Author Archives: Rob Port

Print Column: In the Fight Over Oil, It’s Progressives Against Progress

Print Column: In the Fight Over Oil, It’s Progressives Against Progress

MINOT, N.D. — The fight over the Davis Refinery, a crude oil project backed by Meridian Energy Group, has been an intriguing one to follow. In many ways it is a familiar story, pitting the energy industry and its desire for modern infrastructure against a political faction which would rather keep oil in the ground.

Dina Butcher, left, and Ellen Chaffee were involved with changing the North Dakota constitution when voters approved Measure 1 in November. TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune

Measure 1 Bans Lobbyists on the Ethics Commission, but a Measure 1 Lobbyist Has Applied Anyway

Yesterday I wrote about a lobbyist for the North Dakotans for Public Integrity – the local front group for the Hollywood activists behind Measure 1 – who wants to serve on the state ethics committee Measure 1 created. Governor Doug Burgum is currently accepting applications to serve on the committee. Greg Stites, who was a

Gov. Doug Burgum talks about his vision for North Dakota on Thursday, April 19, 2018. David Samson / The Forum

Just Admit You Made a Mistake Governor Burgum

“This is only an issue with a couple hundred people on social media.” That’s what Governor Doug Burgum reportedly told the Bismarck Tribune’s editorial board when the issue of the last-minute gutting of the powers of the Auditor’s Office came up. The exchange was mentioned in a column by Tribune publisher Gary Adkisson, who promises

Alex Hilzendeger, left, and Norton Lovold hold a banner promoting Measure 1 during the 2018 election cycle. TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune

A Lobbyist on the Ethics Commission?

During the 2018 election cycle the air was thick with denunciations of lobbyists, with most of the smoke being blown by the North Dakotans for Public Integrity. That group was behind the successful Measure 1 campaign, and they’ve been long on hypocrisy since their inception. They have railed against the influence of out-of-state money in

Plain Talk: Can You Be an Elected Official and a Reporter at the Same Time?

On this episode of Plain Talk, state Rep. Matt Eidson (D-Grand Forks) talks about how he plans to manage being an elected official as well as a reporter. Eidson has taken internships with Prairie Public and the Grand Forks Herald (owned by Forum Communications Company which also employs me), and says he’ll work hard to

Shane Goettle, a member of the committee sponsoring Marsy's Law, speaks at a press conference in the state capitol prior to petitions, shown in front of podium, being delivered to the Secretary of State's office. In back from left are Marsha Lembke, Burleigh County Sheriff Pat Heinert, Kelly Leben of the Burleigh County Sheriff's Department, Lacee Anderson, Kathleen Wrigley and Nicole Peske. TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune

Thanks to Marsy’s Law Corporations Can Maybe Have Victim Rights Too

North Dakota voters made a grievous mistake when they, at the behest of a campaign funded by a California billionaire, approved the “Marsy’s Law” amendment to the state constitution. The fallout from that mistake continues to unfold in state courts. Earlier this year I wrote about a state Supreme Court decision in State vs. Strom

The Government Can’t Have It Both Ways in the War on Opiate Abuse

The State of North Dakota – and, separately, multiple political subdivisions of the state – are suing the pharmaceutical industry for its alleged contributions to the opioid epidemic. The politics of this are obvious. The pharmaceutical industry – like the tobacco industry, the target of a similar litigation not so long ago – is not

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread

Guest Post: Legislative Session Gave Insurance Department Resources, Authority to Make Things Better for North Dakotans

This guest post was submitted by North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread, a Republican first elected in 2016. It isn’t always easy to be transformative in state government due to the confines of certain laws, policies or financial structures. Change certainly happens, but often slowly. Yet, I am happy to report that with the close