Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK – The North Dakota Department of Health has suspended work on a state plan that was being developed to comply with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, after the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the rules until legal challenges are resolved. North Dakota’s lignite coal industry, congressional delegation and state officials all praised the high court’s 5-4 decision to freeze the rules, which aim to address global warming by curbing carbon dioxide emissions.
BISMARCK – Some of North Dakota’s seven coal-fired power plants will be forced to shut down unless the Obama administration’s new rule to curb carbon dioxide emissions undergoes significant changes, an industry official said Tuesday just hours before the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the rule. Justices voted 5-4 to grant a request made by North Dakota and 26 other states and various energy and business interests to put the Clean Power Plan on hold while a federal appeals court hears their lawsuit against it.
BISMARCK – North Dakota lawmakers recently expanded options for state employees to use sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child, but one Republican who worked on the legislation said six weeks of paid parental leave as proposed Tuesday by Minnesota’s governor would be “a very difficult sell.”
BISMARCK – Roughly a billion dollars’ worth of water projects planned in North Dakota are safe from budget cuts ordered for most state agencies last week, but the state’s chief engineer predicts some “tough prioritizing” during the next budget cycle if oil prices and production don’t rebound. “We’re not planning to cut anything that anyone wants to build right at the moment,” State Engineer Todd Sando said Monday.
BISMARCK – A 185-foot-long housing unit that once provided temporary space for workers in North Dakota’s Oil Patch is getting a fresh start as living quarters for minimum-security inmates at a transitional facility south of Bismarck. Inmates on work release were scheduled to start moving into the modular unit this week at the Missouri River Correctional Center.
BISMARCK – The days of North Dakota lawmakers introducing bills on behalf of groups wanting to raffle or auction off prized hunting licenses may be numbered. A legislative committee on Thursday directed staff to start drafting rules requiring that such requests be submitted to the state Game and Fish Department, which would then decide whether to recommend them to the Legislature.
BISMARCK – This week’s orders from Gov. Jack Dalrymple to cut state agency budgets by more than 4 percent and drain most of a reserve fund to cover a $1 billion revenue shortfall aren’t slowing down a $5 million project to replace the official governor’s residence.
BISMARCK –- U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer has launched an online straw poll to let North Dakota Republicans express their preference for a presidential candidate, after state GOP officials scrapped their customary informal caucus because of a change in national convention rules. “North Dakota Republicans are being left out of the 2016 presidential preference process, so this straw poll will provide the next best thing,” Cramer said in a statement Wednesday.
BISMARCK – With Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wielding a nearly $400,000 war chest for his gubernatorial campaign, GOP challenger and former Microsoft executive Doug Burgum is ready to dip into his own substantial finances to compete for the Republican Party’s nomination. Burgum said that while he plans on mounting a full fundraising effort, he’s always been willing to put his own money on the line and wants “to invest appropriately to be effective.”
BISMARCK – Last week’s campaign statement listing the names of 81 Republican state lawmakers as endorsing Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem for governor left out an important detail in the eyes of GOP challenger Doug Burgum: The endorsements were sought before Burgum jumped into the race. The news release Jan. 26 from Stenehjem’s campaign listed 29 senators and 52 House members as endorsing Stenehjem, representing 81 of the Legislature’s 103 Republican members.