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 — Randy Richards considers himself an optimist. After all, the farmer lives near the town of Hope in eastern North Dakota. But a flurry of trade news in recent months has Richards worried. It reached a crescendo last week, when China imposed retaliatory tariffs on a range of U.S. products, including 25 percent on soybeans, one of the crops Richards grows.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers selected longtime Legislative Council staffer John Bjornson as the office’s next director Wednesday, July 11. Bjornson has worked for Legislative Council for 30 years, spending the last two years as its legal division director. He came to the office shortly after earning his law degree from the University of North Dakota.
BISMARCK — Following last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said Wednesday, July 11, remote sellers must register and begin collecting state sales and use tax by Oct. 1.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has recommended against merging two Cabinet-level state agencies, arguing such a move wouldn't result in "meaningful" savings or operational efficiencies. In a report presented to state lawmakers Tuesday, July 10, Burgum said combining the Department of Financial Institutions and the Securities Department would "negatively impact service to citizens and businesses in our state." He cited each agency's "distinct regulatory policy objectives."
BISMARCK — A jubilant group of recreational marijuana supporters submitted an estimated 18,700 signatures to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office Monday, July 9, hours ahead of the midnight deadline to ensure the measure could appear on the November ballot. The proposal’s backers need at least 13,452 signatures to ask voters to amend state law. Jaeger has 35 days to review the signatures.
BISMARCK — With President Donald Trump preparing to name his second nominee to the nation's highest court, North Dakota may look to dust off an 11-year-old law banning most abortions. Officials on both sides of the abortion debate see Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement as an opportunity for Trump to solidify a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court that could undercut Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
BISMARCK — China slapped tariffs on American goods early Friday, July 6, ramping up concerns over international trade in North Dakota. The penalties came in response to $34 billion worth of tariffs the Trump administration placed on Chinese products. The New York Times reported that China's list included soybeans, a major North Dakota export. After months of threats between the two countries, Friday's tariffs are the first to actually go into effect, said North Dakota Trade Office Executive Director Simon Wilson. "We are in a trade war," he said.
BISMARCK — Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment seeking to ensure only U.S. citizens can vote in North Dakota elections submitted nearly 36,000 petition signatures Friday, July 6. Gary Emineth, a former state Republican Party chairman who's running for a state Senate seat in Bismarck this year, is leading the charge to alter the North Dakota Constitution. He arrived at Secretary of State Al Jaeger's office with 35,883 signatures a few days ahead of the deadline to gather 26,904 of them to get the question on the November ballot.
BISMARCK — The campaigns for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer this week confirmed dates for two more October debates as the race for one of North Dakota's U.S. Senate seats heats up. In addition to the previously announced Oct. 18 debate arranged by the North Dakota Newspaper Association in Bismarck, the two candidates will face off Oct. 5 in a Prairie Public/AARP debate in Fargo, Heitkamp's campaign said. They'll meet again Oct. 26 for a North Dakota Broadcasters Association debate, also in Fargo.
BISMARCK — After an audit alleged problems with his use of state airplanes, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s office plans to inform the state Department of Transportation about the “business purpose” of those trips, his spokesman said Friday, June 29. The change won’t mean the DOT could veto trips, Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said, but the move could add more transparency to the process.