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—State rules governing North Dakota's new medical marijuana program will go into effect April 1 after a legislative committee reviewed the guidelines Monday, March 12. The Administrative Rules Committee meeting marks a significant step in the state Department of Health's efforts to implement the program about 16 months after voters approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana for medical use. Citing flaws, legislators rewrote that law last year.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota committee plans to examine more than a dozen proposals later this month to alter the state’s ballot measure process. One proposed constitutional amendment would require initiated measures that have attracted enough signatures to be submitted to the Legislature for a vote. If lawmakers or the governor reject the measure, it would be placed on the next general election ballot, according to a draft of the resolution shared with Forum News Service.
BISMARCK—State officials are planning to spruce up the landscaping around the yet-to-be-completed North Dakota governor's residence—and a Fargo firm tied to Gov. Doug Burgum is helping out. But the state's facility management director said Monday, Feb. 26, the landscape architecture firm was involved with the residence project long before Burgum took office in 2016.
BISMARCK—North Dakota regulators approved more modest utility rate increases Tuesday, Feb. 27, due to federal tax cuts. Both Otter Tail Power Co. and Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. cited the corporate income tax cut congressional Republicans passed late last year in requesting smaller interim rate increases that will be in effect until the North Dakota Public Service Commission determines final rates.
BISMARCK — Susan Bala filed a lawsuit against the state of North Dakota last week alleging it wrongfully declined to renew a license for her off-track horse race wagering business more than a decade ago, marking another turn in her legal saga. The complaint against the state and its Racing Commission was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Friday, Feb. 16 and seeks a "judgment in an amount to be determined at trial." It estimated Racing Services Inc. lost $30.8 million in value and profits since the 2004 license denial.
BISMARCK—Former North Dakota Congressman Rick Berg won't run for his old seat, he said Friday, Feb. 23. Berg hadn't ruled out a House campaign in recent days, but the Republican said in a text message Friday he "will be supporting candidates rather than being one." He served one term in Congress before a narrow loss to Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in the 2012 U.S. Senate race. Rep. Kevin Cramer announced last week he would challenge Heitkamp, opening up his seat to Republican hopefuls.
BISMARCK—Kelly Armstrong made his run for the U.S. House official Thursday, Feb. 22, marking the second North Dakota Republican state lawmaker to seek Rep. Kevin Cramer's seat. Armstrong, a state senator, attorney and businessman from Dickinson, N.D., publicized his entrance into the race during a few appearances across the state Thursday after resigning as state party chairman this week. His announcement came just days after Cramer said he would run for the U.S. Senate in an effort to unseat Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota higher education board voted Thursday, Feb. 22, to allow North Dakota State University to retain a law firm to defend against a construction lawsuit. Roers Construction, the general contractor for the $29.4 million A. Glenn Hill Center, claimed it accrued added costs because of delays it blamed on poor designs. It also complained of "acceleration costs" when it had to rush the project's completion before a dedication ceremony in December 2015. Roers is seeking $1.3 million.
BISMARCK—North Dakota legislative leaders have asked the state's chief information officer to stop reorganizing his department and implementing other initiatives until lawmakers are briefed on the plans. But Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley said Wednesday, Feb. 21, some of the lawmakers' concerns may be based on misunderstandings.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Republican state Sen. Kelly Armstrong has filed paperwork to run for Congress. The Federal Election Commission filing came days before a planned announcement Thursday, Feb. 22. A Facebook page includes a logo with "United States Congress" under Armstrong's name. Armstrong, a Dickinson attorney, resigned his position as North Dakota Republican Party chairman Tuesday. Armstrong would be running for Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer's seat. The third-term congressman said last week he would challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.