Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK – Less than a week before trial, a judge on Wednesday dismissed a charge against the mayor of Leith that stemmed from the burning of an abandoned home previously owned by white supremacist Craig Cobb. Mayor Ryan Schock had been scheduled for a jury trial to start Tuesday in Grant County District Court. He faced up to a year in prison and a $3,000 fine if convicted of the misdemeanor charge of failure to control or report a dangerous fire.
BISMARCK – Depressed crude oil and farm commodity prices continued to drag on North Dakota’s economy as the state posted a double-digit loss in year-over-year taxable sales and purchases for the second straight quarter. Taxable sales and purchases dropped 25 percent to about $5.8 billion in July, August and September compared with the third quarter of 2014, after a 16 percent decrease during the second quarter, state Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said Wednesday.
BISMARCK – Last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage sparked debate among North Dakota lawmakers Tuesday about whether they should update state law to reflect the ruling or leave the state’s nullified ban on gay marriage in place as a public policy statement.
BISMARCK – Concerns about verifying where voters live dominated the discussion Tuesday as state lawmakers continue to study whether North Dakota should become the 50th state to adopt voter registration. The Legislature voted last March to study a system of voter registration, including what it would take to allow same-day voter registration like Minnesota has.
BISMARCK – Halfway through the school year, more than 200 teaching jobs remain vacant in North Dakota’s public schools after a “community experts” pilot program aimed at easing the state’s...
BISMARCK – A housing development fund that has allowed contributors to claim more than $33 million in income tax credits since 2011 could face more scrutiny as North Dakota’s tax revenues tumble with crude oil prices and the governor’s office changes hands next year. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who serves on three-member Industrial Commission that oversees the Housing Incentive Fund, said he still supports it, but only if the state can afford it and a housing needs study deems it necessary.
BISMARCK – It’s a running joke at the Ramsey County Courthouse in Devils Lake, just a short drive north of the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation.
BISMARCK – One of eight new laws taking effect Friday in North Dakota will close a loophole that kept property owners from receiving notice of significant property tax increases in certain cases. The 2013 law required that property owners be notified if the assessed value of their property was going up by 10 percent and $3,000 over the prior year. It was part of an ongoing effort to boost transparency and truth in taxation, state Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said.
BISMARCK – People caught paying for sex in North Dakota already face the threat of jail time. Starting next week, they could end up in the classroom, as well. Under a new “john school” law that takes effect Friday, judges can sentence those convicted of hiring someone for sex to attend an offender education program to learn about the harmful effects of the commercial sex industry.
BISMARCK – A fundraising committee needed just eight weeks to round up $500,000 in private donations required before construction can start on a new North Dakota governor’s residence to replace the existing 55-year-old home. Jim Poolman, co-chairman of the Friends of the North Dakota Governor’s Residence fundraising committee, said recent donations of $25,000 each from Midcontinent Communications and BNSF Railway put the fund over the top.