Topics at Legislative Forum
MINOT – The North Dakota legislature is taking aim at a term limits-initiated measure approved by voters in the last general election. The matter was one of the topics discussed at a recent legislative forum in Minot.
House Concurrent Resolution No. 3019 passed the House 63-29 and is currently under consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The resolution seeks to repeal the portion of the measure that prohibits legislators from amending it.
“That measure had a portion that said the legislature could not put forward a measure that would top it, which is pretty straightforward, obviously,” said Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Dis. 38, Minot, told attendees at the legislative forum.
Ruby said there were a lot of people that would like to challenge the measure which limits legislators to eight years of service per legislative chamber.
“It went into effect in January, so I have two years before I can run again. Then another four-year term and then I won’t be able to run again because that term would put me over the eight years,” said Ruby. “So, maybe challenge the law as someone who is harmed in that instance.”
Ruby said such a challenge would likely wind up in court. He added that an additional provision proposed by legislators would revise the number of years a legislator could serve.
“What the bill does is go to 12 years instead of eight,” said Ruby. “If you serve when you are young and want to serve again when you are older you can’t, another bad part of that measure.”
Rep. Scott Louser, R-Dis. 5, Minot, also voiced his opposition to the initiated measure on term limits.
“In testimony it was said that over 98% of that money that initiated that measure, and paid for it, came from out of state interests,” said Louser.
Ruby said the matter may go before state voters, along with another measure that would change legislative sessions from every other year to yearly.
“We have a measure that will increase the number of days from 80 to 100,” said Ruby. “We recognize with the current organization in place we may just go to annual sessions to give people more time working with the budget, learning the process, and get some experience every year.”
Among other items of interest to those attending the forum was tax relief. Sen. Randy Burckhard, R-Dis, 5, Minot, addressed the gathering.
“The House wants income tax relief and the Senate wants property tax relief. This is what I think we have come up with,” said Burckhard. “It’s a total of $554 million. Two-hundred million is income tax relief, $208 million of that is property tax relief, and $68 million of that is homestead tax credit relief. That’s what I think our leadership is thinking where it’s going to end up.”
The final legislative forum in Minot is scheduled for Saturday, April 1 at the State Fair Center Norsk Room at 9 a.m.