Politics & Government

Officials say preschool programs work

Feb 20, 2013

State officials say early childhood educational programs are paying off.

"We have students who are far more ready for first grade by the time they reach that," said Sen. Nichole Poolman (R-Bismarck). "We have all sorts of data from assorted schools to support that.

Poolman is a teacher in the Bismarck school district. She is one of the sponsors of a measure to allow local school districts to use taxpayer money to support pre-kindergarten programs. The measure also appropriates $4-point-7 million for grants to local school districts to help them run pre-school programs.

Regulations on posting "no smoking" signs modified

Feb 20, 2013

The House has voted to make some changes to the new voter-approved workplace smoking ban.

The measure says businesses do not have to put a “no smoking” sign in work vehicles.  It ends the mandate to remove factory-installed ash trays from the vehicles used on the job. And it will no longer force businesses to post “no smoking” signs at loading docks or garage doors.

The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee says there seems to be very little support at this time to add staff in the University System office.

Chancellor Ham Shirvani had asked for 30 new people – mostly legal and compliance staff. The Governor’s budget recommended 9. But Appropriations Committee chairman Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) says the bill will come out of committee without any new staffers in the central office.

Senate passes two more abortion bills

Feb 19, 2013

The state Senate has approved a pair of anti-abortion bills.

One would decare that human life begins at the moment of conception. It’s been called the “personhood” bill.  It saya a fertilized egg has rights. It prohibits the intentional destruction of embryos – and more closely regulates in-vitro fertilization. In-vitro doctors oppose the bill, as does the North Dakota Medical Association.

Rep. Kim Koppelman on "Legislative Review"

Feb 17, 2013

New House pay plan less than Gov. Dalrymple's plan

Feb 15, 2013

House Republicans have come up with a pay plan – that they say is close to what Gov. Dalrymple proposed for state employees, but with some fundamental changes.

Dalrymple proposed a “five and five” plan – but not across the board. That plan called for equity adjustments, to bring critical staff up to market rates. And it increased the retirement contribution. The Senate adopted that plan.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) says the House plan is essentially a net “three-and-three” plan – and it does not increase state contributions for the retirement plan.

Gay rights measure rejected in ND Senate

Feb 15, 2013

The state Senate has rejected a measure that would have added “sexual orientation” to the state’s anti-discrimination statute.

Before the bill was voted down, Senators rejected an amendment to the bill – which would have had a statement about North Dakota not supporting discrimination against gays, lesbians, trans-gender people or bi-sexual people. However, there would be no recourse for people who lost jobs or housing based on sexual orientation.

Rep. Kenton Onstad on "Legislative Review"

Feb 15, 2013

Money going out to rural water projects

Feb 14, 2013

It is the second “fast-tracked” spending bill of the session.

The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill to appropraite money for some rural water projects, Under it, $10 million will go to three projects – Stutsman County rural water, the North Central rural water consortium and the McLean-Sheridan rural water project. Another $21 million would go to the Southwest Pipeline project.

Fast tracking the bill means bids can be opened soon – and construction could start this spring.

Money going out to rural water projects

Feb 14, 2013

It is the second “fast-tracked” spending bill of the session.

The state Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill to appropraite money for some rural water projects, Under it, $10 million will go to three projects – Stutsman County rural water, the North Central rural water consortium and the McLean-Sheridan rural water project. Another $21 million would go to the Southwest Pipeline project.

Fast tracking the bill means bids can be opened soon – and construction could start this spring.

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