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Published September 05 2010

ND Political Notebook: Legislative committees meet to prepare for ’11 session

BISMARCK – North Dakota lawmakers will have a busy September of committee work as they prepare to head into the 2011 legislative session.

Four committees are scheduled to meet this coming week.

The Judiciary Committee meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the Roughrider Room in the Capitol.

Topics include a bill draft regarding the regulation of debt settlement services and a presentation by the North Dakota Racing Commission about account wagering in the state.

Lawmakers will also hear about gambling treatment options and statistics.

The Tribal and State Relations Committee meets at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Bismarck Civic Center Exhibit Hall Room 101, 315 S. 5th St.

The committee will conduct a joint meeting with the Native American Tribal Citizens’ Task Force and will discuss tribal-state issues, including government-to-government relations, economic development, hate crimes, education, taxation and oil and gas development.

The Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations meets at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Roughrider Room in the Capitol.

The commission will discuss a bill draft related to limiting the payment of medical care costs of an inmate to the federal Medicare payment rates.

The group will also discuss a bill draft relating to the duration and amount of advertisement for public improvement construction bids.

The Information Technology Committee meets at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Education Center at SRT Communications in Minot.

Lawmakers will hear presentations about social media, online technologies, Internet protocol television and technology trends in the public sector.

They will also hear the state Information Technology Department’s annual report regarding projects, services, plans and benefits.

Full agendas can be found atwww.legis.nd.gov/council/interim/meetings.

The AG and Olympians

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has screen time with USA Olympians Misty May-Treanor (volleyball) and Dara Torres (swimming) in commercials now airing.

The public service announcements “talk to kids about the dangers of underage drinking” and “make it clear that there are alternatives,” Stenehjem said.

The commercials were created during a National Association of Attorneys General meeting in Washington, D.C., and are sponsored by the Century Council.

You can also watch the videos at www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fYHnvPdMo8 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Z-9hDmOG1w.

ND agency honored

The North Dakota Insurance Department’s State Health Insurance Counseling Program has been ranked No. 1 in the nation for the second year in a row by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The ranking is based on the program’s performance in 2009, a news release stated.

“I am extremely proud of the work the professional staff here at the Insurance Department does every day for the people of North Dakota, as well as the work done by our partnering organizations and volunteers across the state,” Commissioner Adam Hamm said in a statement.

Performance criteria include the number of beneficiaries served in one-on-one counseling sessions and in public education and outreach events. The counseling program offers free and confidential help with Medicare and other health insurance. For more information, call (888) 575-6611 or visit www.nd.gov/ndins.

Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.