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KHRT ND News - Wednesday - 01/09/19 - PM Edition

The North Dakota Legislature expects oil tax collections to be almost $600 million lower than what Gov. Doug Burgum had assumed....

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Legislature expects oil tax collections to be almost $600 million lower than what Gov. Doug Burgum had assumed in crafting his two-year spending blueprint. Members of the North Dakota House and Senate's appropriations committees today agreed on a starting point for state government's 2019-2020 budget.
     Burgum proposed a $14.3 billion spending plan presented last month that predicted more than $4.6 billion in oil and gas tax revenue. But oil prices have slid in recent weeks. Lawmakers estimate the revenue at $4 billion for the budget period.
     Republican and Democratic legislative leaders say their blueprint better reflects the state's economy at present. The governor doesn't control the state's checkbook. It's the Legislature that decides how much to spend on state government.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota lawmaker is introducing two bills intended to help solve crimes against Native Americans.
     The Bismarck Tribune reports that Rep. Ruth Buffalo proposed two legislative measures that would require law enforcement training and data collection related to missing and murdered indigenous people. She says the training would be made available across jurisdictions, including for tribal law enforcement.
     Buffalo is the first female Native American Democrat elected to the state Legislature.
     The bills mirror Savanna's Act, which was introduced by North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. That proposal came in response to the August 2017 death of Spirit Lake Tribe member Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind who disappeared in Fargo. Heitkamp's bill passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate, but ultimately stalled in the House.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota House has endorsed a bill that raises the age of children who can be held responsible for breaking the law. State law now says children under the age of 7 are presumed incapable of committing a crime. The House voted 88-5 today to raise the age to 10. The measure was motivated by an interim legislative committee studying criminal justice reform.

    State juvenile court coordinator Cathy Ferderer says no children under the age of 7 are in the state court system. She says there were 185 children under 10 years old in 2017 who were referred to juvenile court. The bill does not change the 14-year-old age at which children can prosecuted as an adult. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Gov. Doug Burgum says construction of a Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora would elevate North Dakota's reputation around the globe. Burgum has proposed dedicating $50 million of state money for the library being developed by a private foundation. He pitched the idea today to a House appropriations subcommittee. Some lawmakers say they'd like to see some solid private money commitments before they devote state money.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Officials say traffic deaths in North Dakota declined in 2018 to their lowest number in a decade. Preliminary figures released today show that 104 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in North Dakota in 2018, a decrease of 10 percent from 2017. That's according to the North Dakota Department of Transportation and the North Dakota Highway Patrol. Authorities say it's North Dakota's lowest fatality number since 2008, which also saw 104 deaths.
     Transportation Director Tom Sorel says officials are encouraged to see traffic deaths down from the previous year. But Sorel says the state needs to continue working toward its Vision Zero goal of zero fatalities and zero serious injuries. Officials say failure to use seat belts, drunken driving and speed contribute significantly to fatal crashes in North Dakota.



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


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