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BISMARCK -- A day after lawmakers and the Department of Public Instruction showed how successful early childhood education is, a Senate committee said "do not pass" to a bill that would provide funding to develop pre-kindergarten programs across the state. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 7-6 against Senate Bill 2229, which would appropriate $4.6 million to the Department of Public Instruction to create $100,000 grants to distribute to schools meeting certain criteria.
BISMARCK -- Republican Sen. Spencer Berry said his Fargo home found itself up against rising water during the 2009 flood. With little time to sandbag, the U.S. Corps of Engineers asked for permission to build a dike behind a string of houses, including his, that were vulnerable to the rising waters. Berry said the quick decision was the right decision, and prevented many homes from the flood.
BISMARCK -- Penalties for multiple offenses for driving under the influence would increase and the state's 24/7 sobriety program would be used more often under a bill passed Tuesday. Senate Bill 2240 would make a second or third DUI offense in a seven-year period a class A misdemeanor and a fourth or subsequent offense a class C felony regardless of the time between offenses. A fee for a first-time offender would be raised from $250 to $500 and if the individual has a blood alcohol content of at least .18, the sentence would include two days in prison or 20 hours of community service.
BISMARCK -- A group of about 45 people stood outside a Bismarck lawmakers house Thursday night in protest of a Senate vote that killed a bill to outlaw discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. Protest organizer Kevin Tengesdal, of Bismarck, a constituent of Republican Sen. Margaret Sitte, who voted against the bill, called the protest a vigil, to "be awake to the plight of discrimination and to hold a silent memorial at the death of the Senate bill." Senate Bill 2252 failed Thursday by a 21-26 vote.
BISMARCK -- A handful of female lawmakers fear the Legislature is not properly addressing child care and children's issues. Senate Assistant Minority Leader Joan Heckamen, D-New Rockford, and Rep. Kathy Hawken. R-Fargo, held a news conference Friday morning, saying they are worried that proposed amendments cut too much funding from bills, and don't address the true issues. "It is already difficult to provide child care, and it is even more difficult for families to find someone to care for special needs children.
BISMARCK -- Senate lawmakers shot down a bill Thursday that would have given gay and lesbian North Dakotans the weight of state law behind legal battles against employers or landlords who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Senate Bill 2252 failed by a close 21-26 vote. It was a step back for the state, according to Rep. Josh Boschee, D-Fargo, after the Senate voted for a similar bill in 2009, which failed in the House.
BISMARCK -- David Schwalbe believes he "did not get his day" to be heard and "had no place to go" in 2011 after he says a decision by the state Industrial Commission left him with inadequate royalty payments from two oil wells on property he owns in Dunn County. Schwalbe, of Bismarck, is one of many that was affected by the Industrial Commission's decision to approve the 30,000-acre mega-unit oil development in Dunn County.
BISMARCK - Senate lawmakers shot down a bill Thursday that would have given gay and lesbian North Dakotans the ability to file a lawsuit if they felt they were terminated from their job, or evicted from their residence, because of their sexual orientation. Senate Bill 2252 failed by a close 21-26 vote. The vote is a step back for the state, says the bill's co-sponsor, Rep. Josh Boschee, D-Fargo, after the Senate voted for a similar bill in 2009. "It's easier for people who don't experience these things," said Boschee, North Dakota's first openly gay legislator.
BISMARCK -- Olympic silver medalist and professional champion boxer Virgil Hill says he will have one last fight in North Dakota. Hill, 49, who grew up in North Dakota, said Thursday it will be a farewell fight as he plans to end his professional boxing career. Hill has been training with renowned boxing trainer Freddy Roach in California over the past year. He did not provide any details about the fight, but Hill said it will be a cruiserweight bout and he wouldn't mind it taking place in Bismarck, where he fought several bouts. Gov.
BISMARCK -- A bill to allow the sales of bottle rockets passed through the House floor Wednesday, despite a committee's do not pass recommendation. The use and possession of bottle rockets is currently permitted under state law, but the sales are not. House Bill 1257, sponsored by Rep. Blair Thoreson, R-Fargo, passed with a 53-37 vote. Rep. Steve Zaiser, D-Fargo, carried the bill to the floor after it received a 9-5 do not pass recommendation from the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee.