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 — A North Dakota Republican official condemned a lawmaker from his own party and district for sponsoring a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, a proposal that House lawmakers again rejected Monday, Feb. 18.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Senate defeated a bill Monday, Feb 18, that a spokesman for the Fargo-Moorhead diversion of the Red River called a "backhanded attempt" to stop the massive flood control project.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Senate leaders unveiled a proposal expanding the State Board of Higher Education by three members Wednesday, Feb. 13, a move taken one day after the House rejected Gov. Doug Burgum's bid to split the system into two panels. Republican and Democratic leaders plan to introduce a resolution asking voters in 2020 to amend the state's constitution to increase the higher education board's membership to 11, said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, who shared a copy of the resolution with reporters Wednesday.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota House passed a pair of bills allowing for sealing criminal records for DUIs and other offenses Wednesday, Feb. 13, in what lawmakers pitched as an effort to give offenders a second chance in society. House Bill 1256 would allow offenders to petition a court to seal their record after staying out of trouble for a few years. The bill's primary sponsor, Fargo Republican Rep. Shannon Roers Jones, said she intended for the bill not to apply to non-violent and non-sexual offenses.
BISMARCK — North Dakota utility regulators have proposed eliminating rules that prevent energy facilities from being built on "prime and unique farmland" after debating whether a proposed solar farm in Cass County would fall under the regulations.
BISMARCK -- North Dakota House lawmakers approved a bill prohibiting law enforcement from using checkpoints to catch drunk drivers Tuesday, Feb. 12. House Bill 1442 would require police to have "reasonable suspicion" for halting a driver, according to its primary sponsor, Bismarck Republican Rep. Rick Becker. He argued checkpoints are an ineffective tool for catching violators. The bill does not apply to inspections or safety checkpoints for commercial motor vehicles. The bill passed in a 79-14 vote and now moves to the Senate for consideration.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota House overwhelmingly defeated a bill outlining a new higher education governance structure Tuesday, Feb. 12, in a rebuke to a task force formed by Gov. Doug Burgum that recommended drastic changes to the existing model. House Bill 1500 failed in a 74-19 vote. The legislation was contingent on voters approving a constitutional amendment that had not yet been introduced in the Legislature.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota House committee reopened a longstanding debate over banning discrimination based on sexual orientation Monday, Feb. 11, with some LGBT advocates raising objections over the exclusion of transgender people from the proposed protections. House Bill 1441, championed by Fargo Republican Rep. Mary Johnson, largely mirrors failed legislation from 2017. But it doesn’t include gender identity in the definition of sexual orientation, attracting opposition from the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, which has supported past efforts.
BISMARCK — A top staffer in Gov. Doug Burgum's office is retiring at the end of June, his office announced Monday, Feb. 11. Jodi Uecker, Burgum's chief operating officer, will help lead a search for her successor. Uecker worked at Burgum's Great Plains Software and followed him to Microsoft when Great Plains was sold to the technology giant in 2001. She also chaired his transition team when he was elected as a Republican in 2016.
BISMARCK — North Dakota’s top House Republican said Monday, Feb. 11, said Senate-approved bill meant to address the effects of a federal government shutdown isn’t a high priority as another funding lapse looms. House Majority Leader Chet Pollert, R-Carrington, cited the heavy workload facing state lawmakers as they rush toward a mid-session break. Each legislative chamber generally must send bills across the hall for consideration by Feb. 22. The House was scheduled to meet on the floor for an extended three-hour session Monday afternoon.