North Dakota

North Dakota

Members of Keep It Local North Dakota, a group opposed to the June 12 ballot measure that would abolish property taxes in North Dakota, labeled it as the wrong approach to handling people’s tax burden. They spoke during a Wednesday morning news conference at the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce.
North Dakota Chamber of Commerce President Andy Peterson called Measure 2 a reckless attempt at a solution to dealing with property taxes.

Read more at Bismarck Tribune.

A group of American Indians who want the University of North Dakota to keep its Fighting Sioux nickname hope to put the issue to voters, their lawyer said Thursday. Members of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe who back the nickname say they plan to gather signatures to try to amend the state’s constitution to require that the school use the moniker. Their lawyer, Reed Soderstrom, said he hoped such a move would end arguments about the nickname “once and for all.”

Read the story from The Boston Globe

A proposed constitutional amendment to abolish property taxes in North Dakota has been approved for the ballot. Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Friday the initiative had enough petition signatures to qualify for the June 2012 primary election. It will be listed as Measure 2.

Read the story from Valley News Live

Residents of Williston on Tuesday were deciding whether to change how they support the local park district. The ballot measure would put in place for five years a 1 percent city sales tax and eliminate the current property tax levy for the park district.

Read the story from The Republic

As states around the country tackle redistricting based on the 2010 census, the new population numbers also make things harder for some initiative proponents.

From Ballot Box News:

Because the 2010 census shows that North Dakota’s population increased 4.7% compared to 2000…election law numerical requirements will now rise 4.7%, for the period covering the next ten years. North Dakota’s Secretary of State says the increase applies immediately, even to initiatives that are currently circulating.

North Dakota’s population growth during the last decade will require supporters of five initiative petitions to gather more signatures to qualify for the statewide ballot, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Thursday. The North Dakota Constitution says the minimum number of signatures needed for an initiative petition depends on the state’s population, as counted by the most recent federal census.

Read the story from the Grand Forks Herald

Limiting the growth of local governments’ property tax revenues would help older North Dakotans avoid being pushed to sell their homes because they could no longer afford the tax bills, legislators and agriculture lobbyists said Tuesday. “My approach is simply this: You’ve got to slow the growth of spending by all the taxing authorities and make them live within a budget that is reasonable,” Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, said during a North Dakota House Finance and Taxation Committee hearing.

Read the story from Bloomberg Business Week

Last week Citizens in Charge Foundation - a partner organization to Citizens in Charge - sent a letter to Secretaries of State and Attorneys General in 12 states asking them to stop enforcing unconstitutional restrictions on ballot initiative rights. In light of recent legal action in which Kansas officials agreed with petition advocates that the state’s law against petition circulators from other states was unconstitutional, Foundation President Paul Jacob asked officials to “do the right thing” and stop enforcing similar

North Dakota’s Supreme Court is deciding whether voters have the power to force a recall election for a member of Congress. The justices heard arguments Wednesday. Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle says language allowing recall elections for members of Congress was removed from the North Dakota Constitution in the late 1970s.

Read the story from the Plains Daily

A pharmacy measure in North Dakota won’t be on the ballot in November:

Democratic secretary of state candidate Corey Mock says Republican incumbent Al Jaeger is partly to blame for the troubles of a proposal to repeal North Dakota’s pharmacy ownership restrictions. Mock and Jaeger spoke Wednesday in Bismarck at a candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. A voter initiative to repeal North Dakota’s pharmacy ownership law was kept off the November ballot because the petition didn’t include a list of sponsors. Jaeger rejected the measure and the Supreme Court affirmed his decision.

North Dakota’s Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether a voter initiative on pharmacy ownership should get a statewide vote this fall. Attorneys representing both sides are making their case Wednesday morning. The Supreme Court is expected to rule before Sept. 8. That’s the deadline for Secretary of State Al Jaeger to provide county auditors with a final copy of the November ballot.

Read the story from KX Net

Two years ago, advocates of an initiative to ban hunting within fenced game preserves fell 129 petition signatures short of putting their measure in front of North Dakota voters. On Wednesday, Roger Kaseman wasn’t taking any chances. The Bismarck resident wheeled a clear plastic crate brimming with petitions into Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office, which he said had 13,860 signatures, or 8 percent more than the minimum number of 12,844 needed.

Read the story from Bloomberg Business Week

A ballot initiative moving toward approval in North Dakota could open the doors to chain pharmacy in the state. The initiative follows a resounding defeat of similar legislation in the state House of Representatives earlier this year. Current laws require that pharmacies be owned at least 51% by pharmacists. That has largely kept corporate owners, including national chains and hospitals, out of the community pharmacy market.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger says a proposed ballot measure to allow bottle rocket sales in North Dakota is ready for circulation. The initiative said anyone who is at least 18 years old may buy bottle rockets in North Dakota. It would reverse a ban on bottle rocket sales that the Legislature approved last year.

Read the story from The Jamestown Sun