Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK --; Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Monday he's interested in finding ways to boost compliance with North Dakota's open government laws, but a proposed $500 penalty against repeated violators isn't the way to go. Stenehjem testified before the House Judiciary Committee against House Bill 1435, which would impose a $500 penalty on a member of a state governing body who has violated the state's open records and open meetings laws more than once. Rep.
BISMARCK -- Lynn Mickelson choked back tears as he clutched the picture in his hand, panning the room so every lawmaker could see the gravesite where his daughter, her husband and their 18-month-old girl were laid to rest after a head-on collision with a drunk driver in July 2012. "Remember, one — only one — impaired driver wiped out our family, just one," he said.
BISMARCK — Repeat violators of North Dakota's drunken driving laws may be allowed to drive using an ignition interlock device instead of having to visit their local sheriff's office twice a day for breath tests, if a bill heard by state lawmakers Friday is approved. Current state law gives the North Dakota Department of Transportation director the authority to issue ignition interlock devices, but the department has never pursued it, said Mark Nelson, deputy director for driver and vehicle services. "Currently, we're pretty satisfied with the 24/7 program, that it's accomplishing wha
BISMARCK — Remodel or build new? It's a familiar question for owners of older homes, and one that North Dakota lawmakers will consider again this session for the 54-year-old governor's residence. But there's a different approach this time. Sen. Jessica Unruh, R-Beulah, the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 2304, secured some heavy hitters as co-sponsors. Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner of Dickinson and House Majority Leader Al Carlson of Fargo signed on, as did House Minority Leader Kenton Onstad, D-Parshall, and Assistant Minority Leader Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford. Rep.
BISMARCK — Efforts to fast-track more than $800 million in state funds to give western North Dakota's oil-producing region a jumpstart on the 2015 construction took a step forward Friday with the passage of an amendment that pushed the price tag over $1.1 billion. The Senate Appropriations Committee worked this week to reconcile two bills. Senate Bill 2103, the "surge" funding bill introduced by Sen. Kelly Armstrong, R-Dickinson, proposed sending $845 million to counties, cities and school districts inside and outside of the Oil Patch. Gov.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota lawmakers on Thursday recommended putting the brakes on a bill that would make it illegal for drivers to have their headlights off within an hour of sunrise and sunset. The House Transportation Committee voted 11-2 to give House Bill 1207 a do-not-pass recommendation, with one member absent. Rep.
BISMARCK -- Gun rights advocates clashed with the medical, hospitality and religious sectors on Thursday over a bill that would allow concealed weapons in churches and forbid doctors from asking patients if they own firearms. House Bill 1241 would remove churches, political functions, music concerts and public parks from the list of public gathering places where possessing a firearm or dangerous weapon is currently a Class B misdemeanor under state law. The bill's prime sponsor, Rep.
BISMARCK — Debate over who should set tuition rates and fees at North Dakota's 11 public colleges and universities began Wednesday as a committee heard testimony on a bill that would shift power from the state Board of Higher Education to the Legislature. Rep.
BISMARCK — Smokers would pay more than triple the current state tax on cigarettes in North Dakota under two bipartisan bills promoted Wednesday by anti-tobacco groups and others. North Dakota's current excise tax of 44 cents per pack is the 46th lowest in the nation and hasn't been raised since 1993, said Rep.
BISMARCK — Lawmakers in oil-rich North Dakota heard Tuesday the first in a large batch of bills aimed at cutting or eliminating personal income taxes, with the main sponsor pitching it as a way to benefit renters who have missed out on property tax relief. North Dakota's income tax collections have more than doubled in the last decade, from $214 million in fiscal year 2004 to $514 million in fiscal year 2014, despite the Legislature cutting income taxes at double-digit rates across all brackets in the past three sessions. As of Tuesday, 30 bills proposing income tax changes had bee