BISMARCK -- North Dakota property owners are closer to seeing tax relief as the state would take on a greater share of the funding for local schools. Legislation passed Thursday morning, before House lawmakers headed home for a five-day recess break, will increase school funding while also providing an estimated $595 million in property tax relief. The new formula comes as a recommendation from Gov. Jack Dalrymple and the bill's prime sponsor Rep. David Monson, R-Osnabrock.
BISMARCK -- A House proposal would change a current state funding formula to give counties affected by oil production a larger share of oil production revenue than the state. It also creates a funding formula for "hub cities" including Williston, Dickinson and Minot. House Bill 1358, sponsored by Rep. Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga, will result in the state shelling out more than $742 million to counties over the next biennium -- $440 million more than what counties took in the current biennium.
BISMARCK -- A North Dakota House member from Jamestown said Thursday she "had a lapse in judgment," when she referred to Rep. Al Carlson of Fargo as a Nazi on Twitter. Rep.
BISMARCK -- The state may see a new medical school building on the University of North Dakota campus after a Wednesday vote. Senate lawmakers voted 34-13 in favor of a $55.7 million appropriation to add to the $68 million to expand the School of Medicine, which was approved by the Senate on Tuesday in the higher education budget. The additional money will allow the medical school to build a new facility across the street from its current location in Grand Forks.
BISMARCK -- Despite concerns that amendments would "seriously compromise" a bill to get tough on drinking and driving in North Dakota, lawmakers in the House approved the bill Wednesday. The House sent House Bill 1302 to the Senate by a 80-14 vote Wednesday. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo, said North Dakota has a problem that tolerates drunk driving. "The problem is reaching epidemic proportions," he said on the House floor.
BISMARCK -- More than 20,000 more North Dakotans may have health insurance after members of the House voted Wednesday to expand Medicaid coverage to align with the federal requirement under the Affordable Care Act. The House approved and sent the expansion to the Senate in House Bill 1362 by a 57- 36 vote. The bill came to the floor with a do-pass recommendation by the House Human Services Committee, which added an amendment to implement the program Jan. 1, 2014, and sunset, or end, Aug.
BISMARCK -- Parents may be able to send their children to school earlier than kindergarten after a Senate vote Tuesday that runs counter to a committee recommendation. Senate Bill 2229 passed through the chamber with a 35-12 vote. The bill would appropriate $4.6 million to the Department of Public Instruction to create $100,000 grants to distribute to schools meeting certain criteria for early childhood programs. The bill was passed to the floor with a do not pass recommendation by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Committee member Sen.
BISMARCK -- An attempt to provide funding to the State Board of Higher Education to buy out the contract of University System Chancellor Hamid Shirvani failed by a single vote Tuesday. The proposal came as an amendment to the University System budget making $854,520 available to buy out the remainder of Shirvani's contract "in the event the state board chooses to seek a settlement agreement" with the chancellor. The amendment failed 24-23. Shirvani has been criticized for what some say were quick changes and mishandling of the University System since he took over the post in July.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota's Senate made some changes to the higher education budget before giving its approval Tuesday. "It's a bill that does embody and support change," said Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "Maybe not as much change as some would like, maybe more change." Chancellor Hamid Shirvani said he was grateful the Senate passed the $1.1 billion general fund appropriation for the 11 public campuses and University System office for the 2013-15 biennium, despite the amendments.
BISMARCK - Senate lawmakers shot down an amendment to the University System budget bill that would have given $854,520 to the State Board of Higher Education to buyout Chancellor Hamid Shirvani's contract. The amendment was defeated on a 23-24 vote. The vote was not approved by a verification vote, meaning it is unclear how each senator voted. The amendment was to provide the funding, "in the event the state board chooses to seek a settlement agreement" with the chancellor.