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.
- Member for
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BISMARCK—With constituents worried about quickly clearing snow from roads, a North Dakota lawmaker made an unsuccessful attempt to keep several highway maintenance shops open Tuesday, Feb. 14.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House approved a bill to require people participating in an employment plan under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to go through addiction screening. House Bill 1308, introduced by Rep. Daniel Johnston, R-Kathryn, passed Tuesday, Feb. 14, by a vote of 77-12. Employment plan participants who are identified as being "at-risk for an addiction" would be referred to a treatment service.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House defeated a bill Monday, Feb. 13, that would have allowed drivers who injured or killed somebody who was intentionally blocking traffic to avoid liability. House Bill 1203 was introduced in reaction to the monthslong protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline. Some of the demonstrations have taken place on roads, and primary bill sponsor Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, said the legislation moves responsibility to the "initiating party." "I think it shows that we're willing to stand up for the citizens of this state," Kempenich said.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House Transportation Committee opened up debate Thursday, Feb. 9 on a bill to change the state's distracted driving laws. House Minority Leader Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, introduced a bill that says a driver "may not engage in an activity that requires the use of the operator's sight unless that activity involves operating or using the whole motor vehicle or built-in accessory." A driver would be able to use a voice-operated device, navigational system or an electronic device to obtain emergency assistance or report a crime under Mock's bill.
BISMARCK—An official representing the American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota said a bill under consideration at the state Legislature is motivated by an unfounded concern about "Sharia law" making its way into the state's court system. But the bill's primary sponsor said House Bill 1425 isn't targeting any religion and is simply meant to assure the state's courts adhere to U.S. and North Dakota law.
BISMARCK — Linda Kersten called marijuana a "miracle." The Newburg, N.D., resident recalled how her adult daughter struggled with treatments for colon cancer that caused aches, pains and extreme nausea. But almost immediately after smoking marijuana, she felt well enough to take a walk around the block.
BISMARCK — Republican leaders in the North Dakota Legislature say they've taken off the table a proposal to have state employees pay 5 percent of their health insurance premiums, but Gov. Doug Burgum hopes it will be part of ongoing budget discussions. The decision comes as lawmakers continue to shape agency budgets for the upcoming two-year budget cycle. Legislators are working with reduced tax revenue due to slouching farm and oil commodity prices.
BISMARCK—North Dakota senators shot down a bill Tuesday, Feb. 7, that would have exempted North Dakota from daylight saving time and made the entire state fall under Central time. Currently, a portion of southwestern North Dakota falls under the Mountain time zone, while the rest of the state is in the Central time zone. Senate Bill 2167 failed on a 11-33 vote after no discussion.
BISMARCK—A North Dakota Senate committee voted against a bill that officials representing North Dakota prosecutors and defense attorneys said Monday, Feb. 6 would justify the use of deadly force against people committing minor property crimes. But the West Fargo lawmaker who proposed the legislation said it would only allow property owners to use deadly force if they're in fear of serious injury or death.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House voted down a $2 increase in the state's hourly minimum wage Monday, Feb. 6. House Bill 1263 would have increased the state's minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.25 an hour starting in 2018 with annual adjustments for cost of living increases beginning a year after that. Primary sponsor Rep. Marvin Nelson, D-Rolla, said costs for things such as rent have gone up in recent years without a boost in the minimum wage.