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—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed legislation creating a two-year pilot program for the state takeover of county social services costs Wednesday, April 26. The bill suspends county authority to levy for human services and provides payments to counties based on a formula that uses social services caseload figures and expenses. The bill eliminates the 12 percent property buydown.
BISMARCK— North Dakota lawmakers stumbled toward the session’s finish line Wednesday, April 26, after disagreements arose over public employee health insurance and the elimination of a specific position in the state auditor’s office. Although legislative leaders had hoped to wrap up their work by Wednesday, lawmakers adjourned until Thursday morning with a handful of bills left in play.
BISMARCK — North Dakota legislative leaders appeared ready to compromise on two major sticking points in the waning days of the legislative session, opening the door for lawmakers to complete their work as early as Wednesday evening. Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, said Tuesday, April 25 there had been some "movement toward the middle" on a proposal to have the Public Employees Retirement System self-fund its health insurance plan, as well as a resolution on Dickinson State University funding "that we can live with."
BISMARCK — A budget bill hit a snag late in the session at the North Dakota Legislature Monday, April 24, although a legislative leader said they’re working to find a compromise to wrap up the session. The Senate passed the bill funding the Office of Management and Budget in a 43-3 vote Monday afternoon. But word came quickly that the House wouldn't accept the legislation. "They wouldn't take it," said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota House approved a pilot program for the state takeover of county social services costs Monday, April 24, sending what lawmakers called "property tax relief and reform" legislation to Gov. Doug Burgum. Legislators passed Senate Bill 2206 in a 75-15 vote after the Senate approved it Friday.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed legislation amending the state's voter identification laws Monday, April 24, despite warnings it doesn't comply with a federal judge's ruling. Burgum signed House Bill 1369, his spokesman Mike Nowatzki said. It comes amid a federal lawsuit challenging changes made by the Republican-led Legislature in the past two sessions.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed legislation aimed at protecting confidential informants used by law enforcement Monday, April 24. House Bill 1221 was inspired by the case of Andrew Sadek, a North Dakota State College of Science student who was found dead after working undercover for police to receive a reduced sentence for a drug charge. Although an autopsy was inconclusive, his parents maintain he was murdered due to his work as a confidential informant.
BISMARCK — House Republicans proposed more than six pages of amendments to the budget bill for the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System on Friday, April 21, a few days before lawmakers hope to wrap up the 2017 legislative session. The amendments, proposed during a conference committee between House and Senate lawmakers, would require the PERS Board to establish a self-insurance plan for hospital, medical and prescription drug benefits, an idea the Senate unanimously rejected this session. The plan would be effective in mid-2019.
BISMARCK — A bill prompted by controversy over prayers during high school football playoffs is on its way to Gov. Doug Burgum. The final form of the bill was described as a compromise by its primary sponsor, Rep. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo. Originally, it prevented the North Dakota High School Activities Association or any other entity from prohibiting parochial or private schools from offering prayer before a school-sanctioned athletic activity held on its premises.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers are nearing the end of the 2017 session, but that finale won’t come until next week after legislative leaders said Thursday, April 20, they won’t work Saturday to complete their remaining bills. Lawmakers have been pushing to end the session before reaching their constitutional limit of 80 days. Thursday marked the 72nd legislative day.