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Six same-sex couples have filed a federal lawsuit to block South Dakota's ban on same-sex marriage.....

     SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Six same-sex couples have filed a federal lawsuit to block South Dakota's ban on same-sex marriage, leaving North Dakota as the only state in the country with an unchallenged ban.  The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Sioux Falls.  It challenges both South Dakota's ban on gay marriage and its refusal to recognize marriages of same-sex couples who legally wed in other states.
     The lawsuit means cases are currently pending in 30 states with gay marriage bans. Judges have overturned several of those bans since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year.
     Minneapolis-based attorney Josh Newville is representing the South Dakota same-sex couples. He says he's also seriously considering filing a similar challenge in North Dakota.


     WASHINGTON (AP) - A diversion project that could relieve persistent flooding in the Red River Valley is included in a massive water projects bill approved by Congress and headed to the White House.
     The Senate passed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act on Thursday, after the House passed the legislation on Tuesday. It includes authorization for up to $846.7 million in federal funds for the project.
     Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, have seen major flooding or the threat of major flooding in four of the last five years.
     Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says it was a long haul, but it was important that the project received authorization. Republican Sen. John Hoeven says authorization will allow supporters to pursue federal construction funding and get the project started.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota oil tax fund is about to top $2 billion.  The Legacy Fund gets 30 percent of the state's oil tax collections. The money cannot be touched before 2017 and it would still take a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to dip into it.  North Dakota voters approved the fund in 2010. It received its first deposit of $34.3 million in September 2011.
     State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt says this month's transfer of $81.7 million will put the account over the $2 billion mark. The fund is on pace to reach $3 billion by the end of the 2013-15 biennium.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Syndicated conservative radio and Fox News host Sean Hannity says government needs to get out of the way so other parts of the United States can replicate the prosperity brought to North Dakota by oil. Hannity was a keynote speaker at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck on Wednesday.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Billionaire oilman Harold Hamm says the industry is in the "crosshairs" of anti-oil advocates and it's up to companies to do things in an "absolute safe manner." Hamm said at an oil expo in Bismarck that safety missteps could threaten an oil boom that he predicts will double to two million barrels a day by the end of the decade.

     NEW TOWN, N.D. (AP) - Authorities have identified a man whose body was pulled from the Missouri River near the 4 Bears Casino Marina at New Town. Three Affiliated Tribes police say 31-year-old Daniel Mossett had been missing since last November. Mossett's body was discovered Monday morning.

     BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana is joining North Dakota and South Dakota as states that plan to curtail sage grouse hunting in response to a continued decline in the game bird's population. Montana wildlife commissioners yesterday gave tentative approval to a proposal to cancel or scale back a two-month hunting season slated to open in September. A final vote is expected in July.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The federal government says North Dakota has led the nation in housing development for the third year in a row. The Census Bureau says the state added more than 10,200 housing units between July 2012 and July 2013. Williams County led the way.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota senator says two airports in the state will receive a combined $400,000 in federal funding. U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp says the airport in Watford City will receive more than $327,000, and the town of Dunseith will get nearly $86,000 for its airport. The funding will be used for airport repairs.


   (Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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