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 state legislator was injured in a Grand Forks County crash Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 6, but a Republican Party leader said he is "OK." State Rep. Andrew Maragos, R-Minot, was driving a Buick sedan east on U.S. Highway 2 when Travis Holt, a 33-year-old Grand Forks man, crossed in front of him to enter a driveway. Maragos struck the right side of Holt's Ford SUV and both vehicles went into the south ditch 2½ miles northeast of Larimore, N.D.
BISMARCK — North Dakota voters may decide in November whether to raise the state's oil extraction tax and reverse a central piece of the overhaul state lawmakers passed nearly three years ago. A ballot measure that would boost the oil extraction tax from 5 percent to its previous rate of 6.5 percent is in the works. The Republican-led Legislature in 2015 lowered the tax and eliminated price-based tax breaks known as triggers in an effort to make North Dakota's tax revenues more predictable.
BISMARCK—Incumbent Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer holds a significant fundraising advantage over his Democratic challenger, former state lawmaker Ben Hanson, new campaign finance records show. Cramer raised $204,285 in the last three months of 2017, and he reported $879,789.51 in contributions this election cycle. He had $951,767.32 in cash on hand at the end of the reporting period, according to Federal Election Commission records.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Industrial Commission directed the Attorney General's Office to retain outside counsel Monday, Feb. 5, to defend against a lawsuit challenging a new law aimed at clarifying mineral ownership under Lake Sakakawea. The direction was given after the three-member commission, chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum, met behind closed doors in executive session. Burgum's spokesman Mike Nowatzki didn't offer a rationale for seeking the outside help.
BISMARCK — Longtime North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem will seek re-election this year, he said Monday, Feb. 5. Stenehjem, a Republican and former state lawmaker who was first elected as the state’s attorney general in 2000, touted efforts to fight “federal government overreach,” drug dealing, and human trafficking while protecting consumers from fraud.
BISMARCK—The number of North Dakota kids receiving an education at home has more than doubled in less than a decade, following efforts by state lawmakers to reduce barriers on the practice. There were 3,025 home-schooled children in North Dakota last year, according to a recent report from the state Department of Public Instruction, up from the 1,470 in the 2008 school year. But state Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said the actual number of home-schooled kids is likely higher, given some blind spots in the data.
BISMARCK — Calling himself a “stronger candidate” to face Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp this year, Republican Gary Emineth said Wednesday, Jan. 31, he would jump in the U.S. Senate race. "I am in,” the Bismarck businessman and former state Republican Party chairman said in a text message to a Forum News Service reporter.
BISMARCK — Tribal, state and federal officials convened a two-day conference on improving relations between their governments Tuesday, Jan. 30, nearly a year after the main Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp was cleared. The conference, dubbed "Strengthening Government to Government Partnerships and Relationships," opened to an packed meeting room at the Ramada hotel in Bismarck.
BISMARCK—North Dakota environmental regulators expect to decide whether to issue an air quality permit to an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in a couple of months after receiving thousands of public comments that mostly opposed the project through the Friday, Jan. 26, deadline. The state Department of Health received roughly 11,000 comments by email on the Davis Refinery, although a "vast majority" say the same thing, said Terry O'Clair, the director of the department's air quality division.
BISMARCK—In the opening pages of the new biography of Gary Tharaldson, the North Dakotan whose name was synonymous with business success faces failure. "I'm going to have to declare bankruptcy," he told the chief operating officer of Tharaldson Hospitality Management in 2012, according to the new book written by Patrick McCloskey and published by University of Mary Press.