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 — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said Thursday, April 13, that he smoked marijuana while hitchhiking in the 1970s. Burgum, a first-term Republican, made the remarks during a press conference after the Senate passed a medical marijuana bill Thursday morning. Asked by a reporter whether he had ever smoked marijuana, Burgum said he did while hitchhiking to Alaska in the summer of 1976. "Everybody that picks you up when you're hitchhiking to Alaska in 1976 generally wants to share some company and share some other things while you're driving," he said.
BISMARCK — North Dakota senators rejected a proposal Wednesday, April 12 that would have allowed voters to seek a cap on property tax increases. House Bill 1361, introduced by House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, would have allowed voters to limit property tax increases to 3 percent over what was levied in dollars the previous year. The cap could have applied to park districts, cities and counties.
BISMARCK—The State Board of Higher Education and Sanford Health reached a deal Wednesday to keep North Dakota State University's nursing school in Bismarck from closing. The agreement announced Wednesday, April 12, allows the nursing program at NDSU to continue in its current building be extending a lease initially made between Sanford and NDSU in 2013. It allowed the university to pay $1 per year for three years to use the building before rent increased. Sanford has now agreed to extended the nearly free rent for another two years.
BISMARCK—In a first, the North Dakota Department of Commerce has revoked a firm's angel fund certification. In an April 4 letter to Minot-based Legendary Investments, LLC, Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler said the firm violated the prohibition against investing in real estate or real estate holding companies outlined in state law governing angel fund income tax credits. He said Legendary Investments "invested in the debt of several real estate issuers," citing information the firm provided to the department last fall.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a bill seeking a study of the state's refugee resettlement program. Burgum signed House Bill 1427 Tuesday, April 11. It requests a legislative study of various aspects of refugee resettlement in North Dakota, ranging from any effect refugees have on wages or working conditions, law enforcement, government services, housing and others.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers skipped their daily floor sessions Tuesday, April 11 and instead hunkered down in conference committees to settle differences on policy and budget bills as the session's end draws near. The end-of-session conference committees provide three lawmakers from each chamber an opportunity to discuss differing versions of bills that the House and Senate have already passed. Once a conference committee reaches an agreement, the bill is sent back for a floor vote.
BISMARCK — The program that provides angel fund investors an income tax break would have greater protections against abuses under a bill the North Dakota Legislature sent to Gov. Doug Burgum this week, a state senator said Tuesday, April 11. Lawmakers from both chambers reached a compromise on House Bill 1045 in a conference committee last week. It was passed by the Senate unanimously Monday after the House approved it Friday.
BISMARCK — The state takeover of county social services costs would take the form of a two-year pilot program under a bill amendment a House committee adopted Monday, April 10, in a move that was welcomed by North Dakota county officials.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Senate voted Monday, April 10 to set aside $15.2 million related to a bankruptcy case involving the owner of a off-track horse race wagering company. An order filed in federal bankruptcy court in February indicates Susan Bala, owner of Racing Services Inc., is owed $13.5 million in taxes the company paid to the state, plus interest. She said the money was taken improperly from the company.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Legislature is in the final stretch of the 2017 legislative session as lawmakers arrange conference committees and fine-tune budget bills. This week, the Legislature began meeting in conference committees, where groups of three lawmakers from each chamber convene to hash out differences between individual bills before final passage. They also passed a number of budget bills that generated debate on the floor.