Politics & Government

The North Dakota University System’s Council of College Faculties has written a letter to the chair and vice-chair of the state Board of Higher Education, outlining its concern about “a lack of procedure” concerning a report on the system’s Chancellor.

Children's Health Insurance Program in ND OK for now

Oct 3, 2017

The authorization – and funding – for the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program have run out, effective October first.

Congress has not yet acted to reauthorize and fund it.

The program – called “Healthy Steps” in North Dakota -- is available for children who are in households that may not qualify for Medicaid, but where the family can’t afford to buy health insurance.

Some states have now stopped accepting applications for the program. Others have said they will soon run out of money for it. But, in North Dakota, the situation is different.

"Succeed 2020" called a success

Oct 3, 2017

In 2011, the Hess Corporation donated $25 million to North Dakota for a program dubbed “Succeed 2020.”

"It's a statewide program, aimed at helping North Dakota students be ready for college and careers," said Louise Dardis, the manager of the Succeed 2020 program.

Dardis said says the goals of the five-year program were very ambitious.

"A successful transition from school to college and careers for all North Dakota students," Dardis told Bismarck reporters. "And I stress -- all North Dakota students."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Legislative Management Committee has decided to go ahead with a lawsuit over some of Gov. Doug  Burgum’s line item vetoes from the 2017 session.

The action came after a nearly one hour meeting in closed session, as committee members talked to attorneys.

The scope of the lawsuit is yet to be determined.  But House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) said the litigation will be about whether a Governor can veto a portion of a sentence of a spending bill and change its meaning.

New state revenue forecast coming at the end of Oct.

Sep 28, 2017
Office of Management and Budget

There will be an updated North Dakota state revenue forecast.

It will most likely be available toward the end of October.

"In the past, we always did three revenue forecasts per biennium," said state Office of Management and Budget director Pam Sharp. "But in light of everything that's going on, we've decided we should do four in a biennium."

Sharp said the new forecast is important, in light of drought conditions over parts of North Dakota. But she said it’s also a good practice to have more frequent forecast updates.

ND University System

The North Dakota University System is seeing growth in the use of “open educational resources.”

"In its simplest form, it's electronic versions of textbooks," said NDUS vice-chancellor for academic and student affairs Richard Rothaus. "But its more exciting form includes multi-media, video simulations, games, links to historic documents -- the whole gamut of pulling in what is out there that is available and free."

Rothaus said the Legislature invested $100,000 in promoting the use of OER in college classes.

The leader of a group to put a measure on the ballot to repeal North Dakota’s Sunday “blue law” says his group is on track to make its goal.

Brandon Medenwald is a Fargo businessman who heads “North Dakota Open on Sundays.” He wants to get rid of the law that now prohibits most retailers from being open before noon Sundays.

"We've been out now for about 8 or 9 weeks,'" Medenwald said. "If I had to guess, we're somewhere between 12 and 15 percent completed."

The issue was brought up in the 2017 Legislature. It passed the House, but was rejected in the Senate.

ND University System

The state Board of Higher Education’s Budget and Finance Committee has given the okay to NDSU’s new tuition model for fall 2018.

The model says students will be charged per-credit hour. That amount would be capped after 13 hours, meaning anything over that would not come with a cost. And NDSU officials say that will help encourage students to finish their degrees faster.

ND Grain Growers Assoc.

An interim Legislative committee has begun a study of vomitoxin.

That’s a fungus that affects small grain crops – and can render the crop useless.

"It's cost billions of dollars over the past three or four decades," said North Dakota Grain Growers executive director Dan Wogsland. "Not just to farmers, but to elevator operators, end users and everything else."

Wogsland said in 2016, vomitoxin was a serious problem in the durum crop.

ND Association of Counties

The executive director of the North Dakota Association of Counties says you’ll see some differences in your property tax bills this fall.

Mark Johnson said the 12 percent buy down is gone. Johnson says with the slowdown in the oil industry, state lawmakers decided the state could no longer afford that.

"Legislators said that on the floor," Johnson said in an interview. "They said it's probably not sustainable."

Johnson said at the time the 12 percent buydown passed, legislators wanted to, as Johnson put it, "Share the abundance we had for a couple of years."