Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.
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BISMARCK — North Dakota's top agriculture official warned Monday that training provided by the Humane Society of the United States on how to handle animal cruelty cases poses a threat to the state's livestock industry, but an HSUS spokesman said that's untrue and trainers are only going where invited. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said he believes the Humane Society's intentions behind the training "are misleading as they have a long history as an animal rights activist organization with the intention of ending animal agriculture."
BISMARCK — After dealing with the fallout from a budget forecast that has missed the revenue mark by nearly $1.4 billion, North Dakota legislative leaders said Thursday they plan to propose reforms next session aimed at preventing similar situations in the future. Lawmakers got their first look Thursday morning at projected revenues for next biennium, just minutes after adjourning from special session to balance a projected $310 million shortfall in the current 2015-17 budget.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers gave final approval Thursday to a bill plugging a projected $310 million budget shortfall, bringing an end to a three-day special session. The House voted 82-8 to approve the bill, which solves the shortfall by recognizing a 2.5 percent, $152 million across-the-board cut to general fund agencies ordered by Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Monday, and by spending the remaining $75 million from the rainy-day Budget Stabilization Fund and up to $100 million in profits from the state-owned Bank of North Dakota.
BISMARCK — Senate Democrats made impassioned pleas Wednesday for restoring funds cut from drug addiction treatment, property tax relief and social services programs, but Republicans citing the state's bleak budget outlook rejected all three amendments before the chamber unanimously passed a bill to solve North Dakota's projected $310 million revenue shortfall.
BISMARCK — Gov. Jack Dalrymple opened a special session of the Legislature on Tuesday urging more belt-tightening as lawmakers attempt to remedy a $309.5 million budget shortfall with a combination of agency cuts and fund transfers. "We know our state economy will improve as commodities cycle back up again, and as our economy grows we will be able to once again build up budget reserves," Dalrymple told House and Senate members in a joint session. "But for now, belt-tightening is the order of the day."
BISMARCK — Attempts to delay construction of a new North Dakota governor's residence fell short Tuesday as a committee deciding which bills to address during the Legislature's special session this week rejected two bills aimed at derailing the $5 million project. The House Delayed Bills Committee voted 4-1 to reject a bill proposed by Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo.
BISMARCK — Recent changes to North Dakota's voter identification laws have placed an "undue burden" on Native Americans and other voters, a federal judge ruled Monday in ordering the state to put its 2012 voter ID laws back into place. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland granted a preliminary injunction requested by seven members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa who sued Secretary of State Al Jaeger in January claiming the voter ID laws are unconstitutional and discriminatory.
BISMARCK — Gov. Jack Dalrymple ordered most state agencies Monday to cut their budgets by an additional 2.5 percent to help offset a $310 million budget shortfall, intending for the rest to be covered with up to $100 million in Bank of North Dakota profits and draining a rainy day fund to zero. "We have faith that this bill will pass," the Republican governor told reporters as he outlined the plan crafted with leaders of the Legislature's GOP majority.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers will descend on the Capitol next week for only the 15th special session in state history, with leaders of both parties determined not to get sidetracked as they try to bridge a $310 million revenue gap by cutting budgets and shifting money around. "We're going to try to keep the focus very narrow," House Majority Leader Al Carlson said. Gov. Jack Dalrymple and leaders of the Legislature's Republican supermajority still hadn't released details last week of the budget fix they crafted the previous week.
BISMARCK—North Dakota legislative leaders are hoping for a straightforward three-day special session starting Tuesday. Here's how they see it unfolding: • Gov. Jack Dalrymple will address the House and Senate jointly after they convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, setting the stage for the work ahead. • The Delayed Bills Committee will consider any introduced bills and likely move the governor's budget fix bill, sending it to the Senate.