UPDATE: House passes study of initiated measure process

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BISMARCK, N.D. - The House passed a review of the initiated measure process, despite objection from Democrats about not being specifically included on the House side. Republicans counter that since Democrats control about 1-in-6 legislative seats, that should be their representation on the study.

"We have the judicial branch represented. We have the legislative branch represented. We have the executive branch represented, and we have businesses that are represented as well. I think we have a great cross-section. You can't please everyone," said Rep. Jim Casper, R-Fargo.

"This commission isn't a citizen's commission. But rather a commission appointed by those who already control the power at the state capitol," said Rep. Pamela Anderson, D-Fargo.

The make-up of a committee to study the initiated reform process has some in the minority party calling foul.

The final version of the bill removes a Democratic House member, tribal member and ND United representative.

Republicans, however, argue the committee has a good balance of citizens, lawmakers and working groups, including an employee appointee.

"There's been attempts in the last two and three sessions to take that process away from the people of North Dakota, and this is one more step and this is one more step forward. And that's my opinion on that," said. Sen. Joan Heckaman, D-New Rockford.

"The process has a lot of outside influence and we need to make sure that we have a transparent way to make sure voters know what they're voting on and to make sure we guard that," said Rep. Ben Koppelman, R-West Fargo.

The House is expected to have a final vote on this bill Monday afternoon. The Senate reconsidered it to pass an emergency clause, to allow the committee to form immediately, this morning.

The committee can't make official changes, but will advise the next legislative session.

The committee includes:

One individual appointed by the chief justice of the supreme court, who shall serve as the commission chairman.

Three members of the house of representatives appointed by the majority leader of the house of representatives, and three members of the senate, one of whom must be a member of the minority party, appointed by the majority leader of the senate.

One individual appointed as a nonvoting member by the secretary of state.

Seven citizen members appointed by the governor, who shall provide public notice of available citizen positions on the commission and establish a procedure for submission of applications.

One of the seven must be a member of an association that represents employees and their interests.

- One individual appointed by the greater North Dakota chamber.
- One individual appointed by the North Dakota newspaper association.
- One individual appointed by the North Dakota farm bureau.
- One individual appointed by the North Dakota farmers union.​