Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—In his bid for a recount of his primary votes, Roland Riemers, the Libertarian candidate for secretary of state, challenged North Dakota's election process and questioned why ballots are not a matter of public record. "Why aren't they public records? Why can't we look at them?" he said before the North Dakota Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 31. "Mr. Riemers, I don't think it's unusual that people aren't allowed to rummage through ballots," Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle later told him. "And there's good reason for that."
BISMARCK—Two federal defendants indicted in connection to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests have accepted plea agreements. Both deals with federal prosecutors are similar: Dion Ortiz and James White will each plead guilty to civil disorder, while prosecutors will move to dismiss charges of use of fire to commit a federal felony — similar to related defendants' plea deals.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Democratic legislators expressed concerns and criticism for a Republican proposal released Thursday aimed at infrastructure improvements in communities outside the state's OilPatch. The proposal by Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, and House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, would distribute oil tax revenue to counties, cities and townships outside of oil-producing counties and cities, including Dickinson, Minot and Williston, that already receive similar funding from the state's Gross Production Tax.
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—Cautious optimism remains a theme of forecasting for North Dakota's economy and revenues as state officials and industry leaders met Monday, July 16, to discuss preliminary outlooks for the next few years. Dan White, an economist with Moody's Analytics, presented a "slow and steady" look out to 2021 to the Advisory Council on Revenue Forecasting, the informal group that met Monday morning at the state Capitol.
BISMARCK — Four people died in motorcycle crashes within seven days last week around North Dakota, while three other riders sustained injuries in similar crashes this week. The most recent incident happened early Friday morning, July 6, when a Freightliner backended a motorcycle near Petersburg, pinning the biker, who sustained injuries, beneath the front bumper.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's daily oil production in May broke the previous all-time high set in 2014, but that wasn't the only new record set. As oil production hit 1.24 million barrels per day in May, natural gas production hit almost 2.32 billion cubic feet per day, with producing wells at 14,755 for the month — all new state records. Lynn Helms, director of the state Department of Mineral Resources, said Friday that May's numbers "really shattered the old record" set in December 2014, by about 17,000 daily barrels, or about a 1.4 percent increase.
BISMARCK—The only Libertarian who appeared on North Dakota's statewide primary ballot is asking the state Supreme Court for a recount, alleging errors that affected his vote total. Roland Riemers appeared in the June 12 primary as the Libertarian candidate for secretary of state. Officially, he received 247 votes statewide for his party's nomination for the office — short of the 300 votes he needed to advance to November's general election.
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."
BISMARCK — As North Dakota's various state revenues continue to meet or exceed forecast figures, those close to the numbers say there's reason to smile, but emphasized reality. State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt said Thursday that General Fund revenues from biennium-to-date are 2.1 percent higher than projected, but the forecast from last year was a conservative one. One big positive is surging oil and gas extraction tax revenue — 72 percent over what was forecast for June, according to a report from Legislative Council.