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5 things to know today: Fighting Prescriptions, Special Evaluation, Ethics Panel, DFL Bill, Investor Fund - InForum


1. Romantix joins Enchantasys in the fight against the new Fargo order

The decision to force the city of Fargo to overturn a recent ordinance regulating adult facilities has gained momentum as another company has joined the fight.

Originally started by the owners of Enchantasys — a Fargo store that sells products such as lingerie, sex devices and DVDs, among other items — a petition has been drafted with 2,500 signatures needed to legally overturn an passed ordinance by the Fargo City Commission in December.

The ordinance increases the City of Fargo’s regulatory powers over adult facilities. The ordinance expands the regulations and details what, exactly, the city considers an adult facility.

While the owners of Enchantasys originally thought only three people could accept signatures for the petition, it turns out that three was just the minimum.

The awareness prompted Romantix, an adult entertainment store in downtown Fargo, to reach out and help collect signatures, said Enchantasys owner Kim Patterson.

“If (Romantix) can get the signatures they tell us they think they can get, that’s going to make our lives easier,” Patterson said.

Read more about Melissa Van Der Stad from the Forum

2. West Fargo will use special levies to fund an $860,000 red light

West Fargo Interchange.jpg

West Fargo plans to add a red light at the intersection of 32nd Avenue South and Ninth Street West.

Wendy Reuer/The Forum

West Fargo plans to install a red light at the intersection of West Ninth Street and South 32nd Avenue, but it could cost residents of that neighborhood hundreds of thousands of dollars in special assessments.

The City of West Fargo Commission approved an appraisal district for the project at its Tuesday, Jan. 3, meeting by a vote of 4 to 1. The new red light is estimated to cost approximately $860,000 due to a need for “geometric alignment”.

West Fargo engineer Dan Hanson said the alignment is necessary for the red light because it ensures those turning left on the flashing yellow, from 32nd Avenue South, can see past other vehicles in the oncoming lanes that are also attempting to turn left. knack.

“Making this geometric change at the intersection will allow us to have better sightlines for drivers and better safety,” Hanson said.

Read more from Wendy Reuer from the Forum

3. The Bill Would Add 9,000 State Employees to the Jurisdiction of the North Dakota Ethics Committee

From left to right, Ethics Commission Office Manager Holly Gaugler, Commissioner David Anderson, Commission Chair Paul Richard and Ethics Commissioner Cynthia Lindquist.  They attended a Senate Local and State Government Committee hearing at the North Dakota State Capitol on January 6, 2023.

From left, Ethics Commission Office Director Holly Gaugler, Commissioner David Anderson, Commission Chair Paul Richard and Ethics Commissioner Cynthia Lindquist attend a Senate Local Government Committee hearing and States at the North Dakota State Capitol on January 6, 2023.

Darren Gibbins / Bismarck Tribune

From the Bismarck Tribune via Forum News Service

The North Dakota Ethics Commission is asking the legislature to expand the panel’s oversight authority to include thousands of state employees.

On Friday, the Senate Committee on State and Local Governments heard Senate Bill 2048, introduced by the Ethics Committee. The bill provides for several changes requested by the commission, such as extending the time limit for notifying a defendant of an ethics complaint and adding criteria for determining who can file a complaint.

The bill would also add about 8,960 executive branch employees to the ethics committee’s jurisdiction over “public officials”, but “only with respect to lobbyist gifts”. However, Commission Executive Director Rebecca Binstock submitted an amendment to the Senate panel to remove that limitation, which she said was a drafting error.

North Dakota voters in 2018 approved a ballot measure adding ethics mandates to the state constitution, creating the five-person panel, which began meeting in 2019.

The ethics committee already oversees elected and appointed representatives of the executive and legislative branches, members of the governor’s cabinet, members of the ethics committee, and employees of the legislative branch.

Commission Chairman Paul Richard said it was unclear why executive branch employees were not included in the ballot measure. He said the addition would be “appropriate” and enhance transparency.

Binstock told the committee that the ethics committee “really sees this as a fair expansion.”

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4. DFL Bill Would Create Automatic Voter Registration and Restore Voting to Criminals

Minnesota Capitol

Minnesota Democrats are pushing for legislation to expand voting access and strengthen campaign finance laws in what they say is a response to a rise in misinformation and intimidation of election workers .

Amid unfounded allegations of voter fraud that have become more common since 2020, Democrat-Farmer-Labour lawmakers say passing election bills is among their top priorities this session. The House is expected to start hearing some of this legislation next week.

On Friday, Jan. 6 — the second anniversary of a crowd of President Donald Trump supporters storming the U.S. Capitol — a group of more than 30 DFL lawmakers gathered for a Capitol press conference to announce the formation a new legislative caucus focused on voting and “standing up for democracy”.

“Since January 6, the attacks have not stopped,” said Rep. Emma Greenman, a Minneapolis Democrat who is pushing an election law review bill through the House. “The misinformation and lies about electoral systems have only grown.”

Greenman, a Minneapolis Democrat who spent a decade working as a voting rights advocate across the United States, said that while Minnesota has a trustworthy electoral system, it has been tested in recent years by unsubstantiated allegations of fraud after the 2020 election.

The “Democracy for the People Act,” introduced by the DFLs in the House and Senate this week, would create automatic voter registration in Minnesota, allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, and also allow all Minnesota voters choose to vote by mail on a permanent absentee list.

Learn more about Alex Derosier from Forum News Service

5. Bank of North Dakota wants funds from Jamieson Capital Financial investors turned over to a judge

Copy of Cass County Courthouse (1).JPG

Cass County Courthouse.

Picture from forum folder

A bank alleges that a Fargo financial adviser, under the scrutiny of North Dakota securities officials, failed to return funds to investors despite being ordered to do so by regulators.

In a lawsuit, the Western State Bank of North Dakota said that to its knowledge, Jeremy L. Carlson and the funds under his control had “taken no steps to return” the money to investors despite an order from the North Dakota Securities Department to “return to identifiable investors.” all investor client funds currently on deposit” with the bank.

The lawsuit, filed Dec. 23 in Cass County District Court, seeks a judge’s permission to deposit funds with the court “so that all interested parties may seek to protect their rights and interests in the funds. held in each individually identified account”.

Western State Bank is also asking a judge for an order clarifying the “rights, status and other legal relationships” between the bank and certain investment funds overseen by Carlson and his company, Jamieson Capital Financial, which are the subject of orders. of North Dakota. Securities Department.

A lawyer representing Carlson said his client was protecting investors’ money but was looking to use operating revenue to pay for his business’ operating expenses.

“Since the initial state order in July, Mr. Carlson has continued to safeguard the integrity and value of the underlying investments made by the companies he manages, including using operating revenues to pay necessary business expenses,” attorney Michael Raum said in a statement. at the Forum.

“In December, prior to the state’s last order, Mr. Carlson sought to use operating income to pay an operating expense to preserve the value of the assets of the Jamieson Natural Resource Fund for the ultimate benefit of its investors,” Raum added. “Unfortunately, Western State Bank unilaterally chose to freeze these funds, despite not being required to do so by any state order. Western’s lawsuit highlights the difficulty created by state orders, which Mr. Carlson disputes all.

Read more about Patrick Springer from Forum News Service



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