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Legislature

Simons expelled from House

4 hours ago

The state House of Representatives has voted to expel Dickinson Republican Representative Luke Simons because of sexual harassment.

The vote was 69 to 25. It needed a two-thirds vote, or 63, to pass.

Simons has been accused of inappropriate comments made toward female colleagues and interns.

The North Dakota House plans to take action today (Thursday) on the complaints against Rep. Luke Simons (R-Dickinson).

Simons has been accused of threatening and sexually harassing women at the state Capitol. Last week, top GOP leaders called on Simons to resign. He refused, denying the charges.

House Majority Leader Chet Pollert told the House the plan is to convene as a “committee of the whole” at 1pm. Pollert said he expects every member to be participating, either in person or remotely.

Bekkedahl talks bonding, addiction treatment

Mar 2, 2021

A Republican State Senator from Williston -- who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee -- said the bonding bill approved by the House is a “lot lighter” than he – and other Senators – envisioned it would be.

The House version is $680 million, with money going toward water projects – including the FM Diversion and the Mouse River Flood Control Project.

Sen. Brad Bekkedahl (R-Williston) said he’s been a proponent of bonding – especially at this time, when the interest rates are low.

The North Dakota House has approved a measure to merge the state Health Department with the Department of Human Services.

It may be the longest bill in the session this year.

"I assure you, this is the simplest 263 page bill you will see this session," the bill's sponsor, Rep. Robin Weisz (R-Hurdsfield) told the House.

Weisz said the purpose of the bill is to streamline government.

"This is an opportunity for the Governor, who has many times touted reinventing government and streamlining, well, here's his chance to do that," Weisz said.

House approves 3-cent increase in gasoline taxes

Feb 23, 2021

The House has voted to raise the gasoline tax by three cents a gallon.

The tax would increase from 23 cents to 26 cents. It is projected to raise another $44 million over the next two years, with the money going toward roads and bridges.

Supporters said the tax is more of a “user fee” for those who use the highways.

"What's more fair than the people that are using the product having to pay for it?" Rep. Jon Nelson (R-Rugby) said. "This is a very, very modest increase, and it's time to do it."

The state Senate has passed a resolution declaring the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by the 1975 Legislature expired in 1979.

This comes as some states have recently ratified the ERA. The original amendment was passed in 1972 – and it takes a two thirds vote of the states to approve it.

Sen. Janne Myrdal (R-Edinburg) – a co-sponsor of the resolution – told the Senate the reason there’s renewed interest in passing the ERA is abortion.

House approves ban on mask mandates

Feb 23, 2021

The North Dakota House has passed a bill to prevent governments from imposing mask mandates.

The bill’s sponsor,  Rep. Jeff Hoverson (R-Minot), told the House he has received a lot of e-mails — virtually all were for his bill and against mask mandates.

"They do not want North Dakota to get sucked into what is becoming obvious," Hoverson said. "The mask is a part of a larger apparatus of a movement of unelected, wealthy bureaucrats, who are robbing our freedoms and perpetuating lies."

A new COVID-19 relief bill is pending In Congress.

And it appears North Dakota could be receiving a substantial chunk of money from it. Lawmakers aren’t yet sure how much, but they say it could be around $4 billion.

 

Smallpox ravaged the world for centuries before it was eradicated by vaccination in 1980. In what is now North Dakota, smallpox devastated Native tribes and instilled a real fear among people for many years. The contagious virus was pervasive and found its way everywhere – even the state Capitol, more than a century ago.

Senate committee modifies, recommends power grid bill

Feb 19, 2021

A measure calling for electric power reliability and price transparency has been changed.

As originally introduced by Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson), it would have required all electricity generated in North Dakota is either “dispatchable,” meaning it can ramp up or be shut down quickly, or demonstrates back-up capacity. It also repeals the “25 by 25” initiative, the goal of 25 percent of North Dakota’s electricity coming from renewables by the year 2025.

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