Politics & Government | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Politics & Government

The issue of “expungement” – that is, erasing the arrest and or conviction of someone who committed a crime – has become an issue in the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana.

The measure would require the expungement of all marijuana-related convictions.

At the same time, a Fargo legislator is working on an expungement bill.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Former district judge Bob Wefald – one of the spokespeople against the measure to legalize recreational marijuana – says he would support legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot.

State Rep. Shannon Roers-Jones (R-Fargo) recently said she would introduce such a bill, if measure 3 is defeated.

"It would be small amounts of marijuana," Wefald said at a Bismarck news conference. "Not truckloads."

Wefald said he's especially concerned about young people who have experimented with marijuana.

Bill Thomas

NOTE:  We will rebroadcast this on radio November 4th at 5PM Central Time.

The state Board of Higher Education has tabled any decision about granting tenure to college presidents, after the Council of College Faculties raised concerns in a letter to the Board.

Under the proposal, Board policy on tenure would be changed, so that if an out of state candidate for a college presidency is tenured, that could be transferred to the college, with Board approval.

University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott proposed the plan. He said it could be an attraction for out of state candidates for a presidency in North Dakota.

Behavioral health plans moving forward

Oct 22, 2018

The behavioral health division of the North Dakota Department of Human Services has contracted with a firm that developed a report on the status of behavioral health in the state – to help the implementation of a statewide plan.

The group is the “Human Services Research Institute.”

"The action that we need to do to make sure that report becomes more than just a report with recommendations, but actionable steps that we can more forward will continue," said Behavioral Health division director Pam Sagness. "We're excited about that."

First US Senate debate held in Bismarck

Oct 19, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The two candidates for US Senate squared off in their first debate Thursday night.

Incumbent Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and GOP challenger Kevin Cramer participated in an hour-long debate in Bismarck, sponsored by the North Dakota Newspaper Association.

The two covered a number of subjects. On trade – specifically the trade embargoes – Heitkamp said North Dakota farmers are getting hurt by the closing of foreign markets, especially China.

The state Health Department is looking at a proposal to transfer the state forensic examiner’s office from the Health Department to the UND Medical School.

That office is in charge of such things as autopsies.

The proposal is in the Health Department's budget request given to Gov. Doug Burgum.

"We have taken a look at the work that was being done," said Health Department chief financial officer Brenda Weisz. "UND may be better positioned to leverage other funding sources or other grants."

ND Association of Counties

North Dakota counties are concerned about proposals pending to restructure how human services are delivered.

The reorganization is being spearheaded by the state Department of Human Services, and is before a Legislative interim committee.

One of the proposals is to create "zones" for social services.

By Carrie Levine

The Center for Public Integrity

  FORT YATES, North Dakota — Two years ago, when Chase Iron Eyes decided to run for Congress, he knew he had, as he puts it, “a snowball’s chance in hell” of winning.

But Iron Eyes, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, still saw the narrowest of paths to victory in the race for North Dakota’s sole congressional seat. If he and the two other Native American candidates running for state offices as Democratic nominees were able to boost Native American voter turnout while simultaneously convincing independent-minded undecided voters to break their way, he explained, he thought he might win.

Two hundred 24 of 296 state employees who applied for the “Voluntary Separation Plan” have been accepted.

This is the second year of that volunteer program.

The state employees who were accepted had two options.

"The first option was for the worker to receive three months of wages and the cost of health insurance paid out in a lump sum," said Human Resource Management Services interim director Becky Sicble. "The second option keeps them 'on the payroll' for three months after they separate, so they get paid the same as if they were coming to work, but they're not."