Politics & Government

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…

'SIRN' project a go

Jun 6, 2017

It’s called the “Statewide Interoperable Radio Network” project – or “SIRN” (siren) for short.

And thanks to the actions of the 2017 Legislature, providing a funding mechanism, the project will soon get off the ground.

It’s a project that would allow various public safety agencies to talk to each other – a shortcoming pointed out nationally after 9/11, when first responders were unable to communicate.

Self insurance study revived, modified

Jun 1, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A Legislative interim committee will study whether the state should continue with the current health insurance plan for state employees, or go with a self-funded plan.

Prairie Public file

Gov. Doug Burgum (R) will be asked to chair a special Tribal-State relations interim committee.

That committee will be especially looking at taxation issues between the state and the Tribal governments. That panel will be made up of the House and Senate leadership, representatives of the two Taxation committees, the Tax Commissioner, the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor.

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) made the motion in the Legislative Management Committee to ask the Governor to chair it.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Republican leaders in the North Dakota Legislature are awaiting an Attorney General’s opinion on some of Governor Burgum’s line item vetoes.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) asked for the opinion after Burgum vetoed items dealing with Legislative interim studies and some other items. Carlson told the Legislative Management Committee they're looking for answers.

Capitol security measures to become permanent

May 30, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Temporary security measures installed at the state Capitol for the 2017 Legislative session are becoming permanent.

Public access to the state Capitol was limited to the south and east entrances, and metal detectors were installed.

Those measures are being made permanent – and going forward, the only public access to the building will be the south entrance.

"It's much easier for security to screen through one central area than it is to monitor several different locations at one time," said Highway Patrol Lt. Michael Roark.