NDBA mourns the loss of KTHC’s Voice for Eastern Montana play-by -play sports Ray “Maverick” Simonis. He was a true Champion!

CHERRY CREEK MEDIA – Sidney, Montana & Williston, North Dakota is mourning the passing of Ray “Maverick” Simonis this past weekend. Maverick was the long-time afternoon voice for POWER 95.1/KTHC-FM, an advertising sales representative and the #1 voice for eastern Montana play by play sports; especially his “beloved” Sidney Eagles. Mav was the guy that always lit up the room with a story and a funny joke and never dwelling on his own troubles.

Maverick was a significant volunteer/contributor to Sidney & Richland County, Montana. He served assisted many organizations, including the Sidney Chamber of Commerce & the Sidney Job Service Employer Committee. Many remember Mav because during the Richland County Fair Mav wore a custom dyed pink mohawk haircut. The Sidney Herald (newspaper) had written a feature story about Mav that was published a week before his death. What a tribute!

Mav’s long-time friend & co-worker Arch Ellwein passed away in October 2018. Arch was POWER 95.1’s eastern Montana sports guy for 20+ years. Now, Maverick & Arch are doing play by play in heaven; probably basketball. Fulkerson Funeral Home – Sidney is handling the arrangements and are services are pending.

Ray “Maverick” Simonis is survived by a daughter, his sister, his mother and thousands of members of the MavFan Club and 1000’s of friends.

RIP our good friend and colleague.


St. Patty's Day cookie delivery to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem on behalf of the NDNA and NDBA Cousel Jack McDonald

Weekly Update from the 66th Legislative Assembly

The 66th North Dakota Legislative is entering its third and final stage for 2019 – the count down to the end – as shown by the dwindling number of committee hearings and a lot more “committee work” listed. I expect conference committees, where House & Senate conferees meet to try to resolve differences over a bill, will start being scheduled by the end of next week. Monday is day 46 of the maximum 80 day session. I’ve heard some legislators say they might get finished by Good Friday, day 71. That’s a bit ambitious, but a week or so later is not a bad guess. The 80th day is Thursday, May 2.

Not much left in the way of media-related hearings this week. We fought a good fight in the Senate Wednesday on HB 1363, a bill that would have made records of the costs used for security of public officials more transparent, but it was opposed by the Highway Patrol and that proved too much. Legislators tend to listen and believe witnesses in uniforms, and especially ones that wear guns Opponents of the bill said it would put the security of the Governor and Lt. Governor at risk, which was blatantly untrue. It went down 15-30. You can find a copy of this bill, and any others you may be interested in, by going to the legislature’s web page – www.legis.nd.gov – and then clicking on 66th Legislative Assembly and then on 66th Regular. Give me a call if you have any problems getting on the page or if you have any legislative questions.

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NDBA Works the Issues in Washington, DC

Counsel Jack McDonald, NDBA Chair Dan Cash, and ED Beth Helfrich discuss LRFA bill with Congressman Armstrong in DC.

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Weekly Update from the 66th Legislative Assembly

While Crossover last week was informally considered the halfway point of the Session, North Dakota’s 66th Legislative Assembly officially is in its second half this week as Monday marks day 42 of the maximum 80 legislative days. I’ve attached the Master List of bills I’m following for the media this session which includes the current status of each in the third column, and a Hearing List for this week.

The fate of most state agency budgets, and the fiscal future for this session, will be largely decided this with two major economic forecasts. State budget analysts and the economic consultancy Moody's Analytics unveil their revenue forecast on Monday. The Legislature's own economic consultancy, IHS Markit, will present its prediction on Tuesday. If these forecasts are positive – or even rosy as many hope – then the fiscal future looks a lot better for the final rush to finish legislative work.

There are not any major media hearings this week. I will continue to follow the ethics bills to make sure they have no impact on the media. The Senate’s ethics bill, SB 2148, which is supported by the citizens committee responsible for getting the measure passed, will be heard by the Joint Ethics Committee Tuesday, March 12, at 2:15pm, in the Pioneer Room. The House version, sponsored by the House and Senate leadership, will be heard by that same committee at 3:45pm that same day.

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NDBA and National Guard Stregthen Committment

ND Army National Guard Recruiters, Leadership and Broadcasters representing the Bismarck/Mandan market
met on February 19th at ND Heritage Center to strengthen the partnerships capitalizing on
the valuable resources available through the PEP(Public Education Partnership) Program.