Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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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
BISMARCK — Whether the North Dakota Legislature should meet annually instead of every two years has been a frequent subject of debate, but Rep. Keith Kempenich said the budget dilemma...
BISMARCK — Five days after the president of the State Board of Higher Education resigned to avoid a distracting battle over her confirmation, state lawmakers started sifting through the North Dakota University System's budget on Monday, saying they want specifics on how campuses plan to meet the system's goals. Board member Don Morton of Fargo struck a cooperative tone as he introduced the budget to a division of the House Appropriations Committee, saying board members have "a deep commitment to higher education" and strive for budget transparency and accountability. "If you read t
BISMARCK — North Dakota stands to lose more than $112 million in tax revenue every two years if lawmakers pass a bill that could void recent regulatory orders aimed at reducing the flaring of natural gas and volatility of Bakken crude oil before transport, a committee heard Monday. The bill's prime sponsor said such broad policies should have to go through the North Dakota Industrial Commission's administrative rules process and pass the Legislature's Administrative Rules Committee instead of being approved as orders by the three-member commission, made up of the state's governor, a
BISMARCK -- A bill that would have forced the University of North Dakota to wait another two and a half years before adopting a new nickname to replace the "Fighting Sioux" failed in the House of Representatives on Friday. Members voted 21-62 against the bill. Eleven members were absent or did not vote. Any member who voted no or was absent could ask that the bill be reconsidered, but Rep.