General News

House defeats smoking in cars restriction

10 hours ago

The North Dakota House has rejected a bill to make it illegal for adults to smoke in a car when children under the age of 9 are present.

The bill was sponsored by Fargo Democratic Representative Pamela Anderson. The measure would allow officers to pull over anyone seen smoking with young children in the vehicle and fine them $25.

It received a ‘do not pass’ recommendation from the House Human Services Committee.

Some Legislative leaders believe Gov. Doug Burgum’s proposal to use $50 million from the proceeds of the Legacy Fund to build a Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Medora will have a very tough go in the Legislature.

Burgum’s proposal is a “2-for-1” match – the $50 million investment would raise another $100 million from private investors.

Still, Legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle think this may be a non-starter.

Fee study proposed

12 hours ago

The Chairman of the North Dakota Senate Finance and Taxation Committee is proposing what he’s calling a major study on fees charged by government agencies.

"There's many fees the state of North Dakota charges," said Sen. Dwight Cook (R-Mandan). "They probably started assessing those fees 50 years ago."

Cook said at the time, the fees were instituted to cover the costs of the service -- but those fees haven't been looked at since.

Drug fatalities review panel proposed

12 hours ago

A state Senator has introduced a bill to create a “drug fatalities review panel.”

Sen. Howard Anderson (R-Turtle Lake) is the retired executive director of the North Dakota State Board of Pharmacy.” Anderson said a few years ago, a UND professor who does a number of autopsies, suggested a way to look at drug deaths.

The chairman of the House Finance and Taxation Committee is proposing using a portion of the earnings from the Legacy fund to give individual and corporate income tax reductions.

Rep. Craig Headland (R-Montpelier) said the bill would take half the earnings and put them into a tax relief fund.

"People are moving to states that have very low or no state income taxes," Headland said. "We have a real workforce issue in our state, and this helps us with that."

ND House passes "blue law" repeal

Jan 18, 2019

On a 56-35 vote, the House approved a measure to end what’s left of North Dakota’s “Blue Law” – which prohibited many retailers from opening before noon Sunday.

"It's not the state of North Dakota's responsibility to decide for me or anyone else how we spend our free time, when we open our business," said Rep. Shannon Roers Jones (R-Fargo), the bill's main sponsor. "In that light, I hope you vote 'green' to repeal these laws."

A number of legislators spoke against the bill, citing Sunday being a holy day and a day of rest.

F-M CVB CEO wants more money for ND Tourism

Jan 18, 2019

The president and CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau is hoping to convince lawmakers to increase funding for the state Tourism Department.

The tourism budget was cut by nearly 25 percent in the 2017-2019 biennium, as the result of state budget issues. The proposed budget is now around $10 million for the next two years.

"Tourism marketing is more than tourism marketing," said FM CVB president Charley Johnson.

Johnson said tourism marketing also helps with the state’s image, and it helps with workforce development.

Sen. Rich Wardner, North Dakota Senate Majority Leader, discusses prospects for the upcoming 2019 Legislative Session with Dave Thompson, Prairie Public News Director.  KX's Chad Mira talks to Sen. Richard Marcellais about Governor Doug Burgum's announcment that he will display the flags of "the 5 tribal nations with whom we share geography" in North Dakota outside his office. He also interviews educator Maggie Barth about the education innovation initiative.

A House Committee is now looking at a bill to create a scholarship program for students who are enrolled in programs for high demand or emerging occupations.

The bill creates the program in the Bank of North Dakota, with a $10 million appropriation. Students could receive grants up to $8500 per school year, up to a cap of $17,000.

The Legislature will again consider a bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

"It (the bill) only regards housing, finance, which is insurance, and employment," said the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Mary Johnson (R-Fargo).

Johnson said she has first-hand knowledge of this issue.

"Somebody was fired for being gay," Johnson said. "The injustice of it angers me. Therefore, the bill."

The bill has failed in past sessions. But Johnson thinks there’s a better chance of it passing this time.