Politics & Government

Oil tax overhaul proposed by Republicans

Jan 29, 2013

State Sen. Dwight Cook (R-Mandan) has introduced a bill that re-structures the state’s oil tax.

Cook’s bill changes the so-called “stripper exemption” for low producing oil wells drilled after July First. It requires oil companies to withhold income taxes from non-resident oil royalty owners. It provides an incentive for companies to drill outside the Bakken and Three Forks formations. And, effective January first, 2017, it permanently lowers the oil tax rate from 11.5 percent to 9.5.

The sponsor of a measure limiting law enforcement use of unmanned aerial vehicles says he’s concerned about privacy rights.

Rep. Rick Becker’s (R-Bismarck) bill says law enforcement must get a search warrant – before using the “drones” for surveillance.

"If UAS is to be used for surveillance of private citizens, they need to get a search warrant to use the drone," Becker told the House Judiciary Committee. "That's opposed to using the drone to obtain information to get a search warrant. That's a very clear distinction."

Committee considering ending sales tax on clothing

Jan 28, 2013

A state Senate committee is looking at a bill to eliminate the sales tax on clothing purchased in North Dakota.

"The bill would provide tax relief for all North Dakotans, regardless of their financial ability, or prominence in society," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. George Sinner (D-Fargo). "Every single person in North Dakota is required, by law, to wear clothing."

Sinner told the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee – because Minnesota and Montana do not tax clothing, many shoppers leave the state to buy those items.

Sen. Mac Schneider on "Legislative Review"

Jan 28, 2013

Rep. Al Carlson on "Legislative Review"

Jan 28, 2013

Rep. Al Carlson (R-Fargo) on "Legislative Review" -- aired 1/18/13

'Fast track' for highway funding on-track

Jan 23, 2013

House and Senate budget writers are moving quickly to get money in the hands of the state Department of Transportation – to get an early start on the 2013 road construction season.

If passed by both houses, it would get $600-million to the DOT immediately  – and DOT could then start bidding projects. Interim state Transportation Director Grant Levi says it’s better to get going now, rather than wait until normal appropriation bills take effect in July.

The North Dakota Legislature is being asked to include “sexual orientation” in its laws dealing with discrimination.

The bill was introduced in the Senate -- and has sponsors in both houses.

"Passage of this bill will insure we're looking out for all families in our state, and guaranteeing that they are comfortable enough in their living spaces and work spaces to be who they truly are," said Rep. Kylie Oversen (D-Grand Forks). "This legislation is a business issue, and, more importantly, a family issue."

Sales taxes for school buildings

Jan 21, 2013

A State Senate committee is looking at a proposal to allow a local school district to levy a sales tax for building projects – if 60 percent of the voters approve.

The effort came from Williston – where voters overwhelmingly turned down a 55-million dollar bond issue for two new school buildings. Williston School Superintendent Viola LaFontaine told the Senate Education Committee – people in Williston did not want to pay more in property taxes. But she says a number of people have told her they would support a sales tax.

A State Senator there should be legislative review of initiated measures that have a financial impact on the state.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

"Today is a little bit like preparing for a piano recital with only two weeks of lessons."

That’s how new Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak described her first PSC meeting. Fedorchak was appointed by Governor Dalrymple to take the place of Kevin Cramer, who was elected to Congress. Fedorchak says the PSC has a lot to do with both the energy industry and the agriculture industry.

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