This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up and thumbs down on the issues from the past week.
How oil revenue is taxed on reservations has been a contentious issue for some time. It appears state and tribal leaders are getting close to a compromise for a framework for future tribal tax agreements. The proposal being discussed has benefits for all involved. It will be a notable achievement if everyone involved can reach agreement on the compromise. It would be another step toward better relations between the state and the tribes.
Someday North Dakota will have a smartphone app that will replace the plastic driver’s license card issued to motorists. That day, however, isn’t here yet. A bill in the Legislature would establish digital driver's licenses in the state at an estimated cost of $3.5 million. The House Transportation Committee has recommended the bill be defeated and even the sponsor, Sen. Scott Meyer, R-Grand Forks, doesn’t like the bill’s chances. It seems a little early for the bill because many residents probably wouldn’t be comfortable going digital. A legislative session or two down the road could find the Legislature receptive to a similar bill.
A Minot High School science team will be representing the state at the 2019 National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. The team won the regional competition and will travel to the finals on April 25-29. The event is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the top 16 high school and top 16 middle school teams get $1,000 for their schools' science departments. Hopefully the Minot team can come home a winner.
The Bismarck Police Department has a new tipster program and it appears successful. The tip411 app lets users submit tips quickly and remain anonymous if they want. Information received within days of the program’s launch helped officers find a runaway. There also were tips about shoplifters and about 30 tips have been received on an active felony fraud case. The tip411 program replaces the Crime Stoppers program. People can use tip411 three ways. They can text information directly to tip411, submit information to tip411 through the police department website or use the app to send a message. Photos and videos can be attached to those messages. Text messages can be sent to 847411. The keyword is BISPD. It seems like a program that the public will find useful.
A cybersecurity bill, SB2210, is on the way to the House after the Senate approved it, 47-0. The goal of the legislation is to provide a uniform approach to cybersecurity for public entities. The bill was amended in committee to say the state Information Technology Department would only “advise and oversee” cybersecurity strategy for all executive state agencies, cities, counties, school districts, higher education institutions "or other political subdivisions." It’s wise to have a uniform policy that provides consistency throughout the state.