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Across the Region: House reconsiders, passes Sunday shopping bill


House reconsiders, passes Sunday shopping bill

North Dakota’s House has changed its mind about killing a bill that repeals the state’s longstanding Sunday business restrictions.

The bipartisan measure aimed at lifting the state’s so-called blue laws was narrowly defeated 50-44 on Monday. Lawmakers looked at it again Tuesday and it passed 48-46.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says about a dozen states have some form of Sunday sales laws. Only North Dakota prohibits shopping on Sunday morning.

North Dakota residents can order alcohol at a restaurant or bar late Sunday morning but must wait until afternoon to go shopping because of the ban that’s rooted in religious tradition.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. Pamela Anderson of Fargo, says reconsidering the idea was the “right thing to do.”

The measure shifts to the Senate for consideration.



Parole Commission chair resigns to work for chief justice

The state’s parole commission chair has resigned to work for the chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Department of Correction Spokesman Tristan Cook confirmed Parole Commission Chairman Dean Stensberg’s resignation Monday. Stensberg became head of the commission that determines which prison inmates get paroled in May 2015. His two-year term was to end in March, but Cook says his resignation was effective Jan. 6.

Stensberg says he is now the executive assistant to Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack. He declined to comment on the reason for his resignation.

Gov. Scott Walker appoints the chair of the parole commission. Spokesman Tom Evenson says Walker appointed commissioner Douglas Drankiewicz as the interim chair on Friday.

The number of inmates released on parole has dropped since Walker took office.

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