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 Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has joined a bipartisan group of attorneys general to investigate drug companies' marketing and sale of opioids in the midst of an epidemic of overdose deaths, his office announced Friday, June 16. Drug overdose deaths have jumped sharply in North Dakota and elsewhere in recent years. Opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, killed a record 33,000 people in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
BISMARCK — A project connecting Bobcat's manufacturing facility in Gwinner, N.D., to natural gas service took a step forward Friday, June 16. The Public Service Commission approved a certificate of "public convenience and necessity" along with a Montana-Dakota Utilities' transportation service agreement with Bobcat. MDU will provide natural gas through a 12-inch, 21-mile pipeline that will tap into the Alliance Pipeline northeast of Milnor, according to a PSC press release.
BISMARCK — Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. customers in North Dakota can expect a slight bump in electricity bills under an order approved by state regulators Friday, June 16. The Public Service Commission approved a settlement agreement that was reached after the AARP of North Dakota intervened on MDU's proposed rate increase filed last fall. The commission approved an interim rate increase in November, and the order approved Friday will result in an average increase of 14 cents per month from what residential customers are paying now.
BISMARCK — The lengthy legal saga over the troubled former Dickinson State University Foundation appears to be nearing an end. The case is headed for trial starting Monday, June 19, nearly two years after North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem called for the nonprofit foundation's dissolution. That move came after allegations of financial and ethical issues, including that restricted funds were being used to cover operational costs.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum have announced a day of "facilitated conversations" on addiction recovery. The event, dubbed "Recovery Reinvented," is scheduled for Sept. 26 at the Bismarck Event Center. The Burgums invited advocates, behavioral health providers, community leaders and others to the event.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers held off Tuesday, June 13 on deciding whether to address several vetoes issued by Gov. Doug Burgum after the legislative session ended in late April. Grand Forks Republican Sen. Ray Holmberg, who chairs Legislative Management, said they were still waiting on an opinion from Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem on whether Burgum overstepped his constitutional authority with those vetoes. The opinion was requested by the House and Senate majority leaders in mid-May.
FARGO — A state Health Department official has raised concerns with the permit application for a new oil refinery near a national park in western North Dakota, questioning "extremely low emissions estimates" for the project. In a May 15 letter to Meridian Energy Group Vice President Tom Williams, Terry O'Clair, the director of the air quality division at the North Dakota Department of Health, said an ongoing review of the company's permit application for the Davis Refinery in Billings County revealed some "concerns" that need to be resolved.
FARGO — The Trump administration is focused on removing red tape to improve the nation's infrastructure, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said after meeting with the president and Cabinet officials Thursday, June 8. Burgum, along with Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, was at the White House for a summit on infrastructure with governors, mayors, tribal officials and others. President Donald Trump hosted a larger meeting Thursday afternoon after Cabinet officials met in small group settings earlier in the day.
FARGO—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum will meet with President Donald Trump at the White House Thursday, June 8. The governor's office said Monday Burgum would meet with the fellow Republican, along with senior administration officials, other governors, mayors and others to discuss "ways to improve the nation's infrastructure through partnerships." Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford will also join Burgum this week.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Department of Human Services said Friday, June 2, that more than 2,000 Medicaid recipients' protected health information was breached after someone discovered documents in a Bismarck dumpster last month. The department said it recovered the documents May 10, the same day they were notified by the citizen who discovered them. The Medicaid "claim resolution worksheet documents" were dated 2015, according to DHS. The department has "found no evidence that any confidential information has been used improperly or further disclosed."