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 received 19 applications from entities seeking to become licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in two of the state's largest metro areas. Jason Wahl, the department's medical marijuana director, said Thursday, Aug. 9, they had received 11 applications for the Fargo region and eight for the Bismarck/Mandan area. The department has designated eight zones across the state for dispensaries and is staggering the application periods.
BISMARCK — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp doesn't "see a need" for a new U.S. attorney in North Dakota as long as Chris Myers stays on the job, she said in a statement issued Wednesday evening, Aug. 8. The statement puts the first-term Democrat at odds with Republican Sen. John Hoeven, who has recommended former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley to be the state's top federal prosecutor once again. Wrigley held the position from 2001 to 2009 before becoming the state's Republican lieutenant governor.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger submitted more than 1,300 signatures to his own office Thursday, Aug. 9, as the Republican incumbent mounts an independent bid for the post he's held for more than 25 years. Jaeger appeared to be on the way out after losing the Republican endorsement to Will Gardner this year. But Gardner dropped out once his 2006 peeping arrest surfaced, and Jaeger later received a "letter of support" from the state Republican Party in June.
BISMARCK — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp expects to see a nomination "fairly soon" for former U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson's successor, the North Dakota Democrat said this week. During a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 7, Heitkamp said there's a candidate being vetted for the position, but she didn't identify that person. "We expect we're going to see that nomination fairly soon," she said. "And if they nominate this person, I'll be proud to push it through as fast as I can."
BISMARCK — A North Dakota Democratic lawmaker is seeking information about the costs to protect Gov. Doug Burgum through a records request submitted Tuesday, Aug. 7. A Legislative Council attorney submitted the request on behalf of House Minority Leader Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks. The email asked for the cost of providing Highway Patrol security to the governor's office from the start of 2016 through Tuesday.
BISMARCK — North Dakota state employees are now prohibited from using cell phones while driving state fleet vehicles and other cars during work hours under a new policy that's more restrictive than current law. The state Department of Transportation policy was implemented at the beginning of July but was announced Monday, Aug. 6, as part of the state's "Vision Zero" traffic safety campaign. The policy also covers state employees using their personal vehicles while on the clock.
BISMARCK — The Koch political network's decision to publicly give the cold shoulder to Rep. Kevin Cramer this week doesn't mean out-of-state groups aren't raining cash on North Dakota's Senate race. Beyond the millions the candidates have raised themselves — Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp maintains a wide advantage over her Republican opponent — outside spending in support or opposition of the candidates is ramping up. Outside spending is made independently of candidates' committees and includes party committees and super PACs.
BISMARCK — In what one justice admitted was a “surprising outcome,” the North Dakota Supreme Court ordered a recount of June primary ballots Friday, Aug. 3, after the Libertarian candidate for secretary of state failed to garner enough votes to extend his campaign to November.
BISMARCK — All three members of North Dakota's congressional delegation will negotiate a new farm bill with Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Sen. John Hoeven announcing their conference committee appointments Wednesday, Aug. 1. Heitkamp and Hoeven are both members of the Senate's agriculture committee and will be two of nine senators on the farm bill conference committee. The multi-year bill includes everything from nutrition assistance to crop insurance and commodity supports. The current farm bill is set to expire at the end of September.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Republican Sen. John Hoeven said he’ll support Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court after meeting with him Wednesday, Aug. 1, as Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp announced she would meet the nominee in two weeks. Hoeven said Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, is “highly qualified” and has a “deep respect for the Constitution.”