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—The release of a 15-month-old survey criticizing Mark Hagerott's leadership was politically motivated, the North Dakota University System chancellor said Friday, Sept. 22. Sitting in his office on the 10th floor of the state Capitol, Hagerott said he has made changes in response to the staff survey, which was detailed in news reports Thursday and described him as having a "militaristic" leadership style and favoring men over women. He denied the latter charge.
BISMARCK—A construction slowdown in North Dakota is likely contributing to a decline in the number of call-before-you-dig complaints, a Public Service Commission staff member said this week. The commission netted just a handful of North Dakota One Call complaints in the first few years after it began receiving them in 2009. But that quickly jumped to 47 and 48 in 2014 and 2015, respectively, before dropping to just 18 last year and six so far this year, according to Victor Schock, public utility analyst for the commission.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's first lady hopes to spark a "grassroots campaign" with the launch of a new conference on addiction next week. "We thought it would be a great way for us to start down the path of helping to reduce the shame and stigma surrounding addiction," said Kathryn Helgaas Burgum, the wife of Gov. Doug Burgum.
BISMARCK—The chairman of the North Dakota higher education board said Thursday, Sept. 21, that board leadership stands by University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott after the release of a 2016 staff survey that described him as a "militaristic" and "controlling" leader who treats men with more respect than women.
BISMARCK—Xcel Energy is proposing a five-mile electric transmission line in the Fargo area, according to documents filed with the North Dakota Public Service Commission. The three-member commission voted Wednesday, Sept. 20, to issue a notice of opportunity for a hearing on the utility's request for certificate of public convenience and necessity. The 115-kilovolt line would run between Xcel's substations in Fargo and Reed Township. The company said the line would improve electric service reliability in Fargo.
BISMARCK — North Dakota regulators approved a settlement with the developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline Wednesday Sept. 20, over allegations it failed to given adequate notice when it rerouted the oil pipeline. The settlement with Dakota Access, LLC, which also addresses other allegations, doesn't include a fine. But Public Service Commission members said the deal's requirements will cost the company more than a $15,000 settlement they offered last month.
BISMARCK—Gov. Doug Burgum signaled support for the latest Republican health care reform effort this week. A letter Burgum signed with 14 other Republican governors and sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday, Sept. 19, called "adequately funded block grants to the states, along with maximum flexibility and control" the "best option on the table."
BISMARCK—For the first time in two years, North Dakota's taxable sales and purchases increased over the same three-month period from a year before, Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said Tuesday, Sept. 19. Taxable sales and purchases for the second quarter of 2017 were $4.69 billion, up 6.8 percent over the same quarter in 2016. The state saw consistent drops since early 2015, including a 33.2 percent decline in the first quarter of 2016.
BISMARCK — The latest health care reform effort from congressional Republicans is again causing a split between North Dakota's senators. The effort, led by Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, comes after other attempts to remake the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, failed this summer.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Emergency Commission will consider a $5 million request to pay expenses related to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests Monday, Sept. 25. The Office of the Adjutant General requested increased spending authority to accept a $5 million loan from the Bank of North Dakota, according to a meeting agenda. That boosts the estimated cost of the monthslong protests to the state and Morton County to $43 million, according to Department of Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong.