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 — Nine people, including a sitting North Dakota lawmaker, have been interviewed for the vacant Public Service Commission seat, according to a list provided by Gov. Doug Burgum's office Thursday, Feb. 23. The three-member commission is down one member after Brian Kalk left for a job at the University of North Dakota's Energy and Environmental Research Center in January after serving two years of his second six-year term. Burgum, a Republican, will appoint Kalk's successor.
BISMARCK — As the deadline to evacuate the main Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp approached, North Dakota lawmakers took action on protest-related legislation Wednesday, Feb. 22.
BISMARCK—A proposal that would have created a two-year moratorium on new wind energy development in North Dakota was stripped from legislation that ultimately passed the Senate as a study of the state's energy plan Wednesday, Feb. 22. Senate Bill 2314, as passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday, would have prevented the Public Service Commission from approving a wind farm application submitted in the two years starting Aug. 1 unless the commission determined that added generation was needed for the state's consumers.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said it's "very likely" the state will sue the federal government to recoup cleanup costs associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp on federal land. Stenehjem's comments on Wednesday, Feb. 22, came hours before an evacuation order issued by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum takes effect for people occupying Army Corps of Engineers land adjacent to the Cannonball River in southern Morton County. State officials have said a cleanup is needed to prevent debris from washing into the river during spring flooding.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers are sprinting toward their mid-session break this week with several big-ticket items left to consider. The House and Senate each held two floor sessions Tuesday, Feb. 21 and plan to do the same Wednesday. Legislators are working through the last bills before the crossover break, after which each chamber will consider bills approved by lawmakers across the hall.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House considered a handful of gun bills Tuesday, Feb. 21, to relax state laws related to firearms. With little discussion, the House passed legislation allowing qualified people to carry a concealed firearm without a permit and to create a "first armed responder in schools" pilot program. Legislators also approved tweaks to state law governing concealed weapons in churches.
BISMARCK—A North Dakota Senate Committee tweaked legislation Tuesday, Feb. 21, that put a two-year moratorium on new wind energy development, but an opponent argued the amendment did not improve the bill.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House easily passed legislation calling for a study of refugee resettlement in the state Monday, Feb. 20, but not before a testy exchange on the floor. Rep. Pamela Anderson, D-Fargo, said she didn't want to see state resources spent on a "mean-spirited study." Rep. Mary Schneider, D-Fargo, read an email asking her to vote against the legislation because it tries to hide racism and religious discrimination behind a "guise of rationalism and data."
BISMARCK — North Dakota House lawmakers voted against increased penalties for adults who supply minors with alcohol Tuesday, Feb. 14. House Bill 1422, introduced by Rep. Chuck Damschen, R-Hampden, would have made it a Class C felony for someone who's at least 21 years old to knowingly deliver alcohol to someone who's underage. Currently, it's a Class A misdemeanor. The bill failed on a 10-80 vote. Senate rejects redistricting commission study
BISMARCK—As North Dakota lawmakers approach the 2017 session's halfway point, major budget bills are approaching a floor vote. The House Appropriations Committee approved budgets for the Department of Human Services and the Department of Public Instruction Thursday, Feb. 16. State legislators are working with reduced tax revenue due to a slower economy this session, creating tighter budgets for the next two-year funding cycle.