Local Stories

Lawmakers say raising the state gas tax is unlikely

Mar 10, 2018

An interim Legislative committee will be looking at ways to raise more money for highway construction and repair.

The state has traditionally used proceeds from the gasoline tax to match federal transportation dollars. During the oil boom, lawmakers used money from oil tax revenues to supplement the state’s share.

There had been some talk of increasing the gas tax. It's currently 23 cents a gallon. But one of the members of the interim Government Finance Committee believes that may be a non-starter.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has been spending his day in Fargo.

Election training includes cyber-security

Mar 9, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A federal Election Assistance Commissioner said voting systems are like most Information Technology systems – they’re subject to attack.

Matthew Masterson talked to County auditors from around North Dakota, who were in Bismarck for election training.

"Election officials already know what to look for," Masterson said in an interview. "They know their processes, their procedures and what steps they need to take. But it's taking the simple 'blocking and tackling' steps  of securing their data."

North Dakota's Senate Majority Leader likes the idea of using the Legacy Fund for low interest loans to cities and counties for infrastructure.

Two Minot lawmakers -- State Representative Roscoe Streyle (R) and State Senator David Hogue (R) have drafted a bill for the 2019 session to allow that. And Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney had suggested the idea as a source for capital to build the Red River Valley Water Supply Project – to bring Missouri River water to the Valley during droughts.

An interim Legislative committee is studying whether there will be an increase in driver’s license and vehicle registration fees.

"Right now, our understanding is we're losing money on it," said Interim Government Finance Committee chairman Sen. Ronald Sorvaag (R-Fargo). "Should the taxpayers subsidize the cost of you renewing your driver's license?"

The Committee study was contained in the Department of Transportation's budget bill.

"I think we're subsidizing the plates by $5, or something like that," said Sen. Gary Lee (R-Casselton). "Should we be doing that?"

Revenue collections 'on track' with budget forecast

Mar 8, 2018

The new director of the Office of Management and Budget had what he called "good news" for the Legislature's interim Government Finance Committee.

"I'm happy to say my first official report as director of OMB contains good news," Joe Morrissette told the Committee. "We are continuing to track very closely to our Legislative revenue forecast."

Morrissette has been on the job since March First. He replaced Pam Sharp, who retired. He told the Committee revenues exceed the May, 2017 forecast by about 1.7 percent since July first, the start of the new fiscal year.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public


That’s how National Weather Service hydrologist Allen Schlag describes the snow we’ve had over the last few days.

"Probably anybody who's out there shoveling really like the idea of calling this 'beneficial,'" Schlag joked.

But Schlag said it has been a helpful event for agriculture and the environment.

"Prior to coming into this weekend, we were well below normal for both snowfall received and snowpack retained on the countryside," Schlag said. "The current snowfall we've received -- there's nothing in it that is alarming."

Schneider joins race for House seat

Mar 6, 2018

Mac Schneider is running for Congress.

Group proposing minimum wage increase in ND

Mar 6, 2018

A group wants to initiate a measure to raise North Dakota’s minimum wage.

The current state minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

The group is proposing a phased increase – to take it to $9.83 an hour in 2019, $12.41 in 2020 and $15 in 2021. After that, there would be annual increases tied to cost of living.

UND preparing to tear down more buildings

Mar 6, 2018

UND is getting ready to tear down more buildings.

The Board of Higher Education has given UND the go-ahead to remove Robertson/Sayre Hall and Corwin/Larimore Hall.

UND Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management Mike Pieper said the plan is to start demolition in May, with an August completion.

So, what happens to that space?

"Initially, we'll get it so it drains well," Pieper said. "Initially, it will be green space."

PIeper said discussions are being held for future use of that space as part of the University's planning process.


News from NPR

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

How Fast Can An Outbreak Be Detected?

1 hour ago

How do you stop an outbreak from becoming an epidemic?

You catch it early, of course – a task that requires rapid response and coordination. That's a tough mission in any country, especially a nation lacking in resources.

Uganda is proving that it's absolutely doable, even in a low-income country.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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