Mike Nowatzki, Forum News Service
BISMARCK — North Dakota officials are exploring legal options to address recent glitches in an online test designed to gauge student progress in meeting the Common Core education standards, the state's education chief said Friday. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler also announced she is assembling a task force to study other standardized testing options for K-12 students. Baesler said she's disappointed with the rollout of the online math and English assessment that was drafted by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and administered by Dover, N.H.-based
HEIMDAL, N.D. — Wheel fragments found at the scene of a fiery oil train derailment here are "of great interest" to federal officials investigating the cause of the wreck, the lead investigator said Thursday as BNSF Railways prepared to reopen the track Friday. National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jim Southworth said BNSF workers began finding the fragments before he arrived at the site just east of Heimdal, where six oil tanker cars in a 109-car train derailed about 7:30 a.m.
BISMARCK — State lawmakers adjourned Wednesday without passing their final bill, setting up the possibility of a special session to resolve differences in the budget bill for the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System. "This isn't a war with the House and Senate," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo. "This is a philosophical difference on the bill." Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said lawmakers "could have stayed here for another week and it probably wasn't going to change." Wardner and Gov.
BISMARCK — Collapsing crude prices that took a nearly $5 billion bite out of North Dakota's projected oil tax revenues failed to deter state lawmakers from investing billions in infrastructure, education and tax relief, leaders of the Legislature's Republican supermajority said after the session adjourned Wednesday. "This is a very successful session coming off the fact that we had really limited money to work with compared with what we thought we had," said House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo. The Senate's top Democrat said the session will be remembered for the oil extrac
BISMARCK — With a number of major budget bills still being hammered out, House and Senate leaders said Thursday they still hoped to wrap up the legislative session on Saturday but were prepared to take the weekend off and return Monday if it appears that won't happen. "We're getting close," said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson. Today (Friday) marks the 75th day of the session, which is limited to 80 days. Republican and Democratic-NPL leadership from both chambers had earlier set a goal of finishing with five days to spare in case they need to call themselves back i
BISMARCK — Democrats have failed in their first attempt to salvage language from a defeated bill that aimed to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, and they say further attempts are unlikely as the session draws to a close. After House lawmakers killed Senate Bill 2279 on April 2, Democrats said they would try to amend other bills to achieve the same goal. Sen.
BISMARCK — Democrats slammed House Republican budget writers Wednesday for stripping a proposed state-run rail safety program from the Public Service Commission budget, calling it a broken promise that leaves residents at risk of more accidents like the fiery oil train derailment near Casselton in 2013. The House Appropriations Committee voted 16-5 late Tuesday to approve a PSC budget that cuts about $970,000 for two rail safety inspectors and a rail safety manager to complement efforts by the Federal Railroad Administration in the next biennium. The Senate approved the funding when it
BISMARCK — State senators voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to expand the places where a concealed weapons license holder can legally carry a firearm to include public parks, political rallies and public rest areas. The Senate voted 45-2 to pass House Bill 1241, which bill carrier Sen. Kelly Armstrong said clarifies, simplifies and expands gun rights in North Dakota. "Concealed weapons permit holders are not the problem. They're the good guys.
BISMARCK — A bill outlawing e-cigarette sales to minors in North Dakota unanimously passed the Senate on Tuesday, though one lawmaker warned that not defining the nicotine-delivery devices as tobacco products will make it more difficult to enforce the law and protect minors. "Sometimes the good outweighs the flaws, and that's precisely how I view this bill," said Sen.