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 — The campaigns for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer this week confirmed dates for two more October debates as the race for one of North Dakota's U.S. Senate seats heats up. In addition to the previously announced Oct. 18 debate arranged by the North Dakota Newspaper Association in Bismarck, the two candidates will face off Oct. 5 in a Prairie Public/AARP debate in Fargo, Heitkamp's campaign said. They'll meet again Oct. 26 for a North Dakota Broadcasters Association debate, also in Fargo.
BISMARCK — After an audit alleged problems with his use of state airplanes, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s office plans to inform the state Department of Transportation about the “business purpose” of those trips, his spokesman said Friday, June 29. The change won’t mean the DOT could veto trips, Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said, but the move could add more transparency to the process.
BISMARCK — With North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum looking to cut costs, the state's budget director announced another round of employee buyouts Friday, June 29. The "voluntary separation incentive program" will be a "tool" for state agencies preparing for the 2019-21 budget cycle, Office of Management and Budget Director Joe Morrissette said in an email to agency heads Friday morning. The announcement came more than two months after Burgum, a Republican, called on agencies to craft smaller budgets for the coming biennium.
FARGO - Calling Sen. Heidi Heitkamp a “liberal Democrat,” President Donald Trump lent a hand to North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer’s campaign in a rambunctious speech Wednesday, June 27, at Scheels Arena in Fargo. Trump touched on the hotly contested Senate race early in his 71-minute speech to an adoring crowd of thousands that packed the arena. He criticized Heitkamp’s record on tax cuts, health care, immigration and abortion.
BISMARCK — North Dakota's state auditor called on Gov. Doug Burgum's office to stop using state airplanes for "commuting to or from personal residences" and highlighted the availability of cheaper commercial flights for out-of-state trips in a report released Tuesday, June 26. Burgum, meanwhile, defended his office's travel as a "prudent" use of taxpayer money.
BISMARCK — Libertarian Roland Riemers won't appear on the November ballot for North Dakota Secretary of State after falling short of the 300-vote threshold during this month's primary election, the office's current occupant said Friday, June 22. Riemers, a frequent candidate for political office from Grand Forks, asked for a recount after receiving just 247 votes across the state during the June 12 primary. But incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger, a Republican, said that's not possible because Riemers was unopposed. "There's nothing to recount," Jaeger said.
BISMARCK — North Dakota could see millions of dollars in new revenue after the U.S. Supreme Court said Thursday, June 21, that states can require out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax. The 5-4 decision overruled a 1992 ruling in a case that originated in North Dakota. In Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, justices said the state couldn't compel the mail-order catalog business to collect sales tax.
BISMARCK — A month after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door to sports betting across the country, North Dakota officials are still assessing their options. State lawmakers may take a crack at the issue when they meet again early next year, but it's unclear how much support sports gambling will have in the Legislature, which is currently dominated by Republicans. Just last year, lawmakers rejected the idea of casinos outside Native American reservations but approved electronic pull tabs.
BISMARCK — North Dakota utility regulators approved a $25,000 fine against CenturyLink Wednesday, June 13, after the telecommunications company violated the state's One Call law a whopping 25,701 times in less than five months.
BISMARCK — Heidi Heitkamp and Kevin Cramer edged closer to their U.S. Senate showdown as the two advanced past the primary election Tuesday, June 12. Heitkamp, the Democratic incumbent seeking a second term, was unopposed Tuesday. She collected 99.6 percent of the vote with 397 of 424 or 94 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results from the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office.