Author Archives: Rob Port

“The Pioneer Family” stands in front of the North Dakota State Capitol on July 14, 2016, in Bismarck. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Lawmakers Probably Aren’t Finishing Today: “My Guess Is Day or Two More”

Lawmakers Probably Aren’t Finishing Today: “My Guess Is Day or Two More”

The goal for finishing North Dakota’s 2017 legislative session was day 70 of the constitutionally allowed 80. That was last week. Obviously, since lawmakers are still in session, it didn’t happen. The fall back deadline was today. When lawmakers broke for the weekend the idea was to come back this week and finish by Wednesday

James Patrick Whalen, left, listens as Judge John Thelan reads the terms of his plea agreement Monday in District court. Whalen's attorney, Robert Hoy, is at right. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

That Wasn’t Slut Shaming, and We Need to Talk About This Double Standard for Female Victims

James Patrick Whalen, a Grand Forks teacher found guilty of carrying on a sexual relationship with a teenage student, was sentenced recently. Something his attorney said during sentencing has people outraged. “I agree … that he is the adult and she is incapable of consent by statute, and he is at fault for that,” attorney

As Legislative Session Ends North Dakota Still Has More Revenues, and More Spending, Than It Did Before the Oil Boom

Today may very well be the last day of the 2017 legislative session. Lawmakers are hoping to be completed by this evening. We’ll see if that happens, but we hardly need to reach the official end point to conclude that it has been a rough session for the lawmakers and the state. Profligate spending during

Crews work at an oil well site near Williston, N.D., on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

The Idea That North Dakota Republicans Cut Taxes for the Oil Industry Is Fake News

For years now, since the policy passed during the 2015 legislative session, North Dakota Democrats and their mouthpieces have been braying about how Republicans cut taxes for the oil industry. As is often the case, a lie repeated often enough begins to be perceived as the truth. So now thanks to a steady stream of

Governor Doug Burgum opens North Dakota's 65th legislative assembly TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune

Video: House Members Laugh as They Vote Down “Dollar Doug” Amendment

“The Dollar Doug idea sure got stomped in the House,” a legislative observer texted me yesterday evening. The “Dollar Doug” thing is what some are calling the amendment to HB1001 which would reduce Governor Doug Burgum’s salary to just $1 per year, formulated in such a way so that whoever might take over after Burgum

New North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum speaks with cabinet members on his first day of office.

Will Governor Doug Burgum Sign a Bill Instituting a $10 Million Tax Hike on Phone Lines?

Not once but twice during his campaign last year Governor Doug Burgum signed pledges to oppose increases in the state’s taxes and fees. In March Burgum signed a pledge circulated by a group of NDGOP district leaders which stated that he would “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes or user fees.”

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp during a visit to the Grand Forks Herald Editorial Board. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Senator Heidi Heitkamp Took a Mountain of Money From Special Interest Committees

“When I go to Washington, I’m not going to be for any special interest; I’ll be for the interests of North Dakota,” Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp said in 2013 shortly after winning election to her first term in office. That’s an interesting goal for someone who, in the first quarter of her first re-election cycle, has

The Dickinson State University campus is seen in this undated Dickinson Press file photo

Bailout for Embattled Dickinson State University May Bog Down Efforts to End Legislative Session

Earlier today I wrote about some lawmakers in Bismarck expressing doubt that they can complete their legislative session on Tuesday. They already blew past their goal of being done on day 70 last week. Contributing to the delays in finishing up is a surprise Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner  dropped on his colleagues on Friday.

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