Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK -- Gov. Doug Burgum has made cybersecurity a priority in his budget vision, and North Dakota lawmakers began to dig into the topic Friday, Jan 4. The Senate Political Subdivisions Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 2110, which would define cybersecurity in state law and give responsibility to the state Information Technology Department to "advise, oversee and regulate cybersecurity strategy" for state agencies and public entities, such as higher education, cities, counties and school districts.
MANDAN, N.D. - Mandan and North Dakota officials say he’s a "prolific and persistent requester" who inundates local government with requests for open records and attorney general opinions. "It's because every time I turn over a rock, I find something else and it leads me to two more rocks," Jordan said. "I turn over those rocks, and there they are." Jordan, a retired archaeologist and former military medic, moved to Mandan in 2013.
BISMARCK — When North Dakota legislators and Gov. Doug Burgum get down to business in the legislative session, they’ll be working in the wake of an historic lawsuit that found both sides had overstepped their bounds. In July, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that some of Burgum’s disputed partial vetoes in spending bills in 2017 were ineffective. Additionally, the Budget Section “unconstitutionally encroached” upon executive authority in provisions of two of the bills. Now that the lawsuit is settled, legislators say they’ve moved on.
BISMARCK - North Dakota Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner says he will introduce legislation to clarify an interim committee's authority after the state Supreme Court settled a lawsuit over separation of powers. The high court ruled in July that Gov. Doug Burgum and the legislative Budget Section each overstepped their authority in selective vetoes and spending provisions of appropriations bills, respectively.
BISMARCK - North Dakota Republican lawmakers’ proposal to fund local infrastructure projects with oil tax revenue will chart its course from state House committees. Rep. Mike Nathe, R-Bismarck, is the primary sponsor of Operation Prairie Dog, which would add "buckets" to the stream of funds filled from oil and gas tax revenue, distributing up to $280 million to non-oil-producing cities, counties, townships and airports for infrastructure projects in the second year of a biennium.
BISMARCK — Rep. Pat Heinert, R-Bismarck, is reviving legislation to give North Dakota schools the option of an "armed first responder." Heinert, who is Burleigh County's outgoing sheriff, said his bill is nearly identical to one filed during the 2017 legislative session, which failed in the Senate after passing the House. His bill does not include the 10-school pilot project as proposed before.
BISMARCK — With his software background, Gov. Doug Burgum's technology proposals may be one of the more interesting areas of his budget plan — especially given what's facing North Dakota's cybersecurity. As part of his $1.5 billion plan for road, water and other infrastructure for 2019-21, the former Microsoft executive has proposed $174 million in 24 information technology projects for 19 state agencies, ranging from voter security to health care to a new driver's license system.
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.