2017 Legislature

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.

Senate rejects bill to limit bill introductions

Feb 14, 2017
Courtesy ND Legislature

The state Senate has overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have limited each Legislator to seven bills per Legislative session.

That’s despite a 3 to 2 “do pass” recommendation from the Senate’s Government and Veterans Affairs Committee. Supporters said it would save money by cutting back on the days lawmakers are in session.

A state Senator thinks it’s time for a change – in time, that is.

Sen. Dave Oehlke (R-Devils Lake) has a bill to put all of North Dakota on Central Standard Time. And it would eliminate Daylight Savings Time for the state.

Oehlke has a number of co-sponsors. He said they all think it’s time to make this change.

"A couple of those folks have businesses that operate on both sides of the state, in both time zones," Oehlke said. "They see the total sense of making it work for their businesses in particular."

As for Daylight Savings Time?

Rolla lawmaker wants to raise the minimum wage

Jan 11, 2017
Courtesy Rep. Nelson

The North Dakota Legislature will consider a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage.

Rep. Marvin Nelson (D-Rllla) wants to raise the minimum to $9.25 an hour. The bill would tie further increases in the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index.

Nelson said he’s hoping raising the minimum wage will attract workers to rural North Dakota.

A state lawmaker wants to allow North Dakota retail stores to be open any time they want on a Sunday.

Right now, retailers can’t open their doors until noon Sundays.

Rep. Pam Anderson (D-Fargo) said her bill would strip away the remainder of North Dakota’s “blue laws.”  Anderson says it will help North Dakota businesses compete with surrounding states – and the Internet.

"I think it's a great idea," Anderson said. "Especially when you can shop 24/7 (on the Internet)."

Anderson said she introduced the bill on behalf of a constituent.

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