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—Eight days after a racially fueled confrontation in a Fargo parking lot, North Dakota lawmakers began examining the state's refugee resettlement program Wednesday, Aug. 2. The interim Human Services Committee's study was prompted by legislation passed earlier this year that sought an examination of various aspects of resettlement, and the committee was tasked with reviewing the impact on workforce, government services, human services, education and health care.
BISMARCK — Two North Dakota legislators plan to seek clarity from the state's attorney general on the state's permitless carry law that took effect Tuesday, Aug. 1. Rep. Todd Porter, R-Mandan, said there's some confusion over whether gun owners can carry a loaded firearm in their car under the new "constitutional carry" law. He said people shouldn't do so for now, given that he's heard that some state's attorneys and law enforcement officials have asked questions.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Department of Health received 97 letters from those intending to apply to be a medical marijuana manufacturer or dispensary, a figure that surprised state officials running the program. The department asked those interested in submitting proposals to be selected as a so-called "compassion center" to submit a letter of intent by the end of the day Friday, July 28.
BISMARCK—A 19-member commission began examining North Dakota's process for initiating and referring ballot measures on Monday, July 31. Lawmakers tasked the study commission, chaired by former state Supreme Court Justice William Neumann, with reviewing the process and cost of placing measures on the ballot, and whether any part of the state Constitution or statute should be changed, among other topics. Commission members heard a presentation Monday from Secretary of State Al Jaeger on how his office handles petitions.
BISMARCK—A bevy of new North Dakota laws will become effective Tuesday, Aug. 1. Gov. Doug Burgum signed 440 bills this year, including 10 spending bills with partial vetoes. Spending bills took effect July 1. Here's a breakdown on some of the most notable legislation state lawmakers passed this year that will become effective Tuesday.
BISMARCK—As four men lined up at a Bismarck gun range, Josette Severson gave firm instructions. "Please load and make ready," she said. With the sound an electronic beep, they began firing handguns at pieces of paper a few yards away. Severson swept up shell casings that littered the floor between rounds.
BISMARCK—County transportation officials say funding remains the biggest obstacle to maintaining North Dakota's bridges 10 years after a busy Minneapolis bridge plunged into the Mississippi River. Tuesday, Aug. 1, will mark a decade since the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, which killed 13 people and prompted debate over the state of the nation's infrastructure.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's senators again split their votes in a narrow defeat for Senate Republicans looking to fulfill their promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act early Friday, July 28. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., voted against the so-called "skinny repeal" along with all of her fellow Democrats and three Republicans, defeating the bill in a 49-51 vote. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., voted for the bill.
BISMARCK — A trade group representing farm equipment manufacturers filed a federal lawsuit this week against a new law that it says may create "the most restrictive dealership law in the entire country." The Association of Equipment Manufacturers, along with several big-name companies like Deere & Co. and Kubota Tractor Corp., filed the lawsuit Monday, July 24, in U.S. District Court in North Dakota. It names Doug Burgum and Wayne Stenehjem as defendants in their official roles of governor and attorney general, respectively.
BISMARCK — Fifty-three people applied for a spot on the State Water Commission after Gov. Doug Burgum opened up applications for the seven appointee slots. Five of the current commission members applied for a position during the application period, which ended Friday, July 21, according to a list provided by the governor's office. The nine-member commission is chaired by the governor while the agriculture commissioner serves as an ex-officio member alongside seven members appointed by the governor to six-year terms.