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 House lawmakers voted against increased penalties for adults who supply minors with alcohol Tuesday, Feb. 14. House Bill 1422, introduced by Rep. Chuck Damschen, R-Hampden, would have made it a Class C felony for someone who's at least 21 years old to knowingly deliver alcohol to someone who's underage. Currently, it's a Class A misdemeanor. The bill failed on a 10-80 vote. Senate rejects redistricting commission study
BISMARCK—As North Dakota lawmakers approach the 2017 session's halfway point, major budget bills are approaching a floor vote. The House Appropriations Committee approved budgets for the Department of Human Services and the Department of Public Instruction Thursday, Feb. 16. State legislators are working with reduced tax revenue due to a slower economy this session, creating tighter budgets for the next two-year funding cycle.
BISMARCK — The state treasurer will remain in the North Dakota Constitution, House lawmakers decided Friday, Feb. 17. The House defeated two resolutions Friday related to the change that proponents said would make state government more efficient in lean budget times. One resolution would have allowed North Dakotans to vote in 2018 on whether to remove the treasurer as a constitutional officer and the other would have studied transferring that office's duties to other agencies.
BISMARCK — The Senate Human Services Committee gave its blessing to an amended version of the contentious medical marijuana implementation bill Thursday, Feb. 16. The committee gave a "do pass" recommendation late Thursday afternoon to Senate Bill 2344, the legislation that amends the initiated measure legalizing marijuana for medical purposes that North Dakota voters approved in November's election.
BISMARCK—Stressing the dangers of spring flooding and the need to avoid environmental damage, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum ordered the mandatory evacuation of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters Wednesday, Feb. 15.
BISMARCK — Seeking to attract a wider pool of candidates for government jobs, the North Dakota Senate passed legislation to make job applicants' records confidential until finalists are named Wednesday, Feb. 15.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers are considering capping tuition rate increases at 3 percent for resident students attending the state's universities in each of the next two years. Three members of the Senate Appropriations Committee saw proposed amendments to the higher education budget bill during a subcommittee meeting Wednesday, Feb. 15. Chairman Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, said the full Appropriations Committee may vote on the budget Friday.
BISMARCK — North Dakota senators approved a bill to create a commission to study the state's initiated and referred measure process Wednesday, Feb. 15. Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, worried that the commission would result in reducing the power of the people to place proposed laws and constitutional amendments on the ballot. Supporters have said they support the initiated measure process but are seeking potential changes to make the process is smoother. Ultimately, Senate Bill 2135 passed the Senate in a 38-8 vote.
BISMARCK—With constituents worried about quickly clearing snow from roads, a North Dakota lawmaker made an unsuccessful attempt to keep several highway maintenance shops open Tuesday, Feb. 14.
BISMARCK -- The state Senate declined to boost the speed limit on North Dakota’s interstates Tuesday, Feb. 14. Senate Bill 2057, introduced by Sen. Lonnie Laffen, R-Grand Forks, would have increased the speed limit on interstates 29 and 94 from 75 mph to 80 mph. It would have also bumped up the fines for speeding on the highway. Ultimately, the bill failed 18-28, with opponents worrying the change would make North Dakota roads less safe.