Politics & Government

ND Legislature

A House committee has endorsed a bill to create a self-insurance plan for state employees’ health benefits.

The vote in the House Industry, Business and Labor Committee was 10 to 3 for a “do pass.”

The Committee chairman, Rep. George Keiser (R-Bismarck) said the other 49 states have self-insurance plans, as do virtually all companies employing more than 750 people.

"It is the least expensive program for the state of North Dakota," Keiser said. "It also provides the greatest flexibility."

Prairie Public

A subcommittee of Senate Appropriations will consider an amendment to the Governor’s budget – so Governor Burgum would not be taking a salary.

The Governor’s salary is now $157,000 a year. Burgum has offered to take no pay as Governor.

"Fundamentallym his job is to lead," said Sen. David Hogue (R-Minot), the chairman of the subcommittee studying the Governor’s budget. "To do that, sometimes he has to set an example."

Hogue said he hopes the Legislature will be able to do that without making it "a bigger deal than what it really is."

ND Legislature

A House Committee is hoping to have the medical marijuana bill on the House floor late this week.

The House Human Services Committee has the bill – and lawmakers plan to work on the bill for the next few days.

The bill rewrites the medical marijuana initiated measure voters passed in November. The supporters say they did that to make it conform to North Dakota standards, write rules and de-criminalize medical marijuana. The measure needs a two-thirds vote in each house. The Senate made some changes to the bill – and the House committee is also working on amendments.

ND Legislature

The House has rejected a bill to fund an upgrade of the state’s law enforcement and first responders radio system.

The issue of interoperability has been aroud for years. The new system would allow different agencies to talk to each other. It has a large price tag -- $172 million. With a tight state budget, supporters proposed funding the upgrade through a surcharge on such things as traffic fines and other court costs. The surcharge would double those fines.

House says 'no to casino measure

Mar 24, 2017
ND Legislature

The state House has rejected a proposed Constitutional amendment to allow up to six loff-reservation private casinos to be built in North Dakota.

ND Legislature

With the state senate rejecting amendments the House put on the Public Employees Retirement System bill, the Senate's GOP leader said he’s hoping to avoid the stalemate on that issue two years ago that ended up in a special session.

The House amendments would have made the PERS board an advisory board only. It would have the director of PERS be an appointee of the Governor. And it would give the Legislature’s Employee Benefits Committee more of an oversight role. Two years ago, a similar issue over governance caused a short special session.

ND Legislature

A state Senator wants to allow people on medical marijuana who aren’t close to one of the specified “grow centers” or dispensaries to be allowed to grow their own.

Sen. Oley Larsen (R-Minot) offered an amendment to the medical marijuana bill to the House Human Services Committee, which is now looking at the measure.

ND Legislature

It was dubbed the “Constitutional Carry” bill.

The bill has now passed both Houses of the Legislature – and is on its way to Governor Burgum.

The bill says anyone who is not otherwise prevented from carrying a class two firearm – and has had a North Dakota driver’s license or other Department of Transportation issued photo ID – can “conceal carry” a firearm without having to take any test. The person would have to tell law enforcement officers about carrying a firearm if stopped for a traffic violation or other offense.

Still more tweaking to the medical marijuana bill

Mar 22, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

More changes ahead for the Legislature's medical marijuana regulation bill.

The House Human Services Committee heard the bill Tuesday. It's designed to rewrite the medical marijuana initiative voters passed last November – and make it conform to state standards.

"This is a relatively new industry," State Deputy Health Officer Arvy Smith told the Committee. "The Health Department is put into the position of needing to regulate an industry that does not yet exist. It has been challenging."

ND Legislature

The Legislature has approved a bill to expand the definition of “distracted driving.”

It changes the “no texting while driving” law passed in an earlier session. The new bill says if a driver commits a traffic offense or gets into a crash while distracted, the driver could be fined $100.

"It's a secondary offense," said Sen. David Rust (R-Tioga). "If I'm driving and eating a cheeseburger, is that distracted driving? No. Distracted driving would be if you commit an offense because you were distracted by eatingb that cheeseburger."

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