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.
- Member for
- 5 years 10 months
BISMARCK — The number of students learning English as a second language in North Dakota schools has grown steadily in recent years, topping 4,100 this month, according to data presented to state lawmakers Thursday, July 19. Lodee Arnold, the state Department of Public Instruction's English learner program administrator, said the oil boom in western North Dakota helped drive statewide figures higher. In 2011-12, there were 3,634 English learners, according to her presentation, which dropped to 3,239 the next year before climbing to 3,885 in January.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health plans to help replace diesel-powered vehicles using part of its $8.1 million piece of the Volkswagen settlement pie, a department official said Tuesday, July 17. The department opened a 45-day comment period on its draft plan for the funding Tuesday. Keith Hinnenkamp, an environmental scientist with the department, said it's possible they could start accepting applications later this fall.
BISMARCK — A new report called the North Dakota Mill and Elevator's gain-sharing program "financially feasible" more than a year after state lawmakers considered eliminating the employee bonus amid widespread budget cuts. The Eide Bailly report laid out three scenarios in which the program was responsible for annual earnings increases of between $2.5 million and $5.9 million, well above its average yearly expense of $1.7 million. It warned cutting it could lead to lower productivity and morale as well as higher turnover costs.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers selected longtime Legislative Council staffer John Bjornson as the office’s next director Wednesday, July 11. Bjornson has worked for Legislative Council for 30 years, spending the last two years as its legal division director. He came to the office shortly after earning his law degree from the University of North Dakota.
BISMARCK — Following last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said Wednesday, July 11, remote sellers must register and begin collecting state sales and use tax by Oct. 1.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has recommended against merging two Cabinet-level state agencies, arguing such a move wouldn't result in "meaningful" savings or operational efficiencies. In a report presented to state lawmakers Tuesday, July 10, Burgum said combining the Department of Financial Institutions and the Securities Department would "negatively impact service to citizens and businesses in our state." He cited each agency's "distinct regulatory policy objectives."
BISMARCK — A jubilant group of recreational marijuana supporters submitted an estimated 18,700 signatures to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office Monday, July 9, hours ahead of the midnight deadline to ensure the measure could appear on the November ballot. The proposal’s backers need at least 13,452 signatures to ask voters to amend state law. Jaeger has 35 days to review the signatures.
BISMARCK — China slapped tariffs on American goods early Friday, July 6, ramping up concerns over international trade in North Dakota. The penalties came in response to $34 billion worth of tariffs the Trump administration placed on Chinese products. The New York Times reported that China's list included soybeans, a major North Dakota export. After months of threats between the two countries, Friday's tariffs are the first to actually go into effect, said North Dakota Trade Office Executive Director Simon Wilson. "We are in a trade war," he said.
BISMARCK — Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment seeking to ensure only U.S. citizens can vote in North Dakota elections submitted nearly 36,000 petition signatures Friday, July 6. Gary Emineth, a former state Republican Party chairman who's running for a state Senate seat in Bismarck this year, is leading the charge to alter the North Dakota Constitution. He arrived at Secretary of State Al Jaeger's office with 35,883 signatures a few days ahead of the deadline to gather 26,904 of them to get the question on the November ballot.
BISMARCK — The campaigns for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer this week confirmed dates for two more October debates as the race for one of North Dakota's U.S. Senate seats heats up. In addition to the previously announced Oct. 18 debate arranged by the North Dakota Newspaper Association in Bismarck, the two candidates will face off Oct. 5 in a Prairie Public/AARP debate in Fargo, Heitkamp's campaign said. They'll meet again Oct. 26 for a North Dakota Broadcasters Association debate, also in Fargo.