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.
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 — A former employee of the North Dakota Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Division is facing felony charges that she embezzled thousands of dollars in customer transactions. Dorma Jean Steier, 62, of Mandan, N.D., is charged with felony counts of theft, forgery and deceptive writings. She is set for trial in early January.
BISMARCK — No one agrees on much about Measure 3. The initiated statutory measure to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota for people older than 21 is on the November ballot, with smokin' hot arguments rolled within. “I think it’s a great law. I think the law is wonderfully written,” said David Owen, who chairs the Measure 3 sponsoring committee.
MANDAN, N.D.—Mandan police are not releasing the name of a man injured in an officer-involved shooting because they are unsure if he will invoke his Marsy's Law rights. "We're not in touch with him because of the fact we're not doing the investigation, and so, until we know that for sure, we are not going to be (releasing the name) because we don't want to overstep that," Mandan Police Deputy Chief Lori Flaten said Monday, Oct. 15. The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation has opened a probe into the Oct. 9 shooting, of which few details are available.
MANDAN, N.D.—Sherilyn Johnson unloads her arms of lesson materials after walking into Sweet Briar School, the sounds of playing children behind her. Model airplanes and a solar system hang from the ceiling. Maps, artwork and lesson plans cover the walls and boards. A bearded dragon basks in a terrarium. "Our latest addition. Isn't that great?" Johnson said, looking at the tiny reptile that is the subject of a science project.
BISMARCK—Defense and prosecuting attorneys are giving no ground in the case of a licensed addiction counselor charged with hindering Bismarck police in a methadone patient's arrest. Kiki Schatz, who works at Heartview Foundation in Bismarck, is accused of misdemeanor hindering law enforcement for refusing police entry to the treatment center to arrest Brendan Kapfer for allegedly violating a domestic violence protection order. Schatz invoked Part 2 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which provides confidentiality for patients seeking treatment for addiction.
BISMARCK—In an email to members of the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation, former state Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler appeared unapologetic about the email that led to his resignation Monday, Oct. 1. Gov. Doug Burgum accepted Schuler's resignation after Schuler sent a staffwide email and attachment Monday morning expressing his personal thoughts on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process — a message Burgum described as "unacceptable."
BISMARCK — Just one statewide race in North Dakota this year has no political party associated with it: a 10-year term on the state Supreme Court. North Dakota's judicial races have been nonpartisan since 1910, after a nasty election involving libel in 1906. This year, voters will weigh incumbent Justice Lisa Fair McEvers, who has served almost five years, and longtime Bismarck trial lawyer Bob Bolinske Sr., who previously ran unsuccessfully in 2016.
BISMARCK—North Dakota legislators earlier this month debated the true fiscal impact of Measure 3, which would legalize recreational marijuana, as the state Department of Health put forth costs for a related educational campaign not required by the measure. Brenda Weisz, director of the state Department of Health's Division of Accounting, said health department officials had internal discussions similar to lawmakers of Legislative Management, but their estimated fiscal impact came down to "we have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of all North Dakotans."