Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK – A group frustrated with the North Dakota Legislature’s repeated refusal to raise tobacco taxes will attempt to put the issue to voters in November, announcing a ballot initiative Wednesday that would hike the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1.76. The measure also would increase the tax on other tobacco products, including liquid nicotine used in electronic cigarettes, from 28 percent to 56 percent of the wholesale purchase price.
BISMARCK – A Democratic state lawmaker officially launched his bid for governor here Wednesday, lobbing criticism at the man he’s trying to replace and saying North Dakota’s Republican-led state government is leaving some residents behind. “I want a North Dakota that’s for all North Dakotans, and this government has not done that,” Rep. Marvin Nelson said at Democratic-NPL Party headquarters in Bismarck.
BISMARCK – As a Democrat running for governor in a state that has voted Republican in every gubernatorial election since 1992 and every presidential election since 1968, Marvin Nelson knows the pundits will probably say his chances for success aren’t great. But the state representative from Rolla isn’t in it to lose.
BISMARCK – North Dakota tax revenues fell short of lowered expectations for the second straight month in February, raising the prospect of another round of budget cuts and prompting a warning from an industry official Tuesday that the worst is yet to come as slumping crude prices continue to stall activity. “I think it’s going to be more dramatic than what we’ve seen, and the next round’s going to be rough,” North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness told the Legislature’s interim Government Finance Committee.
BISMARCK – An emergency rule implemented last August that requires boaters to pull their drain plugs when entering North Dakota or exiting the Red River will be expanded statewide next month in an effort to prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species. The Legislature’s Administrative Rules Committee approved the rule change Monday as requested by the state Game and Fish Department.
BISMARCK – A plea agreement has been reached in the case of a day care operator who was charged after a child under her supervision was found unresponsive in a public swimming pool in Velva and later died, her attorney said Monday.
BISMARCK – New rules drafted one month after a 5-year-old girl was found unresponsive in a public pool in Velva last summer will soon require North Dakota child care providers to obtain written permission from parents before taking their children swimming.
BISMARCK – North Dakota will represent just a sliver of the 2,472 delegates at the Republican National Convention in July, but the prospect of a contested convention has party officials excited about the state’s 28 delegates possibly playing a bigger role in choosing the GOP presidential nominee. Under state party rules, North Dakota’s delegates to the convention July 18-21 in Cleveland are not bound to any candidate, leaving them “free to vote their conscience on all balloting.”
BISMARCK – The federal government’s failure to secure a storage site for spent nuclear fuel will mean a refund for residential customers of Xcel Energy in North Dakota as part of an ongoing settlement. The state Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved Xcel’s request to refund $702,656 awarded through a settlement with the U.S. Department of Energy.
BISMARCK – Backers of a proposed measure to legalize marijuana in North Dakota will soon start gathering signatures to try to put it on the Nov. 8 ballot. Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Wednesday approved their petition for circulation. Sponsors must gather at least 13,452 signatures of eligible voters by July 11 to put the statutory measure to a statewide vote.