Politics & Government

Senate candidates debate one last time

Oct 26, 2012

The budget, the deficit, health care -- and Harry Reid.

Those were the subjects of the final US Senate debate between Rep. Rick Berg (R) and Heidi Heitkamp (D). The 60-minute debate -- sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Bismarck Tribune, and held at Bismarck's Horizon Middle School, featured some sharp exchanges between the two candidate.

The two candidates agree that the current federal budget deficit is unsustainable. But they have different ideas on how to close that gap. Berg said it will take a bi-partisan agreement to reduce the deficit.

Chancellor: New admissions policy "a work in progress"

Oct 17, 2012

A work in progress.

That’s how University System Chancellor Ham Shirvani describes the plan for admission standards for the state’s colleges and universities. Shirvani told an interim Legislative committee that the standards are based on a student’s ACT score, grade point average, whether a student is a state resident and whether the student has completed the core high school curriculum. Shirvani said the numbers aren’t yet finalized, but the plan is to have these in place by 2014.

ND-DEM-NPL: Rally the Native Vote

Oct 16, 2012

The events are part traditional ceremony, and part political stump speech, but officials with North Dakota’s Democratic-NPL party are hoping it will get voters from the state’s reservations to the polls this fall. Reporter Todd McDonald has details...

Crabtree Calls For PAC Investigation

Oct 12, 2012

The Democratic-backed candidate for Public Service Commission says he will be calling for an investigation into recent attack ads brought by the Republican-led group “Brighter Future Committee.” Brad Crabtree says the group violated state election laws by launching a radio ad campaign targeting him…

New admission standards coming to ND University System

Sep 27, 2012
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Future North Dakotacollege students will have to meet tougher entrance requirements.

The state Board of Higher Education approved the plan for more stringent standards proposed by new Chancellor Ham Shirvani. Shirvani calls it the “Pathways to Student Success.” He told the Board the system consists of three types of institutions – community colleges, regional universities and research universities. He says while there would not be admissions standards at the community colleges, the other two tiers would have standards.

Coalition formed to fight animal cruelty initiative

Sep 25, 2012

A coalition has formed in opposition to the animal cruelty initiative that’s on the November ballot.

That initiative makes it a class “C” felony for cruelty to dogs, cats and horses. The group “North Dakota Animal Stewards” says the ballot measure is poorly worded, and may have unintended consequences. The group says an alternative measure – which would be introduced in the upcoming Legislature – would help prevent mistreatment of all animals.

The state of North Dakota is forecasted to have a $1.6 billion dollar surplus at the end of the biennium, which is June 30th, 2013.

Now the question: what do you do with the money?

"I'm already getting more requests than I imagined from people that want things," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo).  Carlson says he has some ideas for how the money should be used. One is tax relief.

An attorney for locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers says those employees deserve unemployment benefits – because the lockout wasn’t their idea.

However, the company and Job Service-North Dakota say state law does not allow them to receive that benefit.

The dispute is now before the North Dakota Supreme Court. During oral arguments, attorney Daniel Phillips – representing more than 200 Crystal workers who were denied unemployment benefits – argues the lockout is not a strike called by the union.

Members of a group pushing for a new felony animal cruelty law say they deliberately limited the language so that agricultural practices would not be affected.

The initiated measure makes intentional cruelty to cats, dogs and horses a class “C” felony, punishable by a maximum five years in prison and a $5000 fine. The measure’s opponents point to the involvement of the Humane Society of the United States, and say HSUS may see this is as a way to gain a foothold in North Dakota, and add farm animals to the law.

Supporters say that's not the intent.

University Chancellor Ham Shirvani’s plan to end the practice of colleges and universities charging separate student fees is getting a thumbs-up from a state lawmaker who authored legislation for transparency in those fees.