Politics & Government

ND Legislature

Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) said he agrees with Gov. Doug Burgum that there could be other uses for the earnings from the state’s Legacy fund.

But Wardner said that will likely have to happen down-the road, and not immediately.

In his "State of the State" address, Burgum said he wants to see the earnings from the now $4.1 billion Legacy Fund to go toward innovations in government.

The 2017 Legislature used the earnings from the fund to help balance the budget. Wardner said the 2019 Legislature will probably need to use those4 funds again.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum said the state is beginning to see some recovery, after the 2017 Legislature had to cut a good size chunk from the state budget.

But Burgum said there’s more work to do.

In his “State of the State” address, Burgum said he and the state Legislature had to take the knife to state spending, and virtually every budget was affected – save K-12 education. And he said to balance the budget, a number of “rainy day” funds had to be drained. Burgum said while those trust funds are coming back, the balances aren’t what they were.

Gov. Burgum: Using technology to transform government

Jan 23, 2018
D. Thompson

Governor Doug Burgum is challenging North Dakotan’s to keep coming up with ideas on how to improve the state... Prairie Public Reporter Todd McDonald has details…

'Track a Plow' now available on the NDDOT Website

Jan 18, 2018

The North Dakota Department of Transportation has launched what it calls “Track A Plow.”

You’ll find it on the DOT Web site. It's a pilot program.

"We're showing the public where some selected snow plows are operating, so you'll be able to see their direction and their speed," said DOT State maintenance engineer Brad Darr. "There are little 'bread crumbs' behind it so you can see which direction it's heading."

Darr said 47 of the 350 plows are equipped with the technology. He said the pilot program will last a year, and it could be expanded going forward.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The effort is called “Vision Zero.”

The goal: Zero highway fatalities in North Dakota.

Gov. Doug Burgum, along with the directors of the state Department of Transportation, the Highway Patrol  and the Health Department, unveiled the program at a State Capitol event Thursday.

"The government is going to do what it can across our cabinet agencies, but this has to be a shift in culture," Burgum told reporters. "And it has to be personal resposibility."

Burgum says Vision Zero means zero fatalities.

Former State Sen. John Andrist dies at 86

Jan 18, 2018
ND Legislature

Longtime Northwestern North Dakota newspaperman and former Republican State Senator from Crosby, John Andrist, has died.

Andrist was 86. He died Wednesday morning in Fargo from complications of an earlier stroke.

Andrist was first elected to the Senate in 1992. He served until resigning in 2014 because of health reasons.

"He was one of those rare people," said Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks). "He was a politician, but he was also a gentleman."

Holmberg said Andrist was clearly a role model that politicians should follow.

ND Tourism to spend $2.9 million in 2018

Jan 18, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota Tourism is planning to spend $2.9 million in its marketing campaign for 2018.

"The media plan will be about the same as last year," State Tourism director Sara Otte Coleman told reporters.

Otte Coleman said the campaign will again feature Minot native Josh Duhamel. Duhamel is under contract through the end of the year. Otte Coleman said he has been a very effective representative for the state.

"We actually asked about that in the research," Otte Coleman said. "It showed he is definitely opening eyes."

Board of Higher Education to consider allowing raises

Jan 17, 2018

The 2017 Legislature did not appropriate money for state employee raises.

The Legislature didn’t prohibit that – if the agencies could find money within their appropriations to grant the raises.

The state Board of Higher Education prohibited pay increases in fiscal year 2018. But in fiscal 2019, the University System office wants to make a change.

ND Legislature

A Mandan legislator said he’s glad the US Supreme Court will decide whether states can collect sales taxes from Internet retailers.

In a case called “Quill versus North Dakota,” the Court ruled against states collecting taxes from those Internet businesses. In its decision, the Court called collecting that sales tax for each individaul state "burdensome." Now, a South Dakota case will allow the Court to take another look.

The Canadian Consul General to Minneapolis says Canada is optimistic about the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Paul Connors was in Bismarck to speak to the Chamber of Commerce.

In an interview with Prairie Public, Connors said the negotiation is very technical in nature, and a lot of hard work for the negotiators from Canada, Mexico and the US. He said the work is going very well – in terms of making the agreement better.