Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK - North Dakota’s judicial branch is asking to remodel the state Supreme Court Law Library in a cost-saving maneuver. As part of its 2019-21 budget request, the judicial branch has asked for $960,000 in one-time costs for remodeling the library space to expand offices for the state Supreme Court's central legal staff and relocate the court's information technology staff from a rental space in downtown Bismarck.
BISMARCK — Lighting the North Dakota Capitol Christmas tree involves more lights than a few strings of bulbs. It's 44 windows each on two sides of a 19-story skyscraper. "It's quite an accomplishment," said Tom Job, project manager with the Office of Management and Budget. Job's job involves coordinating with night staff the green- and red-colored window shades and lighted star that make up the tree design. The annual tradition has happened since the 1940s, with a great response, according to Job.
BISMARCK -- Gov. Doug Burgum has proposed a budget plan to replenish North Dakota's rainy day fund, a move others in state government see as a priority for the next biennium. The Budget Stabilization Fund was drained of $572 million to offset revenue shortfalls in 2016 and 2017. As of Oct. 31, the fund sits at about $114 million. That total includes a $75 million cap from oil tax revenue and $38 million from last biennium's general fund. Anything over $65 million in the general fund at the end of a biennium goes into the Budget Stabilization Fund.
BISMARCK - South Central District Judge James Hill has denied a writ seeking to preclude North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem's involvement in a Texas federal lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Hill signed his order Thursday, Dec. 6. Bismarck attorney Tom Dickson filed the suit in September on behalf of a group of doctors and other parties, disputing Stenehjem's authority for the federal case. The judge denied the writ on several grounds, including jurisdiction and Stenehjem's authority as attorney general.
BISMARCK — A federal judge has sentenced one of the few remaining federal defendants indicted from a protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. U.S. District of North Dakota Chief Judge Daniel Hovland sentenced James White on Wednesday, Dec. 5, to time served with two years of supervised release. As part of a plea deal, White pleaded guilty to one count of civil disorder, and prosecutors moved to dismiss the more serious charge of use of fire to commit a federal felony, which Hovland dropped.
BISMARCK — In advance of Republican Gov. Doug Burgum's budget address Wednesday, North Dakota Democratic-NPL lawmakers outlined their 2019 legislative agenda, including proposals to raise state employees' pay and increase funding to education. Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford, said Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Democrats' priorities extend to bettering public services — including those for long-term care providers and individuals with disabilities — increasing education funding and tackling workforce development amid a tight job market.
BISMARCK — Sixteen newly elected North Dakota legislators will take the oath of office Monday, Dec. 3, as the gears get grinding for the state’s 66th Legislative Assembly. They include 10 new representatives and six new senators, to be sworn in 1 p.m. Monday in the state House and Senate chambers by North Dakota Supreme Court Justices Jon Jensen and Jerod Tufte, respectively.
BISMARCK — Despite Gov. Doug Burgum issuing guidelines to North Dakota executive agencies for budget reductions, the state's judicial branch has requested a slight increase for the 2019-21 biennium. In its budget request submitted to the state Office of Management and Budget in early November, the judiciary asked for a 2.9 percent increase from 2017-19 in general fund revenue, or more than $2.9 million.
BISMARCK - A teenager charged as an adult in a Burleigh County murder conspiracy case has been remanded to juvenile court in a rare legal decision. John Holmberg Wilson, 16, was charged as an adult in October with felony conspiracy to commit murder. He is one of three teenagers accused of planning to beat and kill a man with a bat on July 28 at the MacLean Bottoms south of Bismarck; however, Wilson was apparently the only defendant charged as an adult.
ARNEGARD, N.D. — In 10 minutes, Arnegard Police Officer Travis Bateman went from a speeding traffic stop to delivering a baby girl. "It was quick," he said. At 5:56 p.m. Nov. 19, Bateman received the call for the baby crowning in a car pulled over on McKenzie County Road 30 about 6 miles south of Arnegard. And at 6:06 p.m., after two minutes on scene, he delivered Samantha Hoover’s daughter, Everly, in the front passenger seat of Hoover’s sister-in-law’s car, with a 911 dispatcher giving instructions by phone.