Committee looks at changing initiated measures in North Dakota

Published: Mar. 20, 2018 at 6:06 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Medical marijuana was placed on a ballot in the 2016 election for you to vote on. Now a legislative commission wants to change how measures like the Compassionate Care Act get on the ballot.

Representative Scott Louser of Minot spent more than an hour defending his bill draft that would change how initiated measures get on the ballot.

"I think this grants additional power to the members of the sponsoring committee and the voters of North Dakota,” said Louser.

Right now, if some wants to place something on the ballot all they have to do is get the required signatures and the measure can be placed on the ballot.

"If we really want to help the people of our state to give them more power and more say, then this is an opportunity,” said Representative Jim Kasper, R-Fargo.

Louser's proposed bill would make it mandatory for initiated measures to go through legislative council before going to a vote in the legislature. If the legislature votes yes, the measure becomes law.

If the legislature rejects the bill or it's vetoed at the governor's desk, the measure would be on the ballot in the next election.

"I think that representative Louser's bill is a significant change and it basically strips the power away from the people,” said Commission member Robert Hale.

One of the reasons Louser is looking at the change is because of the Compassionate Care Act.

"If that language was more in line with the constitution or our century code, that measure would be implemented now,” said Louser.

An audience member, who didn't want to go on camera, said the initiated measure change will make it harder for issues to get on the ballot. This is still a bill draft and would need to be voted on in the commission before going to the full legislature in 2019.