General News

Governor Burgum will be asked to sign a bill making it a crime to knowingly misrepresent a pet as a qualified service animal… Fairmount State Senator Larry Luick…

       “…Mr. President, we have a certain group of individuals that need support animals in very serious ways. They have serious health conditions and need the support animals. The animals themselves become a lifeline to their existence in some cases. Dogs and miniature ponies are the only species today that can be registered as support or service animals.”                               

Labor Secretary Acosta visits N.D.

Mar 22, 2019
T.McDonald / Prairie Public

U-S Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta says North Dakota is doing many things right, but is still facing challenges when it comes to a workforce shortage…

“Your unemployment rate is 2.5%. Virtually, if someone is looking for a job there are jobs available. Nationally we have 7.2-Million open jobs. For the first time in our history we have more open jobs than individuals looking for jobs.”

Secretary Acosta was invited to visit North Dakota by Senator Kevin Cramer to talk about workforce development. Acosta says North Dakota’s success also presents challenges…

Legislative Review 3-22-19

Mar 22, 2019

The House has defeated a resolution, asking Congress to pass what has been known as the “Butch Lewis” Act.

The act deals with the bankruptcy of the Central States Pension Fund. It asks Congress to do something so retirees – especially those who were UPS drivers – can get their full pension amounts. It would affect about 2000 North Dakotans.

During floor debate, Rep. Steve Vetter (R-Grand Forks) called it a matter of honor.

Some state lawmakers are looking at potential financial help for cities and counties who have spent a lot of money on snow removal this winter.

"We're just being pro-active here," said Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman (D-New Rockford). "We want to make sure all opportunities while we're in session are made available to counties, cities and townships because of the intense winter we've had."

Heckaman said the snowplows have faced a lot of issues with the heavy snows some areas of North Dakota have received.

Senate rejects income tax buydown measure

Mar 21, 2019

The North Dakota Senate has rejected a measure that would have taken half the earnings from the state’s Legacy Fund to reduce income tax rates.

The sponsor – Rep. Craig Headland (R-Montpelier), the chairman of the House Finance and Taxation Committee – said the intent is to eventually eliminate the state income tax.

The measure passed the House 61 to 31.

But Sen. Jessica Unruh (R-Hazen) told her Senate colleagues North Dakota already has a very low state income tax rate.

The North Dakota House has rejected a bill to set aside $45 million from the earnings of the Legacy Fund for research at NDSU and UND.

Originally, the two campuses has asked for $100 million over the next two years.

The House Appropriations Committee recommended a “no” vote on the measure. But Rep. Jim Kasper (R-Fargo) urged the House to pass the measure.

"We have two great universities that are involved in research in the state 0f North Dakota," Kasper said. "They have one thing in common -- they're woefully underfunded."

The House has overwhelmingly passed a bill that changes how oil taxes are split with the Three Affiliated Tribes at Fort Berthold.

Current state law says the tax is spilt 50-50. But the bill – which was the result of an interim study, chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum – would change that – so that on trust lands, the Tribe would keep 80 percent of oil taxes collected there, and on fee lands, the state would get 80 percent.

Supporters said this gives the oil industry some certainty in terms of taxation policy – and they believe it will result in more activity on the reservation.

'Operation Prairie Dog' signed into law

Mar 20, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

To paraphrase William Shakespeare: “Cry ‘have it,’ and let loose the ‘prairie-dogs’ of infrastructure.”

Gov. Doug Burgum has signed into law the so-called “Prairie Dog” infrastructure bill.

"It will provide $250 million to help cities, counties and townships in North Dakota non-oil producing areas to pay for their infrastructure needs," Burgum said at a Capitol signing ceremony.

The bill creates a new “bucket” for oil tax revenues. And the fund is permanent.

The money won’t be available until 2023.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a “field oversight hearing” at United Tribes in Bismarck Wednesday.

The hearing concerned law enforcement, and stopping dangerous drugs from entering Indian Country.

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven chairs the Indian Affairs Committee. He said the committee heard from tribal chairmen and law enforcement.