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RICH WARDNER

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The unconventional course of Rich Wardner's career took him from coaching high school sports to the pinnacle of North Dakota politics. At the end of the year, the master motivator will retire as one of the longest-serving Senate majority leaders in state history.
A former football coach and math teacher, Sen. Rich Wardner was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1990 and the Senate in 1998. He is the second longest serving Senate majority leader in state history, having assumed the role in 2011 after the death of former leader Bob Stenehjem.
In another time, a party official behaving the way Lundeen did in that video would be censured by his party and perhaps removed from his leadership position in the party. The people of his district would feel shame. These times are not those.
"My medical history is protected under HIPAA Law. My medical conditions are a private matter by law. Unless I am under court ordered quarantine or isolation, (pursuant to the civil rights act of 1964), you have to prove that I am a harm or a threat to others in this committee," Sen. Jason Heitkamp wrote in his October 4 email.
The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 on Wednesday night, Sept. 1, not to block a recently instituted Texas law that allows citizens to sue clinics or anyone who abets an abortion performed after a fetal heartbeat is detected — about six weeks into a pregnancy, which is before the vast majority of abortion procedures occur.
North Dakota will have a special session this year to address redistricting and an ongoing dispute over interim appropriations. But will it be two sessions or one? And will other issues turn the session(s) into a circus?

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The $1.22 billion pipeline will transport water from the Missouri River near Washburn, N.D., to the Sheyenne River, which meanders through the eastern part of the state and eventually flows into the Red River north of Fargo. Supporters say the project would help meet the supplemental water needs of nearly half of North Dakota’s population, including water consumers in Fargo and Grand Forks, but the pipeline’s completion is years away.
Since 2001, the North Dakota Legislature has averaged 22 new members every session, a 15.67% turnover rate. The median time served among current lawmakers is just eight years. Since statehood, only two governors have served more than 8 years, and the average is about four years. Do we really need term limits?
The law, which went into effect in April, requires the governor to call lawmakers in for a special session if the total amount of federal funds doled out by the commission exceeds $50 million during the two-year budget cycle. Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to override the Gov. Doug Burgum's veto, pushing the bill into law despite Republican Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem's remark that the legislation is "very problematic and would be difficult to defend against a constitutional challenge."

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