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Dina Butcher, left, hands North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger a proposed petition for a ballot measure to add anti-corruption policies to the state constitution Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018 at the state Capitol in Bismarck. John Hageman / Forum News Service

Offer of Free Ballet Tickets Sets Off Emailed War of Words Among Lawmakers, Measure 1 Activist

Offer of Free Ballet Tickets Sets Off Emailed War of Words Among Lawmakers, Measure 1 Activist

A legislative source forwarded me an email exchange which illustrates perfectly the Legislature’s efforts to implement Measure 1 (ethics) approved by voters last year. And why many observers, including myself and the ACLU, opposed the measure as an infringement on speech and political activity unreasonable to the point of being unconstitutional. The whole thing is

McLean County State's Attorney Ladd Erickson testifies against legislation reforming civil asset forfeiture. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

Lawmakers Should Keep Supreme Court Ruling in Mind While Considering Civil Asset Forfeiture Bill

HB1286, introduced by Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck), would require a conviction before law enforcement can forfeit (read: keep) property or cash seized during a criminal proceeding. It would also put in place some reporting requirements for forfeitures conducted in the state. The bill did well in the House Judiciary Committee, emerging with an 11-3 “do

Voters cast their ballots Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, at the Baymont Inn in south Fargo.

After the Furor Over North Dakota’s Voter ID Laws Study Finds Those Sort of Policies Don’t Actually Suppress Votes

A new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that voter ID laws “have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.” The researchers made some 1.3 billion observations, collected from 2008 to 2016, which they say support this argument. “These

State Senator David Hogue (R-Minot) speaks in defense of SCR4001 which would require legislative approval of any ballot measures amending the state constitution.

If You’re Skeptical of the Legislature Making Changes to the Initiated Measure Process Please Watch This Video

The state Senate’s Committee’ on Government and Veteran Affairs voted on SCR4001 they gave it a unanimous “do not pass” recommendation. The resolution, introduced by Senator David Hogue (R-Minot), would amend the state constitution to require that ballot initiative which would amend the state constitution be approved by the Legislature in addition to the voters.

New citizens take the oath of allegiance at a naturalization ceremony held at the New-York Historical Society, Sept. 18, 2017. A program by the New-York Historical Society uses art to help green card holders prepare for the naturalization test. (Devin Yalkin/The New York Times)

Survey Says Most North Dakotans Would Flunk the U.S. Citizenship Test

According to a survey commissioned by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, most North Dakotans can’t pass the citizenship test immigrants must take to gain residency in the United States. But that’s not unusual. Almost all of the states would flunk the test, according to the data. In fact, North Dakota had the 9th highest scores in

Protesters organized by the Democratic Socialists of America protest the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (Gabriella Angotti-Jones/Copyright 2018 The New York Times)

Rise in Praise for Socialism (Including From North Dakota Democrats) Should Alarm Us All

For some reason there have been a spate of pro-socialism letters to the editor in the Red River Valley of late. A letter to the editor of the Fargo Forum this week derided President Donald Trump’s stand against socialism during his State of the Union speech by making the rather bizarre claim that “socialism and

UND president Mark Kennedy, The Grand Forks Herald's person of the year for 2017, has been described as the "consummate professional" by Kathleen Neset who was the chair of the State Board of Higher Education when Kennedy was hired. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

UND Employee to Be Allowed to Work From Texas Got a Promotion and $30,000 Raise in November

Yesterday I broke news about an unusual employment arrangement granted to University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy’s chief of staff. Under the terms, Angelique Foster would be allowed to work from her new home in Texas while collecting all of her current $114,000 per year salary and enjoying up to $25,000 per year in

State Rep. Ben Koppelman (R-West Fargo) speaks during floor debate over a bill to raise North Dakota's speed limits.

Video: Lawmakers Rip Department of Transportation for “Ridiculous” $50 Million Fiscal Note on Speed Limit Bill

Yesterday the state House failed to pass HB1264 which would have North Dakota’s speed limit on multi-lane highways to 75 mph for state highways and 80 mph for the interstates. I wrote “failed to pass” instead of “voted down” because the vote was actually a tie. It was 46 to 46, with 2 lawmakers not

U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Cramer (R) debates Heidi Heitkamp (D) on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, at North Dakota State University. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

It Sure Seems Like Senator Kevin Cramer Is Throwing Shade at His Predecessor Heidi Heitkamp Over Delaying Senate Confirmations

North Dakota got some good news on Senate nominations this week. Last month I wrote in a print column that North Dakota was just months away from having no full-time federal judges. This week we learned that Grand Forks attorney Peter Welte has been scheduled for a confirmation hearing this week. Also, North Dakota hasn’t

Forum file photo

State House Overwhelmingly Passes Bill Banning Sobriety Checkpoints

For several legislative sessions in a row the issue of sobriety checkpoints have come before state lawmakers. If you’re not familiar with what they are, it’s a law enforcement tactic whereby they stop everyone who happens to be passing along a given stretch of road and they conduct a sobriety check. If you decline, there

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