The North Dakota legislature has not gotten off to an auspicious start in 2017. It started with a bit of pettiness over the governor's garb. Gov. Doug Burgum has always been known as a dress-down sort of guy. Turns out his Lt. Gov., former Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford, is the same way. But lawmakers have a dress code for themselves which requires men to wear suits and ties. There has been grumbling among some over Burgum and Sanford favoring jeans.
Over the last year, as riotous extremists descended on North Dakota to sow violence and discord as a means to block the Dakota Access Pipeline, it became not at all unusual to see photos of said extremists wearing masks covering their face. North Dakota lawmakers want to make that act – wearing a mask during a protest – illegal. You can read the rest of this story and see the proposed legislation by clicking here.
North Dakota has a problem with the way it reports oil industry spills. Lots and lots of tiny, contained spills are documented by the state and the inclusion of that data in statistical analysis can lead to a false impression about the environmental impacts of oil and gas development in our state.
Yesterday on my radio show I interviewed Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and Rep. Mike Nathe, both Republicans, about the latter’s push to eliminate the former’s office. You can hear the audio of both interviews below, Schmidt first and Nathe second. Schmidt told me she felt ambushed by the announcement of legislation, backed by members of her own party, to eliminate her office.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I hate Daylight Savings Time. I’ve always been a bit of an insomniac anyway, and that time shift always throws me for a loop. It’s been worse with my kids, who also struggle with it. I’ve never understood the point of shifting the time. If legislation before the North Dakota Legislature passes, North Dakotans might not have to deal with that time change any more.
Under the sweeping restrictions imposed by HB1185, currently before the 2017 legislative session in Bismarck, any device which is capable of connecting to the internet would be classified a “pornographic vending machine.” The legislation would also mandate content filters for these devices blocking “obscene material or obscene performances” is in place. If you want the filter removed you have to pay a $20 fee to “help offset the secondary harmful and social effects of products that distribute the internet and make internet content available.”
I hope North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani gets this job in Ohio . I say that with all sincerity. Because I have been an outspoken critic of Bresciani’s for years now I can understand if people think I just want to be rid of the guy. To have him be Ohio’s problem and not North Dakota’s any more.
Back in October of 2014 a man named Dustin Irwin, who as a prisoner at the Ward County Jail here in Minot, died during a prison exchange with Burleigh County. As a result county Sheriff Steve Kukowski was charged with three Class A Misdemeanors including “public servant refusing to perform duty” and two counts of “reckless endangerment.” A captain at the department was also charged initially, but that’s since been dismissed.
State Rep. Rick Becker is in the process of introducing legislation which would allow citizens of North Dakota to carry concealed weapons without a permit. The legislation hasn’t been filed yet – Becker is still circulating it among his colleagues for additional sponsorship – but he was kind enough to give me a copy of it which you can read below.
The protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline may have started with a camp established by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in rural south central North Dakota, but it’s a movement that’s gone national.