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Petitions Filed to Refer Laws Pertaining to State Auditor Powers, Legislative Emails, and Roosevelt Library Funding

Petitions Filed to Refer Laws Pertaining to State Auditor Powers, Legislative Emails, and Roosevelt Library Funding

A group of activists have filed petitions with the Secretary of State’s office to refer three pieces of legislation passed during the 2019 session to the ballot. A referendum, for the uninitiated, is distinct from your typical ballot measure. What we typically talk about are initiated measures, which are petition-driven efforts to create new laws

If Democrats Are Worried About Trade, Why Aren’t They Ratifying the USMCA?

North Dakota Democrats are trying to make hay on trade, hoping to leverage some of the pain farmers may be feeling as a result of the trade war with China into political progress. That talking point didn’t get a lot of traction during the 2018 election cycle, but it’s hard to blame them for keeping

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 Wednesday at the state Capitol in Bismarck. 6-27-2018

Sean Foss: Lawmakers Can Tell the Auditor What to Do, but They Shouldn’t

This guest post was submitted by Fargo attorney Sean Foss. The recent dispute over the Legislature and Governor’s approval of restrictions on the State Auditor’s ability to perform performance audits has exposed numerous fault lines among our state’s leaders about who should have the ability to investigate and expose the potential misuse of public funds.

David Owen of Grand Forks is the chairman of Legalize ND (file photo) David Samson / The Forum

Plain Talk: Legalize ND Spokesman Doesn’t See Rival Ballot Measure as Competition

There is some fracturing going on in the pro-marijuana movement in North Dakota, but on this episode of Plain Talk a spokesman for Legalize ND says he doesn’t see the new group as competition. “Their sponsoring committee looks more like a penitentiary,” David Owen told me, referring to the number of serious crimes members of

Fargo police officers and firefighters packed the Fargo City Hall Monday night, May 20, to listen to a debate over increases for the employees of the two departments. Barry Amundson / The Forum

Cops Wearing Their Taxpayer-Issued Uniforms for Political Purposes Is Not Protected Speech

Earlier this week I was critical of members of the Fargo Police Department for showing up en masse, and in uniform, to a meeting of the Fargo City Commission at which a pay raise for the cops was being decided. Today Waylon Hedegaard, head of the North Dakota chapter of the AFL-CIO, accuses me wanting to suppress

North Dakota State Auditor Josh Gallion, center, listens to Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, left, during a meeting at the state Capitol Monday, May 13, 2019. John Hageman / Forum News Service

No, Senator Wardner, the Legislature Is Not in Charge of the Auditor

The American system of government is built around the concept of distributing the powers of government over multiple branches. At the state level its implementation can vary from one jurisdiction to the next, but that core concept persists wherever you go in the country. For good reason. It’s a solid concept, one requiring some degree

Plain Talk Podcast: Armstrong Says Speaker Pelosi “Does Not Want to Give the White House a Win” on Trade

On this episode of Plain Talk, Congressman Kelly Armstrong talks about the impeachment question and the realities of the trade war with China. Armstrong says Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi may be holding back a vote on a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada because “she does not want to give the White

The large mural painted on the door wind block at the entrance to Lonesome Dove on "The Strip" in Mandan is an unpermitted mural under the Mandan city's ordinance. Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

Court Blocks City of Mandan From Fining Bar Owner Over Mural

On today’s Plain Talk podcast I spoke with one of the owners of the Lonesome Dove bar in Mandan. He had paid to have a mural painted on the side of his business – it cost him around $3,000 – but bureaucrats at the City of Mandan took exception. They told him his mural was

Supporters and opponents of Measure 1 debate during a Chamber of Commerce event in Bismarck during the 2018 election cycle Bismarck Tribune photo

Loophole in Measure 1 Will Let Lobbyists Serve on the Ethics Commission, and Five Have Applied So Far

Measure 1, the Hollywood-bankrolled “ethics” amendment North Dakota voters cast their ballots for last year, was backed by a campaign that spent a lot of time vilifying lobbyists. But now lobbyists, including one who works for the Measure 1 campaign, are applying to serve on that commission. A loophole in the measure means they probably

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

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