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—Xcel Energy is proposing a five-mile electric transmission line in the Fargo area, according to documents filed with the North Dakota Public Service Commission. The three-member commission voted Wednesday, Sept. 20, to issue a notice of opportunity for a hearing on the utility's request for certificate of public convenience and necessity. The 115-kilovolt line would run between Xcel's substations in Fargo and Reed Township. The company said the line would improve electric service reliability in Fargo.
BISMARCK — North Dakota regulators approved a settlement with the developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline Wednesday Sept. 20, over allegations it failed to given adequate notice when it rerouted the oil pipeline. The settlement with Dakota Access, LLC, which also addresses other allegations, doesn't include a fine. But Public Service Commission members said the deal's requirements will cost the company more than a $15,000 settlement they offered last month.
BISMARCK—Gov. Doug Burgum signaled support for the latest Republican health care reform effort this week. A letter Burgum signed with 14 other Republican governors and sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday, Sept. 19, called "adequately funded block grants to the states, along with maximum flexibility and control" the "best option on the table."
BISMARCK—For the first time in two years, North Dakota's taxable sales and purchases increased over the same three-month period from a year before, Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said Tuesday, Sept. 19. Taxable sales and purchases for the second quarter of 2017 were $4.69 billion, up 6.8 percent over the same quarter in 2016. The state saw consistent drops since early 2015, including a 33.2 percent decline in the first quarter of 2016.
BISMARCK — The latest health care reform effort from congressional Republicans is again causing a split between North Dakota's senators. The effort, led by Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, comes after other attempts to remake the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, failed this summer.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Emergency Commission will consider a $5 million request to pay expenses related to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests Monday, Sept. 25. The Office of the Adjutant General requested increased spending authority to accept a $5 million loan from the Bank of North Dakota, according to a meeting agenda. That boosts the estimated cost of the monthslong protests to the state and Morton County to $43 million, according to Department of Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong.
BISMARCK - North Dakota Department of Health officials “wrongfully demoted” a longtime microbiologist two years ago, an administrative law judge said late last month. Lynn Jordheim’s 52-page order, dated Aug. 31, overturned Timothy Brosz’s demotion, which came shortly after he received a “pre-action notice” in May 2015.
BISMARCK - The Burke County prosecutor reached a pretrial diversion agreement this week with a western North Dakota man charged in a rare voter fraud case. Dale Monte Larsen was charged with voter fraud, a Class A misdemeanor, for allegedly voting in Burke and Ward counties during the 2016 election. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said it may be the first such case to be prosecuted since the 2000 election.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Supreme Court justices needled attorneys in a high school gym Thursday, Sept. 14, as they weighed arguments in the case of Barry Garcia, the man convicted of murdering a West Fargo woman when he was 16 years old.
BISMARCK — North Dakota juveniles are arrested at a higher rate than the national average, a state corrections official told an interim legislative committee Wednesday, Sept. 13. While arrest rates for violent crimes and weapons violations are well below the national figures, arrests for disorderly conduct, liquor law violations, drug use and property crimes among juveniles helped push North Dakota's rates higher, according to a presentation from Lisa Bjergaard, director of the juvenile services division at the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.