Politics & Government

A Republican State Representative from Minot has filed petitions to run for the State Senate – as an independent.

Andrew Maragos has served in the House from 1993 to 2005, and returned to the House in the 2011 session. He was defeated for the GOP nomination in the June primary.

"Those people who have supported me in the past, and liked the way I represented them, asked me to continue," Maragos said. "When people that have supported you ask you to do something for them after all those years of doing something for you, you don't say 'no.'"

Pay raises for state employees?

Aug 16, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Some members of the Legislature’s Revenue Advisory Committee think the 2019 session needs to seriously look at a pay raise for state employees.

State workers did not get a pay raise from the 2017 Legislature, because of budget issues. And Gov. Doug Burgum is again asking agencies to submit reduced budgets for the 2019-2021 biennium.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) suggested pay raises need to be on the table for discussion.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Two Democratic NPL statewide candidates say the state of North Dakota needs to up its game when it comes to information technology.

They say, for example, businesses that have to file registration information with the Secretary of State’s office, or tax information with the state Tax Department are often frustrated with the difficulty in doing that, given the current IT platforms.

Tax Commissioner candidate Kylie Overson told Bismarck reporters she’s been talking with Secretary of State candidate Joshua Boschee about creating a “Hub.”

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission said for the PSC to follow Gov. Doug Burgum’s request to find another 10 percent to cut from the PSC budget was a daunting task.

Randy Christmann said much of what the Commission does has a federal funding component to it. So he says if you took those things off the cutting table, there isn’t much “wiggle room.” So Christmann said the Commission made a very tough decision – it has recommended the elimination of the Commission’s grain licensing program.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Legislators on an interim committee overseeing the implementation of the Medical Marijuana law say they’re hearing frustration from their constituents about how long the process has been taking.

But the head of the State Health Department’s Medical Marijuana division said other states have experienced this kind of time lag from when the measure was passed to when the product becomes available.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The American Conservative Union held an infrastructure forum in Bismarck Monday.

The special guest: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.  She talked about a number of subjects, including the recent rollback of the Obama-area fuel efficiency standards. Chao told the audience her department and the Environmental Protection Agency will be working on new fuel standards. Chao said the new proposal includes eight options.

ITD working on consolidation plans

Aug 6, 2018

North Dakota’s information technology department is continuing to work toward consolidation of IT services under one umbrella department.

State Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley calls it a work in progress. Riley said his agency is doing a “deep data collection” on IT – who in what state agency is working in IT, what they do and what systems they have.

OMB director: Strategy review meetings successful

Aug 6, 2018

The director of the state’s Office of Management and Budget said OMB has finished a series of “strategy review” meetings with executive branch agencies.

Joe Morrissette said it was no small feat, as agencies met with OMB as they were working on their budget proposals for inclusion in the Gov. Doug Burgum’s executive budget for the 2019 session.

Morrissette called the meetings were very positive, and agencies came with a lot of good ideas.

Riemers gets a recount

Aug 3, 2018

A Grand Forks man who ran in the primary for Secretary of State as a Libertarian will get his recount.

The North Dakota Supreme Court made that decision in an opinion issued Friday.

'Trump Unity Bridge' stops in Bismarck

Aug 3, 2018

A man and his son from Livonia, Michigan are travelling the country with a float he calls the “Trump Unity Bridge.”

Rob Cortis called it his “4-48” tour, to visit the “four corners of the continental United States and the lower 48" states. He stopped in Bismarck, and is on his way to Sturgis for the motorcycle rally.

Cortis said he and his son built the display, which is festooned with Trump slogans, such as “Make America Great Again,” and flags. He used a real metal walking bridge.

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