In North Dakota we harbor a skepticism of government regulation that is almost cultural in its pervasiveness. Don't get me wrong, we support the rule of law. Anarchy is not the North Dakota way. But we are, as a state, deeply suspicious of regulatory overreach. Which is why Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak needs to pump the brakes. Fedorchak is a fine public servant, with a bright future in Republican politics, but of late she's been overstepping the boundaries of her office.
Yesterday Governor Doug Burgum voiced unequivocal support for making North Dakota’s seat belt law a primary enforcement law. Currently the law is a secondary enforcement offense. Which means the cops can only ticket you for not wearing your seat belt if they’ve already pulled you over for something else.
Dear Julie, I think you’re a great public servant. I’m glad you’re on the Public Service Commission. It pleased me when it was reported that you might be interested in seeking a seat in Congress at some point, including possibly challenging Senator Heidi Heitkamp this cycle . But we need to talk.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s office is in the process of defending North Dakota’s voter ID laws from a legal challenge. Those laws were enjoined by a federal judge shortly before the 2016 election, and the judge required that the state go back to allowing people without ID’s as long as they sign affidavits saying they are, in fact, legal and eligible voters.
The decision made by the management of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Fargo to eject a breastfeeding mother has caused some controversy in the region. That, in turn, has inspired some scrutiny of state law which gives mothres the right to breastfeed in public. The statute, enshrined in section 23-12-16 of the North Dakota Century Code, is pretty simple. "If the woman acts in a discreet and modest manner, a woman may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be," it reads.
Last week we got news that Congressman Kevin Cramer would not be running for the U.S. Senate, leaving state Senator Tom Campbell as the only announced Republican against Democrat incumbent Heidi Heitkamp. But today I can report that Gary Emineth, a Bismarck-based businessman and former Chairman of the North Dakota Republican Party, is thinking about jumping into the race.
I think most of us are environmentalists. Which is to say that most of us want society, including business and industry, to be responsible stewards of the land and air. But to many, including this humble observer, the term “environmentalist” seems pejorative. We don’t want to be associated with the term, because it in turn means being associated with political extremists who aren’t really out to protect the environment. Such as stopping the development of resources like oil and natural gas and coal.
Later this month Gov. Doug Burgum will be delivering a "state of the state address" at Minot State University. It's an event unprecedented in North Dakota history — in ways both good and bad. State law requires a gubernatorial "state of the state" address to the Legislature's regular biannual sessions, much as the president is required to make a similar report to Congress annually. Burgum delivered the first such address of his term last year.
The New York Times recently published a story about the end of the women’s hockey program at the University of North Dakota. It was published in the Times on the 10th, and has been republished here in North Dakota by my employers at Forum Communications today .
I heard early this morning that Congressman Kevin Cramer would be announcing his decision to run for re-election in the U.S. House, rather than challenge Democratic Senate incumbent Heidi Heitkamp, and indeed that’s just what he announced this morning on KFYR radio. “After the visit with the President last week it was pretty clear to me within hours after that…we now had all the information we needed,” he told radio host Scott Hennen. “We’ve decided that the best thing for our family and me and really for North Dakota…is to seek re-election to the House of Representatives.”