John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.
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BISMARCK—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed a new distracted driving law Friday, March 24. Under House Bill 1430, introduced by House Minority Leader Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, a driver could be cited and fined $100 for distracted driving if he or she commits a traffic offense or is involved in an accident while distracted. It was already illegal to text while driving in North Dakota. Mock said his bill recognizes there are other things that could distract drivers besides a cell phone. It passed the Senate in a 37-9 vote a week ago before landing on Burgum's desk.
BISMARCK — Majority leaders in the North Dakota House and Senate say they're working to avoid a battle that prolonged the Legislature's work two years ago. Disagreements over the Public Employees Retirement System budget forced lawmakers to reconvene in June 2015 after adjourning more than a month prior.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed a letter urging Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act the day the Republican plan to do so appeared to fall apart. House Republicans pulled the legislation Friday afternoon after House Speaker Paul Ryan told President Donald Trump it did not have the votes to pass, according to the New York Times.
BISMARCK — A bill that puts a sunset on Renaissance Zone income tax breaks was amended by a North Dakota Senate committee Friday, March 24, with its chairman saying they want to leave the program alone. House Bill 1182, which narrowly passed the House last month, placed a Jan. 1 sunset on applying for the income tax breaks associated with Renaissance Zones. That program uses income tax and property tax incentives to encourage commercial and residential redevelopment. Almost 60 North Dakota cities have Renaissance Zones.
BISMARCK—A North Dakota Senate committee is seeking to study autonomous vehicle regulations as automakers asked legislators Thursday, March 23, to avoid hampering the technology's development. The Senate Transportation Committee gave a unanimous "do-pass" recommendation to a bill requiring the state Department of Transportation to work with the autonomous vehicle technology industry on a study of current laws on licensing, registration, insurance, data ownership and inspections. It would require the DOT to suggest any law changes to the next legislative assembly.
BISMARCK -- House lawmakers defeated a resolution opening the door to off-reservation casinos in North Dakota in convincing fashion Thursday, March 23. In a 28-63 vote, lawmakers shot down House Concurrent Resolution 3033, introduced by House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo. The resolution was introduced to allow up to six state-owned casinos away from Native American reservations and the state's larger cities, but it was amended to allow no more than six private casinos at least 40 miles from the reservations with no other location restrictions.
BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Senate approved a resolution requesting the federal government reimburse the state for costs associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline protests Wednesday, March 22. House Concurrent Resolution 3011 was approved by a voice vote in the Senate. It has already passed the House. The resolution “extends appreciation” from the Legislature to President Donald Trump for expediting the approval of the easement required to build the pipeline under Lake Oahe.
BISMARCK—A Fargo man who led efforts to place the medical marijuana measure on the ballot floated the possibility of a lawsuit or another initiated measure in testifying against proposed changes to the law during a North Dakota legislative committee Tuesday, March 21. Rilie Ray Morgan, who chaired the committee that pushed the Compassionate Care Act, opposed a Senate bill that amends the law voters chose to put on the books in November.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Senate stripped proposed governance changes from the Public Employees Retirement System budget bill Tuesday, March 21. The House passed a version of the bill last month that would have eliminated the nine-member retirement board and created the Public Employees Retirement System Office. It also would have established a seven-member board to advise the office's governor-appointed executive director, the governor and Legislative Management on the administration of PERS.
BISMARCK—North Dakota senators agreed to expand the state's distracted driving laws Monday, March 20. The Senate passed House Bill 1430, introduced by House Minority Leader Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, in a 37-9 vote. It passed the House last month.