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 North Dakota Industrial Commission approved $146.7 million in loans to the city of Fargo Wednesday, March 28, to expand its wastewater treatment plant. The three-member commission, chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum, unanimously approved two loans, one for engineering and the other to construct the project. Both are 30-year loans coming from a state revolving fund that will be repaid with revenue bonds backed by wastewater user fees.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases jumped 3 percent in 2017, an increase that Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger called “modest.” But, the Republican said in a news release Wednesday, March 28, it’s a “good indicator” the state’s economy is “doing well and continuing to improve after the numerous decreases we’ve seen reflected in past reports.” Taxable sales and purchases totaled $17.9 billion in calendar year 2017, up from $17.3 billion in 2016.
BISMARCK—North Dakota State Auditor Josh Gallion will examine travel spending from Gov. Doug Burgum's office after the state's chief executive faced criticism for accepting Super Bowl tickets from Xcel Energy. Gallion informed Burgum in a March 22 letter that his office would conduct a performance audit focused on "travel related expenditures and use of state resources," according to a copy of the document provided by Burgum's office Tuesday, March 27. The audit will span from March 2016, during then-Gov. Jack Dalrymple's tenure, to the end of February.
BISMARCK—A top North Dakota lawmaker said Tuesday, March 27, legislators were in the dark about some recent efforts undertaken by the state's Information Technology Department, but its leader has since helped clear the air.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger completed a recommended outpatient treatment program this month following his drunk driving arrest from last year. But the Republican said Monday, March 26, he continues to take his recovery "very seriously." "It's something you always have to work at," Rauschenberger said. "I do feel in a really good place. And that's because I have recovery and good support and that's what it's all about."
BISMARCK—Republicans in western North Dakota are asking people to sign up as delegates and endure a long drive across the state for next month's convention where Dickinson state Sen. Kelly Armstrong will vie for the party's support to run for Congress. The push comes before a convention that will be held in the backyard of Armstrong's main competitor, Grafton potato farmer and state Sen. Tom Campbell. The Alerus Center in Grand Forks is roughly 350 miles from Dickinson but only about 40 miles from Grafton.
BISMARCK — A candidate for the North Dakota Republican Party's backing in this year's U.S. House race criticized his opponent Tom Campbell Thursday, March 22, for paying delegate registration fees ahead of next month's state convention.
BISMARCK—The heads of the North Dakota Legislature's tax committees expressed little interest this week in adjusting to federal tax law changes that are expected to cut into state revenues. In what Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said was the most comprehensive breakdown of the new law's effects, his office estimated the state would lose $4.9 million in the current two-year budget cycle, which ends in mid-2019, and nearly $28.9 million in the 2019-21 biennium. That would represent about a 3.6 percent drop in income tax collections for a full two-year budget cycle.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Supreme Court upheld disciplinary action taken against a self-described "brawler" Bismarck attorney and candidate for the state's highest court this week. In an opinion issued Tuesday, March 20, justices affirmed a disciplinary board decision to admonish Robert Bolinske Sr. for alleging members of the judiciary had worked to hide public records. He made the allegations against then-Justice Dale Sandstrom and his wife, South Central District Judge Gail Hagerty, who filed a complaint in October 2016.
BISMARCK—As North Dakota Republicans work to unseat Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp this year, they selected a new chairman Tuesday, March 20, who came within inches of defeating her six years ago. Former Congressman Rick Berg will start as the GOP chairman immediately after a vote of the party's state committee Tuesday afternoon, said Vice Chairman Jim Poolman. Poolman served as interim chairman after state Sen. Kelly Armstrong stepped down from the party leadership role to run for Congress. Berg didn't face any challengers for the post, Poolman said.