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North Dakota Legislature: What to watch this week

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 7, 2015 at 8:38 am •  Published: March 7, 2015
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SURGE FUNDING-DISBURSED

State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt says $1.1 billion in fast-track funding for highways and communities affected by North Dakota's exploding growth is being distributed.

Schmidt says the funding started going out Friday.

The fast-track legislation includes $450 million in funding for state highway projects. It includes $240 million for the 10 biggest oil-producing counties, $112 million for non-oil-producing counties, $100 million for cities in oil-producing counties and $198 million for other cities outside the oil patch.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed the bill last month at a ceremony at the state Capitol, calling the bill "a great legislative accomplishment" that had strong bipartisan support.

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ETHICS COMMISSION

North Dakota lawmakers will again decide if they want closer oversight of themselves.

House assistant Democratic leader Corey Mock, of Grand Forks, has been pushing since 2011 to establish an ethics commission to investigate alleged acts of wrongdoing by politicians. But legislation to create such commissions was soundly defeated by the Legislature in the past two sessions.

Mock says North Dakota is one of the few states that lack such panels.

Opponents have argued that an ethics commission isn't required because the Legislature already follows high standards of conduct.

Mock now is sponsoring a resolution that would let voters decide whether the state Constitution should be changed to from an ethics panel. The resolution is slated to be considered by the House on Thursday.