North Dakota lawmakers sue Gov. Doug Burgum over vetoes

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Legislature has filed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Doug Burgum’s veto powers.

Burgum was served with the lawsuit Friday. The dispute stems from the governor using his line-item veto in April to change parts of several spending bills after the Legislature adjourned.

Legislators argue that Burgum went beyond his powers by deleting words or phrases in a way that changed intent.

Burgum has defended the vetoes. He says the lawsuit is a waste of taxpayer money.

It’s not a partisan dispute. Burgum is a Republican and the Legislature is controlled by Republicans.

Burgum released the following statement Friday morning:

“As I’ve said before, it’s disappointing to see scarce taxpayer dollars being spent on a costly lawsuit over something that’s already been addressed in an attorney general. We will respond accordingly and firmly to any attempt to infringe on executive branch authority. The intent of the vetoes was to protect that authority and preserve the separation of powers while preventing the spending of limited state resources without full legislative review. While we will fulfill our obligation to respond to this lawsuit, our primary focus continues to be reinventing state government and making it more efficient and responsive to taxpayers.”