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—Amid fears of a looming trade war with China and efforts to adjust the agreement linking North American economies, Simon Wilson settled into his new role as head of the North Dakota Trade Office last month. "It's been a whirlwind," he said in an interview this week. "But for me, it's a lot of opportunity ... There's a lot of need for kind of that advocacy."
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Industrial Commission approved a $24.7 million rail and grain storage expansion project for the state Mill and Elevator in Grand Forks Tuesday, April 17. The project includes the addition of about 18,000 feet of track near the state-owned mill and the construction of four 250,000-bushel grain bins. Vance Taylor, the mill's president and general manager, said the project would be paid for using funds generated by mill profits.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum called his White House meeting with President Donald Trump "super productive" as he and other leaders from agriculture states discussed the administration's trade policies. In an interview after the meeting, Burgum said "the playing field has not been level" and people shouldn't overreact to any particular proposal. "We're watching a negotiation take place in real time," he said.
BISMARCK—The nation's highest court said Monday, Jan. 22, that legal challenges to the so-called Waters of the U.S. rule fall under federal district court jurisdiction, a decision welcomed by North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. In an interview with Reuters this month, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt disclosed plans to rewrite the Obama-era rule intended to clarify which water bodies are covered by the Clean Water Act. It has been derided as a case of federal overreach into negligible waterways.
BISMARCK—The state of North Dakota will appeal a federal judge's recent ruling preventing it from implementing a new law that supporters dubbed a "farm equipment dealer bill of rights." A notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit was filed by the state's attorneys Friday, Jan. 12. The state seeks to challenge U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland's Dec. 14 order issuing a preliminary injunction, which he said will preserve the status quo while the case is pending.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota Department of Trust Lands continues to address problems identified in state audits released almost two years ago, the agency's new leader told legislators Wednesday, Jan. 10. Land Commissioner Jodi Smith, who took over late last year, updated the Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee on the department's progress, but said many issues will require technology upgrades.
HARVEY, N.D. — Civic leaders in this central North Dakota town expect Canadian Pacific's decision to pull dozens of jobs out of the area to have sweeping effects on a local economy that's become intertwined with the railroad since it sprung up along the tracks more than a century ago. The company plans to decommission its Harvey terminal on or after March 15. About 12 of the 73 train and engine positions based in Harvey will remain after the change, but mechanical, engineering, signals and communications positions won't be affected, a company spokesman said.
NEAR BOWDON, N.D.—Kathy Holtan Wilner is known as "The School Lady." It's a nickname that's well-earned. Over the past several years, she embarked on a quest to find one-room schoolhouses where countless North Dakotans were educated. Using atlases, public records and the help of strangers, she documented roughly 500 of them. "We found them everywhere," Wilner said. "I could tell you stories for hours. Pick a school."
BISMARCK — A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Thursday, Dec. 14, preventing the state of North Dakota from enforcing a new law dubbed by supporters as a "farm equipment dealer bill of rights." U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland said "common sense dictates that the law cannot stand constitutional muster" because it applies retroactively, prohibits arbitration clauses in contracts and conflicts with previous decisions involving similar legislation. He said Senate Bill 2289 can't be enforced in order to preserve the status quo while the case is pending.
BISMARCK—North Dakota's tax commissioner said Thursday, Dec. 14, that his office is not expected to finish examining how congressional tax cut efforts will affect state revenues until next week "at the earliest." House and Senate lawmakers reached a deal on a final bill Wednesday after each chamber passed its own version in recent weeks. Republicans hope to send a package to President Donald Trump by Christmas.