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 — The superintendent of Ellendale's public school chuckled when asked about the challenges recruiting and retaining teachers there, a community of about 1,300 near the South Dakota border. "It's difficult, yes," Jeff Fastnacht said. He and other North Dakota education leaders are hopeful a revamped student loan forgiveness program will help alleviate teacher shortages in rural areas. About $2.1 million is available for the effort in the current two-year budget cycle, and state officials expect to begin accepting applications early next year.
BISMARCK—The head of the State Historical Society of North Dakota declined to say Thursday, Nov. 16, whether the agency planned to appeal a jury verdict awarding almost $1.4 million to the firm that built the Heritage Center expansion. But the Historical Society may not have the funding to pay that sum.
BISMARCK — Federal tax credits continue to boost wind energy development in North Dakota, utility regulators said after advancing four such projects Thursday, Nov. 16. The three-member Public Service Commission's meeting agenda was dominated by wind energy projects. By a unanimous vote, the commission:
BISMARCK -- North Dakota lawmakers will review their policy prohibiting sexual harassment next month amid a flurry of such accusations in media, entertainment and political circles, a legislative leader said Thursday, Nov. 16. The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee will examine the policy at its Dec. 6 meeting at the state Capitol, said House Majority Leader Al Carlson, a Fargo Republican who chairs the panel.
BISMARCK — A jury awarded a Wahpeton, N.D., construction firm nearly $1.4 million Wednesday, Nov. 15, after finding that the State Historical Society of North Dakota breached its contract to expand the Heritage Center. The verdict capped a seven-day trial at the Burleigh County Courthouse over the museum's recent $51.7 million, 97,000-square-foot expansion adjacent to the state Capitol in Bismarck. The jury found that the historical society failed to pay the balance of the contract and for extra work to Comstock Construction, the project's general contractor.
BISMARCK — A group representing North Dakota county governments is urging against cutting a popular tax deduction as congressional lawmakers inch closer to voting on an overhaul of the nation's tax code. The state and local tax deduction, or SALT, has emerged as a key difference between the Republican House and Senate tax plans. The Senate bill would do away with the deduction, while the House plan would still allow for a property tax deduction of up to $10,000, according to the Washington Post.
BISMARCK — Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore should bow out of the race amid mounting accusations of sexual misconduct, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Tuesday, Nov. 14. But Hoeven declined to comment on a top Republican campaign official's call for Moore to be booted from the Senate if he wins the election next month. "I believe Roy Moore should step aside but the people of Alabama will ultimately make the decision," Hoeven said in a statement. "I'm not going to speculate beyond that as the election hasn't occurred yet."
BISMARCK — A federal judge has ruled against a national pharmaceutical group that sued the state of North Dakota over two new laws passed by the Legislature earlier this year. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland denied the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association's request for a preliminary injunction Tuesday, Nov. 7. He said the group, which represents third-party administrators known as pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs, had "not met its burden for establishing the necessity" of such a move.
BISMARCK — An open house is planned at the current North Dakota governor's residence next week, the final public showing before the home is demolished. The open house will run from 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the residence, located on the southwest corner of the Capitol grounds, Gov. Doug Burgum's office said. The 10,000-square-foot residence has housed nine first families since it was completed in 1960.
BISMARCK—A state board voted to suspend a former West Fargo teacher's license for five years Thursday, Nov. 9, after allegations surfaced this year that she was partying with students and had alcohol in her classroom. The North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board's unanimous decision came after more than 40 minutes of discussion on the appropriate penalty for former Sheyenne High School teacher Elizabeth Doster's conduct. The board narrowly rejected a more lenient punishment that would have allowed Doster to reapply for her license after three years.