut it to one.

"One of them is considered temporary, the other is full time," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "The temporary employee is working full time. We invested in his training and his certification, and he's highly qualified to act independently as a rail inspector."

Fedorchak said he's doing some important things, including mechanical inspection.

ND Legislature

The House has passed a measure that keeps secret the names of applicants for public sector jobs.

The names of the final three vying for the open job would become public.

Supporters of the measure say the state’s current open records law discourages some of the best people from applying.

Earlier, the House passed a measure to keep confidential the names of people applying for college presidencies. Rep. Mary Johnson (R-Fargo) used a recent search at UND as an example.

ND Legislature

The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee is looking at a bill that would require approval from a county commission and a regional water resource board before any disposal site for out of state nuclear waste is located in a North Dakota county.

A Fargo businessman is working on an initiated measure to do away with the law that prohibits retail stores from being open before noon on Sunday.

That –after the state Senate rejected a bill to make that change. It had earlier passed the House – on a second try.

ND Legislature

03036 Property tax social services new                           3-15-17 ddt

Representatives of county governments packed a House hearing on a bill that would have the state take over funding of social service programs offered at the county level.

Counties have a special property tax levy for social service programs. And they say the proposal is property tax relief – and property tax reform.

Senate defeats Sunday morning retail sales

Mar 14, 2017

A bill that would have allowed retailers to be open on Sunday mornings has failed in the North Dakota Senate.

Current law makes it a Class B misdemeanor to operate a business before noon on Sundays. There are exceptions for businesses like restaurants, hospitals, hotels and gas stations. Opponents of the repeal of most of that law say workers need Sunday mornings to spend with their families - perhaps at church. One such opponent is Senator Robert Erbele. He calls the need for Sunday morning retail sales "selfish consumerism," and says everyone needs a moment to rest.

Addiction and Boot Camp Prison

Mar 14, 2017
Minnesota Department of Corrections

Recovery from severe drug addiction often requires a lot of time, a lot of effort and separation from drug using friends. Sometimes prison is the only place that offers those three things. Meg Luther Lindholm has more in this Journeys Through Justice report.

The Legislature has voted to de-fund the Tobacco Control and Prevention agency – also known as “Breathe ND.”

That agency’s tobacco prevention functions will be taken over by the state Health Department. Seven staffers and a temporary employee will lose their jobs – and one position will transfer to the Health Department.

The agency was created by initiated measure in 2008 – and receives its money from the lawsuit settlement states reached by the big tobacco companies.

The Senate already voted to defund “Breathe ND.” And the House has now followed suit. 

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A bill to remove the remaining “trigger” in North Dakota’s oil taxes is now before a senate committee.

The bill – authored by House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) – would remove language adopted two years ago, when most of the tax triggers were removed. That bill lowered the oil tax from 11 ½ percent to 10 percent – and got rid of tax reductions tied to lower prices. It did have a provision that if oil went back up to $90 a barrel, the tax would go to 11 percent.

Addiction and Sentencing: One Woman's Journey

Mar 14, 2017
https://www.flickr.com/photos/grimages/
Johnny Grim https://www.flickr.com/photos/grimages

No one starts using drugs with the goal of becoming hopelessly addicted. But that is what often happens. In this Journeys Through Justice story, Meg Luther Lindholm speaks with one woman about her journey through addiction.

Jenenne Guffey is a woman with a mission. She works at Prairie St. John’s Hospital in Fargo helping substance abusers recover and get their lives back. She struggled for years with her own drug addiction before she got her life back.  Although when she started using drugs she had no idea how long it would take to stop.

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News from NPR

After yesterday's pulled health care vote, many on the left and the right are seeing it as a failure for Republicans — but former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay says it's actually a blessing in disguise.

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