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 — Law enforcement and government officials have received numerous death threats from opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline, court documents allege.
BISMARCK — North Dakota state agencies would be prevented from filling open positions for the next few months under a bill introduced by Republican legislative leaders. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, cited constrained state budgets for the proposal. If passed, state agencies and institutions couldn't fill vacant full-time equivalent employee positions until April 30. "In a time of reductions we shouldn't be hiring new people," Holmberg said.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota legislative committee on Thursday, Jan. 12, signed off on a bill to limit the amount of bonuses offered to the governor’s staff and appointees. With one member absent, the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee gave a unanimous “do pass” recommendation to House Bill 1153. The bill would limit recruitment and retention bonuses given to employees in the governor’s office and state officers appointed by the governor to 10 percent of their annual salary or $5,000, whichever is less.
BISMARCK — A one-number change in state law was debated for almost an hour in a North Dakota legislative committee Thursday, Jan. 12. Sen. Lonnie Laffen, R-Grand Forks, said his bill to increase the speed limit to 80 mph from 75 mph on North Dakota's interstate highways would help drivers save money in the form of fewer speeding tickets. People driving 50,000 miles in a year could also save an hour per week if the speed limit was boosted, he said. "For people who drive daily, this would be an incredible gift," Laffen said.
BISMARCK — With uncertainty looming over the fate of a major federal health care law, North Dakota lawmakers are weighing their options over the Medicaid expansion program that's set to expire later this year. Medicaid expansion is available to adults younger than 65 with household incomes of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. As of September, there were 19,358 North Dakotans enrolled in Medicaid expansion, a cornerstone of President Barack Obama's signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act.
BISMARCK—A controversial bill that would have required companies to block obscene content found on the Internet was withdrawn by a North Dakota lawmaker Wednesday, Jan. 11. Rep. Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck, was the primary sponsor of House Bill 1185, which he said was intended to protect children from pornography and from being lured into human trafficking. But he asked his colleagues Wednesday to withdraw the bill, which was part of a national effort to pass similar legislation in other states.
BISMARCK — A bill introduced this week in the North Dakota Legislature that would require companies to block obscene material found online raised constitutional questions Tuesday, Jan. 10. House Bill 1185 is aimed at protecting children from pornography and from being lured into human trafficking, said its primary sponsor, Rep. Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck. It's part of a national effort to pass similar legislation in other states.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Senate voted down legislation to update state law with gender-neutral language Tuesday, Jan. 10, about 18 months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry. Opponents of the Senate Bill 2043 said the change was unnecessary and dismissed arguments from supporters that failing to amend state law could leave the state open to litigation. The bill failed 15-31, with one senator absent.
BISMARCK — A pair of Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation Monday, Jan. 9 to raise North Dakota's minimum wage in an effort to boost earnings for the state's low-income residents, but the head of the state's most prominent business group predicted the bill won't get far. Rep. Marvin Nelson, D-Rolla, wants to bump the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.25 an hour by the beginning of 2018. The legislation also directs the Labor Commissioner to adjust the wage to account for cost of living increases on Jan. 1, 2019, and every year after.
BISMARCK—North Dakota gun owners would be able to carry a concealed firearm without a permit under legislation introduced by a group of Republican lawmakers. Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, introduced legislation Friday, Jan. 6, to allow people who are at least 21 years old to carry "any firearm or dangerous weapon concealed unless otherwise prohibited by law."