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 — A western North Dakota Republican state lawmaker announced his intent to resign Tuesday, Sept. 25. Rep. Bill Oliver, R-New Town, told Republican leadership in a letter he would resign Oct. 30 because "my life situation has changed and I feel I cannot represent my constituents with the zeal necessary." He declined to elaborate when reached by phone. House Minority Leader Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, shared news of Oliver's resignation on Facebook, where he said Oliver and his new wife have been "enjoying their lives together in Thief River Falls," Minn.
BISMARCK — As the nation turns its gaze toward North Dakota and its pivotal U.S. Senate race, the candidates' campaigns have been inundated with cash from across the country. The race between Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer has been expected to be the most expensive race in the state's history, given its competitiveness and implications for control of the Senate. Both candidates have leaned on out-of-state sources to fuel their campaigns, a trend that experts say is not out of the norm for such a sparsely populated state.
BISMARCK — A federal appeals court halted part of a lower court's ruling in the long-running battle over North Dakota's voter identification laws Monday, Sept. 24, citing the potential for fraud in the state's elections. In a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit suspended a federal judge's April ruling mandating that the state accept IDs and supplemental documentation with a current mailing address rather than requiring a residential street address. The suspension, known as a stay, will be in effect while the court case moves forward.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota review panel has selected two companies to operate as medical marijuana dispensaries in Fargo and Bismarck, state regulators said Monday, Sept. 24, and one facility is slated for a major retail corridor in Fargo.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer dismissed sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh as "absurd" Friday, Sept. 21. In a radio interview with Jarrod Thomas of KNOX, Cramer said Christine Blasey Ford's allegations against Kavanaugh are "even more absurd" than those Anita Hill leveled against now-Justice Clarence Thomas during his confirmation process "because these people were teenagers when this supposed alleged incident took place" instead of a supervisor-subordinate relationship.
BISMARCK — The first votes were cast Friday, Sept. 21, in North Dakota's consequential 2018 election as military members stationed away from home and overseas voters got the first crack at the ballot. As of early Friday afternoon, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said 23 ballots had been received. The voters were located in Afghanistan, South Africa, France, Indonesia and other far-flung countries, as well as Alabama, Maryland and Virginia, Jaeger said.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer expressed skepticism about the decades-old sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh Monday, Sept. 17, while Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp called for a thorough inquiry as the Supreme Court nomination battle animates the hotly contested Senate race between the two.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota legislative committee voted Thursday afternoon, Sept. 13, to reinstate the tribal and judicial addresses that are traditionally held at the beginning of the legislative session, two years after lawmakers ditched the speeches amid the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee voted unanimously to hold the two addresses during the morning of the first day of the legislative session, Jan. 3. Gov. Doug Burgum's State of the State address will be held that afternoon.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers finalized a policy against workplace harassment in the Legislature Thursday, Sept. 13, months after they called for a more formalized approach for reporting incidents amid the #MeToo movement. The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee voted unanimously to update the policy, which applies to lawmakers, legislative employees and third parties such as members of the media and lobbyists. Its definition of workplace harassment includes sexual harassment and harassment based on race, religion, age and other factors.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers received a second opinion about projected tax revenues over the next few years Thursday, Sept. 13, that was similar to one they received last week. Jim Diffley, an economist for IHS Markit, a consulting firm lawmakers hired last year, presented a report that included a less optimistic outlook for sales and individual income tax revenues for the remainder of the 2017-19 biennium and the next two-year budget cycle, while projecting rosier figures for motor vehicle excise and corporate income taxes.