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.
- Member for
- 4 years 5 months
BISMARCK — A group of North Dakota lawmakers have reintroduced legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, setting up what could be a replay of one of the more contentious legislative battles from two years ago. State law already prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability and status in regard to marriage or public assistance. House Bill 1386, introduced Monday, Jan. 16, would add sexual orientation to that list.
BISMARCK—Citing sluggish revenue, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum called for steeper budget cuts than his predecessor Monday, Jan. 16. Burgum, who presented his recommendations to legislative leaders Monday, called for a $13.3 billion total budget in the 2017-19 cycle, about $168 million less than what former Gov. Jack Dalrymple proposed last month in his final executive budget. Burgum proposed $4.62 billion in general fund spending, about $159 million less than the former governor's recommendation.
BISMARCK—North Dakota lawmakers were adamant Monday, Jan. 16, that they were not trying to deny the will of the people with a proposal to delay parts of the recently passed medical marijuana law. The bill, introduced by legislative leadership from both sides of the aisle, would delay certain provisions of the Compassionate Care Act to give the North Dakota Department of Health more time to set up rules governing medical marijuana, said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson. He pointed to financial and social costs if it's not properly regulated.
BISMARCK — The two Human Services committees of the North Dakota Legislature will convene in a joint meeting to discuss a bill that would suspend certain provisions of the newly passed medical marijuana law.
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.