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
- 4 years 6 months
BISMARCK—In the days after Dakota Access Pipeline protesters left the main camps, state leaders are hoping to mend a relationship with North Dakota tribes that many said became frayed during the monthslong protests. The protests south of Mandan, spurred by objections from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that the oil pipeline threatens sacred sites and drinking water, attracted worldwide attention and thousands to camps near the Missouri River. Confrontations between law enforcement and protesters, who refer to themselves as "water protectors," occasionally turned violent.
BISMARCK—A bill floated at the North Dakota Legislature calls for the state to self-fund its health insurance plan for its employees, a major policy change that's being proposed more than halfway through the legislative session. The bill, proposed by House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, was approved by the House Delayed Bills Committee Thursday morning. A version of the bill was not posted on the Legislature's website by the late afternoon. In a news release, Carlson called self-funded insurance "smart money management for the state,
BISMARCK -- North Dakota general fund revenues are projected to fall $46 million short in the two-year funding cycle that ends June 30, state budget officials told lawmakers Thursday. The forecast presented March 9 predicted a dimmer outlook than the assumptions lawmakers adopted in January, largely due to lagging sales and use tax revenue.
BISMARCK — Arguing it would balance the scales between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers, North Dakota business groups promoted legislation requiring out-of-state sellers to collect and remit sales tax during a House committee hearing Wednesday, March 8.
BISMARCK — Records related to Title IX complaints or investigations at North Dakota universities could be shielded from public view under a bill dissected by House lawmakers Tuesday, March 7. Proponents of Senate Bill 2295 said the provision would help protect sexual assault victims, as well as alleged perpetrators, from having their names become public knowledge. But a lobbyist for North Dakota's news organizations said it would protect "a university's public image" by hiding assault or discrimination claims.
BISMARCK—The Public Service Commission is seeking increased funding for its rail inspection program even as the amount of oil moved by trains in North Dakota declines. The agency's budget that went before the Senate Appropriations Committee Monday, March 6, includes $529,088 for the railroad safety program, which funds two state inspectors to look for problems on North Dakota's tracks and rail cars. One of those inspectors, however, is a "temporary" position, meaning the only benefit he receives is medical insurance.
BISMARCK—A resolution that could open the door to state-owned casinos in North Dakota will get a committee hearing early next week. House Concurrent Resolution 3033 would ask voters whether to amend the state Constitution to permit lawmakers to authorize up to six state-owned casinos. The gaming facilities could not be located within 5 miles of a city with a population above 5,000 or within 20 miles of a Native American reservation, where casinos are currently allowed by federal law. The constitutional amendment would go to voters in the 2018 primary election.
BISMARCK — The country's education system could be in for changes under new leadership in Washington, but how that may affect North Dakota schools remains to be seen. President Donald Trump's contentious pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, who was confirmed by the narrowest margins, has promoted school choice programs as a way to improve the country's K-12 education system. And North Dakota's new governor, Doug Burgum, has spoken favorably about charter schools, which are generally publicly funded but privately managed, on the campaign trail.
BISMARCK—A proposal to create a new North Dakota state agency was met with concerns that it grows government and doesn't include adequate input from the state's agricultural sector.
BISMARCK -- Proposed changes to the structure of the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System, as well as to the state’s health insurance contract timeline, were debated in a Senate committee Thursday, March 2. The hearing came more than two years after PERS announced Sanford Health Plan would become the insurance provider for its health plan members, a decision that was at the center of disagreements that extended the most recent legislative session.