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Published February 06, 2011, 10:13 AM

Lawmakers to focus on education, rail service, and animal rights this week

Bismarck, ND (Forum Communications) - North Dakota lawmakers will reach the halfway point of the legislative session later this month. Teri Finneman has the latest on what's expected this week.

By: Teri Finneman, Forum Communications Co.

There are nearly 900 bills and resolutions for lawmakers to consider during the first half of this session. There are still bill hearings going on, but there will be a lot of committee work this week as lawmakers decide which bills they think should continue on.

Middle school students are on Tuesday's agenda. Some lawmakers want to require these students to learn about personal finance in school.

Higher education is again in the spotlight Wednesday. Lawmakers are considering creating a commission that would look into alternative methods for funding higher education.

Among the goals is to increase the number of on-time graduations and the number of degrees awarded to low-income students.

On Thursday, lawmakers will request a study of passenger rail service in North Dakota, including options for implementing service in the southern part of the state.

Animal rights will be a hot topic on Friday in a bill that defines neglect and mistreatment. The bill carries a penalty of a Class A misdemeanor or a Class C felony for a second or subsequent offense within five years.

We're still waiting for decisions on the Fighting Sioux nickname bills, several education bills and the divorce bill. We'll be sure to bring you the latest straight from the Capitol.

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