Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer may only meet a few times in debates during the home stretch of North Dakota's U.S. Senate race, but will those meetings matter? The Democrat incumbent and her Republican challenger are set to spar Oct. 5 in a Prairie Public-AARP debate co-moderated by PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff, followed by debates sponsored by the North Dakota Newspaper Association and North Dakota Broadcasters Association later in the month.
BISMARCK — Wearing white gloves, Stephanie Baltzer Kom gingerly leafed through the fragile pages of 200-year-old documents handwritten in Spanish. "We don't have them translated, so we have no idea what they say," said the head of technical services for the North Dakota State Archives. The ragged papers were donated decades ago by a North Dakota man who acquired them from a prison camp in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War and are now among the state archives' oldest manuscripts.
More than 250 employees of 13 North Dakota state agencies have applied for buyouts in the second year of the state's "voluntary separation incentive program." Becky Sicble, interim division director for the Human Resource Management Services Division of the state Office of Management and Budget, said 13 of 17 participating state agencies received 269 applications before the Friday deadline. Four additional agencies still have an open window for applications, one as late as Sept. 10 for the 45-day consideration period to complete.
BISMARCK—Information technology serving North Dakota state agencies totals more than 800 "legacy" IT systems and 160 websites, according to Gov. Doug Burgum. The former software executive who ran on a platform of innovation in government says users shouldn't have to go to different state websites for separate functions. In the age of Amazon and Apple, the state should have a similar "single sign-on" experience, he said.
BISMARCK—What is perhaps the last high-profile criminal case from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests is all but over. Attorney and North Dakota's 2016 Democratic-NPL U.S. House nominee Chase Iron Eyes has accepted a plea agreement with Morton County prosecutors Bryan Grosinger and Chase Lingle. Iron Eyes was charged last year with felony inciting a riot and misdemeanor criminal trespass related to protest activities on Feb. 1, 2017, in erecting a camp on pipeline land in southern Morton County.
BISMARCK—North Dakota lawmakers of the interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee heard proposed adjustments Tuesday to the state's oil and gas Gross Production Tax formula. The potential tweaks for oil and gas producing political subdivisions are in the name of "Operation Prairie Dog," the Republican proposal to fund infrastructure improvements in cities, counties and townships outside nine designated oil-producing counties and the "hub cities" of Dickinson, Minot and Williston.
BISMARCK — Separation of powers defined N.D. Legislative Assembly v. Burgum, but the lawsuit may have something else: It's likely unprecedented. The North Dakota Supreme Court's opinion issued in July settled legislative and executive disputes over Gov. Doug Burgum's partial veto authority and provisions on appropriations of the legislative Budget Section. A few other cases have tackled similar constitutional authority in North Dakota, such as opinions from 1935 and 1979 that addressed the governor's veto power, in part. But this one might stand alone in its own way.
BISMARCK—Aaron Dorn just wants his truck back. He was arrested during a Thanksgiving Day protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016 in Mandan and charged with felony reckless endangerment, among other offenses. A state trooper alleged Dorn tried to swerve and ram his vehicle into traffic on Main Street in Mandan.
BISMARCK — Business Insider has named the North Dakota Capitol as the state's "most beautiful building." In a list published earlier this month, the financial news website rounded up one structure for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., after asking readers "to name the one architectural masterpiece they adore in their state." North Dakota's selection didn't surprise those who know it well.
BISMARCK—When Gov. Doug Burgum boards a plane, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford had better not be on it. Such is a practice of the governor's office to protect North Dakota's gubernatorial line of succession. Governor's spokesman Mike Nowatzki said it's not a policy, but "a best practice to ensure continuity of government."