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Two words often stop policy innovation in its tracks: Unintended consequences. From anti-poverty initiatives that seem to make poverty worse, to invasive species controls that wind up spreading and becoming invasive themselves, projects have wound up validating the familiar health care refrain about the cure being worse than the disease. That's why the American Civil Liberties Union is right to raise privacy concerns about enhanced driver's licenses.
When considering whether to relax North Dakota's Sunshine Laws, lawmakers must ask themselves this question: Will the change leave North Dakota better off? In almost all cases, the lawmakers rightly have thundered, "No." But there are a few exceptions, each clearly spelled out and carefully limited. Juvenile court proceedings are one.
E.D. Hirsch was an educational conservative before educational conservatives were cool.
Times change — and society's tolerance levels change, too. Including tolerance levels for behaviors such as spanking children, smoking cigarettes, driving without a seat belt — and getting massively, dangerously...
As President Barack Obama showed last week, he'll reverse course on an issue when key people from his own party tell him that the time has come. Now, Minnesota's senators should join the chorus of Democrats who are sending exactly that message on the Keystone XL pipeline. As Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar must know, the president has run out of excuses for delaying the pipeline, which U.S. government has been studying for longer than it fought World War II. But the senators' "No" votes on a crucial Keystone roll-call last week put them on the side of those delaying tactics.
When colleges defend the student-discipline status quo, they often claim the process is meant to be "educational." Chris Wilson, attorney for the North Dakota University System in Fargo, does this...
Insurance companies are cold-blooded calculators of risk. They study the numbers, they calculate odds, and they don't much care who they offend with their results. Are you a teen? Your car insurance premium may age you by a few years. Are you retired? Paying for life insurance will add a few more gray hairs, age discrimination be damned. Are you in poor health?
"Today, the state's public universities must rely on annual decisions by the Legislature to determine both the state's direct funding for them and to set their tuition levels.
Five thousand dollars is a lot of money. That's how much every North Dakota newborn would get for college tuition and other purposes if lawmakers approve Senate Bill 2165. But $448 billion is a lot of money, too. And that's how much the North Dakota Legacy Fund could be overflowing with by 2060, if the state reinvests rather than spends the fund's earnings between now and then. Which means the two numbers may well be mutually exclusive. In other words, only one of them may be able to come true.
Both President Barack Obama and Minnesota State Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, DFL-Plummer, have drafted ambitious plans to let young people attend community college tuition-free. Unfortunately, both plans lack the key element that would boost not only the odds of passage, but also the odds of effectiveness should the proposals become law: Republicans. GOP leaders already have denounced both Obama's nationwide and Stumpf's Minnesota-only plan.