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Bill expands child care capacity, funding

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local Dickinson, 58602
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

BISMARCK -- Child care facilities will be able to take on more children, and families will be in a better position to afford child care with a bill passed Tuesday.

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The Legislature sent Gov. Jack Dalrymple House Bill 1422, which bumps up the state's cap on the number of children a provider can watch at one time.

It also provides financial incentives, with $1 million in grants for the recruitment, training and retention of child care workers to meet demand.

An additional $300,000 will create two new positions, one on each side of the state, to help with the training.

Under the bill, the Department of Human Services will change its eligibility requirements for the child care assistance program from 50 percent of the state median income to 85 percent, providing more low-income families with money to pay for child care.

"We're not trying to pay for the people that have the boat in the garage," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo. "This will truly help those people that need the help."

The bill will also create a new provision that says a child care license is not required for child care services that are located in the building where the child's parent is employed. The provider cannot have more than 10 children per location.

Worker safety

Changes will come to the current process for claiming employee benefits after a work-related injury if Gov. Jack Dalrymple signs a bill passed Tuesday that gives less credibility to a physician's opinion.

Senate Bill 2298 was amended in a conference committee to say, "A presumption may not be established in favor of any doctor's opinion," when determining a claim under Workforce Safety & Insurance.

The conference committee agreed on language that says WSI should consider various factors when resolving conflicting medical opinions.

Those include the length of the treatment relationship and the frequency of examinations, the nature and extent of the treatment relationship, the amount of relevant evidence in support of the opinion, how consistent the opinion is with the record as a whole, appearance of bias, whether the doctor specializes in the medical issues related to the opinion and any other relevant factors.

DSU Theodore Roosevelt library

With Dalrymple's signature, Dickinson State University will receive $6 million for a grant to help pay for the construction of a Theodore Roosevelt presidential library.

No money can be used for administrative costs and funds cannot be awarded until the grant recipient has raised at least $3 million from nonstate sources for the project.

The funding comes under the Department of Commerce budget passed Tuesday.

Cameras

The Legislature approved its budget for the upcoming biennium, raising lawmakers' daily compensation from $157 to $162 while keeping in language to allow lawmakers in the interim session to put cameras in the committee rooms.

However, the bill does not include the more than $300,000 that the camera installation is expected to cost. There is $500,000 for general legislative wing equipment and improvements that could be used under the bill, House Bill 2001.

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