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 -- Gov. Doug Burgum announced plans for a task force to examine the governance structure of North Dakota's higher education system Tuesday, Nov. 7.
BISMARCK — A dispute between the state of North Dakota and the contractor that led the recent expansion of the Heritage Center went to trial Monday, Nov. 6. The case stems from a March 2016 lawsuit brought by Comstock Construction, which argued the State Historical Society breached its contract by improperly withholding payment. The firm also pointed to inadequate plans to support limestone panels, which it said caused damages and delays. The Wahpeton-based firm's claims total more than $2 million.
BISMARCK — Nearly a year to the day after North Dakotans voted to legalize medical marijuana, the state Department of Health said Monday, Nov. 6, that it has filed proposed rules governing the new program. But the ballot measure's chief backer expressed frustration that the process is moving at a "snail's pace." Qualifying patients may be able to get medical marijuana by the end of next year, the Health Department said.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Public Service Commission signed off Friday, Nov. 3, on Otter Tail Power Co.'s plans for a South Dakota natural gas plant while delaying a siting decision for a North Dakota wind farm. The 250-megawatt Astoria Station, to be located more than 80 miles north of Sioux Falls, is expected to be in service in 2021. That project, along with the 150-megawatt wind farm 15 miles south of Edgeley, N.D., are meant to replace generation from the coal-fired Hoot Lake plant in Fergus Falls, Minn., which will be retired in 2021.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Public Service Commission extended a contract Friday, Nov. 3, with a firm tasked with inspecting the Sandpiper Pipeline's construction despite the project being shelved more than a year ago. But that doesn't mean the oil pipeline is being resurrected.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Department of Commerce has tapped a Fargo software executive with ties to Gov. Doug Burgum to focus on the governor's Main Street Initiative, the department announced Thursday, Nov. 2. Holly Holt is the commerce department's senior manager of strategic initiatives. Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler said she's the department's "lead person" on the Main Street Initiative, first introduced during Burgum's campaign last year.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota pharmacy leader said the industry is waiting to see what Amazon has in store after the online retail giant acquired wholesaler licenses here earlier this year. The North Dakota Board of Pharmacy issued wholesaler licenses to Amazon in February for three facilities in Indiana. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last week that the Seattle-based company had quietly received such licenses in at least 12 states, including North Dakota.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger acknowledged Tuesday, Oct. 31, that he lied when he told a state trooper he had "like one drink" three hours prior to his September drunk driving arrest in Mandan. Rauschenberger, 34, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol, a Class B misdemeanor, and will serve almost a year of unsupervised probation under a plea agreement reached last week. He'll also pay $1,250 in fines and fees and obtain a chemical dependency evaluation under the agreement.
BISMARCK — North Dakota budget director Pam Sharp will retire next month after more than three decades in state government, Gov. Doug Burgum said Monday, Oct. 30. Sharp, the Office of Management and Budget director, "will assist in a temporary position throughout the transition to new leadership," according to a news release. Her retirement is effective Nov. 30, capping off a career that saw North Dakota’s fiscal fortunes swing dramatically in recent years.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger will serve almost a year of unsupervised probation under a plea agreement reached last week for his drunk driving arrest. Rauschenberger was arrested by a Highway Patrol officer late last month in Mandan for driving under the influence of alcohol, a Class B misdemeanor. A breath test indicated he had a .206 percent blood alcohol content, more than twice the legal limit.