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 state of North Dakota will not enforce two new laws amid a court challenge from a national group representing pharmacy benefit managers. In an order filed late last month, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland said state officials have "provided assurances" to the plaintiff, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, that they won't enforce the laws until the court rules on the association's request for a preliminary injunction. The association withdrew its request for a temporary restraining order, the judge wrote.
BISMARCK — A top North Dakota election official said Friday, Aug. 4 they may provide some data to a controversial commission studying alleged voter fraud, but Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum cautioned it wouldn't reveal voters' candidate preferences.
BISMARCK—State officials are preparing to tear down the current North Dakota governor's residence after a search for somebody interested in preserving the 57-year-old building came up empty. Facility Management Director John Boyle said Gov. Doug Burgum will move next month into the new residence, located just north of the current home on the southwest corner of the Capitol grounds. Crews will take a couple of weeks removing hazardous materials like asbestos before demolition, which is expected to begin in early October.
BISMARCK—Discontinuing federal subsidies to health insurers established by the Affordable Care Act would upset markets and raise premiums, North Dakota's insurance commissioner warned Thursday, Aug. 3. Republican Jon Godfread's message comes amid concerns the Trump administration will cut off the subsidies, known as "cost-sharing reduction payments." The payments are intended to compensate insurers for reducing out-of-pocket costs for low-income people buying ACA marketplace plans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
BISMARCK—Eight days after a racially fueled confrontation in a Fargo parking lot, North Dakota lawmakers began examining the state's refugee resettlement program Wednesday, Aug. 2. The interim Human Services Committee's study was prompted by legislation passed earlier this year that sought an examination of various aspects of resettlement, and the committee was tasked with reviewing the impact on workforce, government services, human services, education and health care.
BISMARCK — Two North Dakota legislators plan to seek clarity from the state's attorney general on the state's permitless carry law that took effect Tuesday, Aug. 1. Rep. Todd Porter, R-Mandan, said there's some confusion over whether gun owners can carry a loaded firearm in their car under the new "constitutional carry" law. He said people shouldn't do so for now, given that he's heard that some state's attorneys and law enforcement officials have asked questions.
BISMARCK—A 19-member commission began examining North Dakota's process for initiating and referring ballot measures on Monday, July 31. Lawmakers tasked the study commission, chaired by former state Supreme Court Justice William Neumann, with reviewing the process and cost of placing measures on the ballot, and whether any part of the state Constitution or statute should be changed, among other topics. Commission members heard a presentation Monday from Secretary of State Al Jaeger on how his office handles petitions.
BISMARCK—A bevy of new North Dakota laws will become effective Tuesday, Aug. 1. Gov. Doug Burgum signed 440 bills this year, including 10 spending bills with partial vetoes. Spending bills took effect July 1. Here's a breakdown on some of the most notable legislation state lawmakers passed this year that will become effective Tuesday.
BISMARCK—As four men lined up at a Bismarck gun range, Josette Severson gave firm instructions. "Please load and make ready," she said. With the sound an electronic beep, they began firing handguns at pieces of paper a few yards away. Severson swept up shell casings that littered the floor between rounds.
BISMARCK—County transportation officials say funding remains the biggest obstacle to maintaining North Dakota's bridges 10 years after a busy Minneapolis bridge plunged into the Mississippi River. Tuesday, Aug. 1, will mark a decade since the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, which killed 13 people and prompted debate over the state of the nation's infrastructure.