2017 Legislature

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.

ND Legislature

The state Senate has turned down a study to see if the Life Skills and Transition center in Grafton should be replaced with more community-based services for individuals with disabilities.

That facility is formerly known as the Grafton State School.  If it was to be closed, a Constitutional amendment would have to have voter approval.

The Senate Human Services Committee voted 6 to 1 for a “do not pass.”

A conversation about Addiction and Incarceration with North Dakota Senator Judy Lee and Representative Kathy Hogan.

Figuring out how to reduce overcrowding in the state’s prisons is high on the agenda for many state legislators. Meg Luther Lindholm recently discussed the twin problems of drug addiction and incarceration with two legislators (a Republican and a Democrat) in this Journeys Through Justice report.

House passes substantial increase in littering fine

Feb 21, 2017
Courtesy ND Legislature

The House has passed a bill raising the fine for littering from $100 to $500.

Supporters say it sends a message to people to refrain from dumping garbage in highway ditches. They say the oil boom has caused an uptick in littering.

Rep. Denton Zubke (R-Watford City) said US 85 in western North Dakota was filled with all sorts of garbage. And he's hoping the bill will deter some of that.