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 — Backed by rosy oil tax figures, North Dakota Republican lawmakers unveiled a $280 million plan to fund infrastructure projects outside of the state's oil patch Thursday, July 26. The proposal would add three "buckets" to the existing oil tax distribution structure. A $115 million pool would be dedicated to infrastructure in cities and another one would be set aside for counties and townships, while airports would have a $50 million bucket.
BISMARCK — Democratic U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp maintains a wide fundraising lead over her Republican opponent Rep. Kevin Cramer, newly released federal records showed Wednesday, July 25. Heitkamp raised $1.1 million between May 24 and June 30, compared to the $833,000 Cramer collected in that same period. During this election cycle, Heitkamp has raised almost $11.3 million, while Cramer has raised almost $3.3 million, the Federal Election Commission records show.
BISMARCK — North Dakota agriculture and political leaders offered mixed reactions Tuesday, July 24, to the Trump administration's plans for up to $12 billion in aid meant to help farmers weather a storm of international trade disputes .
BISMARCK — North Dakota voters will decide whether to add anti-corruption language to the state's constitution this fall, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Monday, July 23. The announcement marks the first ballot measure confirmed to have the sufficient number of signatures to reach voters on Nov. 6. Three others, including one legalizing recreational marijuana, have submitted signatures to Jaeger's office.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a $38 million claim against the federal government Friday, July 20, marking another effort by state leaders to recover costs associated with the monthslong Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
BISMARCK — The number of students learning English as a second language in North Dakota schools has grown steadily in recent years, topping 4,100 this month, according to data presented to state lawmakers Thursday, July 19. Lodee Arnold, the state Department of Public Instruction's English learner program administrator, said the oil boom in western North Dakota helped drive statewide figures higher. In 2011-12, there were 3,634 English learners, according to her presentation, which dropped to 3,239 the next year before climbing to 3,885 in January.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health plans to help replace diesel-powered vehicles using part of its $8.1 million piece of the Volkswagen settlement pie, a department official said Tuesday, July 17. The department opened a 45-day comment period on its draft plan for the funding Tuesday. Keith Hinnenkamp, an environmental scientist with the department, said it's possible they could start accepting applications later this fall.
BISMARCK — A new report called the North Dakota Mill and Elevator's gain-sharing program "financially feasible" more than a year after state lawmakers considered eliminating the employee bonus amid widespread budget cuts. The Eide Bailly report laid out three scenarios in which the program was responsible for annual earnings increases of between $2.5 million and $5.9 million, well above its average yearly expense of $1.7 million. It warned cutting it could lead to lower productivity and morale as well as higher turnover costs.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers selected longtime Legislative Council staffer John Bjornson as the office’s next director Wednesday, July 11. Bjornson has worked for Legislative Council for 30 years, spending the last two years as its legal division director. He came to the office shortly after earning his law degree from the University of North Dakota.
BISMARCK — Following last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said Wednesday, July 11, remote sellers must register and begin collecting state sales and use tax by Oct. 1.