2017 Legislature

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Legislative Management Committee has decided to go ahead with a lawsuit over some of Gov. Doug  Burgum’s line item vetoes from the 2017 session.

The action came after a nearly one hour meeting in closed session, as committee members talked to attorneys.

The scope of the lawsuit is yet to be determined.  But House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) said the litigation will be about whether a Governor can veto a portion of a sentence of a spending bill and change its meaning.

ND Attorney General's office

It hasn’t yet been filed – but a potential legal dispute still looms over some of Governor Burgum’s line item vetoes following the 2017 Legislative Session.

The last time there was a legal clash between the two branches happened in 1977. It involved then-Lieutenant Governor Wayne Sanstead (D), and the power of the Lieutenant Governor to break ties in the Senate.

Prairie Public file

Gov. Doug Burgum (R) will be asked to chair a special Tribal-State relations interim committee.

That committee will be especially looking at taxation issues between the state and the Tribal governments. That panel will be made up of the House and Senate leadership, representatives of the two Taxation committees, the Tax Commissioner, the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) made the motion in the Legislative Management Committee to ask the Governor to chair it.

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 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?

Change in Legislative schedule this week

Apr 10, 2017
Dave Thompson / ND Legislature

As the 2017 legislature approaches the end, there will be some changes in the schedules.

For example, there will be no House or senate floor sessions tiomorrow (Tuesday).

"We're not going to gavel in," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo). "It gives us a 10-hour block of time where we can meet again and again on conference committees, and get a lot of them resolved."

That will not count as a legislative day.

As for Good Friday?

ND Legislature

The House has narrowly passed the budget for the state Department of Transportation.

Many of the “no” votes came because of DOT’s proposal to close eight maintenance sites around the state. Those scheduled to be closed include New England, Fessenden, Starkweather, Courtney, Gackle, Litchville, Finley and Mayville. The plan is to offer the shops and the snowplows with them to counties, cities or townships. DOT would lease the buildings, and give the snowplows to local governments.

ND Legislature

The House has rejected a bill to fund an upgrade of the state’s law enforcement and first responders radio system.

The issue of interoperability has been aroud for years. The new system would allow different agencies to talk to each other. It has a large price tag -- $172 million. With a tight state budget, supporters proposed funding the upgrade through a surcharge on such things as traffic fines and other court costs. The surcharge would double those fines.

Legislature passes bill to raise littering fines

Mar 21, 2017
ND Legislature

The fine for littering will go to $500 – under a bill passed in the North Dakota Legislature.

The fine is now $100. And supporters say they hope this will deter people.

Sen. Bill Bowman (R-Bowman) said this bill is actually four years too late.

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.