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 panel voted Tuesday, June 18 to move forward with fixes to the new governor's residence. Facility Management Director John Boyle previously said kitchen hoods weren't adequately venting food aromas and a lack of "sound absorption" in a large event space made conversation difficult.
BISMARCK — North Dakota is falling well short of an industry advisory panel's recommendation for wind power generation, though a state regulator said developers are still showing interest in the state. The EmPower Commission, which reports to the Legislature and is responsible for "developing comprehensive energy policy recommendations" for the state, issued a report a decade ago that called for boosting wind generation to 5,000 megawatts by 2020. It noted the sparsely populated state had abundant wind and land available as well as "public support for wind development."
BISMARCK — Oil production in North Dakota was steady in April and stayed just below a record set earlier this year, state regulators said Friday, June 14, while natural gas production again soared to an all-time high. The state produced 1.39 million barrels of oil per day in April, just a hair below March's average, the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources said. North Dakota, the country's No. 2 oil producer, hit a record of 1.4 million barrels per day in January.
BISMARCK — Erica Thunder took over the top job in the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights earlier this month. In a couple of weeks, she'll turn 30. Despite that relative youth, Thunder wasn't daunted by her new responsibilities. Her resume includes stints with the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, of which she is an enrolled member and where she worked as a staff attorney on contracts dwarfing the size of the Labor Department's two-year budget of under $3 million.
BISMARCK — In what one commissioner called a "historic" decision, North Dakota utility regulators denied a siting permit for a wind farm in the state's northwest corner following opposition from state and federal wildlife agencies Wednesday, June 12. Public Service Commissioners unanimously rejected NextEra Energy Resources' application for the siting permit, the first time they remembered doing so for any energy facility during their tenures. Regulators and project developers typically work out issues before a final decision is made, they said.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Republican lawmakers rejected efforts to appoint more Democrats to interim committee chairmanships Monday, June 10, as minority leadership accused a top GOP legislator of failing to live up to his commitments. Legislative Management, a panel that oversees the Republican-controlled Legislature's work between regular sessions, approved a committee structure Monday that includes one Democratic chairman. During the most recent interim period two years ago, Democrats chaired three committees.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education selected a new chairman and vice chairman Thursday, May 30. Nick Hacker, who's currently the board's vice chairman, will ascend to chairman. Board member Dr. Casey Ryan will serve as vice chairman. Both men will assume the posts in July. The appointments last for one year. Hacker is president of the North Dakota Guaranty and Title Co. in Bismarck. He holds a bachelor's degree in business from the University of North Dakota and previously served in the state Legislature.
BISMARCK — North Dakota state officials are eyeing fixes for the new, nearly $5 million governor's residence after noticing food aromas that wafted too far from the kitchen and poor acoustics in a noisy event space. Facility Management Director John Boyle said Wednesday, May 29, that hoods meant to push out the smell of meals being prepared in the lower level kitchen "just aren't doing it." He suggested they'll install upgraded venting systems to resolve the problem.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota citizen group submitted an updated petition seeking a ballot measure to protect voters' ability to amend state policies Tuesday, May 28.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers agreed to study the implications of legalizing recreational marijuana Tuesday, May 28, ahead of another expected ballot measure campaign. Legislative Management, a committee that oversees lawmakers' work between sessions, approved 46 study topics Tuesday while rejecting another nearly two dozen ideas. Some lawmakers resisted examining marijuana legalization. Bismarck Republican Rep. Lawrence Klemin worried it would give proponents a platform to campaign.