Author Archives: Rob Port

Donald Trump looks on as Rep. Kevin Cramer speaks at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck on May 26, 2016.

Audio: Congressman Cramer Says He’s Convinced There’s “Almost Nothing” to Reports of Trump Ties to Russia

Audio: Congressman Cramer Says He’s Convinced There’s “Almost Nothing” to Reports of Trump Ties to Russia

“I’m convinced there’s almost nothing there.” That’s what Congressman Kevin Cramer told me during an interview earlier today referring to the swirling accusations that President Donald Trump’s campaign was in cahoots with the Russians, and that he and Trump “talked a lot” about the matter during a meeting this week before that contentious press conference.

State Rep. Mike Nathe speaks in favor of his legislation to close down the North Dakota Treasurer's Office.

Video: Legislation to Eliminate State Treasurer’s Office Flops

It wasn’t hard to forecast the likely outcome of a House vote today on HCR3004, a proposed constitutional amendment which would have eliminated the State Treasurer’s Office. Back during last year’s election cycle Democrat state Senator Tim Mathern campaigned for Treasurer against incumbent Republican Kelly Schmidt on a platform made up of exactly one plank.

State Sales Tax Revenues Miss Forecast by More Than $40 Million in January

North Dakota keeps revising its revenue forecasts down, and actual revenue collections keep coming in even lower. It’s a reality that’s complicating the Legislature’s efforts to budget for the next biennium. While revenue collections are still coming in ahead of pre-oil boom levels, biennium to date, nobody seems certain about where the floor is for

Report: Standing Rock’s Casino Revenue Down Millions After #NoDAPL Protests

“The annual Prairie Knights Casino intake was approximately $14 million in 2015 and dropped to near $8 million in 2016,” the Teton Times reports. The Times is a newspaper based in McLaughlin, South Dakota, which covers events on the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River reservations. Back on February 1st they published a lengthy look into the

A protestor pours gasoline on a fire blocking North Dakota Hwy. 1806 on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, north of Cannon Ball. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

This Is the Legislation North Dakota Should Have Passed in Response to the #NoDAPL Riots

Yesterday the state Senate passed three of four of the “protest bills” introduced in reaction to the #NoDAPL rioting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. One of those bills made it illegal to wear a mask while committing a crime, while another increased the consequences for illegal protest activities. A third allows law enforcement to cite

Brandon Muhs, front, of Fargo, North Dakota, pushes a dolly cart with boxes containing petition signatures into the Secretary of State's office on Monday, July 11, 2016, for a medical marijuana initiative for consideration on the November ballot. Initiative committee chairman Rilie Ray Morgan, second from right, and his wife, Rita, far right, also of Fargo, were among a group of supporters gathering at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D.. Photo by Mike McCleary/Bismarck Tribune

The Initiated Measure Process Has Not Served North Dakota Well

Today the Bismarck Tribune editorializes against a push by lawmakers a bill creating a commission tasked with reviewing our state’s initiated measure process (it passed in the state Senate this week), “The initiated measure process has served North Dakota well and the Legislature should tread lightly when considering changing it,” the paper writes. Only, that’s not

Shane Goettle, a member of the committee sponsoring Marsy's Law, speaks at a press conference in the state capitol. TOM STROMME/Tribune

It’s Time to Take Marsy’s Law to Court

Last year the voters approved Marsy’s Law, a constitutional amendment which will supposedly make our legal system more just by giving victims and their families rights. Nearly every facet of our state’s legal community – from cops to prosecutors to defense attorneys to judges – opposed the ballot measure arguing that it could create real headaches for

Police and protestors scuffle Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, north of Cannon Ball. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

The Dakota Access Pipeline Company Shouldn’t Have to Pay for the #NoDAPL Movement’s Mayhem

Back in November I interviewed Kelcy Warren. Warren is the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company which has been trying to build the Dakota Access Pipeline. During that interview Warren told me that his company would consider reimbursing North Dakota for the costs incurred by the state responding to the often unlawful and often

The UND Class of 2016 looks around as graduates process in for commencement Saturday at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

The University System Isn’t Meant to Be an Employment Program for Professors and Bureaucrats

This letter to the editor in the Grand Forks Herald today is an unfortunate example of why higher education can often be its own worst enemy. The missive, written by University of North Dakota Professor Marcus Weaver-Hightower, takes a haughty and belittling tone in response to critics of policies like tuition waivers used to attract out

An aerial view of the main protest camp on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land at the confluence of the Missouri River and Cannonball River in southern Morton County North Dakota on February 13, 2017. The area is in a flood plain and must be clear of buildings and people who have been illegally camping to protest the nearby Dakota Access Pipeline. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

Audio: Highway Patrol Spokesman Says #NoDAPL Clean up Is “Not Going to Be Fast Enough”

“It’s slow moving,” Lt. Tom Iverson of the North Dakota Highway Patrol told me yesterday on my radio show (audio below), “and it’s not going to be fast enough to be honest.” He was referring to the clean up efforts at the #NoDAPL protest camps in south central North Dakota. The thousands of activists who

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