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—North Dakota regulators will decide Wednesday, Jan. 10, whether to examine the new federal tax law's effect on utility rates and the prospect of customer refunds, which was raised by agency staff. In a Dec. 29 letter to Public Service Commission executive director, John Schuh, legal counsel for the PSC, noted the new law cuts the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent beginning in the 2018 tax year. He said corporate income tax is a "component of determining just and reasonable" electric and gas rates.
BISMARCK — A trial has been scheduled in the case of a Dakota Access Pipeline security firm that a North Dakota regulatory board alleged was operating in the state without a license during the monthslong protests. A five-day trial is set to begin Oct. 8 at the Burleigh County Courthouse, according to a scheduling order signed by District Judge John Grinsteiner Monday, Jan. 8.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Democrats asked for an ethics investigation Monday, Jan. 8, into a tweet from Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer's official account that discussed campaign polling, a move that the third-term congressman called "petty." The request to the Office of Congressional Ethics comes as Cramer weighs a run against Democratic incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. He expects to make a decision in the next couple of weeks.
BISMARCK — An attorney for the State Historical Society of North Dakota has acknowledged it's about $1 million short of paying a judgment awarded to a construction firm that led the expansion of the Heritage Center. Comstock Construction of Wahpeton, N.D., was awarded more than $1.4 million after a jury trial late last year that stemmed from a contract dispute with the state.
BISMARCK — Workplace deaths in North Dakota dipped to their lowest level in seven years in 2016, as Minnesota saw a spike in fatal incidents that year. North Dakota's 28 fatal injuries in 2016 were roughly in line with yearly totals before the surge in work brought on by the Bakken oil boom, according to figures released recently by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2012, workplace deaths peaked at 65.
BISMARCK—It remained unclear Thursday, Jan. 4, how U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to rescind guidance on marijuana enforcement may affect North Dakota's budding medical marijuana program, a state official said. Gov. Doug Burgum, meanwhile, said "North Dakota voters have spoken" on whether medical marijuana should be legal.
BISMARCK -- Republican state Rep. Rick Becker ruled out a run for Congress Tuesday night, Jan. 2, writing on Facebook that “there’s so much to do” in North Dakota. The announcement provides further clarity to this year’s races, as Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer considers a run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota legislator said he used a "poor choice of words" Tuesday, Jan. 2, after calling a fellow Twitter user a "libtard" Friday morning. It wasn't the first time Minot Republican Rep. Roscoe Streyle used the insult, and a Concordia College student has since launched an online petition calling for his removal from office. That petition, which is outside the formal recall process enshrined in the state Constitution, had more than 200 signatures by 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
BISMARCK—Although the 2017 North Dakota legislative session ended months ago, several new laws are scheduled to take effect Monday, Jan. 1. Presumptive probation A section of House Bill 1041 made probation the presumptive sentence for Class C felony and Class A misdemeanor offenses. The law makes exceptions for certain crimes, such as domestic violence offenses, and it allows a court to impose a prison sentence if there are "aggravating factors." Campaign finance changes
BISMARCK — As nonprofits elsewhere raise alarms that the new federal tax law may hamper charitable giving, North Dakota officials are offering more mixed reactions to the changes. Pat Berger, president and CEO of the United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area, predicted the overhaul would have a "profound effect" on charities. That echoed concerns raised by the charity's worldwide leader, who earlier this month told National Public Radio that fewer people will itemize their tax deductions because lawmakers planned to nearly double the standard deduction.