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 Republican Party's top staffer is stepping down to address family and business matters, he said Friday May 25. GOP Executive Director Dane Ferguson cited his mother's recent death, efforts to take care of his elderly father and his wife's pregnancy as reasons for his resignation, which will be effective at the end of the month. He's also planning to focus on his business, Ferguson Books and More.
BISMARCK — Grappling with budget cuts, the North Dakota Department of Commerce laid off 13 people Thursday, May 24. The cuts bring the department’s workforce to 47 full-time employees. The 13 who were laid off were a mix of part-time and full-time workers from across the agency, department officials said, and they’ll receive a severance package. The department pointed to general fund cuts that exceeded 40 percent from the previous two-year budget cycle.
BISMARCK — A panel examining North Dakota's ballot measure system forwarded four proposals Tuesday, May 22, but efforts to amend the policy-by-petition process may just be getting started. The Initiated and Referred Measures Study Commission wrapped up its work at the state Capitol Tuesday. Its recommended changes now move to Legislative Management, the committee that oversees the Legislature's work during the interim period between regular sessions.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Republican Party confirmed it will support an independent candidate for secretary of state Tuesday, May 22, one day after that office’s longtime occupant said he would mount such a campaign. Republican Al Jaeger said Monday he’ll work to gather the 1,000 signatures necessary to appear on the November ballot as an independent. That announcement came a day after the Republican-endorsed candidate, Will Gardner, dropped out of the race once his 2006 peeping arrest surfaced.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger will run for re-election as an independent in November after the Republican-endorsed candidate dropped out once his 2006 peeping arrest surfaced. Jaeger, a Republican who has been in office since 1993, said Monday, May 21, he conferred with Republican Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and determined an independent run was his only option for re-election.
BISMARCK — Details remained sparse late this week about the medical marijuana manufacturing facility planned for Fargo. The North Dakota Department of Health named Grassroots Cannabis as one of two entities selected by an application review panel this week. The department said the organization would locate its facility in Fargo, but information from its application is confidential under state law. Meanwhile, officials who appeared to be associated with the venture didn't return messages seeking information about their plans.
BISMARCK — North Dakota's U.S. senators split on a vote to reverse the repeal of net neutrality rules Wednesday, May 16, as a few Republicans joined the chamber's Democrats to pass the resolution. Senators used a law that allows Congress to overturn regulatory decisions, such as December's Federal Communications Commission vote to strip the Obama-era rules aimed at ensuring internet service providers treat content equally. The regulation's supporters have warned against allowing ISPs to charge websites for faster service at the expense of competition.
BISMARCK — Rep. Kevin Cramer highlighted farmers' anxiety over the Trump administration's trade moves Wednesday, May 16, but the North Dakota Republican expressed support for the long-term goal of balancing relations with China. Cramer, an ally of President Donald Trump who is running for U.S. Senate this year, testified during a hearing held by the U.S. Trade Representative's office on proposed tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports. The tariffs are in response to China's "unfair trade practices," the office said.
BISMARCK — The open race for North Dakota secretary of state got off to a spendy start, with the Democratic candidate raising more than $79,000 in the first phase of the campaign. Fargo Democratic state Rep. Joshua Boschee has raised $79,207, well ahead of the $12,625 reported by his Republican opponent, Mandan businessman Will Gardner, according to filings posted online by the Secretary of State's office. Boschee's pre-primary report, filed Friday, May 11, showed he had a nearly $60,000 ending balance, while Gardner had more than $5,800.
MANDAN, N.D. — TigerSwan will offer another settlement proposal to the North Dakota board that accused the security firm of operating here without a license during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The two sides came face to face during the Tuesday, May 15, meeting of the Private Investigation and Security Board, which sued the North Carolina-based firm nearly a year ago. The case is scheduled to go to trial in October, but TigerSwan's attorney Lynn Boughey agreed to send the board a settlement offer.