2017 Legislature

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.

The Senate Government and Veterans Affairs Committee is studying a bill to take the name and location of the Jamestown State Hospital out of the state’s Constitution.

The committee held a hearing on that proposal. No one showed up to speak either for or against the measure. But it’s raising some questions.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

House and Senate Appropriations Committees will look at two spending bills for each agency.

One bill is the proposal from Governor Dalrymple’s executive budget – the other represents a Legislative budget.

"I've been trying to getb this through for years," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo). "I think it's the right way to budget."

Carlson said the Legislature needs to be more involved in the budget building process.

The president of the North Dakota Long-Term Care association said as a concept, nursing homes support the idea of a provider assessment.

But Shelly Peterson said her group will likely have some amendments to it.

Former Gov. Jack Dalrymple proposed it in his executive budget, to meet some of the increased costs.  He said 44 other states have used that funding tool.