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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FARGO—Red River flooding has been a constant threat throughout the history of Fargo-Moorhead. Some of the cities' earliest residents have been photographed paddling boats as homes were knocked off of their foundations. And in the decades since, the cities have taken various measures to beat back the sleepy river that swells with the melting snow. Today, the stakes are higher. Almost 240,000 people call the Fargo-Moorhead metro area home, and the two cities form the region's economic engine.
FARGO—A picnic area now occupies the spot where Earl Pomeroy's childhood home once stood before it fell victim to flooding. From there, he can view the "tranquil Sheyenne River and realize it's not tranquil all the time," the Valley City native and former North Dakota congressman said. Pomeroy's experience is not a unique one in a state that faces seemingly annual threats from springtime flooding. The three former members of the North Dakota delegation, all Democrats who had long tenures in Congress, remember responding to the disasters as part of the job description.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota legislative leader hopes to make a final decision "sooner rather than later" on whether to challenge Gov. Doug Burgum's vetoes in court. Legislative Management, a powerful interim committee, voted unanimously Wednesday, June 21, to proceed with litigation, and staffers are now preparing additional information and recommendations. Committee Chairman Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, said lawmakers would vote again before any legal challenge is filed, but he wasn't sure when that would happen.
BISMARCK—Citing an "escalating threat" to farmers and ranchers, Gov. Doug Burgum declared a drought emergency Thursday, June 22, that reactivates a water supply assistance program. Burgum signed an executive order declaring a drought emergency for 15 counties in an extreme drought and 11 counties adjacent to them, his office said Thursday night. Producers in those counties are eligible for the state's Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Project Assistance Program.
BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum announced plans Thursday, June 22, to open applications for the State Water Commission after accepting the current members' "statutorily triggered resignations." Burgum, a first-term Republican governor, made the announcement at the end of a marathon meeting Thursday. State law indicates all seven appointed members are considered to have resigned at the beginning of the governor's four-year term, his office said in a news release.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota insurance commissioner urged a California official this week to cease an initiative that calls for insurance companies to divest from coal. Jon Godfread, a Republican, sent the letter with officials from five other states to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Wednesday, June 21, according to a news release.
BISMARCK—North Dakota legislators set the groundwork Wednesday, June 21, to take Gov. Doug Burgum to court over vetoes they worry may erode their authority to write laws. Legislative Management voted unanimously to proceed with litigation, but another vote will take place before any lawsuit is filed, said Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, who chairs the panel. Still, the move signals a looming battle between two branches of state government could soon play out in front of the Supreme Court.
BISMARCK—Two-hundred state employees applied for a buyout in recent weeks, North Dakota budget officials said Wednesday, Jun 21. The results of the "voluntary separation incentive program" were announced during a meeting of the Legislature's Budget Section at the state Capitol. Pam Sharp, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said 158 of the 200 applicants for the program were accepted.
BISMARCK—Opponents of a hog farm near Buffalo, N.D., will take their case to the state's highest court Thursday, June 22. The case stems from the North Dakota Department of Health's August 2016 decision to grant a permit to Rolling Green Family Farms for a 9,000-swine factory farm to be built in rural Cass County, about 40 miles west of Fargo. A district court judge affirmed the agency's decision in March, prompting the appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court. Arguments are set to begin at 2:45 p.m. Thursday.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem urged federal regulators this week to define "waters of the United States" in a way that preserves the states' roles in protecting water. The Republican signed a letter with 19 other attorneys general that was sent to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt Monday, June 19. The EPA is reviewing the Waters of the United States rule, an Obama-era regulation that sought to clarify which small waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act.