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
- 5 years 10 months
BISMARCK — State officials are exploring multiple proposals to use North Dakota's $5.4 billion Legacy Fund to help finance public infrastructure projects. Several legislators have already proposed using part of the voter-approved Legacy Fund to provide low-interest loans to local governments seeking to build flood control structures, water treatment plants and other infrastructure. But some, including Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, are hesitant to touch the fund's principal.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing a security firm of operating here without a license during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests Wednesday, May 30. District Judge John Grinsteiner's order came a month after he dismissed one of three counts against North Carolina-based TigerSwan. On Wednesday, he said there's nothing left in the state Private Investigation and Security Board's complaint that's within the court's "purview."
BISMARCK — North Dakota utility regulators kicked off three days of hearings Wednesday, May 30, over Montana-Dakota Utilities' proposed natural gas rate hike. The company is proposing a 3.3 percent rate increase, amounting to a $3.6 million annual revenue boost. Residential customers could expect their bills to increase by $1.82 a month, MDU attorney Paul Sanderson said during a Public Service Commission hearing Wednesday.
BISMARCK — State officials showed off the new North Dakota governor's mansion Tuesday, May 29, just days after the old home next door met the wrecking ball. Leading a throng of news reporters on a tour, Facility Management Director John Boyle described the home as "very nice" but not "over the top." The 13,700-square-foot home is complete, with the exception of landscaping and some minor details inside.
BISMARCK — The two sides fighting over North Dakota's voter identification law failed to reach a settlement Tuesday, May 29. More than two years after several members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa sued Secretary of State Al Jaeger over the state's voter ID laws, the two sides met in a settlement conference at the federal courthouse in Bismarck Tuesday. But that ended without an agreement, Jaeger told county auditors in a message.
BISMARCK — North Dakota banks welcomed a new law aimed at "right-sizing" regulations passed after the 2008 financial crisis, even as some warned it boosted the chances of another calamity. The legislation, signed by President Donald Trump Thursday, May 24, eases some requirements under Dodd-Frank, the law intended to avoid a repeat of the events that upended the financial system a decade ago. Rick Clayburgh, president and CEO of the North Dakota Bankers Association, said the new law is a sign that policymakers "understand that community banks were not the problem."
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Republican Party's top staffer is stepping down to address family and business matters, he said Friday May 25. GOP Executive Director Dane Ferguson cited his mother's recent death, efforts to take care of his elderly father and his wife's pregnancy as reasons for his resignation, which will be effective at the end of the month. He's also planning to focus on his business, Ferguson Books and More.
BISMARCK — Grappling with budget cuts, the North Dakota Department of Commerce laid off 13 people Thursday, May 24. The cuts bring the department’s workforce to 47 full-time employees. The 13 who were laid off were a mix of part-time and full-time workers from across the agency, department officials said, and they’ll receive a severance package. The department pointed to general fund cuts that exceeded 40 percent from the previous two-year budget cycle.
MINOT AIR FORCE BASE — A commander at this North Dakota air base was relieved of his duties after grenade rounds and a machine gun were lost, the base said Wednesday, May 23. Col. Jason Beers, commander of the 91st Security Forces Group, was ousted “due to a loss of trust and confidence,” according to Col. Colin Connor, commander of the 91st Missle Wing. Beers was responsible for ensuring the group was “trained, organized and equipped” to secure 150 Minuteman III missiles and launch facilities, along with 15 missile alert facilities across 8,500 square miles.
BISMARCK — A panel examining North Dakota's ballot measure system forwarded four proposals Tuesday, May 22, but efforts to amend the policy-by-petition process may just be getting started. The Initiated and Referred Measures Study Commission wrapped up its work at the state Capitol Tuesday. Its recommended changes now move to Legislative Management, the committee that oversees the Legislature's work during the interim period between regular sessions.