Tag Archives: transparency

Grisly Crime Scene Photos, Home Addresses, and Maybe Even Your Social Security Number Are Now Online Thanks to the North Dakota Courts

Grisly Crime Scene Photos, Home Addresses, and Maybe Even Your Social Security Number Are Now Online Thanks to the North Dakota Courts

MINOT, N.D. — For some time now the State of North Dakota has maintained an online database through which any member of the public can search for criminal and civil cases. When you searched all you got, though, was as sort of docket for each file. Useful for detecting the existence of, say, a traffic

Windie Lazenko, founder of 4her North Dakota, testifies about human trafficking in North Dakota at a Senate Judiciary committee hearing devoted to trafficking legislation. (Press Photo by Katherine Lymn)

Are Cameras in North Dakota’s Legislative Committee Rooms a Good Idea?

MINOT, N.D. — Let me start this post by answering my own question from the headline: Yes, they’re a good idea. Now let me play the devil’s advocate. Continue reading…

Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma, left, and City Manager Tom Barry, right Photos via City of Minot

Fresh Off an Open Meeting Violation, Minot’s Mayor Is Trying to Be Sneaky About Major Changes to City Manager’s Contract

You readers are probably aware of the phenomena called a “Friday news dump.” For the uninitiated, it’s the tactic of waiting until late in the day on a Friday to make public things you don’t really want the public to notice. The idea being that by Friday evening, the people who would notice are in

Attorney General: City Violated Open Meetings Law by Holding Council Meeting Out of Town

Often entities of North Dakota’s government, particularly local governments and committees and agencies, hold meetings far from their usual place of business. I’ve been critical of this practice in the past, such as when a board at North Dakota State University decided to hold an annual meeting in Minneapolis. How can a meeting of a

The North Dakota Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is working on a bill that relates to high-level radioactive waste storage and disposal. Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

Legislature Should Consider Using Existing Platforms for Video of Committee Meetings

Several years ago the North Dakota Legislature implemented a video system for floor sessions in the House and Senate chambers. I should pause here to note that, with this blog celebrating its 16th birthday yesterday, I’ve been around long enough to remember when we only had an audio stream of floor sessions. Through RealPlayer which,

Former Fargo Park District executive director Joel Vettel

North Dakota’s Public Officials Should Be Required to Record Meetings Even When They’re Closed to the Public

Most of you reading this probably don’t live in Fargo, so you might not much care that the local park board there violated open meetings law, but if you’re a resident of North Dakota you should be paying attention because how this situation is being handled could very well be how some government entity in

The City of Minot

It Should Be Illegal for a City to Hold an “Open Meeting” in Another City

Last year the City of Minot held a “retreat” in the City of Washburn, a town roughly an hour south along Highway 83. This “retreat” was also, supposedly, an open meeting at which public business was discuss. Including a hot-button issue related to the city doubling the cost of building permits for people living in

ND State Capitol (Korrie Wenzel/Grand Forks Herald)

North Dakota Politics Needs More Transparency, Not an Ethics Committee

This Fargo Forum editorial over the weekend struck the right tone on the need for more transparency when it comes to the financial interests of state lawmakers (and probably other elected officials too). It was based on a report by my colleague John Hageman which found that a few state lawmakers are, in addition to holding

The Richland County Courthouse on Friday, October 3, 2014. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

North Dakota Courts Should Approve Mandate for Online Access to Records

I support a new rule proposed for the North Dakota court system which would require that public records be available to the public for online access. You should too. The state Supreme Court is currently accepting public comment on a new rule, to be called Administrative Rule 41, which among other things would mandate the

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