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Politics & Government

The Governor’s Prevention Advisory Council on Drugs and Alcohol wants to see more “early intervention” programs for school age children.

"One of the top concerns we hear at schools is behavioral health," said Pam Sagness, director of behavioral health regulation for the state department of Human Services, and a member of the Council. "So, how can we invest in the early intervention services, so we are building children who are resilient, and can bounce back when difficult things happen?"

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has issued a “cease and desist” order against a Devils Lake man who owned both a grain elevator company and held a roving grain buyer’s license.

The PSC said it has received a number of complaints against Hunter Hanson and his two companies, NoDak Grain and Midwest Grain Trading, for bounced checks and unpaid contracts. The commission has received more than 50 contacts about this, and four client complaints have been filed.

Midwest Grain Trading has elevators in Tunbridge and Rohrville.

The chairman of the Legislature’s interim committee on Government Finance said revenue volatility is a given, in North Dakota's commodities-based economy.

The 2017 Legislative session authorized the study, after lawmakers had to make significant cuts in state spending. The Government Finance Committee was assigned the study.

The chairman -- Sen. Ron Sorvaag (R-Fargo) said the committee didn’t make any recommendations on that issue for the 2019 session.

"We have reserves," Sorvaag said. "We budget conservatively. That's a good way to handle it."

North Dakota House Republicans have chosen their leaders for the 2019 Legislature.

Rep. Chet Pollert (R-Carrington) was elected House Majority Leader. He succeeds former Rep. Al Carlson (R-Fargo), who was defeated in the November election.

Pollert was elected on the second ballot, besting Rep. Dan Ruby (R-Minot) and Rep. Mike Nathe (R-Bismarck).

Pollert was first elected to the North Dakota House in 1998. He has served as the chairman of the Human Resources Division of the House Appropriations Committee.

Three Bismarck Legislators have a bill ready to give state employees raises in the 2019-2021 biennium.

It was drafted by the Bismarck District 32 Republican legislators – Sen. Dick Dever, Rep. Pat Heinert and Rep Lisa Meier.

Under their bill, state workers would get an across-the-board $300 a month raise in the first year of the biennium. Heinert said that figure comes from a look back at what state workers received in previous years.

Making ND more 'military friendly'

Nov 12, 2018

A task force has been working on ways to make North Dakota more “military friendly.”

Gov. Doug Burgum appointed that group to look at removing barriers for spouses of military personnel who come to North Dakota, or military members who want to stay here, to find jobs.

"We want to make sure North Dakota is a place that provides opportunities for veterans," said National Guard Adjutant General Alan Dohrmann. "This is not just about saying 'thank you' -- this is about makig sure we get the quality workforce this state needs."

One of the leaders of the drive for Measure One – the ethics measure, which voters passed – said she’s meeting with representatives of the measure’s opponents, hoping to “smooth things over” after a spirited campaign.

Voters passed the measure in Tuesday’s election.  A number of business groups, lobbying organizations and  the ACLU opposed the measure.

Supporters are working with legislators and the Legislative Council for enabling legislation to be introduced in the 2019 Legislative session.

Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) has been elected to another term.

And he's reaching a milestone.

"This was my 12th election," Holmberg said. "I have already completed 42 years. Next election, I would tie with two other for the longest serving Senator in state history."

Those other lawmakers are David Nething (R-Jamestown) and Duane Mutch (R-Larimore).

To what does he attribute winning re-election so many times?

Sen. - elect Cramer preparing to transition

Nov 8, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer(R) becomes a US Senator in January.

Cramer said he’s now working on the transition and looking for staff for his Senate office. But he still has some "House-work" to do, in the upcoming "lame duck" session.

"We have several weeks of session ahead of us," Cramer told Bismarck reporters. "We have some work to do."

Early voting becoming more popular in ND

Nov 6, 2018

Many North Dakotans voted early in this mid-term election.

As of mid-afternoon Monday, the Secretary of State's office reported 144,774 people had voted absentee or used early voting precincts. That compared with 134,804 in 2016, and 136,685 in 2012.

"People casting ballots before election day -- we've done a brisk business," said Burleigh County Auditor Kevin Glatt.