5 things to know today: Redistricting debate, Horace assessments, Home arrest, Tax rebate, James Kusler
A select rundown of stories found on InForum.
1. North Dakota House advances redistricting plan after lengthy debate
The North Dakota House of Representatives has moved forward a proposal for redrawing the state's political boundaries into 47 legislative districts of roughly equal population.
The map, developed by a Republican-led committee, morphs three rural districts — two in the northeast and one in the southeast — into new districts in the Fargo area, the Williston area and the southwest corner of the state. The shifting lines mirror the trends of rural-to-urban migration and explosive growth in the once sparsely populated Oil Patch.
2. West Fargo School District facing high special assessments in Horace
The West Fargo School District made yet another plea to Horace city leaders to protest special assessments that arrived higher than discussed, but the final numbers remain unchanged.
Last month, Business Manager Levi Bachmeier along with School Board members and Superintendent Beth Slette sent a letter to the city of Horace outlining their surprise at the special assesment amount received for the improvements made on the avenue that would become 81st Ave S, south of West Fargo Public Schools’ Horace High School.
"We ask the certification of special assessments for this project be put on hold until a conversation, including justification for recommended changes, can occur or the original proposed assessment amount be reinstated," the letter said.
3. Moorhead man gets home arrest for part in Jan. 6 attack on U.S. Capitol
A Moorhead man was sentenced to home arrest and community service for storming with rioters into the U.S. Capitol as Congress finalized the 2020 presidential election results.
In Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Nov. 9, Federal Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced Jordan Kenneth Stotts, 32, to 60 days of home confinement and two years of probation for his part in the Jan. 6 riots. He also must perform 60 hours of community service, prosecutors said.
Stotts previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. Three other charges were dismissed.
4. Burgum-backed income tax relief plan advances despite opposition from GOP leadership
North Dakota lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday, Nov. 9 to provide rebates to state income taxpayers, a late-game addition to the special session that has been vocally backed by Gov. Doug Burgum but opposed by top Republicans in the Legislature.
The proposal, which was brought to the House floor Tuesday afternoon by Bismarck Republican Rep. Pat Heinert, would provide up to $500 in income tax relief over two years to North Dakotans by drawing on surplus state revenues from the last budget cycle. Heinert's bill mirrors an idea that Burgum first rolled out in September , and which the second-term Republican has continued to push up to his state of the state address that kicked off the legislative special session on Monday morning.
5. Former North Dakota Secretary of State James Kusler dies at 73
Former Secretary of State James Kusler, who held that position from 1989 to 1993, died on Sunday, Nov. 7.
Kusler is the only Democrat to serve as North Dakota's secretary of state, according to the North Dakota Democratic-NPL party.
"As the only Dem-NPLer to serve as Secretary of State to-date, Jim always put the needs of North Dakotans first and foremost during his time in office, with passion, energy, and a knack for working across the aisle," said Tyler Hogan, Democratic-NPL party executive director, in a statement. "The Dem-NPL mourns the loss of our dear friend, and we extend our deepest condolences to the Kusler family."