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, N.D.—North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, on Friday, Jan. 12, asked the state Supreme Court to reject arguments from lawmakers who challenged Gov. Doug Burgum's vetoes, arguing that two bills passed last year give too much power to a subset of the Legislature.
BISMARCK—Gov. Doug Burgum convened the first meeting of the Task Force for Higher Education Governance Friday, Jan. 12, urging a forward-looking approach in a university culture that's often steeped in tradition. The task force, created through an executive order in November, will examine the state's higher education governance structure. Burgum has traced the current structure to a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1938 that created the State Board of Higher Education.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak didn't rule out a run against Sen. Heidi Heitkamp Friday, Jan. 12, but said it's "very unlikely" she'd try to unseat the Democratic incumbent this year. Meanwhile, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said he's not running for the U.S. Senate and will likely run for re-election instead.
BISMARCK -- Rick Berg, the former North Dakota Republican congressman from Fargo who lost a tight race to Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in 2012, won’t seek a rematch this year, he said Thursday, Jan. 11. Berg’s announcement came the same day Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer said he would seek re-election to the U.S. House, declining a run against North Dakota’s only Democrat elected to statewide office.
BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Department of Health unveiled eight regions for medical marijuana dispensaries that cover much of the state Thursday, Jan. 11. Each region consists of a 50-mile radius around eight cities: Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, Williston, Dickinson, Jamestown and Devils Lake. State law allows the health department to register up to eight dispensaries.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Department of Trust Lands continues to address problems identified in state audits released almost two years ago, the agency's new leader told legislators Wednesday, Jan. 10. Land Commissioner Jodi Smith, who took over late last year, updated the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee on the department's progress, but said many issues will require technology upgrades.
BISMARCK—North Dakota regulators ordered an investigation into how recently passed tax cuts will affect electric and gas utilities Wednesday, Jan. 10. The Public Service Commission also asked for information about the impact of federal tax reform by Feb. 15 from Great Plains Natural Gas Co., Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., Xcel Energy and Otter Tail Power Co. The investigation was prompted by a cut in corporate income tax rates, as that tax is one factor in determining electric and gas rates.
BISMARCK—North Dakota regulators will decide Wednesday, Jan. 10, whether to examine the new federal tax law's effect on utility rates and the prospect of customer refunds, which was raised by agency staff. In a Dec. 29 letter to Public Service Commission executive director, John Schuh, legal counsel for the PSC, noted the new law cuts the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent beginning in the 2018 tax year. He said corporate income tax is a "component of determining just and reasonable" electric and gas rates.
BISMARCK — A trial has been scheduled in the case of a Dakota Access Pipeline security firm that a North Dakota regulatory board alleged was operating in the state without a license during the monthslong protests. A five-day trial is set to begin Oct. 8 at the Burleigh County Courthouse, according to a scheduling order signed by District Judge John Grinsteiner Monday, Jan. 8.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Democrats asked for an ethics investigation Monday, Jan. 8, into a tweet from Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer's official account that discussed campaign polling, a move that the third-term congressman called "petty." The request to the Office of Congressional Ethics comes as Cramer weighs a run against Democratic incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. He expects to make a decision in the next couple of weeks.