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—Although the 2017 North Dakota legislative session ended months ago, several new laws are scheduled to take effect Monday, Jan. 1. Presumptive probation A section of House Bill 1041 made probation the presumptive sentence for Class C felony and Class A misdemeanor offenses. The law makes exceptions for certain crimes, such as domestic violence offenses, and it allows a court to impose a prison sentence if there are "aggravating factors." Campaign finance changes
BISMARCK — As nonprofits elsewhere raise alarms that the new federal tax law may hamper charitable giving, North Dakota officials are offering more mixed reactions to the changes. Pat Berger, president and CEO of the United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area, predicted the overhaul would have a "profound effect" on charities. That echoed concerns raised by the charity's worldwide leader, who earlier this month told National Public Radio that fewer people will itemize their tax deductions because lawmakers planned to nearly double the standard deduction.
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.