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1. City of Fargo looks to ND Supreme Court in gun zoning case

The city of Fargo is pleading its case to the North Dakota Supreme Court in an effort to overturn the new state law that overrides the city’s ability to ban gun sales in residential neighborhoods.

“It’s going to be a little bit of an uphill battle,” Commissioner Dave Piepkorn said. “But it’s about local control and for us to determine what’s best for our city versus the legislators in Bismarck.”

This comes after East Central District Judge Cherie Clark ruled in February that the city of Fargo’s home rule charter — a state standard that gives North Dakota cities the power to self-govern on local issues — has limits and is subject to state law.

Members of the Fargo City Commission voted unanimously on April 15 to appeal that decision.

Piepkorn was glad to see that the state’s League of Cities is supporting the city of Fargo on this issue.

Read more from The Forum’s Melissa Van Der Stad

2. Energy industry meetings with legislators postponed, described as ‘toxic’

Scott Hennen, left, speaks with North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring on April 15, 2024, in Fargo at an event held by Friends of Ag & Energy.

Jeff Beach / North Dakota Monitor

From the North Dakota Monitor via Forum News Service

Legislator-only meetings with agriculture and energy executives have been postponed.

The meetings were set for Tuesday, April 16 in Fargo and Bismarck and organized by the Friends of Ag & Energy group led by Scott Hennen of Fargo.

Hennen said Tuesday they will be rescheduled to give legislators more notice.

The meetings were to include Harold Hamm of Continental Resources and Bruce Rastetter of Summit Agricultural Group and a co-founder of Summit Carbon Solutions.

Summit is an Iowa-based company seeking to build a network of pipelines connecting ethanol plants in five states to an underground storage area in western North Dakota for carbon storage.

Continental Resources is an oil and gas company that has invested in Summit Carbon Solutions.

Rep. Austen Schauer, R-West Fargo, said he was told by Hennen on Monday to let legislators know the meeting had been canceled.

The meetings gained attention last week when conservative blogger Dustin Gawrylow wrote about them after obtaining an email inviting legislators.

Read more

3. Group files measure to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota

Customers shop at the Grass Station marijuana shop on Black Friday in Denver, Colo., Nov. 28, 2014. REUTERS

A measure to legalize marijuana use for adults 21 and over in North Dakota may be decided by voters in the November election.

A group of 27 North Dakotans filed a 2024 ballot measure petition to legalize adult-use cannabis in North Dakota on Tuesday, April 16. The proposal would allow adults 21 and older to possess small amounts of cannabis and purchase products from registered cannabis establishments in the state.

To qualify for the November ballot, 15,582 signatures must be gathered from eligible North Dakota voters by July 8.

A committee called the New Economic Frontier, which is sponsoring the measure, said in a release Tuesday that the measure would help lessen the burden on the criminal justice system and promote economic growth in the state.

The Secretary of State and Attorney General will now draft a petition title. The petition title will be provided to the sponsoring committee no earlier than Tuesday, April 23, nor later than Thursday, April 25.

“Cannabis legalization is coming, and it’s coming fast. We’ve got a choice here – let out-of-state interests call the shots, or take the lead ourselves,” said Steve Bakken, New Economic Frontier chair, former Bismarck mayor and radio host. “We’ve carefully crafted this initiative right here in North Dakota, making sure it fits what our community really needs. Let’s embrace this opportunity the North Dakota way, with common sense and local input guiding the way.”

Read more from The Forum’s Wendy Reuer

4. North Dakota’s statewide sexual and domestic violence coalition releases 2023 report

Disturbing data from CAWS North Dakota’s annual report on vicitms of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Photo Compisition by Finn Harrison / WDAY News

CAWS North Dakota, the statewide coalition to end sexual and domestic violence, released its 2023 report on Tuesday, April 16.

The data represented a collection from 19 victim advocacy centers across the entire state.

The numbers themselves are concerning, and Executive Director Seth O’Neill said the data doesn’t represent the full scope of the problem.

“I would love to not have a job in this field,” O’Neill said. “We could all pack up and go home because violence isn’t a problem. That’s our vision for one day in North Dakota.”

According to the 2023 report, 6,131 victims of domestic violence were served through their advocacy centers across the state. This includes 105 pregnant women. They also recorded 1,288 victims of sexual assault. Troublingly, only 45% of those cases were reported to law enforcement.

“Why subject themselves to interviews and a potential case in court when they think it’s unlikely to go anywhere?” O’Neill said. “And oftentimes, when they see other cases happen this way, it kind of discourages that.”

Read more from WDAY’s Michael McGurran

5. Fargo Brewing Co. files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection while it works to reorganize debt

Fargo Brewing Company on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at 610 N. University Drive.

Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

Fargo Brewing Co. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a type of bankruptcy that typically provides a business with protection from creditors while the company works to reorganize its debt and come up with a payment plan for paying off creditors.

The action was filed Monday, April 15, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fargo.

The bankruptcy paperwork contains a list of 20 creditors who have the largest unsecured claims against
Fargo Brewing Co. and
who are not insiders of the company.

The creditor with the largest unsecured claim is listed as First Western Bank & Trust of West Fargo, which has more than $1.2 million in unsecured claims.

Collectively, the top 20 creditors are listed as having more than $2.1 million in unsecured claims.

According to the filings, Fargo Brewing estimates its assets at $100,000 to $500,000 and it expects funds will be available to pay unsecured creditors.

The company’s total estimated liabilities are between $1 million and $10 million.

Read more from The Forum’s David Olson

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