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General News

ITD working on single entry log in for state websites

Sep 16, 2019

North Dakota’s Information Technology Department is working on a “single entry” concept to log on to state websites.

"Most citizens would tell you, 'It's great that I can get things on line, but state government as a whole doesn't treat me as a single entity, and I'm having to re-key information numerous times,'" said ITD chief operating officer Dan Sipes. "'If I change my mailing address at the Department of Motor Vehicles, it should propagate to other systems in state government -- but that doesn't happen.'"

Human Services reorganization proceeding

Sep 16, 2019

Work continues on the concept of “human service zones.”

Under it, counties agree to work together to share services and administration.

State Human Services director Chris Jones said there are 19 zones identified.

"Right now, it's getting into the minor details that sometimes you trip over," Jones said. "But I feel really good about the work we've done with the Association of Counties and with the individual counties themselves to start the collaboration."

With a year to go, DOT and TSA are pushing Real ID

Sep 12, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

By next October first (2020), if you wish to board a commercial airplane, you will need a Real ID compliant form.

That includes Real ID compliant driver’s licenses.

"In a nutshell, Real ID is the way the federal government knows you are who you say you are on your photo identification," Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Lorie Dankers said at a news conference at the Bismarck Airport.

Other Real ID forms include passports and military ID.

So far, 83,000 North Dakotans have a Real ID compliant driver’s license.

GNDC pushing for reauthorized Export-Import Bank

Sep 11, 2019

The Greater North Dakota Chamber is supporting the reauthorization of the “Export-Import” Bank.

The bank is described as the official credit agency of the United States…and it has helped 16 North Dakota businesses export products and crops.

Tom Shorma with WCCO Belting of Wahpeton said his company has used the bank for 18 years -- and he said it has been valuable to his business.

Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy officials say the utility is on track to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by the year 2030 – and completely eliminate them by the year 2050.

They briefed the North Dakota Public Service Commission about those plans.

Xcel will be phasing out of its coal generation, while it increases wind and solar power. But the plan includes keeping its two nuclear power plants – Monticello and Prairie Island – operational.

The North Dakota Department of Human Services will be working with the Human Service Research Institute to identify the state’s capacity to meet psychiatric in-patient needs across the state, as well as the needs in other areas of behavioral health.

State human services director Chris Jones said the study came from action in the 2019 Legislature.

"The Governor had budgeted for a new state hospital," Jones said. "And the legislature looked at how we create, on the treatment side, access to in-patient services across the state."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s four Native American tribal nations and the state Department of Human Services have signed updated comprehensive agreements for enhanced child welfare services for Native American children and families.

The agreements were signed at the state Capitol in Bismarck Friday. They update agreements signed in 1983.

Dean Sturn is the foster care administrator for the Department of Human Services. Sturn said one thing the new agreement does is expand the ability of the tribes to license Native foster homes, not only on tribal lands but off of tribal lands.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum is making a few changes to the budgeting process for state agencies.

Burgum unveiled the changes at what’s been called a “JEL” meeting – “JEL” standing for “Judicial, Executive and Legislative.” He told the agency heads and state employees attending, he wants to start a "strategic planning project."

"Strategy has to drive budget," Burgum said.

A company has started marketing what it calls the first “at home” forensic evidence collection kits, more commonly called “rape kits.”

It’s being marketed as the “MeToo Kit.”

But the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence opposes this. In a statement, the organization said it is “outraged” by the attempt to monetize the Me Too movement.

Janelle Moos is the executive director of North Dakota’s Council on Abused Women’s Services. She said a forensic exam following a rape requires a specially trained medical professional.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has approved a plan to convert about 20 miles of 8-inch oil pipeline in McKenzie County from a gathering line to a transmission line.

But that approval came after the company – Belle Fourche – already made the conversion.

Gathering lines are less regulated than transmission lines.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said PSC staff will be having some conversations with the company about the right way to make these conversions. She said she wants to deter companies from taking this approach. That could lead to financial penalties.