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 nation's highest court said Monday, Jan. 22, that legal challenges to the so-called Waters of the U.S. rule fall under federal district court jurisdiction, a decision welcomed by North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. In an interview with Reuters this month, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt disclosed plans to rewrite the Obama-era rule intended to clarify which water bodies are covered by the Clean Water Act. It has been derided as a case of federal overreach into negligible waterways.
BISMARCK—The state of North Dakota paid nearly $15.9 million early this year as part of a settlement agreement in a long-running bankruptcy case involving an off-track horse race wagering company. But Susan Bala, the sole shareholder of Racing Services Inc., said Friday, Jan. 19, that her case isn't over.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Legislature is locked in a legal battle with Gov. Doug Burgum over several vetoes he issued last year, with each side filing opposing arguments to the state Supreme Court in recent weeks. At the heart of the dispute are arguments over the constitutional authority of the legislative and executive branches of government, and lawmakers have asked the third branch to weigh in. Arguments are now planned for March, state Supreme Court Clerk Penny Miller said Thursday, Jan. 18.
BISMARCK -- Gov. Doug Burgum said Thursday, Jan. 18, he would support a change in state law to boost enforcement of seat belt use, a move that the head of the North Dakota Highway Patrol said would save lives but could face skepticism from lawmakers.
BISMARCK—North Dakota state tourism officials revealed plans for marketing the state this year on television, in print and through other avenues Wednesday, Jan. 17. The tourism division of the state Department of Commerce will spend $2.9 million advertising North Dakota this year, which is about the same as last year, its Director Sara Otte Coleman said. She previously said the division faced an 18 percent budget cut this two-year cycle compared with the original 2015-2017 biennial budget of $13.3 million.
BISMARCK—John Andrist, a giant in North Dakota's newspaper industry and a former state lawmaker, died early Wednesday, Jan. 17, in a Fargo hospital after suffering a "pretty significant stroke" last week, his son said. He was 86. First elected in 1992 as a state senator from Crosby in the state's northwestern corner, Andrist retired from the Legislature in 2014, two years after a stroke. He told Forum News Service at the time that he thought of himself as a "facilitator" who "didn't create any landmark legislation" but "helped shape an awful lot of it."
BISMARCK—The state of North Dakota asked a federal judge this week to lift a 2016 order preventing it from implementing its voter identification law without a "fail-safe" option previously available to voters. The Republican-controlled Legislature in 2013 eliminated the affidavit option that allowed voters who didn't provide an ID to swear their eligibility. That change, along with others made in 2015, were challenged in court by seven members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa who argued the laws were unconstitutional and discriminatory.
BISMARCK—Another person with ties to Gov. Doug Burgum's private sector background is joining North Dakota state government. Jenny Olson started at Great Plains Software as an intern before working her way up to business manager at Microsoft. She started last week as managing director of the new Office of Recovery Reinvented, an effort that's under the governor's office and is focused on battling addiction. Great Plains Software was the Fargo firm that Burgum grew as chairman and CEO before its sale to Microsoft in 2001. Burgum was an executive at Microsoft until 2007.
BISMARCK—U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer named a new campaign manager Monday, Jan. 15, as he begins his re-election bid for the U.S. House. Cramer, a Republican first elected in 2012, announced Jared Hendrix of Minot will lead his quest for a fourth term this year. Hendrix managed Republican state Rep. Rick Becker's failed run for governor in 2016.
BISMARCK — The head of the North Dakota education and public employee union apologized Monday, Jan. 15, after calling President Donald Trump a "liar" and "racist" on Twitter over the weekend. Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, posted the message on the social media site Saturday morning before deleting it. "You are a liar, a racist, and an embarrassment to our Nation, sir," the tweet to Trump said.