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 Rep. Kevin Cramer was among 18 House Republicans to nominate President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to "bring peace" to the Korean peninsula Wednesday, May 2. Cramer signed a letter that noted North Korea has announced it will suspend its nuclear and missile tests. During a historic meeting in South Korea last week, the leaders of the two countries said they would work to formally end the Korean War and toward the peninsula's "complete denuclearization."
BISMARCK — A federal judge forcefully slapped down North Dakota's efforts to fight his ruling that loosened the state's voter identification law Monday, April 30. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland denied the state's request to delay part of that ruling amid an appeal. The request focused on the April 3 order preventing the state from requiring that IDs include a "current residential street address," which Native American communities often lack.
BISMARCK — North Dakota's oil and gas tax revenues have exceeded expectations so far this budget cycle, prompting tempered optimism from state lawmakers. Oil and gas tax collections surpassed $1.4 billion through April, 22.8 percent above forecasted totals. That's due to better-than-anticipated oil production and prices, according to a report sent to state lawmakers Friday, April 27. The report covered the first nine months of the biennium that started in July 2017. Revenue collections reflect oil production and prices from two months prior.
BISMARCK — U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's mother died Sunday, April 29, at the age of 88, the North Dakota Democrat announced on Facebook. Doreen Heitkamp was "the rock of our family," the senator said in a Facebook post accompanying a family photo. She was a "school cook with a high school degree," but "she told us we would go to college and change the world," Heidi Heitkamp added. Heitkamp's post indicated her mother died after a battle with Parkinson's disease. Her father, Ray, died in 1982. Sunday was her parents' 66th wedding anniversary.
BISMARCK—Amid fears of a looming trade war with China and efforts to adjust the agreement linking North American economies, Simon Wilson settled into his new role as head of the North Dakota Trade Office last month. "It's been a whirlwind," he said in an interview this week. "But for me, it's a lot of opportunity ... There's a lot of need for kind of that advocacy."
BISMARCK — When U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions visits Fargo Friday, April 27, he'll become the ninth member of Donald Trump's Cabinet to set foot in North Dakota during the Republican president's first 16 months in office.
BISMARCK—Researchers ranked the state of North Dakota's spending transparency website 34th in the country in a report released Wednesday, April 25. The website allows the public to peer into the state's finances by examining spending by individual agencies, payments to vendors and purchasing card expenses, among other tools.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's behavioral health system is too heavily focused on costly residential and inpatient services, a new report has found, while investing less in prevention and early intervention services. State lawmakers were briefed on the extensive report during a interim committee meeting at the state Capitol Tuesday, April 24. The nearly 250-page analysis was conducted by the Human Services Research Institute, a research and consulting firm based in Massachusetts, for the state's Department of Human Services.
BISMARCK—The head of the North Dakota Legislative Council, a team of attorneys, accountants and researchers that advises state lawmakers, is retiring later this year. Jim Smith told lawmakers Thursday, April 19, he would retire at the end of August after 39 years with the agency. He said he would help with the transition to a new director. Smith pointed to technological advances as among his proudest accomplishments during his tenure, including video recordings of floor sessions and a mobile app for tracking bills.
BISMARCK—After an extended deadline, the North Dakota Department of Health received 19 medical marijuana manufacturer applications by Monday morning, April 23. A department official previously said they received 17 applications by Thursday afternoon, but the deadline was pushed back after a mistake was discovered in the application instructions. Hours after the new deadline passed, an application review panel met at the state Capitol.