1. North Dakota University System challenges ban on partnerships with abortion providers

Higher education leaders want the state attorney general’s office to determine whether a law that bars public universities and colleges from partnering with groups that support abortion is constitutional, arguing it violates laws that protect academic freedom.

North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott sent the request for a review of Senate Bill 2030 on May 10. “As it is under legal review, we are evaluating options and consulting with legal counsel,” NDUS spokeswoman Billie Jo Lorius said.

Read more from The Forum's April Baumgarten

2. Minnesota legislative session fizzles to a close, tees up overtime and possible blowups on horizon

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, at the podium, addressed reporters in St. Paul after he and legislative leaders, at right, crafted a budget framework in the final hours of the legislative session. (Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service)
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, at the podium, addressed reporters in St. Paul after he and legislative leaders, at right, crafted a budget framework in the final hours of the legislative session. (Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service)

Minnesota lawmakers closed out the 2021 legislative session this week with a tentative budget deal and a lot of work left to do before a June overtime session.

More than four months into the session, legislators in the Senate and House of Representatives closed out their official work period without passing a single budget bill. And absent specifics, the "numbers-only" agreement left room for blowups as legislators pick up their unfinished business in working groups over the next few weeks.

Read more from Forum News Service's Dana Ferguson

3. North Dakota Sens. Kevin Cramer, John Hoeven signal no-votes on Jan. 6 commission; Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith likely to support it

FILE PHOTO: A view of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S. January 19, 2021. Susan Walsh/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A view of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S. January 19, 2021. Susan Walsh/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

The U.S. House of Representatives might have approved a commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6, but the bill behind it still faces a vote in the Senate, where it’s getting a chilly reception from North Dakota’s senators.

GOP Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven have indicated they’re likely to vote against the bill that would create a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Cramer stressed that he thinks regular, standing committees in Congress can solve the problem on their own. He pointed to hundreds of ongoing law enforcement investigations into individual acts on Jan. 6, too.

Read more

4. It's like Netflix for education: UND considers subscription tuition model

Jeffrey Holm, vice provost of online education at UND, is pictured in this Herald file photo. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald
Jeffrey Holm, vice provost of online education at UND, is pictured in this Herald file photo. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

The University of North Dakota wants to add a flat-rate subscription option to its tuition model.

Think of it as Netflix or Hulu – popular television subscription services – but for a UND education. Students could pay a flat rate and take as many (or as few) online courses as preferred, so long as they aren’t considered a full-time, degree-seeking student.

“You enroll, you have a subscription and during that subscription, you can binge watch,” said Jeff Holm, vice provost for online education and strategic planning at UND.

Watch the story from Forum News Service's Sydney Mook

5. For distant North Dakota lawmakers, legislative session is a 10K-mile commitment

Rep. Corey Mock, a Grand Forks Democrat, made 17 four-hour trips between Grand Forks and Bismarck putting on 10,000 miles on his Ford Expedition during the 2021 legislative session. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service
Rep. Corey Mock, a Grand Forks Democrat, made 17 four-hour trips between Grand Forks and Bismarck putting on 10,000 miles on his Ford Expedition during the 2021 legislative session. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service

Serving in the North Dakota Legislature demands knowledge of the lawmaking process, strong public speaking skills and close attention to detail. But for members from Grand Forks, Williston and Wahpeton, the job also requires a valid driver's license and a car that can take some punishment.

The odometer in Rep. Corey Mock’s Ford Expedition ticked up 10,031 miles during this year’s four-month legislative session. The vast majority of the mileage came on 17 round trips between the Democratic lawmaker’s home in Grand Forks and Bismarck, the state capital.

Read more from Forum News Service's Jeremy Turley