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 — Libertarian Roland Riemers won't appear on the November ballot for North Dakota Secretary of State after falling short of the 300-vote threshold during this month's primary election, the office's current occupant said Friday, June 22. Riemers, a frequent candidate for political office from Grand Forks, asked for a recount after receiving just 247 votes across the state during the June 12 primary. But incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger, a Republican, said that's not possible because Riemers was unopposed. "There's nothing to recount," Jaeger said.
BISMARCK — North Dakota could see millions of dollars in new revenue after the U.S. Supreme Court said Thursday, June 21, that states can require out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax. The 5-4 decision overruled a 1992 ruling in a case that originated in North Dakota. In Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, justices said the state couldn't compel the mail-order catalog business to collect sales tax.
BISMARCK — A month after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door to sports betting across the country, North Dakota officials are still assessing their options. State lawmakers may take a crack at the issue when they meet again early next year, but it's unclear how much support sports gambling will have in the Legislature, which is currently dominated by Republicans. Just last year, lawmakers rejected the idea of casinos outside Native American reservations but approved electronic pull tabs.
BISMARCK — The head of the organization representing Minnesota tribal gaming interests downplayed the potential benefits of sports betting this week, a month after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to legalize the operations. But John McCarthy, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, said they're still studying the issue. "The proponents of sports betting are touting it as a panacea, this is the end-all of state budget woes," he said Tuesday, June 12. "That isn't the case. Sports betting (has) somewhat of a limited profit margin."
BISMARCK — North Dakota utility regulators approved a $25,000 fine against CenturyLink Wednesday, June 13, after the telecommunications company violated the state's One Call law a whopping 25,701 times in less than five months.
BISMARCK — Heidi Heitkamp and Kevin Cramer edged closer to their U.S. Senate showdown as the two advanced past the primary election Tuesday, June 12. Heitkamp, the Democratic incumbent seeking a second term, was unopposed Tuesday. She collected 99.6 percent of the vote with 397 of 424 or 94 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results from the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office.
BISMARCK — A federal appeals court has denied the state of North Dakota's request to suspend a judge's order that loosened its voter identification law. The Friday, June 8, order from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals was "based primarily on the imminent primary election," which will be held Tuesday. The denial was without prejudice, which means the state could file another motion requesting a stay later.
BISMARCK — Local leaders in north-central North Dakota have undertaken an ambitious project to protect communities across the Mouse River Basin, including Minot. North Dakota's fourth-largest city, Minot suffered extensive flood damage in 2011, as did neighboring communities like Burlington. In all, flooding caused $1 billion in damage that year throughout the valley, said Dan Jonasson, the public works director for city of Minot.
BISMARCK — As the massive diversion intended to protect Fargo-Moorhead from Red River flooding inches toward construction, numerous communities across the region have taken measures to stave off flood waters. For the past two decades, cities north of Fargo-Moorhead have built permanent structures to protect their citizens and property from floods that frequently threaten the region.
BISMARCK — North Dakota election officials aren't expecting many hiccups during next week's primary election despite changes to the state's voter identification law. Tuesday, June 12, will mark the first statewide election since state legislators passed a new voter ID law last year, which was later amended by a federal judge in an ongoing lawsuit. As of early Friday afternoon, almost 32,600 ballots had already been cast, including mail-in and absentee ballots.