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 – 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 — 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 – 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 — The federal judge overseeing a lawsuit filed by Native Americans who claim recent changes to North Dakota's voter identification laws are unconstitutional and discriminatory has granted a preliminary injunction requiring the state to put its 2012 voter ID laws back into place. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland in Bismarck issued the ruling Monday.
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 — Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says a lawsuit brought by the North Dakota Farm Bureau seeking to overturn the state's anti-corporate farming law is so vague that the state can't properly respond to it, but a lawyer for the plaintiffs says the complaint is specific. The lawsuit filed June 2 in U.S. District Court in Bismarck claims the law passed by North Dakota voters in 1932 is unconstitutional and hurts farmers by limiting their ability to attract investment and secure financing and lowering the value of their farms.
BISMARCK — It wasn't an all-time high, but North Dakota's state-owned flour mill posted a healthy $9.3 million profit in fiscal year 2016 as record shipment volumes helped offset tough wheat market conditions, President and General Manager Vance Taylor said Tuesday. The State Mill and Elevator in Grand Forks reported unaudited profits of $9,336,618 for the year ending June 30, down 44 percent from a record $16.7 million in fiscal year 2015.
BISMARCK – The North Dakota Department of Transportation has saved about $80 million through lower bids for road projects this year, but the state’s economic slowdown also has produced lower gas tax revenues that demand a “very serious discussion” about how to match federal funding, the agency’s director said Thursday.