Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK — Despite delays caused by protesters, the North Dakota leg of the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline was 87 percent complete at the end of September, up from 68 percent in August, according to the monthly construction report filed with the state Public Service Commission late Wednesday, Oct. 5.
BISMARCK — An elementary school was on lockdown and authorities were blocking the main road into St. Anthony on Wednesday to prevent Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from passing through the small town to get to pipeline construction sites, a Morton County spokeswoman said.
BISMARCK — Taxable sales and purchases fell to their lowest second-quarter level since 2010 in North Dakota as reduced oil activity and low commodity prices continued to push the key economic indicator to pre-oil boom levels, state Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said Wednesday, Oct. 5.
BISMARCK — Dozens of Dakota Access Pipeline opponents briefly turned North Dakota's second gubernatorial debate into a protest rally Monday, erupting into shouts and heckles after the three candidates opined on whether the pipeline was properly permitted and should be completed. About 15 minutes into the hour-long debate sponsored by the North Dakota Newspaper Association, an unidentified woman rose from her seat and started down the aisle toward the Belle Mehus Auditorium stage, leading about 50 protesters in a coordinated chant of "Mni Wiconi! Water is life!"
BISMARCK — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to end North Dakota's membership in a multistate group that develops tests aligned with the Common Core education standards, but the state is withdrawing anyway as it prepares to adopt revised academic standards and testing to match.
NEAR CANNON BALL, N.D. — For camp leader Everett Iron Eyes Sr., the sea of tents, teepees and vehicles dotting the landscape along the Cannonball River represents a concerned people expressing their free speech rights to stop a crude oil pipeline they fear will spoil their water supply and disturb sacred sites.
BISMARCK — Less than six years after North Dakota residents voted to sock away oil and gas tax collections for future generations, the Legacy Fund has topped $4 billion in value, a "phenomenal" feat the state's chief investment officer said speaks to the state's fiscal conservatism. The pile of unencumbered cash presents a tempting option for state lawmakers who face a bleak budget situation when they convene in January. But House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, said the Legislature must be "very cautious" about dipping into the trust fund's earnings.
BISMARCK — A ballot measure aimed at expanding the rights of North Dakota crime victims and listing them in the state constitution would cost taxpayers nearly $2 million per year, according to an estimate presented to lawmakers Thursday. Marsy's Law for North Dakota spokeswoman Lacee Anderson disagreed with the fiscal note, saying it wrongly assumes all crime victims will opt for notification services. "It assumes there's going to be more people signing up, which we haven't seen in other states," she said.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Trust Lands continues to make changes recommended in three critical audits released earlier this year, getting approval Thursday, Sept. 29, to reduce its number of deputy commissioners from two to one and having a consultant review its business processes. The state auditor's office made 59 recommendations in three separate audits released in February and April that that found bookkeeping errors, raised ethical concerns and identified shortcomings in how the agency handled the state's oil impact grant and unclaimed property programs.
BISMARCK — Despite more than $1 billion in agency budget cuts and planned fund transfers, North Dakota's general fund budget is still on track to end the biennium with a negative balance, the state's budget director said Thursday, Sept. 29.