Author Archives: Rob Port

Senators Durbin, Alexander, Heitkamp, And Enzi Speak On The Marketplace Fairness Act

North Dakota Democrats Shifting To The Right On Trade?

North Dakota Democrats Shifting To The Right On Trade?

Last night the U.S. Senate passed a trade bill that gives the executive branch a “fast track” process to bringing trade agreements before Congress. This is a generally positive development. The easier trade is, the better off we all are. But among the surprising votes for the agreement was Senator Heidi Heitkamp. You can see

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When Social Change Doesn’t Require Courts Or Laws: Boy Scouts Reconsidering Ban On Gay Leaders

“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” former Secretary of Defense and current President of Boy Scouts of America Robert Gates said, as reported by Reuters. That’s a remarkable thing to hear. For decades

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Three Affiliated Tribes Crying Wolf Over Oil Tax Changes

During the closing weeks of the 2015 legislative session lawmakers went to battle over a contentious reform to the state’s oil tax laws. With the possibility looming of a tax exemption triggered by low oil prices wiping out the 5 percent oil extraction tax entirely and blowing a multi-billion dollar hole in state tax revenues,

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North Dakota General Fund Tax Revenues Down 16.7 Percent In April

Oil prices have fallen, and oil activity in North Dakota has slowed down. This is showing up in the state in all sorts of ways from declines in airline boardings to projected falls in enrollment for oil patch schools. It is starting to show up in the state’s tax revenue streams too per the Office

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Social Media Justice Is No Justice At All

There is no question in my mind that the democratization of the media brought about by blogs, and the enhancements to communications brought by platforms like Facebook and Twitter, have been a net benefit to society. But there is an element to social media, in particular, that’s grown disturbing. Specifically, the rise of online mob

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Should State Government Trump Local Government When It Comes To Energy Regulation?

The State of Texas has just passed an exercise in meta law. Lawmakers there have created a ban on fracking bans. “Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law a prohibition on cities and towns imposing local ordinances preventing fracking and other potentially environmentally harmful oil and natural gas activities,” reports ABC News. “The

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Can North Dakota Democrats Win By Focusing On The Legislature?

Earlier this year I had a conversation with one of my Democrat friends, and he told me his party’s focus in the 2016 election cycle was going to be the Legislature. The newly-elected chairwoman of the North Dakota Democrats, state Rep. Kylie Oversen, also said recently in a Forum Communications profile that she intends to

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On Television: When Environmental Groups Have An Authenticity Problem

Last night on my regular television segment with Chris Berg on Valley News Live we discussed some of the concerns over funding of environmental and Native American groups – specifically Honor the Earth – who are active in opposing the Sandpiper Pipeline which would take a lot of North Dakota oil east from Tioga through

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