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KHRT ND News - Monday - 03/11/19 - Morning Edition

The Legislature is set to get new revenue projections this week that will be used to write North Dakota's upcoming two-year budget.....

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Legislature is set to get new revenue projections this week that will be used to write North Dakota's upcoming two-year budget. Lawmakers have been holding off on major appropriations bills this session until they think they know how much money they have to spend.

    State budget analysts and the economic consultancy Moody's Analytics are scheduled to unveil their revenue forecast today. The Legislature's own economic consultancy will present its prediction on Tuesday. The new forecasts may show rosier-than-expected revenue predictions due to upticks in oil prices since those budgets were crafted.

    Other highlights this week include more work on ethics legislation, a bill to repeal Sunday shopping restrictions and a measure aimed at fixing some oil tax distributions for constitutional funds that benefit schools.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A new economic impact study shows North Dakota's oil industry is growing, with more long-term jobs to sustain production and fewer temporary workers. The Bismarck Tribune reports the North Dakota State University study finds the oil industry had a $32.6 billion impact on the state's economy in 2017.  
     The numbers of temporary and long-term workers were roughly equal for the first time in 2015. Long-term workers became the largest sector from 2016-2018. Economic experts in North Dakota say the shift to a more permanent workforce has led to increased birth rates and growing school enrollment numbers in the western part of the state. Statistics from Job Service North Dakota show the number of oil industry employees peaked in 2016 with around 63,000 workers. The industry workforce numbers dropped to an estimated 35,800 in 2018.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - An idea developed by indigenous peoples and environmentalists in Canada to protest an oil pipeline in 2015 has been embraced recently by climate change activists in the U.S. They call themselves valve turners, because they break onto private pipeline property and turn above-ground emergency shut-off valves to protest fossil fuels. They're willing to go to jail. But laws aren't uniform, so sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. The energy industry and its advocates say the fledgling protest tactic amounts to domestic terrorism. Nothing has happened federally, but several states are trying to stiffen penalties for targeting "critical infrastructure" such as pipelines.


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Combining two major projects in Minot, a new city hall and a technical center, could allow both to move forward with federal government funding after devastating flooding. Minot City Manager Tom Barry says the Department of Housing and Urban Development has published the city's waiver in the Federal Register, allowing a new city hall the chance to bring the two National Disaster Resilience projects together.
     The Minot Daily News reports the federal agency had rejected the city's waiver in 2016, citing the city hadn't made satisfactory improvement at that time in fulfilling the needs of the vulnerable population. Barry says the career and technical center was struggling due to insufficient funding. He said the $1.5 million allotted was not enough to carry the project. The National Disaster Resilience program currently provides $3.75 million for the city hall building.


     MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) - Snow buildup has caused a section of the roof to collapse at a Moorhead church, but no one was hurt. The collapse at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church was reported just after noon Sunday. Deputy Moorhead Fire Chief Benton Hicks tells KFGO Radio it was a "miracle" no one was hurt.
     Church services were canceled due to snow, and only two people were in the church. Both got out safely. The roof collapsed on the kitchen area, where coffee would have been served to church members. Hicks estimates a 50- to 75-foot length of the church roof crashed "flat to the ground." Firefighters had to shovel snow out of the center area of the church where the collapse occurred to close the doors.



   (Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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