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 utility regulators agreed Wednesday, Oct. 10, that plans for an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park are out of their hands. The Public Service Commission dismissed a complaint filed by environmental groups challenging Meridian Energy Group's plans for a Billings County refinery in western North Dakota. In a unanimous decision, the commissioners sided with an administrative law judge's recommendation issued last month.
BISMARCK — Xcel Energy is planning to refund North Dakota electric customers almost $9.8 million due to the tax cuts Congress passed last year. The North Dakota Public Service Commission notified the public of the opportunity to have a hearing on a proposed settlement agreement Wednesday, Oct. 10. The Minneapolis-based company estimated residential customers would see an average one-time refund of $46, and PSC officials expected it would come sometime next year.
BISMARCK — The confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh this weekend continued to reverberate in North Dakota's U.S. Senate race between Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Kevin Cramer Tuesday, Oct. 9. National reporters descended on North Dakota in recent days after Heitkamp cast a vote against President Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court pick, whose confirmation process was roiled by sexual assault allegations. Kavanaugh denied the accusations, but Heitkamp said she believed the woman who testified before a Senate committee and questioned Kavanaugh's temperament.
BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum announced plans to honor North Dakota native and former U.S. Secret Service agent Clint Hill on Friday, Oct. 5, nearly 55 years after he scrambled on top of the presidential limousine to shield its occupants from a gunman who assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Burgum named Hill as the 44th recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, which the governor’s office described as the state’s “highest commendation for its citizens.” Hill served in the Secret Service from 1958 to 1975.
BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum and State Board of Higher Education Chairman Don Morton have signaled support for splitting North Dakota's higher education governance into multiple boards, a significant change that would require a constitutional amendment. Burgum chairs a task force examining the structure of higher education in North Dakota, and Morton is a member. The panel, which doesn't have the power to enact changes itself, is wrapping up its work in hopes of issuing a report with recommendations ahead of the 2019 legislative session, which begins in January.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp announced Thursday, Oct. 4, she will vote against Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, questioning his temperament and declaring she believed the woman who accused him of sexual assault.
BISMARCK — State Auditor Josh Gallion's office is conducting an audit of the North Dakota State College of Science just months after the completion of an independent examination of the Wahpeton institution.
BISMARCK — After months of battling each other on the airwaves and in the news media, Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer will meet face-to-face in a live debate for the first time Friday, Oct. 5. The debate will be hosted by Prairie Public, which will broadcast it live on its radio, television and YouTube channels starting at 7 p.m. Friday. In a sign of the race's national interest, PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff will moderate the debate alongside Prairie Public's election coverage producer Matt Olien.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota state senator passed along employee complaints about the email former Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler sent Monday, Oct. 1, that led to his resignation. But Bismarck's Erin Oban said she didn't call for Schuler's resignation and wasn't expecting that outcome.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler resigned Monday, Oct. 1, after reflecting on the contentious Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh in an email sent to his staff. Gov. Doug Burgum, who appointed Schuler in January 2017 and announced the resignation Monday, said in a statement that Schuler “apologized for sending to Commerce Department staff an email this morning that was unacceptable in official communications with team members.”