Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK—When Gov. Doug Burgum boards a plane, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford had better not be on it. Such is a practice of the governor's office to protect North Dakota's gubernatorial line of succession. Governor's spokesman Mike Nowatzki said it's not a policy, but "a best practice to ensure continuity of government."
BISMARCK—As a vendor and founding board member of BisMarket, Lori Martin sells vegetables, baked goods and canned items at the farmers market in Bismarck. But some of the produce she cans wasn't allowed before passage of North Dakota's Food Freedom Act on cottage food products.
BISMARCK—Data mining, identity thieves, online stalking. These are all concerns in comments received by North Dakota Supreme Court Clerk Penny Miller regarding a proposal to amend Administrative Rule 41, which governs access to the state's court records. In March, the Court Services Administration Committee, chaired by Justice Jon Jensen, proposed remote and electronic access to eliminate the barrier of physical access at a courthouse — though many counties in North Dakota do email court records, despite no requirement to do so.
BISMARCK—Linking arms and carrying signs are apparently the known extent of two pipeline protesters' conduct that led to their criminal convictions and joint appeal before the North Dakota Supreme Court. Justices heard arguments Tuesday in the second appeal stemming from criminal cases of the monthslong protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Last fall, Surrogate Judge Thomas Merrick convicted Mary Redway and Alex Simon of misdemeanors from a march in October 2016 near pipeline construction in a pasture off State Highway 1806 in Morton County.
BISMARCK—Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., has tapped Odney Advertising president Pat Finken as his U.S. Senate campaign manager. Campaign communications director Tim Rasmussen and Finken each confirmed the appointment on Thursday. "Pat started right after Kevin's announcement of his run for the Senate," Rasmussen said. "He's a leading regional political strategist."
BISMARCK—Public knowledge about North Dakota's new drug overdose immunity statute may not be best, but cases are working their way through the courts bringing some attention to the new law. Legislators when passing a rewrite of the law last year discussed getting the word out to Narcotics Anonymous groups, but it's not prosecutors' or legislators' jobs to advertise the statute, according to Burleigh County Assistant State's Attorney Brian Johnson and public defender Erica Woehl. The media can help, Johnson said.
BISMARCK—Preliminary figures from the last fiscal month show state revenues largely in step with last spring's forecast. Office of Management and Budget Director Joe Morrissette told the Government Finance Committee Wednesday that "we are continuing to track very closely to our legislative forecast."
BISMARCK—Sally Holewa says North Dakota's South Central Judicial District needs three bodies and one toe. "They definitely have the biggest overall shortage as far as judicial bodies, that's for sure," the state court administrator said.
BISMARCK—Critics of Marsy's Law say its ambiguity for prosecutors is leading to withheld public information, while those attorneys say they want more clarity on the victim rights law. While Marsy's Law enshrines victim's rights in the state constitution, representatives of the North Dakota Newspaper Association say its transparency issues have "chipped away" at North Dakota's "thoughtfully devised" laws and rules on open meetings and public records.
BISMARCK — In response to a "C" grade for election security from the Center for American Progress, North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said this week that he stands by the state's protective measures at the polls, also disputing concerns the CAP raised in its analysis. "We don't have systems that can be penetrated to change the results," Jaeger said Tuesday, Feb. 13. "We don't have voter registration, so there's nothing in that system that they can change, and our records are behind a firewall or a protection of the state."