Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK – A teacher running for North Dakota superintendent of public instruction said Monday his conviction for embezzlement more than 30 years ago was a “technical insurance issue” and is “ancient history,” after supporters of his opponent linked to the case on social media.
BISMARCK – It’s a decision that will likely cost North Dakota taxpayers something extra, but Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem attributes it more to the need for outside expertise than a lack of lawyers in his office. Earlier this month, the State Historical Board voted to hire a private Fargo law firm to defend against a lawsuit related to the Heritage Center expansion project, instead of relying upon lawyers in the attorney general’s office as state agencies normally do in civil cases.
BISMARCK – North Dakota’s lowered expectations for tax revenues proved to be not low enough for the third month in a row in March, leaving the state more than $20 million short of its revised forecast and boosting the likelihood of additional budget cuts or further drawing down reserves.
BISMARCK – Unflattering audits of North Dakota’s Department of Trust Lands sparked heated words Thursday from state Land Commissioner Lance Gaebe, the lead auditor and a member of the legislative committee that ordered the audits, who told Gaebe, “I don’t accept the excuses.”
BISMARCK – North Dakota is increasingly filling its prisons and jails with low-level felony offenders who may be better served by probation and treatment, and drug offenses are the main driver, officials heard Wednesday from researchers helping the state identify ways to reduce spending on corrections and prevent repeat offenses.
BISMARCK – A trucking company fined $950,000 for dumping saltwater on a gravel road in Williams County is expected to appeal the fine to district court after state regulators voted Wednesday to pursue the penalty, rejecting a judge’s recommendation to dismiss it.
BISMARCK – Despite the state’s economic downturn, the Bank of North Dakota performed stronger than expected during the first quarter and is on track to break records against this year after posting record profits in 2015, President and CEO Eric Hardmeyer said Wednesday. The state-owned bank posted its 12th consecutive year of record profits last year with $130.7 million in income, up 18 percent over 2014’s profit of $111 million.
BISMARCK – Sponsors of a proposed ballot measure aimed at full legalization of marijuana in North Dakota and a separate measure to legalize medical marijuana are looking for a lift from “4/20” events planned in several cities Wednesday, the unofficial “National Weed Day.”
BISMARCK – Still bruised from two critical audits in February, the state Department of Trust Lands took another clubbing Tuesday in a broader performance audit that found employees crossed ethical lines by accepting free meals and drinks from investment firms managing state assets. The state auditor’s office also uncovered trusts assigned to the wrong tracts of land, resulting in mineral royalty payments and investment income going to the wrong trusts.
BISMARCK – Mild spring weather has set road construction in motion earlier than usual in North Dakota, and more money will be spent on highways and bridges than last year despite recent budget cuts to the state Department of Transportation. The department has $680 million in work planned for this construction season, up from $615 million last year, spokeswoman Jamie Olson said Monday.