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BISMARCK -- Western North Dakota counties will see 28 new law enforcement-related employees after the Board of University and School Lands approved $8.8 million in grants Thursday. The approval contradicts the board's earlier agreement that it would not fund personnel because the board is using one-time funding provided by the state Legislature and won't be able to sustain a long-term position. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, a board member, said the local law enforcement offices made a compelling case to justify the recommendation.
BISMARCK -- A federal judge says a North Dakota conservation group failed to prove that state Public Service Commission policy changes on the coal industry were in violation of federal law or caused any harm. The Dakota Resource Council, a Dickinson-based nonprofit conservation group, had filed a complaint in 2012. U.S.
BISMARCK -- With at least $134 million hanging in the balance, and potentially millions of dollars more at stake, North Dakota's Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on who owns mineral rights along the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea -- landowners or the state. The court will decide who owns the rights to the "shore zones," or the area between the ordinary high and low watermarks along public waters.
BISMARCK -- Crime in North Dakota is up 7.9 percent in 2012 from 2011. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem released the state's annual crime report today that found 14,866 offenses were reported by local law enforcement in 2012, up from 13,778 in 2011. The report breaks down offenses in two categories. Violent crimes are murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes are burglary and theft. Violent crimes, which accounts for 10 percent of all crimes, increased 7.2 percent from 1,353 in 2011 to 1,451 in 2012.
BISMARCK -- More than $58 million is heading to cities and counties around the Oil Patch to address infrastructure and law enforcement needs. The North Dakota Board of University & School Lands approved a series of grants Thursday through the state Oil and Gas Impact Grant Fund to help sheriff departments and water, sewer and infrastructure projects related to permanent housing growth. The Land Board also approved funding through the Attorney General's office for vehicles and equipment at local police departments and general law enforcement needs.
BISMARCK -- Proponents of last year's failed Measure 2 felt wronged after a district court judge ordered them to pay attorney fees and issue a retraction over their claims that public officials acted corruptly when speaking out against the measure. The group, Empower the Taxpayers, filed an appeal, which was heard in front of the state Supreme Court on Thursday. Charlene Nelson, chairwoman of the nonprofit group that pushed for the abolishment of property taxes, said the group felt the attorney fees and retraction were punitive.
BISMARCK -- House lawmakers Thursday narrowly passed Gov. Jack Dalrymple's proposal to increase state funding toward K-12 education while creating $714 million in property tax relief. But minutes after House Bill 1319 passed 49-42, a push began to secure enough votes to reconsider the vote this morning -- as the Legislature enters its last day of the session -- so the bill can ultimately be defeated. "It puts us on a vicious treadmill we will never get off," said Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, who began lobbying lawmakers to vote against the bill.
BISMARCK -- Voters will decide in 2014 whether a three-member, full-time commission should replace the current eight-member, part-time State Board of Higher Education. House lawmakers sent House Concurrent Resolution 3047 to the 2014 statewide ballot by a 55-34 vote Tuesday after the Senate approved the measure Monday. It requires a statewide vote because it seeks to change the constitution. Duaine Espegard, president of the state board, said he wasn't surprised it passed.
BISMARCK -- Voters may still be able to decide whether the State Board of Higher Education should be replaced by a new full-time, three-member commission. The Senate voted 25-20 Friday to bring back House Concurrent Resolution 3047 after it failed 24-23 in the Senate on Thursday afternoon. A second attempt to reconsider the vote failed late Thursday by a 24-22 vote. Sen. Robert Erbele, R-Bismarck, originally asked to reconsider the resolution Thursday and made a successful attempt Friday. Sen. Jerry Klein, R-Fessenden, immediately jumped up to move onto another bill.
BISMARCK -- The Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project may not have to wait for complete federal funding to get started. Senate lawmakers Wednesday reversed a decision that said state funding can be used only for levee and dike protection until the full federal share of the cost is appropriated by Congress. By a 29-17 vote, the Senate approved an amendment offered by Sen.