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 Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer dismissed sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh as "absurd" Friday, Sept. 21. In a radio interview with Jarrod Thomas of KNOX, Cramer said Christine Blasey Ford's allegations against Kavanaugh are "even more absurd" than those Anita Hill leveled against now-Justice Clarence Thomas during his confirmation process "because these people were teenagers when this supposed alleged incident took place" instead of a supervisor-subordinate relationship.
BISMARCK — A federal judge said Friday, Sept. 21, that part of North Dakota's anti-corporate farming and ranching law improperly hampers interstate commerce, but he declined to strike down the entire Depression-era statute. At the center of the dispute is North Dakota's law preventing corporations and limited liability companies from owning or leasing farm or ranch land and from "engaging in the business of farming or ranching," with some exceptions.
BISMARCK — The first votes were cast Friday, Sept. 21, in North Dakota's consequential 2018 election as military members stationed away from home and overseas voters got the first crack at the ballot. As of early Friday afternoon, Secretary of State Al Jaeger said 23 ballots had been received. The voters were located in Afghanistan, South Africa, France, Indonesia and other far-flung countries, as well as Alabama, Maryland and Virginia, Jaeger said.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer expressed skepticism about the decades-old sexual assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh Monday, Sept. 17, while Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp called for a thorough inquiry as the Supreme Court nomination battle animates the hotly contested Senate race between the two.
BISMARCK — A North Dakota legislative committee voted Thursday afternoon, Sept. 13, to reinstate the tribal and judicial addresses that are traditionally held at the beginning of the legislative session, two years after lawmakers ditched the speeches amid the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee voted unanimously to hold the two addresses during the morning of the first day of the legislative session, Jan. 3. Gov. Doug Burgum's State of the State address will be held that afternoon.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers finalized a policy against workplace harassment in the Legislature Thursday, Sept. 13, months after they called for a more formalized approach for reporting incidents amid the #MeToo movement. The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee voted unanimously to update the policy, which applies to lawmakers, legislative employees and third parties such as members of the media and lobbyists. Its definition of workplace harassment includes sexual harassment and harassment based on race, religion, age and other factors.
BISMARCK — North Dakota legislators voted to boost their pay by 2 percent in each of the next two fiscal years Thursday, Sept. 13, a move that one top lawmaker hopes will set the "tone" for future salary increases for state employees. The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee's bipartisan vote was meant to help set the branch's budget request and is subject to change.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers received a second opinion about projected tax revenues over the next few years Thursday, Sept. 13, that was similar to one they received last week. Jim Diffley, an economist for IHS Markit, a consulting firm lawmakers hired last year, presented a report that included a less optimistic outlook for sales and individual income tax revenues for the remainder of the 2017-19 biennium and the next two-year budget cycle, while projecting rosier figures for motor vehicle excise and corporate income taxes.
BISMARCK — Former President George W. Bush will headline a Texas fundraiser for North Dakota Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer's bid for Senate next week, the congressman's campaign said Wednesday, Sept. 12. Guests at the fundraiser will include former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, former Bush adviser Karl Rove and former college basketball coach Dale Brown. It'll be held Sept. 19 in Fort Worth.
BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health is accepting applications for medical marijuana dispensaries in Grand Forks and Williston regions, the agency said Wednesday, Sept. 12. Applications will be accepted until 3 p.m. Oct. 10, the department said in a news release. The two regions represent the second round of dispensary applications. A review panel will meet Friday to review and score applications for the Fargo and Bismarck/Mandan regions.