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General News

If a company wants to build a petrochemical plant in North Dakota, it can receive some tax breaks to do so.

The 2019 Legislature passed a measure to give the company a sales tax exemption for construction of such a plant.

"There was an organization looking at putting a facility in the state of North Dakota," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jason Dockter (R-Bismarck). "Since we only meet every two years, we wanted to put the bill in to help along that process."

Dockter said the bill does have a potentially high price tag.

Ducks Unlimited proposing a new city park for Bismarck

Aug 14, 2019
Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited is working on a proposed new city park for Bismarck.

The park would be next to the DU property in western Bismarck.

It will be on 120 acres, on Burnt Boat Road.

"There is a beautiful valley, just north of Burnt Boat Road, that we have all driven by about a million times," said DU Director of Public Policy for the Great Plains Region, Carmen Miller. "We have the opportunity to set that aside."

Normally, interim legislative committees will come up with bills for the upcoming Legislative session, based on the studies assigned.

But the chairman of the interim Commerce Committee has a different idea.

"I would prefer, as the chair, to not have an interim committee bill introduced," said Rep. Scott Louser (R-Minot), the chairman of the interim Commerce Committee.

Instead, Louser prefers bills to be introduced by individual legislators.

Louser had a bill during the 2019 session that would have prohibited interim committees from introducing measures.

Interim committee studying rural grocery stores

Aug 12, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

An interim Legislative committee is studying the distribution and transportation of food in rural communities.

But it isn’t an easy issue to solve.

The study came from concerns about the loss of grocery stores in smaller cities.

“When we started this work in 2014, we documented 137 full-service stores in towns with 2100 people or less," said Lori Capouch, the rural development director for the North Dakota Rural Electric and Telecommunications Development Center. "As of today, there are 98 stores remaining."

Despite having “abnormally dry” conditions in the Devils Lake region the process of pumping water from the flood swollen Devils Lake continues. Jeff Frith is manager of the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resources Board. He says given the dry conditions and the current pumping capacity the lake is not lowering as fast as some may think.

North Dakota’s fourth medical marijuana dispensary opens next week.

It’s in Bismarck – and opens Tuesday.

And there are more dispensaries to come.

"We have four additional locations within the state -- Jamestown, Devils Lake, Minot and Dickinson," said Health Department Medical Marijuana division director Jason Wahl. "They have entities who are moving forward in the registration process."

Wahl said the next dispensary to likely open will be Jamestown.

ND Ethics Commission appointed

Aug 8, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Five members have been appointed to the new state Ethics Commission.

A committee made up of Gov. Doug Burgum, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) and Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman (D-New Rockford) made the appointments.

The committee chose former district judge Ron Goodman of Oakes, tribal college president Cynthia Lindquist of Ft. Totten, former Sanford Health executive Paul Richard of Fargo, former Williston Mayor Ward Koser and former National Guard General David Anderson of Bismarck.

Pipeline expansion plans raises questions

Aug 6, 2019

Operators of the Dakota Access Pipeline are looking at plans to expand pumping capacity of the pipeline in order to move more crude oil through the system. Critics of the plan are looking to express their concerns. Reporter Todd McDonald has details...

Federal Lawsuit Over Mandan Mural

Aug 2, 2019
Bismark Tribune

The city of Mandan will not enforce its law requiring citizens to apply for a permit to paint murals until a federal lawsuit over the matter is settled. The ordinance caused controversy this past spring, when it required the owners of Lonesome Dove bar to remove their mural depicting a cowboy during sunset after their application for a permit was denied three times. Owners, Brian Burbe and August Kersten, filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District of North Dakota against the city of Mandan on July 29th.

ND ACLU hires new advocacy director

Jul 30, 2019

The ACLU of North Dakota has new leadership.