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—As four men lined up at a Bismarck gun range, Josette Severson gave firm instructions. "Please load and make ready," she said. With the sound an electronic beep, they began firing handguns at pieces of paper a few yards away. Severson swept up shell casings that littered the floor between rounds.
BISMARCK—County transportation officials say funding remains the biggest obstacle to maintaining North Dakota's bridges 10 years after a busy Minneapolis bridge plunged into the Mississippi River. Tuesday, Aug. 1, will mark a decade since the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, which killed 13 people and prompted debate over the state of the nation's infrastructure.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's senators again split their votes in a narrow defeat for Senate Republicans looking to fulfill their promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act early Friday, July 28. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., voted against the so-called "skinny repeal" along with all of her fellow Democrats and three Republicans, defeating the bill in a 49-51 vote. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., voted for the bill.
BISMARCK — A trade group representing farm equipment manufacturers filed a federal lawsuit this week against a new law that it says may create "the most restrictive dealership law in the entire country." The Association of Equipment Manufacturers, along with several big-name companies like Deere & Co. and Kubota Tractor Corp., filed the lawsuit Monday, July 24, in U.S. District Court in North Dakota. It names Doug Burgum and Wayne Stenehjem as defendants in their official roles of governor and attorney general, respectively.
BISMARCK — Fifty-three people applied for a spot on the State Water Commission after Gov. Doug Burgum opened up applications for the seven appointee slots. Five of the current commission members applied for a position during the application period, which ended Friday, July 21, according to a list provided by the governor's office. The nine-member commission is chaired by the governor while the agriculture commissioner serves as an ex-officio member alongside seven members appointed by the governor to six-year terms.
BISMARCK—President Donald Trump's announcement that transgender people will be barred from serving in the U.S. military drew bipartisan opposition from top North Dakota politicians Wednesday, July 26.
BISMARCK — North Dakota regulators approved a siting permit for the expansion of a natural gas plant near Watford City on Wednesday, July 26. The permit for Oasis Midstream Services, approved by the three-member Public Service Commission, will allow the company to expand its existing Wild Basin Gas Plant and Crude Handling Facility. It will be able to process 280 million standard cubic feet per day of gas, up from 80 million today, along with stabilizing up to 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day, up from 60,000 barrels per day.
BISMARCK—Officials planning the Red River Water Supply Project hope for a quick resolution to a dispute over federal plans that could affect the project's water source. Lawmakers were briefed during a meeting Tuesday, July 25, at the state Capitol on the status of the project, which would pipe Missouri River water to eastern North Dakota during droughts. Ken Vein, second vice chairman of the Garrison Diversion Board, said they hope to receive the first construction bids in early 2019.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's senators cast opposing votes in a key procedural vote Tuesday, July 25, to move ahead with debate on health care legislation, marking a victory for Republicans looking to repeal provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., voted against the motion, while Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., voted alongside most of his Republican colleagues in its favor. Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie vote.
BISMARCK—President Donald Trump's approval rating is 59 percent in North Dakota, according to a poll released Monday, July 24. The Gallup poll shows the Republican president's approval rating in North Dakota is second only to West Virginia, where it sits at 60 percent. In South Dakota, it's 57 percent, good for third-highest.