Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK – Sponsors of an initiative aimed at legalizing marijuana in North Dakota failed to gather enough signatures by Monday’s deadline to put the proposed measure on the Nov. 8 ballot, a sponsor said. Backers needed to submit at least 13,452 signatures to the secretary of state’s office.
BISMARCK — North Dakota cities are wrestling with a steep decline in state aid funding as they craft their budgets for next year, with some experiencing a "double whammy" because of a change in how population is used to calculate the payments. The head of the North Dakota League of Cities said he's concerned the substantial drop in state aid and highway tax revenue could put added pressure on local property taxes.
BISMARCK – In the same room where his shocked opponent conceded the Republican nomination for governor two weeks earlier, Doug Burgum addressed a receptive crowd of GOP faithful Tuesday, sharing his vision for the office and speaking of unity to party diehards whose endorsed candidate he defeated.
BISMARCK — By just one vote, state lawmakers on Monday denied a request for $75,000 to pay private attorneys hired by the State Historical Society to fight a lawsuit brought by the general contractor who oversaw the North Dakota Heritage Center expansion. Historical Society Director Claudia Berg said she was "very surprised" that the Budget Section voted 18-19 to withhold the funds, after the state Emergency Commission voted 4-2 last week to recommend moving the $75,000 from its $700,000 contingency fund to the historical society.
BISMARCK – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday striking down a Texas law that required abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital could revive a legal challenge to a similar law already in place in North Dakota. Tammi Kromenaker, director at the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, the state’s lone abortion clinic, was in Washington, D.C., to hear the Supreme Court issue its 5-3 ruling, saying she was “extremely happy” and calling it an historic decision.
BISMARCK — North Dakota is in a "very precarious" position of not knowing where slumping oil and agricultural commodity prices will land as the possibility of a special legislative session looms if next month's state revenue forecast looks bleak, the state's chief budget official told lawmakers Monday.
BISMARCK – After being criticized for a series of power outages last spring in Fargo, Xcel Energy has unveiled a $5.3 million plan for improving reliability to its North Dakota customers, but is still debating how to recover the cost from customers. Xcel presented the plan Wednesday to the state Public Service Commission, which called an informal hearing last month after the Minneapolis-based utility experienced eight outages in Fargo between April 22 and May 13 affecting more than 24,000 customers.
BISMARCK – A North Dakota Department of Health employee who was fired after complaining about sexual harassment in the workplace is suing the agency in federal court for retaliation, and a $40,000 settlement was reached with another employee who claimed age discrimination and retaliation. The lawsuit brought by former autopsy assistant Ranae Kunz claims she suffered loss of income, mental anguish, emotional distress and other damages in excess of $75,000. She’s also seeking unspecified punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
BISMARCK – A top official with the North Dakota Republican Party said Friday the state needs a higher threshold for legislative and statewide candidates to advance from the June primary election, after a number of Democrats narrowly made the cut last week. To advance to the November ballot, primary candidates must receive at least as many votes as the number of petition signatures required to get on the primary ballot, which is based on 1 percent of the total population of the legislative district.
BISMARCK — A bipartisan gun control bill co-sponsored by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., survived its first vote Thursday but still needs additional support from Republicans to move forward. Senators voted 52-46 to defeat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's motion to table the compromise bill introduced earlier this week by fellow Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.