Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK – Some of the money set aside by North Dakota lawmakers to defend the state against legal challenges to its abortion laws will instead be used to cover attorneys’ fees awarded to lawyers for couples who challenged the state’s gay marriage ban. The state Emergency Commission voted 5-1 Wednesday to approve a request by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to transfer $75,000 from the abortion litigation fund to a separate fund for general litigation expenses.
BISMARCK – North Dakota’s Democratic-NPL Party lost its top contender for the 2016 governor’s race Wednesday with U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s announcement that she won’t run, but party leaders have said they’ve been actively recruiting candidates for governor even while awaiting Heitkamp’s decision. Heitkamp’s brother, Joel Heitkamp, a talk show host on Fargo radio station KFGO and a former Democratic state senator, hasn’t ruled out a run.
BISMARCK – A new partnership seeks to address the concerns of farmers that politically active wildlife conservation groups may have too much influence when working with a federal agency on farm bill conservation programs.
BISMARCK – Some North Dakota lawmakers are miffed that the state Board of Higher Education allowed Williston State College to increase student fees by more than 65 percent for this school year, saying it could be viewed as a back-door move to sidestep the tuition cap approved by the Legislature in April. WSC President Raymond Nadolny said there was no effort to circumvent the cap and that the process was “very transparent.”
BISMARCK – Top Democratic-NPL Party officials said Wednesday that Republican Lt. Gov.
BISMARCK – North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley admitted Tuesday to having an extramarital affair after a blogger mentioned the rumored dalliance online, but the Republican and his wife said they are still weighing a run for governor in 2016.
BISMARCK – Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. has agreed to scale back a proposal natural gas rate increase for its North Dakota customers, but the AARP still has concerns that residential users will bear too much of the burden. The North Dakota Public Service Commission hosted the first day Monday of a two-day hearing on Bismarck-based MDU’s requested rate hike.
BISMARCK – Members of a newly created Human Trafficking Commission assembled for the first time Monday to address a societal scourge that has accompanied North Dakota’s economic success and identify the best uses for $1.25 million provided by lawmakers for victim services. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said services are already being provided in different areas of the state, and the commission will look at what’s available, what’s working and what’s missing.
BISMARCK – North Dakota will keep more than $316,000 as compensation for glitches some schools experienced earlier this year when giving new standardized tests in math and English, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler announced Friday.
BISMARCK – Gov. Jack Dalrymple plans to sign a policy allowing school districts to hire “community experts” for hard-to-fill positions for the 2015-16 academic year, a spokesman said Friday. The state’s Education Standards and Practices Board met via conference call late Thursday afternoon and approved changes that Dalrymple suggested to the policy, while also removing music and art from the subject areas in which community experts would be allowed to teach.