Dakota Download Governor Burgum's Weekly Update - March 24, 2024

Governor, MHA Chairman and State Tax Commissioner sign historic alcohol tax revenue sharing agreement

Gov. Doug Burgum, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation Chairman Mark Fox and State Tax Commissioner Brian Kroshus signed a historic alcohol tax revenue sharing agreement on Friday – the first such agreement to be executed under a new law enacted last year.

Last year the state Legislature passed, and Burgum signed, Senate Bill 2377, which allows each of the five tribal nations in North Dakota to enter into an agreement with the state to impose a single tax on alcoholic beverages sold at the retail and wholesale levels within their respective reservations. Tribal nations that adopt the alcohol tax will keep 80% of the tax revenue, while the state’s general fund will receive 20%, with taxes being collected by the Office of State Tax Commissioner. MHA Nation is the first tribe to execute an agreement with the state under the new law.

“This agreement underscores the commitment of the state of North Dakota and MHA Nation to work together for the mutual benefit of their communities. It provides exactly the kind of fair and uniform framework for collecting alcohol taxes on reservations that we hoped to achieve when signing the legislation last year,” Burgum said, noting the bulk of the revenue will go to the tribes to support addiction treatment and other programs. “We thank Chairman Fox, the Legislature, Commissioner Kroshus and everyone who worked to pass the law and execute this agreement, showing once again how relationships built on understanding and mutual respect allow us to address longstanding challenges and reach solutions that benefit all citizens of North Dakota.”

“The MHA Nation has been contending with the impacts of alcohol being sold on our reservation for a very long time. It has greatly burdened our judicial system with domestic violence, alcohol-related injuries and deaths from vehicle accidents, and various forms of crime,” Fox said. “This new tax revenue will help relieve the tremendous amount of money our government spends yearly to provide treatment services related to alcohol addiction, social and wellness services, and supplement enhancements to law enforcement. I would like to thank Governor Burgum, State Tax Commissioner Brian Kroshus and the ND State Legislature for working with us on this agreement that benefits our Nation and the State of North Dakota.”

“The revenue-share agreement with MHA signifies another important state-tribal partnership and serves as an additional building block that supports continued collaboration with our valued tribal partners throughout North Dakota,” Kroshus said during Friday's ceremony at the Capitol.

The Governor’s Office had worked with tribal nations, legislators and the Office of the State Tax Commissioner for several years to negotiate an acceptable framework for revenue sharing agreements and avoid a double taxation situation in which both the state and tribe could levy separate alcohol taxes on reservations. SB 2377 was introduced by Sen. Dale Patten of Watford City and co-sponsored by Sen. Jordan Kannianen of New Town and Rep. Craig Headland of Montpelier, who chair the Senate and House tax committees, respectively.

The bill was approved unanimously in both the House and Senate. It improved upon an alcohol tax revenue sharing bill that passed in 2019 but hadn’t been utilized.

2023 Main Street ND Award recipients announced, honored at reception

Gov. Burgum, Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller and the North Dakota Department of Commerce hosted the 2023 Main Street ND Award recipients for a reception last week, recognizing the achievements of the recipients due to the 2023 Main Street ND Summit being canceled last year due to weather.

Categories and award recipients include:

The 21st Century Workforce Award recognizes excellence in one of two areas: efforts to attract or retain workforce; and working with local youth to promote workforce development opportunities in your community.

  • The Baldwin Greenhouse for establishing a sustainable food system.
  • The McKenzie County Tourism for establishing a tourism and hospitality online training program.

The Main Street Excellence Award is given to recognize communities or “Community Champions” within that community whose efforts embody all four pillars of the Main Street Initiative: Smart, Efficient Infrastructure; 21st Century Workforce; Economic Diversification; and Healthy, Vibrant Communities.

  • The Dickinson Legacy Square fulfilled a critical need within their community by providing a permanent gathering place that benefits citizens of all ages and local businesses alike. This vibrant space has transformed the downtown area into a bustling hub of activity, offering a range of amenities and hosting nationally renowned artists and events.
  • The New Rockford Area Betterment Corporation has built and continuously strived for an economically and socially thriving society that serves their community and future generations.

The Healthy, Vibrant Community Award recognizes a community or group that has made investments in projects that enhance the health and vibrancy of communities.

  • The City of Beach is a testament to the outstanding efforts put forth by their team in the planning and construction of the Beach Farmers Market Pavilion at Gazebo Park.
  • The City of Grand Forks is a testament to the outstanding efforts put forth by their team in the development of the Grand Forks Town Square.

The Smart, Efficient Infrastructure Award recognizes a community that has made sound planning decisions by investing in spaces with existing infrastructure, such as a vacant lot or dilapidated building.

  • The Town LaMoure is a testament to the outstanding efforts put forth by their team to preserve essential health services in a downtown location with the LaMoure Center Revitalization.
  • The City of Minot is a testament to the outstanding efforts put forth by their team for the Minot Façade Improvement.

The Economic Diversification Award recognizes a community that understands our rapidly changing economy and is leading innovative solutions by leveraging and expanding the value of existing assets in their community.

  • The Nome Schoolhouse for reserving the heritage of this historic building have not only created a model for rural revitalization but have also significantly contributed to the economic diversification of North Dakota.

The Future Leaders Empowerment Award recognizes a community that seeks to engage students in creating a healthy and vibrant community through leadership development, community planning or workforce exploration in community industries.

  • Launching Leadership for their efforts and commitment to developing a youth leadership program tailored for students in grades 9 through 12 serves as an inspiration for students to embark on journeys of personal growth and community impact, with the invaluable support of mentors.

Miller speaks at United Way annual meeting, Roughrider Conference

On Saturday, Miller attended the North Dakota National Guard Officer and Enlisted Association's Roughrider Conference and gave the keynote address, highlighting efforts led by the administration to make North Dakota the most military friendly state.

"North Dakota remains committed to being the nation's No. 1 military-friendly state," Miller said, noting Gov. Burgum signed several bills last year to support that goal, including:

  • Exempting military pay from state income tax, providing an estimated $4 million in tax relief this biennium.
  • Allowing North Dakota National Guard members who attend college out-of-state to benefit from State Tuition Assistance.
  • Allowing child care providers licensed by the U.S. Department of Defense to operate in North Dakota without having to go through redundant state relicensing.

Additionally, Miller provided an update on the planned Military Museum, which will be constructed on the south end of the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum in Bismarck.

On Thursday, Miller spoke to a sold out event at the Missouri Slope Areawide United Way's annual luncheon in Bismarck, commending the organization for its work to unite people and resources to build a better community.

Registration is now open for the Governor's Summit on Innovative Education on June 17 at Bismarck State College

The eighth annual Governor's Summit on Innovative Education inspires innovation and reimagines learning in schools across North Dakota.

The summit's theme is "Navigating the Future: AI's Role in Education." Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the world of learning, work and living. Harnessing the potential of AI while recognizing the critical importance of human interaction can provide endless opportunities for personalizing the educational experience.

Join the conversation on June 17 at Bismarck State College and learn how to maximize AI, hear from leading industry experts and identify strategies that empower educators to use this as a tool to transform the classroom.

Training exercise brings whole-of-government collaboration for emergency response

North Dakota Health and Human Services' Emergency Preparedness Unit, the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, Morton County Sheriff’s Office, Morton County Emergency Management and other public health partners recently conducted a full-scale exercise at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.

The exercise provided training for a public health and medical response event and demonstrated the ability for these agencies to collaborate to conduct large-scale response and recovery operations.

"One of North Dakota Health and Human Services’ strategic priorities is optimizing disaster and epidemic response and recovery. Readiness requires training,” said Tim Wiedrich, director of the HHS Health Response and Licensure Section. “By conducting exercises with federal and local partners – including members of the North Dakota Medical Reserve Corp and other health and medical response experts – we continue to build on our preparedness and response efforts.”

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park closed its campground and nearby trails to provide a secure practice area within the park for participants to focus on response to the simulated emergency.

“North Dakota Parks and Recreation is privileged to assist with these vital exercises by providing the space and security for response teams to demonstrate their competencies,” said Cody Schulz, director of North Dakota Parks and Recreation. “The successful management and mitigation of this complex simulation by these federal, state and local agencies is a testament to their professionalism and commitment to achieve the mission.”

The training included setup of equipment, trailers, an operating base and personal protective equipment for all personnel involved in the exercise. More than 140 participants took part in the training.

"Exercises like this give responders the opportunity to practice and hone their skills in a challenging, yet controlled, environment --meaning we will be ready for all incidents,” said Larry Regorrah, DES Exercise Officer.

USAF Concert Band & Singing Sergeants Spring Tour comes to North Dakota

The U.S. Air Force Concert Band is coming to North Dakota for their spring tour. They will be performing April 4-6 in Bismarck, Jamestown and Fargo and all performances are free.

North Dakota is home to two Air Force bases in Minot and Grand Forks. The programs also recognize the retired and active military veterans from all branches of service along with their families during every event.

North Dakota continually ranks among the top states in military friendliness and is continually working to be the most military friendly state in the nation. In 2023, the state exempted military pay from state income tax, expanded tuition assistance for Guard members and cut red tape for military child care providers.

All the details about these free concerts and how to register for the tickets are on the Air Force Concert Band's website. Just click on the city and date. There is no ticket needed to attend.

Applications being accepted for Governor’s Band/Orchestra Program and Choral Program

Gov. Burgum is encouraging school, community and church bands, orchestras and choirs across North Dakota to apply to serve as the Governor’s Official State Band/Orchestra Program and Choral Program for the 2024-2025 school year.

The Governor and First Lady will select the Governor’s Band/Orchestra Program and Governor’s Choral Program from the applications received based on musical talent, achievement and community involvement. The governor may invite the band/orchestra and chorus to perform at official state functions held throughout the year, including the State of the State Address.

Interested groups should submit an application, references and a musical recording to the Governor’s Office by 5 p.m. Thursday, March 28. The Governor’s Band/Orchestra Program and Governor’s Choral Program will be announced in April and may be invited to perform at the Capitol in May 2024 and at events throughout the 2024-2025 school year. Please complete the application and provide materials at governor.nd.gov/governors-chorus-and-bandorchestra-program-application.