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 environmental regulators expect to decide whether to issue an air quality permit to an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in a couple of months after receiving thousands of public comments that mostly opposed the project through the Friday, Jan. 26, deadline. The state Department of Health received roughly 11,000 comments by email on the Davis Refinery, although a "vast majority" say the same thing, said Terry O'Clair, the director of the department's air quality division.
BISMARCK—In the opening pages of the new biography of Gary Tharaldson, the North Dakotan whose name was synonymous with business success faces failure. "I'm going to have to declare bankruptcy," he told the chief operating officer of Tharaldson Hospitality Management in 2012, according to the new book written by Patrick McCloskey and published by University of Mary Press.
MINOT, N.D.—Gov. Doug Burgum painted an optimistic portrait of North Dakota's future during his second State of the State address Tuesday, Jan. 23, but warned budget challenges remain. Speaking at Minot State University, Burgum recapped his first year in office and pointed to the road ahead in a nearly 90-minute speech that emphasized themes of reinventing government over specific policy proposals.
BISMARCK -- Congress voted to reopen the federal government as members of North Dakota’s delegation offered their support Monday, Jan. 22, in favor of a short-term spending deal. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was among a handful of red-state Democrats to break with the rest of the party last week in supporting a budget deal. She and other Senate Democrats, along with almost every Republican senator, voted Monday to reopen the government after Republicans committed to addressing the status of young undocumented immigrants, the Washington Post reported. The deal funds the government through Feb.
BISMARCK—The nation's highest court said Monday, Jan. 22, that legal challenges to the so-called Waters of the U.S. rule fall under federal district court jurisdiction, a decision welcomed by North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. In an interview with Reuters this month, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt disclosed plans to rewrite the Obama-era rule intended to clarify which water bodies are covered by the Clean Water Act. It has been derided as a case of federal overreach into negligible waterways.
BISMARCK—The state of North Dakota paid nearly $15.9 million early this year as part of a settlement agreement in a long-running bankruptcy case involving an off-track horse race wagering company. But Susan Bala, the sole shareholder of Racing Services Inc., said Friday, Jan. 19, that her case isn't over.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Legislature is locked in a legal battle with Gov. Doug Burgum over several vetoes he issued last year, with each side filing opposing arguments to the state Supreme Court in recent weeks. At the heart of the dispute are arguments over the constitutional authority of the legislative and executive branches of government, and lawmakers have asked the third branch to weigh in. Arguments are now planned for March, state Supreme Court Clerk Penny Miller said Thursday, Jan. 18.
BISMARCK -- Gov. Doug Burgum said Thursday, Jan. 18, he would support a change in state law to boost enforcement of seat belt use, a move that the head of the North Dakota Highway Patrol said would save lives but could face skepticism from lawmakers.
BISMARCK—North Dakota state tourism officials revealed plans for marketing the state this year on television, in print and through other avenues Wednesday, Jan. 17. The tourism division of the state Department of Commerce will spend $2.9 million advertising North Dakota this year, which is about the same as last year, its Director Sara Otte Coleman said. She previously said the division faced an 18 percent budget cut this two-year cycle compared with the original 2015-2017 biennial budget of $13.3 million.
BISMARCK—John Andrist, a giant in North Dakota's newspaper industry and a former state lawmaker, died early Wednesday, Jan. 17, in a Fargo hospital after suffering a "pretty significant stroke" last week, his son said. He was 86. First elected in 1992 as a state senator from Crosby in the state's northwestern corner, Andrist retired from the Legislature in 2014, two years after a stroke. He told Forum News Service at the time that he thought of himself as a "facilitator" who "didn't create any landmark legislation" but "helped shape an awful lot of it."