Politics & Government

A dispute between the McKenzie County Commission and its suspended sheriff is now before the North Dakota Supreme Court.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Legislative Management Committee is preparing to take Gov. Doug Burgum to court.

The issue is whether or not Burgum can veto conditions placed on certain appropriations without vetoing the expenditure.  In a few of the bills he used his line-item veto on, Burgum took out some language – and left the money in the bill.

The Committee vote was unanimous.

Minot State University

The president of Minot State University is raising concerns about the University System’s move to “per credit hour” tuition rates.

Steve Shirley told the Board of Higher Education’s Budget and Finance Committee – tuition rates are “banded” at Minot State, as well as UND and NDSU.

"That allows a student, whether they're taking anywhere from  12 to 18 credits to pay a flat rate," Shirley said. He said under the new tuition policy, NDSU and UND would be able to keep that “banded” tuition – but the others likely would not.

UND to tear down 39 apartment buildings

Jun 21, 2017

UND wants to tear down 39 student apartment buildings.

Six of the buildings are six-plex units; 17 are four-plex units; and 16 are duplexes.

"It's part of a long-term plan at UND for them to right-size their apartment platform," North Dakota University System director of facilities planning Rick Tonder told the Board of Higher Education's Budget and Fianance Committee. "There's also a significant amount of deferred maintenance that they will be eliminating by taking the facilities out as funding is available."

ND Attorney General's office

An Attorney General’s opinion again raises questions about the Legislature designating too much power to the Budget Section.

The opinion dealt with 9 vetoes issued by Gov. Doug Burgum. In five of the cases, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem held that the vetoes were perfectly permissible. Stenehjem said in two cases, the vetoes were not permissible.       

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

To help balance the budget, the 2017 Legislature had to access the budget stabilization fund – the so-called “rainy day” fund.

The fund had $575 million in it – when the fiscal year began last July. Now, as of April 30th, it has just over $6 million.

"It served its purpose," said the state's Chief Investment Officer, Dave Hunter. He said the fund will rebuild.

"It's always great to have more rainy day funds than not," Hunter said. "We have come through a pretty tough time. But we look forward to building it."

ND United

At least four North Dakota school districts have gone to impasse in their contract negotiations with teachers.

And a member of the fact finding commission – which is called in when an impasse is declared – says there will probably be more districts reaching that point.

North Dakota United is the union representing teachers. President Nick Archuleta said he agrees with the fact finding commission chairman. He said it’s due to the state’s tight budget situation.

'Real ID' to be rolled out next spring (2018)

Jun 12, 2017

The state Department of Transportation is getting ready for the rollout of the optional “Real ID” program.

“Real ID” is an enhanced driver’s license. It’s a federal mandate – so you would have to have it to board an airplane or enter a federal building. Without it, you will need to show a passport.

The 2017 Legislature made it “opt in.”

DOT Driver's License Division Director Glenn Jackson said the Department is now working on the technology – and it should be ready by next spring.

'Innovative Education' summit held in Bismarck

Jun 9, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Teachers, principals, school board members, legislators and business-people met in Bismarck for the “Governor’s Summit on Innovate Education.”

The summit was called to look at new and different ways to provide education to school age children. Burgum has said schools have to think outside the traditional 50-minute period, teachers-lecturing and standardized test taking.

Mn. Lawmakers Recap Recent Session

Jun 7, 2017

Despite the scurry to get things finished at the close of this year’s legislative session, a northwest Minnesota lawmaker say he sees the session as a success. Reporter Todd McDonald has details…