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 — Marking another delay, Gov. Doug Burgum isn't expected to move into the new North Dakota governor's residence for at least two months as crews put the finishing touches on the project. But state officials aren't worried about pushing back previously announced timelines. Meanwhile, a committee raising $1 million for the residence remains short of that goal, but Facility Management Director John Boyle said any fundraising delays won't hold up Burgum's move.
BISMARCK—A North Dakota judge entered a $1.4 million judgement Wednesday, Dec. 27, in favor of the Wahpeton, N.D., construction firm that led the expansion of the Heritage Center in Bismarck. And the state of North Dakota is "apparently agreeing" to pay part of that sum, an attorney for Comstock Construction said. District Judge James Hill's order came more than a month after a Bismarck jury sided with Comstock. They said the State Historical Society breached its contract by failing to pay the balance of the contract and for extra work.
BISMARCK—A federal judge has allowed several members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa to amend their complaint challenging North Dakota's newest voter identification law. U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Miller granted the plaintiffs' motion to file an amended complaint Friday, Dec. 22. Initially included in their motion earlier this month, the new complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in North Dakota Wednesday, Dec. 27.
HARVEY, N.D. — Civic leaders in this central North Dakota town expect Canadian Pacific's decision to pull dozens of jobs out of the area to have sweeping effects on a local economy that's become intertwined with the railroad since it sprung up along the tracks more than a century ago. The company plans to decommission its Harvey terminal on or after March 15. About 12 of the 73 train and engine positions based in Harvey will remain after the change, but mechanical, engineering, signals and communications positions won't be affected, a company spokesman said.
NEAR BOWDON, N.D.—Kathy Holtan Wilner is known as "The School Lady." It's a nickname that's well-earned. Over the past several years, she embarked on a quest to find one-room schoolhouses where countless North Dakotans were educated. Using atlases, public records and the help of strangers, she documented roughly 500 of them. "We found them everywhere," Wilner said. "I could tell you stories for hours. Pick a school."
BISMARCK — Attorneys representing several members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa have filed a new complaint challenging North Dakota’s latest voter ID law. The amended complaint, filed Dec. 13, asks a federal judge to declare House Bill 1369 unconstitutional and prevent it from being implemented, arguing that it violates the national Voting Rights Act. The bill, sponsored by Republican lawmakers, was signed into law by Gov. Doug Burgum in late April.
BISMARCK — North Dakota's tax commissioner predicted the state will see a "very small bump" in individual income tax collections due to the federal tax overhaul passed by Congress Wednesday, Dec. 20. Ryan Rauschenberger, a Republican, released a one-page analysis of the tax bill's impact the day House Republicans sent their $1.5 trillion legislation to President Donald Trump. His office predicted state individual income tax revenues would increase by $4.8 million, a roughly 1.3 percent increase from the $357.2 million in fiscal year 2019's estimated collections.
BISMARCK — North Dakota regulators approved an interim rate increase for Otter Tail Power Co. that amounts to a nearly $9 average monthly residential increase Wednesday, Dec. 20. The three-member Public Service Service Commission approved the $8.86 monthly increase unanimously. The rates will be effective Jan. 1 until the case is resolved.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's attorney general will defend Gov. Doug Burgum from a legislative legal challenge, the governor's spokesman said Tuesday, Dec. 19, sending one-time political rivals to the same side of the courtroom. State law requires Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to "appear and defend all actions and proceedings against any state officer in the attorney general's official capacity." If both parties are state officers, the attorney general may decide which one to represent.
BISMARCK—A North Dakota regulator repeatedly implored representatives of a company planning an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park to go through her agency's process for approving the location of such facilities Tuesday, Dec. 19. But the CEO of California-based Meridian Energy Group resisted those calls, and the Public Service Commission chairman acknowledged the agency doesn't have the legal authority to compel the company to face the additional regulatory scrutiny.