Politics & Government

Burgum vetoes much of the PERS bill

May 4, 2017
Governor's office

Compromise on self-insurance reached

Apr 26, 2017
ND Legislature

House and Senate leaders have reached a compromise over whether the state should set up a self-funded health insurance plan for state employees.

The House wanted such a plan, but the Senate balked.

The compromise proposal sets up a separate committee to study the health insurance plan over the next two years – and that committee will come up with proposals to present to the Public Employees Retirement System board. That board would have the final say on which contract to accept.

ND Legislature

A bill for a state take-over of county social service funding is now on its way to Governor Burgum.

Under it, the state will assume all the costs of social service programs now funded at the county level. It eliminates the 20 mill levy for social services.

"What it (the 12 percent) was put in place for is as a holder, until the state could figure out a way to take over county social services," said Sen. Dwight Cook (R-Mandan), chairman if the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee.

ND Legislature

The Legislature has set the stage for collecting state sales taxes from Internet retailers.

Sen. Dwight Cook (R-Mandan) introduced a bill to set up what he calls an “economic nexus” – that would allow North Dakota to start collecting those sales taxes – if Congress passes a bill to allow it, or if the US Supreme Court overturns its earlier ruling against that collection.

"In the case 'Quill v. North Dakota, the high court ruled states couldn't require Internet retilers to collect state sales tax," Cook said. "What we're doing here is creating an economic nexus."

ND Legislature

A behavioral health bill that originally called for $28 million in spending has now passed the Legislature – but at a significantly reduced spending level.

A House-Senate conference committee agreed to $350,000.

"This is a significantly smaller number than we would like to have," said Sen. Judy Lee (R-West Fargo), the chairman of the Senate Human Services Committee. "There's no doubt about that."

Lee said at least this will help start a pilot program with the schools for early childhood intervention.

A House-Senate conference committee has reached an agreement over a proposal to have the state take over funding social service programs that had been paid through county property taxes.

This replaces the 12 percent buydown the state had set aside for property tax relief.

Right now, counties can levy up to 20 mills to pay for those programs.

Senate rejects 'shared parenting' bill

Apr 20, 2017
ND Legislature

The State Senate has rejected a “shared parenting” bill.

The measure would have required courts to consider granting “shared parenting” time to divorced parents – if one parent asks for it. It said that time would be anywhere between 35 and 50 percent. And the judge had to spell out the reasons for ruling either in favor of it or against it.

'Andrew's Law' headed to Gov. Burgum

Apr 19, 2017
ND Legislature

“Andrew’s Law” is on its way to Governor Burgum.

The law sets out rights and responsibilities when law enforcement uses confidential informants. It was named for Andrew Sadek, a student at the State College of Science in Wahpeton, who was a drug informant. His body was found in the Red River, and his parents believe he was murdered.

"Obviously, this is an emotional issue," said Sen. Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson).

ND Legislature

A group of 9 NDSU professors said the future of higher education in North Dakota is being threatened by deep budget cuts to the North Dakota University System.

In a letter, the professors suggest the Legislature use “rainy day” funds – including the Legacy Fund – to restore some of the cuts.

But Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said the Legislature will use the interest the Legacy Fund has earned – as is allowed by state law – but it will not touch the fund’s principle.

ND Legislature

The House has passed a retooled “Andrew’s Law” – deigned to protect confidential informants.

It was introduced after State College of Science Student Andrew Sadek’s body was found in the Red River. He had been acting as an informant – and his parents believe he was murdered.

New Town Republican Representative Terry Jones was on the conference committee that worked out the final version of the bill. He told the House informants will now have protections.