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 retired farmer from Max, N.D., hopes voters will send a "thank-you note" to volunteer emergency responders by passing his ballot measure allowing them to apply for red personalized vehicle plates. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Monday, Aug. 13, that the effort led by Norval Semchenko garnered 15,039 valid signatures, about 1,600 more than needed to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
BISMARCK — North Dakotans will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana this fall, two years after voters approved the drug’s medical use. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Monday, Aug. 13, the group pushing a ballot measure submitted 14,637 valid signatures last month, about 1,200 more than it needed to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp didn't offer a definite answer on whether she'd support President Donald Trump's $5 billion request for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico this week as her Republican challenger, Rep. Kevin Cramer, called it a "no-brainer." In a statement to the conservative online media outlet Breitbart published Thursday, Aug. 9, and later provided to Forum News Service, Heitkamp said "the devil is always in the details," adding that there's some uncertainty over the composition of the larger funding bill.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Democrats are rallying behind popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act as a key election year issue after years of being pummeled by Republicans over the Obama-era health care law.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health received 19 applications from entities seeking to become licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in two of the state's largest metro areas. Jason Wahl, the department's medical marijuana director, said Thursday, Aug. 9, they had received 11 applications for the Fargo region and eight for the Bismarck/Mandan area. The department has designated eight zones across the state for dispensaries and is staggering the application periods.
BISMARCK — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp doesn't "see a need" for a new U.S. attorney in North Dakota as long as Chris Myers stays on the job, she said in a statement issued Wednesday evening, Aug. 8. The statement puts the first-term Democrat at odds with Republican Sen. John Hoeven, who has recommended former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley to be the state's top federal prosecutor once again. Wrigley held the position from 2001 to 2009 before becoming the state's Republican lieutenant governor.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger submitted more than 1,300 signatures to his own office Thursday, Aug. 9, as the Republican incumbent mounts an independent bid for the post he's held for more than 25 years. Jaeger appeared to be on the way out after losing the Republican endorsement to Will Gardner this year. But Gardner dropped out once his 2006 peeping arrest surfaced, and Jaeger later received a "letter of support" from the state Republican Party in June.
BISMARCK — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp expects to see a nomination "fairly soon" for former U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson's successor, the North Dakota Democrat said this week. During a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 7, Heitkamp said there's a candidate being vetted for the position, but she didn't identify that person. "We expect we're going to see that nomination fairly soon," she said. "And if they nominate this person, I'll be proud to push it through as fast as I can."
BISMARCK — A North Dakota Democratic lawmaker is seeking information about the costs to protect Gov. Doug Burgum through a records request submitted Tuesday, Aug. 7. A Legislative Council attorney submitted the request on behalf of House Minority Leader Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks. The email asked for the cost of providing Highway Patrol security to the governor's office from the start of 2016 through Tuesday.
BISMARCK — North Dakota state employees are now prohibited from using cell phones while driving state fleet vehicles and other cars during work hours under a new policy that's more restrictive than current law. The state Department of Transportation policy was implemented at the beginning of July but was announced Monday, Aug. 6, as part of the state's "Vision Zero" traffic safety campaign. The policy also covers state employees using their personal vehicles while on the clock.