Politics & Government

By Carrie Levine

The Center for Public Integrity

  FORT YATES, North Dakota — Two years ago, when Chase Iron Eyes decided to run for Congress, he knew he had, as he puts it, “a snowball’s chance in hell” of winning.
 

But Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, still saw the narrowest of paths to victory in the race for North Dakota’s sole congressional seat. If he and the two other Native American candidates running for state offices as Democratic nominees were able to boost Native American voter turnout while simultaneously convincing independent-minded undecided voters to break their way, he explained, he thought he might win.

Two hundred 24 of 296 state employees who applied for the “Voluntary Separation Plan” have been accepted.

This is the second year of that volunteer program.

The state employees who were accepted had two options.

"The first option was for the worker to receive three months of wages and the cost of health insurance paid out in a lump sum," said Human Resource Management Services interim director Becky Sicble. "The second option keeps them 'on the payroll' for three months after they separate, so they get paid the same as if they were coming to work, but they're not."

ND Association of Counties opposes Measure 3

Oct 10, 2018

The North Dakota Association of Counties is opposing Measure 3 – the measure that would legalize recreational marijuana.

Association executive director Terry Traynor said the group took that step at its convention this week in Bismarck.

"We don't think North Dakota is ready (for recreational marijuana)," Traynor said in an interview.

Traynor said the measure is flawed.

ND Racing Commission

The North Dakota Racing Commission had a study done of horse racing’s impact on the state’s economy.

The study was done for the Commission by NDSU.

"It showed the industry provides a $24 million economic impact every year," said Racing Commission Executive Director Gunner LaCour.

LaCour said while $24 million may not be that big a number, it’s pretty good for the horse industry.

The state Employee Compensation Commission is recommending state workers receive what amounts to two percent pay raises in each year of the 2019-2021 biennium.

State budget director Joe Morrissette chairs that Commission. He said the recommendation is to hand out the raises based on performance.

"It would be in a range of one to three percent to each employee, based on actual performance," Morrissette said in an interview.

In addition, one percent would be added in the first year to address compression issues.

ND Catholic Conference: No on Measures 1, 3

Oct 6, 2018

The North Dakota Catholic Conference is the latest organization to oppose Measure One on the November ballot.

That measure would create a state ethics commission, would require more transparency in donations, restrict gifts to elected officials from lobbyists, and prevents officials from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving state government. It's a proposed amendment to the state's Constitution.

"This is a difficult issue for us," said Conference executive director Christopher Dodson. "No one's opposed to integrity."

State revenue recovering

Oct 2, 2018

North Dakota’s revenue picture continues to improve.

In August, revenue collections exceeded the Legislative forecast by 10 percent. For the biennium to date, collections are nearly 4 percent ahead of forecast.

"It indicates again that we've seen the bottom," said state Office of Management and Budget director Joe Morrissette.

Morrissette said increased oil activity in western North Dakota means increases in oil taxes and sales tax collections. Sales taxes for the month of August were nearly 26 percent ahead of forecast.

North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler has resigned, after sending out what was termed an “unacceptable” e-mail.

The announcement came Monday from the Governor’s office.

Sources in the Department of Commerce say Schuler sent out an e-mail, with attachment, from his state e-mail address. It went to all Commerce employees, and it dealt with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court appointment.  Some employees took the matter to the state’s Human Resources Management Services office.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Board of Higher Education will not take a formal position on opposing the recreational marijuana initiative that is on the November ballot.

The measure was discussed by the Board’s Governance Committee. That committee asked University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott to draft a position paper. But board legal counsel said the Board could not take a formal position on the issue – because the Board is a part of state government. However, the board could discuss factual information on the measure without taking a formal position.

District 4 GOP Representative is resigning

Sep 27, 2018

A state legislator from northwest North Dakota has resigned.

Rep. Bill Oliver (R-New Town) is resigning, effective October 30th.  In his letter, Oliver said “My life situation has changed, and I feel I cannot represent my constituents with the zeal necessary.”

Oliver sent the letter to House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) and Legislative Management chairman Sen. Ray Holmberg. (R-Grand Forks).

Holmberg said he will be sending a letter to the GOP District 4 chairman.

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