This And That articles

August "Augie" Kersten stands in front of a mural he paid to paint on the side of his bar, the Lonesome Dove, but the City of Mandan says he must remove it. Photo courtesy of the Institute for Justice

Podcast: A Local Government’s War on Art

Podcast: A Local Government’s War on Art

The City of Manadan put some local business owners through a “five month bureaucratic nightmare just so they could play art critic.” That’s what August “Augie” Kersten, a co-owner of the Lonesome Dove bar in Mandan, said on this episode of Plain Talk. After he paid an employee, who is also an artist, to paint

Print Column: Xcel’s Coal-Free Plan Is Politics Not Reality

MINOT, N.D. — “Xcel Energy plans to shutter its two remaining coal plants in the Upper Midwest a decade earlier than scheduled — a move that will make the utility coal-free in the region by 2030,” Mary Divine reported for the St. Paul Pioneer Press this week. That’s big news. All the more so because it’s

State Rep. Marvin Nelson (D-Rolla) (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

Plain Talk: Lawmaker Wants a Pay Day for Suing the State

On this episode of Plain Talk, state Rep. Marvin Nelson (D-Rolla) wants the courts to award him a six figure payout after he and four other plaintiffs sued the state to deny retroactive payments to royalty owners. His lawyers also want $62 million in fees. Meanwhile the royalty owners, who were denied payments for mineral

Applause broke out in a room filled with officials representing state and tribal governments as Gov. Doug Burgum, left, and Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Chairman Mark Fox hold copies of a compact both signed on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 28, in the state Capitol in Bismarck. The compact maintains the current tax rate on oil and gas production and extraction within the Fort Berthold Reservation, while changing how the state and tribe share tax revenue from new oil and gas activity on trust and fee lands. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

Guest Post: Oil Tax Agreement Between State and Tribe Benefits All North Dakotans

This guest post was submitted by Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger, a Republican. North Dakota continues to produce oil at record levels and it is important we recognize the changes being made to help keep this industry vibrant. In the next two-year budget cycle, the Office of State Tax Commissioner will collect $5 billion in tax

Podcast: On the Jay Thomas Show Talking Social Media, the Search for a New President at UND, and Student Loan Debt

Here’s audio from my segment on the Jay Thomas show today. We talked about the problems with social media, the search for a new president at the University of North Dakota, and student loan debt. New episodes of Plain Talk come out weekday mornings. Want the podcast delivered to your devices daily? Use the links

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.

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

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

State Auditor Josh Gallion presents his Governor's Travel and Use of State Resources report to members of the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee on June 27, 2018, at the state Capitol in Bismarck.

Plain Talk: Auditor Says He Would Have Preferred Legislature Coming Back Into Session to Restore His Office’s Powers

Recently state Auditor Josh Gallion met with legislative leaders to discuss last-minute legislation jammed through at the recent session in Bismarck to diminish his office’s ability to perform performance audits. While that meeting seems to have produced a consensus that the legislation should have been subjected to a more thorough debate, Senate Majority Leader Rich

Print Column: North Dakota Republicans Cannot Keep Relying on the Incompetence of Democrats

MINOT, N.D. — The North Dakota Republican Party has built a dominant political machine. They hold every single statewide office, and majorities in the Legislature so large that when Republicans act in concert Democrats are inconsequential to the policymaking process. This didn’t happen by accident. Party leaders like Ed Schafer, John Hoeven, and Kevin Cramer

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