N.D. POLITICS: Credit where credit due
BISMARCK -- Before the House voted on a property tax relief bill last week, Rep. Jon Nelson, R-Rugby, stood to credit two former lawmakers. Nelson said what the Legislature was approving was similar to what former Rep. Gil Herbel, R-Grafton, and Rep.
BISMARCK -- Before the House voted on a property tax relief bill last week, Rep. Jon Nelson, R-Rugby, stood to credit two former lawmakers. Nelson said what the Legislature was approving was similar to what former Rep. Gil Herbel, R-Grafton, and Rep. C.B. "Buck" Haas, R-Taylor had proposed in 2005 and 2007.
Like the new plan, Herbel and Haas drew up formulas in which state tax money would be sent to school districts in return for school districts decreasing their property tax levies. Their plan was rejected outright in 2005. In 2007, the Legislature passed a two-year property tax relief bill but it was nothing like the Haas-Herbel idea. Both men decided last year not to seek re-election.
Dorgan has new book
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., is about to find out if he can make the New York Times' best-seller list again when his new book goes on sale May 26.
"Reckless!: How Debt, Deregulation and Dark Money Nearly Bankrupted America (And How We Can Fix It" critiques the nation's financial crisis of the past year from the angle of one of the few senators who voted against bank deregulation in 1999 and warned that the nation could be thrown into the kind of problems it now faces.
Dorgan's first book was the 2006 "Take this Job and Ship It," about the practice of corporate America outsourcing jobs overseas. Publisher St. Martin's Press said the senator "speaks about the state of our nation's financial quagmire in a prairie-populist voice peppered with incisive wit."
In both books, Dorgan credits his "friend, editor and collaborator," North Dakota weekly newspaperman and humorist Tony Bender of Ashley, N.D.
'Woof' means 'thanks'
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and his wife, Lucy Calautti, have a new dog, "Dakota." Among Washington officials taking notice was White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who sent gifts of a water dish and elephant-shaped squeaky toys.
Dakota "wrote" Emanuel a thank-you note consisting of several paragraphs of "WOOF, WOOF -- WOOF, WOOF, WOOF" and a paw print. A P.S. says: "For translation, see Bo," a reference to President Barack Obama's new dog.
Senators have hope
Some legislators, staff and lobbyists have donated $2,000 for medical expenses of 12-year-old Hope Fuglesten, Buxton, N.D., who recently had life-saving surgery for a titanium rib cage in Little Rock, Ark. She has spina bifida.
Sen. Tim Flakoll, R-Fargo, and Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown, worked on the effort and mailed the donation last week. It was a project of the Senate Agriculture Committee, of which Flakoll is chairman and Wanzek a member. Donating to a worthy cause is a new tradition among some legislative committees, replacing a practice in which committee members would give their chairman or chairwoman a gift at the end of the session.
Looks like he'll make it
With the Legislature's session running into May for the first time in history, lawmakers with post-session commitments worried about scheduling conflicts in their lives outside the Legislature.
Rep. Chris Griffin, D-Larimore, an assistant state's attorney for Grand Forks County, has to prepare to argue a case at the North Dakota Supreme Court, defending the county's civil commitment of a sexually dangerous person.
Griffin will argue May 11 in his case against Loring Reil Sky Rush, who appealed Northeast Central District Judge Joel Medd's decision that Rush is a sexual predator who needs to be confined for treatment.
Cole writes for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.