I hate that our politicians, exploiting the populist mores of the electorate, are making a spectacle out of declining their salaries. It’s not just the government shutdown playing out at the national level, part of which has included politicians (including North Dakota’s Senator John Hoeven and Rep. Kelly Armstrong, though not Senator Kevin Cramer) donating their salaries in solidarity with federal workers who are out of work. It’s also politicians like Governor Doug Burgum, who made a campaign promise during his successful run in 2016 to refuse his salary.
Here’s a candidate for the dumbest piece of legislation in the 2019 legislative session. SB2136 , sponsored by state Senator Oley Larson (R-Minot), would amend North Dakota’s law pertaining to required subjects for study in public schools to add in a unit on the Christian bible. The pertinent language, added to a list of required units in the law:
MINOT, N.D. -- I’d very much like to live without income taxes. That’s not just a personal desire. One of the biggest challenges to stability and prosperity here are labor shortages and an economy too dependent on commodity-driven industries. Agriculture and energy are great, but it’s a challenge to ride those ups and downs. Eliminating income taxes would be boon in the ongoing fight to bring in new businesses and new workers.
In North Dakota, when the politicians are writing budgets, they aren’t spending money they have. They’re spending money revenue forecasts predict they’ll have. The lawmakers and various executive branch leaders are, as I write this, down in Bismarck beginning the work of hashing out how to appropriate a two-year budget that will exceed $14 billion (including federal dollars). As you can imagine, those revenue forecasts are pretty important. Yet, in recent years, the inaccuracy of those forecasts have been a major issue.
“What Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to do to school sexual misconduct rules is horrifying,” writes left wing ideologue Jim Shaw . What horrors is Secretary DeVos perpetrating? She “would allow accused students to cross-examine their accusers, only allow colleges to be involved if the assault took place on campus, would make it harder to punish the accused, and would narrow the definition of sexual harassment,” Shaw writes.
I meant to write about this yesterday, but one of the best moments of Governor Doug Burgum’s State of the State address to lawmakers was his decision to announce that his office will be displaying the flags of North Dakota’s Native American tribes.
You know it’s time to kick off another legislative session when the North Dakota University System drops a report alleging billions of dollars in economic impacts from spending on the state’s institutions and from the spending of the students/faculty/workers at those universities. The argument being, I guess, that the more we spend on higher education the more “economic impact” we get. It’s a handy political ploy from a bunch of academics who enjoy posturing themselves as though they’re above politics.
MINOT, N.D. - Last year a ballot measure to legalize marijuana in North Dakota failed at the ballot box. Despite this outcome, many of our state’s politicians recognize there is a need, and an appetite among voters, for some further loosening of our state’s laws with regard to marijuana. Enter state Rep. Shannon Roers Jones, a Republican from Fargo who is proposing a bill in this legislative session to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
North Dakota’s 2019 legislative session begins today amid some intrigue. Last night state Rep. Rick Becker – erstwhile Republican gubernatorial candidate who had considered an audacious move to replace the Democrats as the minority party in the state House – sent out an email to other lawmakers inviting them to join his Bastiat Caucus.
There is a lot of concern among some political observers – including this one – that the initiated measure process is in desperate need of reform. Currently a committee of citizens can submit signatures to amend statute, and even the state constitution, without the involvement of the elected Legislature at all. Supposedly this is a populist mechanism we’re all supposed to be proud of. A pure expression of the grass roots interests of the electorate.