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 — Records related to Title IX complaints or investigations at North Dakota universities could be shielded from public view under a bill dissected by House lawmakers Tuesday, March 7. Proponents of Senate Bill 2295 said the provision would help protect sexual assault victims, as well as alleged perpetrators, from having their names become public knowledge. But a lobbyist for North Dakota's news organizations said it would protect "a university's public image" by hiding assault or discrimination claims.
BISMARCK—The Public Service Commission is seeking increased funding for its rail inspection program even as the amount of oil moved by trains in North Dakota declines. The agency's budget that went before the Senate Appropriations Committee Monday, March 6, includes $529,088 for the railroad safety program, which funds two state inspectors to look for problems on North Dakota's tracks and rail cars. One of those inspectors, however, is a "temporary" position, meaning the only benefit he receives is medical insurance.
BISMARCK—A resolution that could open the door to state-owned casinos in North Dakota will get a committee hearing early next week. House Concurrent Resolution 3033 would ask voters whether to amend the state Constitution to permit lawmakers to authorize up to six state-owned casinos. The gaming facilities could not be located within 5 miles of a city with a population above 5,000 or within 20 miles of a Native American reservation, where casinos are currently allowed by federal law. The constitutional amendment would go to voters in the 2018 primary election.
BISMARCK — The country's education system could be in for changes under new leadership in Washington, but how that may affect North Dakota schools remains to be seen. President Donald Trump's contentious pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, who was confirmed by the narrowest margins, has promoted school choice programs as a way to improve the country's K-12 education system. And North Dakota's new governor, Doug Burgum, has spoken favorably about charter schools, which are generally publicly funded but privately managed, on the campaign trail.
BISMARCK—A proposal to create a new North Dakota state agency was met with concerns that it grows government and doesn't include adequate input from the state's agricultural sector.
BISMARCK -- Proposed changes to the structure of the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System, as well as to the state’s health insurance contract timeline, were debated in a Senate committee Thursday, March 2. The hearing came more than two years after PERS announced Sanford Health Plan would become the insurance provider for its health plan members, a decision that was at the center of disagreements that extended the most recent legislative session.
BISMARCK — North Dakota voters would decide whether to allow up to six state-owned casinos under a resolution introduced at the state Legislature. House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, is the primary sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 3033, which would ask voters whether to amend the state Constitution allow the Legislature to authorize casinos. The question would go to voters in the 2018 primary election.
BISMARCK — A Fargo lawmaker is back at the state Capitol after missing the first half of the legislative session to recover from open heart surgery. Sen. Kyle Davison, R-Fargo, joined his fellow legislators Wednesday, March 1, as they reconvened from the mid-session break known as crossover. Davison, who was first elected in 2014 and represents a south Fargo district, announced in early January he would miss four to eight weeks of the session, which began Jan. 3. Davison said he was excited to be back, "but you have to take care of your family and yourself first.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers left the state Capitol for their mid-session break after passing a handful bills in a pair of morning floor sessions Thursday, Feb. 23. The House and Senate considered a combined nine bills Thursday morning, a meager slate of legislation compared with the flurry of activity that took place in the two days prior. Lawmakers were racing to pass legislation ahead of the crossover break, after which the House will consider bills passed by the Senate and vice versa.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed a handful of protest-related bills into law Thursday, Feb. 23, but they didn't become effective until after the main Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp was cleared by law enforcement.