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.
- Member for
- 6 years 5 months
BISMARCK -- The North Dakota House rejected a bill backed by Democratic lawmakers on Thursday, Jan. 31, that sought to allow the state's college students to use university-issued identification to vote. House Bill 1479 would have required colleges and universities to provide students with an identification card that could be scanned by a polling clerk to access their address in the state's central voter file. It failed in a 78-13 vote that almost entirely fell along party lines. Rep. Matt Eidson, D-Grand Forks, was the bill's primary sponsor.
BISMARCK — North Dakota House lawmakers agreed to outlaw an abortion procedure that’s commonly performed in the second trimester of a pregnancy Thursday, Jan. 31, but included a contingent effective date that recognizes its uncertain legal future. House Bill 1546 imposes Class C felony charges on people who perform a “human dismemberment abortion,” except in the case of a medical emergency. It passed the Republican-controlled House in a 78-13 vote, sending the bill to the Senate.
BISMARCK — Freshly formed North Dakota legislative committees began dissecting new ethics rules voters recently carved into the state constitution Wednesday, Jan. 30. Lawmakers wrestled with legal definitions, discussed a new ethics commission’s rule-making powers and weighed the confidentiality of ethics complaints. The chairmen of the House and Senate committees predicted it’ll take several more meetings to iron out legislation implementing the new constitutional language.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Senate easily passed legislation Tuesday, Jan. 29, mandating the state-owned bank to guarantee loans made by financial institutions to federal workers in the state who are affected by a government shutdown. The emergency measure now moves to House after it sailed through the Senate in a 41-4 vote. It requires the Bank of North Dakota to implement the loan guarantee program during and for 30 days after a federal shutdown.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Senate agreed to impose new fees on owners of electric and hybrid vehicles Tuesday, Jan. 29, a move proponents pitched as a way to balance the scales with traditional gas guzzlers that pay for road projects through fuel taxes. The 26-19 vote sends Senate Bill 2061 to the House. It would impose an annual “road use fee” of $110 for electric vehicles and $50 for hybrids.
BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Department of Health said Tuesday, Jan. 29, that it is accepting medical marijuana dispensary applications for proposed operations in the Devils Lake, Dickinson, Jamestown and Minot regions. The four regions represent the third and final open application period for dispensaries. Applications will be accepted until 3 p.m., Feb. 26, and a $5,000 nonrefundable application fee is required.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota Senate committee scrutinized two bills requiring drug tests for school board members and school employees Tuesday, Jan. 29, proposals that critics warned would be costly, unnecessary and unconstitutional. West Fargo Republican Sen. David Clemens, the chief backer of the bill requiring random drug tests for public school employees, said it was meant as a “safeguard to eliminate drugs from our schools.” He said his work on the Senate Human Services Committee has exposed him to substance abuse issues among the state’s youth.
BISMARCK — The head of a state-funded gambling addiction program implored North Dakota lawmakers to set aside money for treatment and prevention if they follow a national trend and expand betting options to sporting events Monday, Jan. 28. The House Judiciary Committee considered two nearly identical bills allowing charitable gaming organizations to offer sports betting Monday, the first time lawmakers debated the legislation since the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for states to legalize athletic gambling last year.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota House easily passed a contentious bill requiring physicians to inform women that they could reverse drug-induced abortions, Monday, Jan. 28, a claim opponents have said isn’t supported by science. The 73-16 vote sends House Bill 1336 to the Senate. Supporters said it would give women more information about having an abortion and their options if they change their mind, but opponents maintain it would intrude upon the doctor-patient relationship.
BISMARCK -- Heidi Heitkamp has joined the board of a Washington, D.C.-based think tank named after former U.S. Sen. John McCain, the organization announced Monday, Jan. 28. Heitkamp, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, will serve on the board of Arizona State University's McCain Institute, which was founded in 2012 as a nonpartisan organization aimed at "advancing character-driven leadership and civic engagement in the U.S. and abroad." Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Republican senator, is the institute's chairwoman.