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—With constituents worried about quickly clearing snow from roads, a North Dakota lawmaker made an unsuccessful attempt to keep several highway maintenance shops open Tuesday, Feb. 14.
BISMARCK -- The state Senate declined to boost the speed limit on North Dakota’s interstates Tuesday, Feb. 14. Senate Bill 2057, introduced by Sen. Lonnie Laffen, R-Grand Forks, would have increased the speed limit on interstates 29 and 94 from 75 mph to 80 mph. It would have also bumped up the fines for speeding on the highway. Ultimately, the bill failed 18-28, with opponents worrying the change would make North Dakota roads less safe.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House approved a bill to require people participating in an employment plan under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to go through addiction screening. House Bill 1308, introduced by Rep. Daniel Johnston, R-Kathryn, passed Tuesday, Feb. 14, by a vote of 77-12. Employment plan participants who are identified as being "at-risk for an addiction" would be referred to a treatment service.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House defeated a bill Monday, Feb. 13, that would have allowed drivers who injured or killed somebody who was intentionally blocking traffic to avoid liability. House Bill 1203 was introduced in reaction to the monthslong protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline. Some of the demonstrations have taken place on roads, and primary bill sponsor Rep. Keith Kempenich, R-Bowman, said the legislation moves responsibility to the "initiating party." "I think it shows that we're willing to stand up for the citizens of this state," Kempenich said.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House voted Monday, Feb. 13, to change laws governing the state's angel fund and seed capital income tax credit programs before repealing both in less than three years. Opponents of House Bill 1045, however, warned that North Dakota needs to boost its startup industry. "I think it's critical that North Dakota retains its position as an investor as well as an entrepreneurial-friendly state," said Rep. Pam Anderson, D-Fargo. "Funding is the No. 1 unmet need."
BISMARCK—A House committee has rejected a proposed amendment aimed at helping Gov. Doug Burgum fulfill a campaign promise to give his salary back to North Dakota taxpayers. Proposed amendments to the governor's office budget bill would reduce Burgum's annual salary from $132,964 to zero dollars. But Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley, chairman of the Government Operations Division of the House Appropriations Committee, said "it just doesn't quite work right."
BISMARCK — The message from some who testified against proposed changes to North Dakota's new medical marijuana law was clear: State lawmakers should honor the will of the people.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota House Transportation Committee opened up debate Thursday, Feb. 9 on a bill to change the state's distracted driving laws. House Minority Leader Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, introduced a bill that says a driver "may not engage in an activity that requires the use of the operator's sight unless that activity involves operating or using the whole motor vehicle or built-in accessory." A driver would be able to use a voice-operated device, navigational system or an electronic device to obtain emergency assistance or report a crime under Mock's bill.
BISMARCK—An official representing the American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota said a bill under consideration at the state Legislature is motivated by an unfounded concern about "Sharia law" making its way into the state's court system. But the bill's primary sponsor said House Bill 1425 isn't targeting any religion and is simply meant to assure the state's courts adhere to U.S. and North Dakota law.
BISMARCK—North Dakota lawmakers passed legislation Thursday, Feb. 9 to make applicants for the state's top higher education jobs confidential. House Bill 1333, introduced by Rep. Rich Becker, R-Grand Forks, would shield from public view records that could identify an applicant for chancellor of the North Dakota University System or president of a state university until the applicant becomes a finalist. The bill defines "finalist" as an applicant who agrees to be interviewed by a hiring authority.