Legislature puts constitutional change on the 2020 ballot

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Lawmakers want to make the state's constitution harder to change by giving both legislative chambers a chance to weigh in on possible amendments.

If voters approve the new process, the legislature gets to vote on an amendment after the people. If they pass it, it's good to go. But if lawmakers reject it, the amendment would go back to the voters for a chance to override. Opponents say Measure 1 from the 2018 election is why they're dealing with this now.

“We have tried to do an ethics commission through the legislature and it didn't work. So the people said, 'okay you're not going to do it legislature, we'll take care of it,'” said Rep. Pam Anderson, D-Fargo.

“It is a direct response to a pattern that we're seeing in North Dakota, which was detailed in the testimony of the bill that the last four constitutional amendments have all been funded by out of state interests,” said Sen. David Hogue, R-Minot.

Hogue says making changes to the constitution should have public hearings before they're enacted.

“Our constitution reflects our core values and if you’re going to make those types of changes, we think there should be public hearings and public testimony where the public can come forward,” said Hogue.

His resolution fared better than others aimed at changing different voting and signature thresholds.