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—An impending vacancy on the North Dakota Supreme Court has attracted 11 applicants, including three judges, the court announced Monday, May 15. The vacancy will be created when Justice Carol Kapsner resigns on July 31. The applicants are: • Reid Brady, Fargo • Grady Crooks, Haughton, La. • Charles DeMakis, Minot • Judge James Hill, Mandan • Judge Jon Jensen, Grand Forks • Sophie Morgan, Bismarck • Janilyn Murtha, Dickinson • Matthew Olson, Minot • Judge Robin Schmidt, Watford City
BISMARCK—A lawsuit against the North Dakota Department of Health brought by a former employee was dismissed late last year after the two sides reached a $90,000 settlement. Ranae Kunz, a former autopsy assistant who was fired after complaining about sexual harassment in the workplace, sued the department in April 2016. In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in North Dakota, she alleged the department unlawfully retaliated against her, causing a loss of income, mental anguish, emotional distress and other damages in excess of $75,000.
BISMARCK — A new venture from Forum Communications Co. is seeking to acquire and invest in companies outside of the traditional media industry. Gen7 Investments, a reference to past and future generations of the company's family ownership, was launched recently and made its first investment in a marketing calendar software firm last week. Although it's separate business, Gen7 is a company of Forum Communications and run by company leaders.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota state auditor reached a separation agreement with a longtime employee days after Gov. Doug Burgum vetoed the agency's budget bill over the elimination of the employee's position. An open records request shows State Auditor Josh Gallion signed the agreement with Jason Wahl, the performance audit manager, on April 28, three days after Burgum signed the veto letter. The governor cited amendment language that sought to "eliminate a position held by an identifiable, classified employee," and said each state agency is responsible for personnel decisions.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to ensure an impartial investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election following the firing of FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, May 9.
BISMARCK—Proposed changes to expanded Medicaid making their way through Congress would effectively eliminate a program that has about 20,000 enrollees in North Dakota, the state's lone congressional Democrat warned this week. The U.S. House narrowly passed a Republican-backed health care plan last week, but the legislation now faces a long road in the Senate. The vote came about seven years after former President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.
BISMARCK—North Dakota legislative leaders are still weighing whether to come back into session to address several vetoes handed down by Gov. Doug Burgum after the Legislature adjourned in late April. The 17-member committee known as Legislative Management will ultimately decide whether to call lawmakers back to Bismarck, said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson. That committee's chairman, Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, is out of the country but will be back this week.
BISMARCK — A top staffer to North Dakota's previous two governors retired from state government this week after helping Gov. Doug Burgum navigate his first legislative session. Ron Rauschenberger served as chief of staff to former Govs. John Hoeven and Jack Dalrymple before working as Burgum's senior adviser. He now plans to launch a business development consulting and government relations firm, Rauschenberger Consulting.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Department of Health is looking to hire staff and write rules on medical marijuana following passage of the state's new law two weeks ago. The undertaking represents uncharted territory for the department and the medical marijuana division's director, Kenan Bullinger, a department veteran who was appointed to his position in February. North Dakota voters approved an initiated measure six months ago legalizing marijuana use for medical purposes.
BISMARCK -- Gov. Doug Burgum’s veto of a bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors in certain rental properties drew a rebuke from a Colorado man who advocated for the legislation after losing his daughter to the odorless gas.