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Politics & Government

Morton County Sheriff's Office

$12.8 million.

That’s the amount still owed to the Bank of North Dakota for law enforcement’s efforts in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

"As you know, a lawsuit has been filed against the Corps of Engineers to recover some of that cost," National Guard Adjutant General Alan Dohrmann told the state Emergency Commission. "We continue to work primarily with Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) to se if we can again access Department of Justice grants."

'State needs to stop criminalizing behavioral health'

Aug 24, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Behavioral health professionals say North Dakota is on the right path to get those services to people that need them.

But they say the state has a way to go.

The Legislature’s interim Justice Reinvestment Committee heard from representatives of the state Department of Corrections and from Human Services about treatment – how it works and what the needs are.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

An interim Legislative committee continues to work on a bill that could allow the state to adopt a self-insurance plan for state employee health benefits.

Right now, the state is contracting with Sanford Health to provide that benefit. But House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) had suggested the state go to self-insurance – as a way to control costs.

The Public Employees’ Retirement System selects the health insurance provider. Under a bill draft the committee is now studying, the PERS board could select the self-insurance option.

The President of an organization representing state employees is happy to hear talk about pay raises for state employees in the next two year budget cycle.

A Republican State Representative from Minot has filed petitions to run for the State Senate – as an independent.

Andrew Maragos has served in the House from 1993 to 2005, and returned to the House in the 2011 session. He was defeated for the GOP nomination in the June primary.

"Those people who have supported me in the past, and liked the way I represented them, asked me to continue," Maragos said. "When people that have supported you ask you to do something for them after all those years of doing something for you, you don't say 'no.'"

Pay raises for state employees?

Aug 16, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Some members of the Legislature’s Revenue Advisory Committee think the 2019 session needs to seriously look at a pay raise for state employees.

State workers did not get a pay raise from the 2017 Legislature, because of budget issues. And Gov. Doug Burgum is again asking agencies to submit reduced budgets for the 2019-2021 biennium.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) suggested pay raises need to be on the table for discussion.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Two Democratic NPL statewide candidates say the state of North Dakota needs to up its game when it comes to information technology.

They say, for example, businesses that have to file registration information with the Secretary of State’s office, or tax information with the state Tax Department are often frustrated with the difficulty in doing that, given the current IT platforms.

Tax Commissioner candidate Kylie Overson told Bismarck reporters she’s been talking with Secretary of State candidate Joshua Boschee about creating a “Hub.”

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The chairman of the North Dakota Public Service Commission said for the PSC to follow Gov. Doug Burgum’s request to find another 10 percent to cut from the PSC budget was a daunting task.

Randy Christmann said much of what the Commission does has a federal funding component to it. So he says if you took those things off the cutting table, there isn’t much “wiggle room.” So Christmann said the Commission made a very tough decision – it has recommended the elimination of the Commission’s grain licensing program.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Legislators on an interim committee overseeing the implementation of the Medical Marijuana law say they’re hearing frustration from their constituents about how long the process has been taking.

But the head of the State Health Department’s Medical Marijuana division said other states have experienced this kind of time lag from when the measure was passed to when the product becomes available.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The American Conservative Union held an infrastructure forum in Bismarck Monday.

The special guest: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.  She talked about a number of subjects, including the recent rollback of the Obama-area fuel efficiency standards. Chao told the audience her department and the Environmental Protection Agency will be working on new fuel standards. Chao said the new proposal includes eight options.