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 — The North Dakota Department of Health plans to help replace diesel-powered vehicles using part of its $8.1 million piece of the Volkswagen settlement pie, a department official said Tuesday, July 17. The department opened a 45-day comment period on its draft plan for the funding Tuesday. Keith Hinnenkamp, an environmental scientist with the department, said it's possible they could start accepting applications later this fall.
BISMARCK — Millennials may be tempted to travel to the coasts in search of high-paying work, but after paying rent and taxes, they might have a heavier wallet in North Dakota. That was the conclusion of a new report from The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, which was touted by state officials this week as evidence of North Dakota's millennial-friendly economy. It found that, when adjusted for cost of living and income taxes, North Dakota led all states with median earnings of $30,447 annually for people ages 25 to 34, which was only behind Washington, D.C.
BISMARCK — A new report called the North Dakota Mill and Elevator's gain-sharing program "financially feasible" more than a year after state lawmakers considered eliminating the employee bonus amid widespread budget cuts. The Eide Bailly report laid out three scenarios in which the program was responsible for annual earnings increases of between $2.5 million and $5.9 million, well above its average yearly expense of $1.7 million. It warned cutting it could lead to lower productivity and morale as well as higher turnover costs.
BISMARCK — Randy Richards considers himself an optimist. After all, the farmer lives near the town of Hope in eastern North Dakota. But a flurry of trade news in recent months has Richards worried. It reached a crescendo last week, when China imposed retaliatory tariffs on a range of U.S. products, including 25 percent on soybeans, one of the crops Richards grows.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers selected longtime Legislative Council staffer John Bjornson as the office’s next director Wednesday, July 11. Bjornson has worked for Legislative Council for 30 years, spending the last two years as its legal division director. He came to the office shortly after earning his law degree from the University of North Dakota.
BISMARCK — Following last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said Wednesday, July 11, remote sellers must register and begin collecting state sales and use tax by Oct. 1.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has recommended against merging two Cabinet-level state agencies, arguing such a move wouldn't result in "meaningful" savings or operational efficiencies. In a report presented to state lawmakers Tuesday, July 10, Burgum said combining the Department of Financial Institutions and the Securities Department would "negatively impact service to citizens and businesses in our state." He cited each agency's "distinct regulatory policy objectives."
BISMARCK — A jubilant group of recreational marijuana supporters submitted an estimated 18,700 signatures to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office Monday, July 9, hours ahead of the midnight deadline to ensure the measure could appear on the November ballot. The proposal’s backers need at least 13,452 signatures to ask voters to amend state law. Jaeger has 35 days to review the signatures.
BISMARCK — With President Donald Trump preparing to name his second nominee to the nation's highest court, North Dakota may look to dust off an 11-year-old law banning most abortions. Officials on both sides of the abortion debate see Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement as an opportunity for Trump to solidify a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court that could undercut Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
BISMARCK — China slapped tariffs on American goods early Friday, July 6, ramping up concerns over international trade in North Dakota. The penalties came in response to $34 billion worth of tariffs the Trump administration placed on Chinese products. The New York Times reported that China's list included soybeans, a major North Dakota export. After months of threats between the two countries, Friday's tariffs are the first to actually go into effect, said North Dakota Trade Office Executive Director Simon Wilson. "We are in a trade war," he said.