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
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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.
BISMARCK — Democrats in the North Dakota Legislature are sounding alarms over the state's ability to provide the same level of property tax relief amid state budget constraints. The state Senate passed a bill requiring the state to take over county social services costs earlier this session. An amendment proposed in the House, however, instead requires the Department of Human Services to develop an implementation plan for the "eventual" state funding of county social services.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota lawmaker has drafted a proposal that seeks to make sure the federal government will pay the state for costs associated with the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The proposal from Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, would allow the attorney general to file a lien against any federal property in North Dakota, except for tribal land, in order to ensure reimbursement. Kempenich will seek to add the amendment to the budget bill for the Attorney General's Office in the waning days of the legislative session.
BISMARCK — House lawmakers voted Thursday, April 6 to move homeless shelter grants into a discretionary fund, a move that some Democrats warned could harm North Dakota's efforts to address homelessness. The House passed the budget bill for the Department of Commerce in a 66-25 vote Thursday. It includes $29.9 million in general fund spending, reducing it almost to 2007-09 levels, said Rep. Roscoe Streyle, R-Minot.
BISMARCK -- The North Dakota House passed a rewrite of the state’s medical marijuana law Tuesday April, 4 that one supporter said is “light years” ahead of lawmakers’ original proposal but still has flaws. Senate Bill 2344 passed in a 79-13 vote a day after the House Human Services Committee approved it. The bill is expected to head to a conference committee, where lawmakers will discuss differences between the House and Senate versions before it goes to the governor.
BISMARCK—Ten North Dakota state agencies are offering buyouts to their employees due to continued budget cuts. A letter sent by participating agency heads Tuesday, April 4, announcing the "voluntary separation incentive program" cites a $1.5 billion revenue shortfall in the current two-year funding cycle that has already prompted budget cuts and workforce reductions.
BISMARCK — House lawmakers narrowly defeated a bill that some considered a major expansion of gambling in North Dakota Tuesday, April 4. Senate Bill 2221, which allowed for wagering on historic horse racing, failed in a 45-46 vote after passing the Senate last month. Rep. Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck, said bettors would wager on "reruns" of horse races, while another lawmaker compared the concept to a slot machine.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House voted to allow elected officials to carry guns at public gatherings as long as they maintain firearm proficiency and are licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
BISMARCK—Gov. Doug Burgum has chosen a state parks official in Montana to lead the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department. Burgum announced Tuesday, April 4 that Melissa Baker, assistant administrator and chief of operations for Montana State Parks, will be the director of North Dakota's parks department. She will begin her new role April 24, according to a news release. Baker's appointment fills out Burgum's Cabinet, his spokesman Mike Nowatzki said.
BISMARCK—North Dakota senators approved changes to the state's voter identification laws Monday, April 3. The bill, introduced by House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, requires voters to provide an identification issued by the state Department of Transportation or tribal government. It also includes options for those living in "special circumstances." If the information on the ID isn't current, it could be supplemented with a current utility bill, bank statement or paycheck.