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Politics & Government

ND Catholic Conference: No on Measures 1, 3

Oct 6, 2018

The North Dakota Catholic Conference is the latest organization to oppose Measure One on the November ballot.

That measure would create a state ethics commission, would require more transparency in donations, restrict gifts to elected officials from lobbyists, and prevents officials from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving state government. It's a proposed amendment to the state's Constitution.

"This is a difficult issue for us," said Conference executive director Christopher Dodson. "No one's opposed to integrity."

State revenue recovering

Oct 2, 2018

North Dakota’s revenue picture continues to improve.

In August, revenue collections exceeded the Legislative forecast by 10 percent. For the biennium to date, collections are nearly 4 percent ahead of forecast.

"It indicates again that we've seen the bottom," said state Office of Management and Budget director Joe Morrissette.

Morrissette said increased oil activity in western North Dakota means increases in oil taxes and sales tax collections. Sales taxes for the month of August were nearly 26 percent ahead of forecast.

North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler has resigned, after sending out what was termed an “unacceptable” e-mail.

The announcement came Monday from the Governor’s office.

Sources in the Department of Commerce say Schuler sent out an e-mail, with attachment, from his state e-mail address. It went to all Commerce employees, and it dealt with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court appointment.  Some employees took the matter to the state’s Human Resources Management Services office.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Board of Higher Education will not take a formal position on opposing the recreational marijuana initiative that is on the November ballot.

The measure was discussed by the Board’s Governance Committee. That committee asked University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott to draft a position paper. But board legal counsel said the Board could not take a formal position on the issue – because the Board is a part of state government. However, the board could discuss factual information on the measure without taking a formal position.

District 4 GOP Representative is resigning

Sep 27, 2018

A state legislator from northwest North Dakota has resigned.

Rep. Bill Oliver (R-New Town) is resigning, effective October 30th.  In his letter, Oliver said “My life situation has changed, and I feel I cannot represent my constituents with the zeal necessary.”

Oliver sent the letter to House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) and Legislative Management chairman Sen. Ray Holmberg. (R-Grand Forks).

Holmberg said he will be sending a letter to the GOP District 4 chairman.

Social service 'zones' proposed

Sep 24, 2018

As part of a reorganization of social services in North Dakota, the Department of Human Services is proposing grouping county social services into “zones.”

"Over the last few years, there have been a number of counties that have formed multi-county social service districts," said Department of Human Services director Chris Jones. "We're looking at that concept to group some other counties together."

Jones said not only are there administrative efficiencies, it could better serve North Dakotans.

"We will be able to move dollars across borders," Jones said.

Opponents of the measure to legalize recreational marijuana have asked the state Board of Higher Education to formally weigh in against the measure.

University system director of student affairs Katie Fitzsimmons told the Board’s Governance Committee the Attorney General’s office and other organizations opposed to measure 3 made the request. She told the committee it could be a great opportunity to approach the issue from a student health and wellness perspective.

Burgum: 30,000 jobs probably open in ND

Sep 21, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Job Service North Dakota lists around 14,500 open jobs in the state.

But Gov. Doug Burgum believes it’s more than that. He said the number is likely closer to 30,000. He told reporters he gets that number from talking with employers.

"I always ask them, 'How many jobs do you have open, and how many jobs do you have posted?'" Burgum said. "In some cases, with our health care providers, they only have 10 percent of the nursing positions posted. In manufacturing, they often have five times as many jobs as they have posted."

The Bismarck-Mandan Metropolitan Planning Organization has begun updating the metro transportation plan.

That plan is called “Arrive 2045.”

"We will be looking for members of the public, stakeholders, folks interested in transportation," said KLJ project manager Wade Kline. "We want them to come in and help worth through the identification of transportation needs in the Bismarck-Mandan-Lincoln area for the next 20-25 years."

The MPO has developed some projections for population and job growth in the Bismarck-Mandan-Lincoln area.

On-line retailers are facing an October first deadline to register with the state of North Dakota to start collecting state sales taxes.

North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said the first reflection of that will come in the taxable sales report for the fourth quarter of 2018. That won’t be available until 2019. Meanwhile, Rauschenberger had to come up with an estimate of tax collections from on-line sales, so that could be built into Gov. Doug Burgum’s executive budget recommendation, that will be given to state lawmakers in December.

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