Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK — House lawmakers will get their first shot Wednesday at the $1.1 billion "surge" funding bill, and officials in some oil-impacted counties that would benefit most from the money aren't taking kindly to a letter seeking specifics on their tax situations and planned construction projects. "We've had a lot of blowback on that," House Majority Leader Al Carlson said Friday. The letter was sent by Rep. Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood. He chairs the House Appropriations Committee, which is set to take up Senate Bill 2103 at 9:30 a.m.
BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Senate confirmed Kevin Melicher to the State Board of Higher Education on Thursday, going against the recommendation of a Senate committee that voted 3-2 Monday to reject the Fargo optometrist's appointment. The Senate voted 27-18 to confirm Melicher, who has served on the board temporarily since June after being appointed to a four-year term by Gov. Jack Dalrymple. Twenty-four votes were needed to confirm Melicher, a former president of the Fargo School Board.
BISMARCK -- Separating the North Dakota Industrial Commission's duties to promote and regulate oil and gas development would end an "unseemly" dual role but also have "enormous" unintended consequences that could put the state at a competitive disadvantage, lawmakers heard in competing testimony Thursday. Democrats started calling for the split last year, citing the state's response to oil spills such as the 2013 pipeline leak that tainted a wheat field near Tioga with an estimated 20,600 barrels of oil, the largest oil spill in history on U.S.
BISMARCK -- Landowners and Democratic lawmakers urged a committee Thursday to support a bill that would require performance audits of two state agencies with leading regulatory roles for oil and gas development in North Dakota. House Bill 1259 would require performance audits within the next two years of the state Department of Mineral Resources' Oil and Gas Division and the state Department of Health as it relates to enforcement of oil and gas development and oilfield waste rules. House Minority Leader Kenton Onstad, D-Parshall, who is sponsoring the bill with three Democrats and
BISMARCK -- A bill that would require monitoring devices on new oil and saltwater pipelines in North Dakota received a proposed amendment Thursday that would remove the mandate and put the decision in the hands of the state Industrial Commission. Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, introduced the bipartisan bill in the wake of a pipeline rupture this month that spilled nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater near Blacktail Creek north of Williston, the biggest saltwater spill of the current oil boom.
BISMARCK – Parents of children with debilitating and terminal medical conditions shared heart-wrenching testimony Wednesday in support of legislation that would make North Dakota the 24th state to legalize medical...
BISMARCK — Retailers and distributors urged state lawmakers Tuesday to snuff out a bill that would raise North Dakota's tobacco taxes for the first time in 22 years, warning it could have a "devastating" impact on businesses, spur cigarette smuggling and unfairly burden smokers who can least afford it. Backers of the $1.10-per-pack increase in House Bill 1421 said it will put North Dakota on par with the national average, save millions in avoided health care costs, prevent young people from starting smoking and give adults the incentive they need to quit. "I look at it as a silent
BISMARCK — Education and business leaders spoke out Monday against a bill that would sever North Dakota's ties to the Common Core education standards and replace them with standards developed by a group overseen by state lawmakers. More than 200 parents, educators and others packed the Capitol's largest hearing room for the debate on House Bill 1461.
BISMARCK — North Dakota senators on Monday defeated one of two bills proposing that the state Legislature meet annually instead of every other year. Senate Bill 2247 failed on a vote of 19-28. It would have split up the current 80-day legislative session into sessions of 50 days during odd-numbered years and 30 days during even-numbered years. Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas are currently the only states with Legislatures that meet biennially. Legislatures in the other 46 states meet annually. Sen.
BISMARCK -- Fargo officials streamed into the Capitol on Friday to make their case for $120 million in state funds to bolster the city's interior flood protection and prevent steep increases in flood insurance costs on some 2,300 homes and other structures. House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, the prime sponsor of House Bill 1415, stressed that the funding request isn't tied to the proposed Fargo-Moorhead diversion project. "No matter what happens to that, it's going to take a long time for that to be built, and we need to address the needs of our city within that period of ti