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 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.
BISMARCK — The top-budget writer in the North Dakota House predicted Monday, Jan. 7, that lawmakers will adopt “fairly conservative” tax revenue projections as they begin crafting budgets for the upcoming two-year budget cycle.
BISMARCK — North Dakota legislators, law enforcement officers and safety advocates reopened a familiar debate over whether to tighten enforcement of the state's seat belt law Friday, Jan. 4.
BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum’s announcement that his office would display the flags of North Dakota’s five tribal nations was one of the more warmly received parts of his State of the State address Thursday, Jan. 3. It was also somewhat of a spur-of-the-moment declaration that wasn't included in his prepared remarks provided to reporters.
BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum said North Dakota should avoid a “scarcity mindset” and embrace its status as a provider of energy, food and technology during his State of the State address Thursday, Jan. 3, the first day of the 2019 legislative session. “Today, the state of the state is that we stand at the cusp of a new era in North Dakota’s history,” he told the packed state House chambers. “And by harnessing the courage to dare greatly, we will cultivate a prosperous future for generations to come.”
BISMARCK — North Dakota police officers would be able to pull over drivers for failing to wear a seat belt under a bill introduced in the state Legislature. Republican Sen. Curt Kreun of Grand Forks cited the human and financial toll of vehicle crashes as his motivation for introducing the bill. He said his father was a state trooper in Minnesota who once said that he “never unbuckled a dead person in 23 years.”
BISMARCK — North Dakota legislative leaders expressed skepticism over a request for an extra $300 million in state funds for the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project ahead of the start of the session Thursday, Jan. 3. Diversion planners accepted a higher price tag for the massive project a month ago, increasing the cost to $2.75 billion. An updated funding plan seeks $300 million more from the state of North Dakota on top of the $570 million already committed.