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Published February 20, 2011, 12:38 PM

ND lawmakers weigh in on the first half of the 2011 session

Bismarck, ND (Forum Communications) - North Dakota lawmakers have a busy week of floor sessions to decide what bills will make it to the second half of the Legislature. Teri Finneman brings us the latest from Bismarck.

By: Teri Finneman, WDAY

We're nearing halftime here in the North Dakota Legislature, and the clock is ticking. All bills must be voted on by the end of this week, including the Fighting Sioux nickname. With so much going on these past few months, we asked legislative leaders to weigh in on the first half.

“If I had to put a stamp on the first half, probably the two biggest things would be the tax reductions in corporate and personal income tax. The third one on my list would be dealing with the western area water supply to help western North Dakota in terms of infrastructure. And the last one would be one that we haven't voted on yet, but we will pass, is some infrastructure commitments to the most impacted areas by all the oil development.”

“Water commission and Devils Lake funding: Whether it's with roads and bridges, we'll continue to try and advance those. We've had a lot of things that we tried that have failed and we're still going to keep trying. There's going to be tax relief in North Dakota with the budget we have, but we want to see tax relief going to the middle-income, working families in North Dakota.”

Next week, we'll have leaders talk about their strategy for the second half of the session. The nickname bills will be heard tomorrow afternoon.

More young teachers may soon be in schools across Minnesota, without going to traditional teaching colleges. Lawmakers are looking at an alternate licensing proposal. Supporters say the idea would get new kinds of teachers to narrow the achievement gap between white and minority students. Governor Mark Dayton argues the bill doesn't make sure new teachers are qualified enough.

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