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 — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has recommended against merging two Cabinet-level state agencies, arguing such a move wouldn't result in "meaningful" savings or operational efficiencies. In a report presented to state lawmakers Tuesday, July 10, Burgum said combining the Department of Financial Institutions and the Securities Department would "negatively impact service to citizens and businesses in our state." He cited each agency's "distinct regulatory policy objectives."
BISMARCK — A jubilant group of recreational marijuana supporters submitted an estimated 18,700 signatures to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office Monday, July 9, hours ahead of the midnight deadline to ensure the measure could appear on the November ballot. The proposal’s backers need at least 13,452 signatures to ask voters to amend state law. Jaeger has 35 days to review the signatures.
BISMARCK — With President Donald Trump preparing to name his second nominee to the nation's highest court, North Dakota may look to dust off an 11-year-old law banning most abortions. Officials on both sides of the abortion debate see Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement as an opportunity for Trump to solidify a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court that could undercut Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
BISMARCK — China slapped tariffs on American goods early Friday, July 6, ramping up concerns over international trade in North Dakota. The penalties came in response to $34 billion worth of tariffs the Trump administration placed on Chinese products. The New York Times reported that China's list included soybeans, a major North Dakota export. After months of threats between the two countries, Friday's tariffs are the first to actually go into effect, said North Dakota Trade Office Executive Director Simon Wilson. "We are in a trade war," he said.
BISMARCK — Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment seeking to ensure only U.S. citizens can vote in North Dakota elections submitted nearly 36,000 petition signatures Friday, July 6. Gary Emineth, a former state Republican Party chairman who's running for a state Senate seat in Bismarck this year, is leading the charge to alter the North Dakota Constitution. He arrived at Secretary of State Al Jaeger's office with 35,883 signatures a few days ahead of the deadline to gather 26,904 of them to get the question on the November ballot.
BISMARCK — The campaigns for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer this week confirmed dates for two more October debates as the race for one of North Dakota's U.S. Senate seats heats up. In addition to the previously announced Oct. 18 debate arranged by the North Dakota Newspaper Association in Bismarck, the two candidates will face off Oct. 5 in a Prairie Public/AARP debate in Fargo, Heitkamp's campaign said. They'll meet again Oct. 26 for a North Dakota Broadcasters Association debate, also in Fargo.
BISMARCK — After an audit alleged problems with his use of state airplanes, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s office plans to inform the state Department of Transportation about the “business purpose” of those trips, his spokesman said Friday, June 29. The change won’t mean the DOT could veto trips, Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said, but the move could add more transparency to the process.
BISMARCK — With North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum looking to cut costs, the state's budget director announced another round of employee buyouts Friday, June 29. The "voluntary separation incentive program" will be a "tool" for state agencies preparing for the 2019-21 budget cycle, Office of Management and Budget Director Joe Morrissette said in an email to agency heads Friday morning. The announcement came more than two months after Burgum, a Republican, called on agencies to craft smaller budgets for the coming biennium.
BISMARCK — When Rep. Kevin Cramer reversed course and decided to run for the U.S. Senate this year, he turned to longtime North Dakota talk radio host Scott Hennen to emcee his campaign announcement. And in Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's first ad of the campaign season, her brother and talk radio host Joel Heitkamp, a fellow Democrat, described her sister as a "great senator." During one of her frequent appearances on Joel's show, she announced her bid for a second term in the U.S. Senate.
FARGO - Calling Sen. Heidi Heitkamp a “liberal Democrat,” President Donald Trump lent a hand to North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer’s campaign in a rambunctious speech Wednesday, June 27, at Scheels Arena in Fargo. Trump touched on the hotly contested Senate race early in his 71-minute speech to an adoring crowd of thousands that packed the arena. He criticized Heitkamp’s record on tax cuts, health care, immigration and abortion.