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
- 6 years 4 months
BISMARCK -- The chairman of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL will step down, the party said Monday, Jan. 14. Warren Larson told fellow Democrats over the weekend he wouldn't run for a full two-year term as chairman, according to a news release. In June, he took over the job from Kylie Oversen, who resigned during her unsuccessful bid for state tax commissioner last year. Larson previously served as the party's vice chairman from 2015 to 2018. The party didn't announce a succession plan Monday.
BISMARCK — North Dakota legislators concluded their first full week of the 2019 session Friday, Jan. 11, after launching initial budget discussions and holding hearings on a variety of policy changes. North Dakota lawmakers had introduced 608 bills and resolutions as of Thursday, but Legislative Council Director John Bjornson expected plenty more to flow in as lawmakers approach deadlines.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers are poised to consider bills allowing concealed weapon permit holders to pack heat in public buildings, legalizing so-called “bump stocks” that speed up a gun’s rate of fire and creating an “armed first responder program” in schools. A round of gun legislation is scheduled to be heard in a House committee Thursday, Jan. 17. Already a conservative state with relatively high rates of firearm ownership, North Dakota is “becoming more gun-friendly,” according to Sebastian Ertelt, R-Lisbon, the primary sponsor of a few gun bills this session.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota Republican lawmaker is pushing a bill requiring the state Highway Patrol to disclose the costs of protecting the governor. Rep. Bill Devlin of Finley said Friday, Jan. 11, lawmakers have been “frustrated” by a lack of financial disclosure and said his bill would help guide budgetary decisions. “I don’t want to jeopardize security. All I want to know is after the fact what it cost,” said Devlin, a former newspaper publisher. “To me, it’s an open government thing.”
BISMARCK — Opponents of a proposal to alter the process for amending the North Dakota constitution hammered the idea as an effort to undermine the will of the voters Thursday, Jan. 10. As introduced, the proposal would require constitutional amendments approved by North Dakota voters to gain support from the Legislature in the following two sessions. Its primary sponsor, Minot Republican Sen. David Hogue, offered an amendment Thursday that would allow voters to override the Legislature if it rejected the voters' decision.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum called funding the Fargo-Moorhead diversion a “no-brainer” and a “bargain” for the state Thursday, Jan. 10, as the flood control project’s backers seek an extra $300 million from the Legislature. The Republican governor testified before a legislative committee Thursday, representing just the second time he’s done so since taking office in late 2016. He pitched funding for the proposed Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum Wednesday.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers set revenue figures that will guide their budget-writing actions during the first weeks of the 2019 session Wednesday, Jan. 9, with less optimistic oil and gas tax predictions than Gov. Doug Burgum used in his proposed spending plan. The forecast, approved unanimously by both the House and Senate appropriations committees, assumes a $42.50 per barrel North Dakota oil price for the 2019-21 biennium, lower than both the executive forecast and figures from IHS Markit, a firm lawmakers hired to provide a second opinion on state revenues.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota legislative hearing exposed familiar battle lines in the long-running debate Wednesday, Jan. 9, over the state’s ban on Sunday morning shopping as another repeal effort faced its first test in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota legislative committee gave its blessing to a proposal raising the age of criminal culpability from 7 to 10 years old Tuesday, Jan. 8. State law currently considers North Dakotans under 7 years old "incapable” of committing a crime. Children under that age could be referred to social services rather than the juvenile court system, said Cathy Ferderer, the State Court Administrator office's juvenile court coordinator. Ferderer said raising the culpability age would open avenues for more children to deal with underlying family issues.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota lawmaker plans to introduce legislation to effectively eliminate state income taxes and use earnings from the voter-approved Legacy Fund to replace the lost revenue. Republican Rep. Craig Headland, who chairs the House Finance and Taxation Committee, said Monday, Jan. 7, his proposal wouldn’t immediately eliminate individual and corporate income taxes but would gradually reduce them as additional Legacy Fund earnings come in. He plans to introduce the bill this week.