An interim legislative committee has voted in favor of proceeding with a lawsuit against Gov. Doug Burgum. There will be more meetings, and more votes, before anything actually gets filed but as it stands now there will be a legal battle over a group of vetoes Burgum issued at the end of the Legislature's 2017 session. The lawmakers are right to take up this fight. Burgum's vetoes went too far. The taxpayers will have to pick up the tab for both sides of this legal squabble, but the expense is worth it for the sake of keeping executive power in check.
On Friday a jury acquitted law enforcement officer Jeronimo Yanez of manslaughter charges after he shot Philando Castile to death in Minnesota. After the verdict was made public so too was dashcam video of the shooting, which you can watch below. I’ll warn you that it’s quite graphic and harrowing to watch. It’s deeply troubling to me, based on this video, that Officer Yanez was acquitted. But there’s a gun rights issue at play here, too.
I had to laugh when I read this Politico piece this morning headlined, “North Dakota’s last Democrat?” It’s a profile of U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp – the only Democrat to win an election on North Dakota’s statewide since 2008, thus the headline – and it focuses on whether she wants to run for re-election in 2018. Which is the disingenuous part, because Heitkamp laughably feigns uncertainty about her political career.
Democrats lost their fourth straight special election last night since Donald Trump was elected President. Since 2010 they’ve been losing ground in both state and federal government . Why can’t they win elections? Congressman Kevin Cramer, speaking to me during our regular weekly segment, has some ideas.
As I’m sure you know by now, Republican Karen Handel beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special election in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District last night. She will be the first Republican woman sent to the U.S. House from Georgia. Not that you’ll hear much hype about that since Republican women breaking glass ceilings is different. Or something. The race was widely touted by the left as a referendum on President Donald Trump, and while Democrats can legitimately say that they made the race pretty close in district that historically votes strongly Republican, it’s still a loss.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling today regarding offensive trademarks , and now some supporters of the University of North Dakota’s retired Fighting Sioux nickname are saying it gives them new hope that their beloved logo/nickname might be restored. They’re wrong. The Supreme Court case really isn’t related at all.
Last week there was a lot of anger directed at Megyn Kelly and NBC News for their decision to broadcast an interview with rabid conspiracy theorist and Trump ally Alex Jones. “The censorious powers of the heckler’s veto have evolved now to the point that people are willing to call for the banning and shunning of works of journalism not yet published,” Jack Shafer wrote of the controversy .
Is a climate of hate to blame for the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise by a left-wing political activist? Has the rhetoric on both sides of the aisle become so vicious that it's inspiring violence? The answer to both of those questions is yes. Casting the opposition as monsters has become so common now in American politics that it's not even noteworthy any more. Republicans say Democrats want to let terrorists into the country. Democrats say Republicans want to murder people with health care reform.
North Dakota Democrats hold just 22 seats out of 141 in the state Legislature. Because of this, during the regular legislative session, Democrats chair no committees. In fact, they don’t really have enough elected members of the Legislature to even cover all committee assignments. That’s as it should be. If Democrats want to control committees they should convince more North Dakotans to vote for them. Yet for some reason Democrats came away from a meeting of Legislative Management this week with three committee chairmanships.
“City property taxes are going to go up.” That’s what Blake Crosby, executive director of the North Dakota League of Cities, told me during a radio interview this week . His argument is that lawmakers dabbled in property tax policy, implementing buy downs of local property taxes funded by statewide surpluses, but did so without an “exit strategy” for when all that extra money dried up.