Politics & Government

Change in Legislative schedule this week

Apr 10, 2017
Dave Thompson / ND Legislature

As the 2017 legislature approaches the end, there will be some changes in the schedules.

For example, there will be no House or senate floor sessions tiomorrow (Tuesday).

"We're not going to gavel in," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo). "It gives us a 10-hour block of time where we can meet again and again on conference committees, and get a lot of them resolved."

That will not count as a legislative day.

As for Good Friday?

Wardner: Medical marijuana bill a 'done deal'

Apr 7, 2017
ND Legislature

It appears the medical marijuana issue won’t be going to a House-Senate conference committee after all.

"We're concurring (with the House amendments)," said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner. "It's a done deal."

Wardner is the main sponsor of the bill to rewrite the medical marijuana initiated measure passed by voters last November. Wardner and the other House and Senate floor leaders wanted to make sure the measure met North Dakota standards – and would prevent it from becoming recreational marijuana.

Senate votes for a 'contingency' medicaid fraud unit

Apr 7, 2017
ND Legislature

The Senate has agreed to establish a “Medicaid fraud” unit in the Attorney Generals’ office – on a contingency basis.

North Dakota is the only state that doesn’t have such a unit. The state has had a waiver – but the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid has told the state that waiver likely end soon. However, CMS hasn’t given a definite date when the waiver would disappear.

The amendment would establish the fraud unit if and when CMS gives the state a deadline—sometime before the next Legislative session.

House kills oil tax bill

Apr 7, 2017
ND Legislature

The House has defeated a measure that makes the tax on oil permanent at 10 percent.

The bill follows up the actions of the 2015 Legislature, which got rid of most of the low price "triggers" to reduce the oil tax -- but lowered the top rate from 11 1/2 percent to 10 percent. But there still was a top-end trigger, so if the price of a barrel of oil hit $90, the tax would go up to 11 percent. As introduced, the bill would have ended that top-end trigger.

Capitol building security measures will be permanent

Apr 6, 2017
ND Legislature

When the 2017 Legislative session began, security measures were put in place at the state Capitol because of concern about Dakota Access Pipeline protestors disrupting lawmakers’ work.

Now, the Legislature has decided to make those measures permanent. That means public access will only be allowed through the Capitol’s south doors. That entrance will have permanent metal detectors, and will have Highway Patrol officers armed with tasers.

ND Legislature

A bill that could lead to North Dakota collecting sales tax from Internet retailers is on its way to Gov. Burgum.

The bill would require an Internet site that has $100,000 or more in sales to North Dakotans – or has 200 or more North Dakota clients, to remit sales tax collections to the state. But it will only happen if and when the US Supreme Court overturns its ruling -- in the "Quill v. North Dakota" case -- that does not allow states to collect those taxes.

ND Legislature

The House has approved the budget bill for the state Industrial Commission – and included in that is a proposal that could end the profit sharing arrangement for workers at the state Mill and Elevator.

The bill would have 75 percent of the Mill’s profits transferred to the state’s general fund. Right now, it’s 50-50.

Rep. Rich Becker (R-Grand Forks) said for those mill workers who are eligible for profit sharing, that could mean a 13 to 19 percent pay reduction.

ND Legislature

The House has narrowly passed the budget for the state Department of Transportation.

Many of the “no” votes came because of DOT’s proposal to close eight maintenance sites around the state. Those scheduled to be closed include New England, Fessenden, Starkweather, Courtney, Gackle, Litchville, Finley and Mayville. The plan is to offer the shops and the snowplows with them to counties, cities or townships. DOT would lease the buildings, and give the snowplows to local governments.

ND Legislature

A rewrite of the initiated measure on medical marijuana is a step closer to becoming law.

The House has passed the latest version of the medical marijuana bill on a 79 to 13 vote.

The House Human Services Committee adopted an extensive set of amendments to the bill – outlining what forms the cannabis could take, and lowering the fee for individuals to use the product from the proposed $200 a year to $50.

The chairman of the House Human Services Committee -- Rep. Robin Weisz (R-Hurdsfield) said the bill is not perfect -- but...

Internet retail sales tax bill passes House

Apr 5, 2017
ND Legislature

The House has passed a bill that could allow North Dakota to start collecting sales tax from some Internet retailers.

The bill requires an on-line retailer to sell at least $100,000 worth of goods to North Dakota customers – or have 200 or more North Dakotans making purchases – before the sales tax can be collected. And it can only happen if the US Supreme Court overturns its decision in the "Quill v. North Dakota" case that prohibited a sales tax on Internet retail sales.