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Yesterday, North Dakotans went to the polls and sent the batshit insane tea partiers and the idiot establishment in the legislature packing(for the most part.

Follow me below the fold for the analysis

Three constitutional measures and one initated measure was on the ballot.

Constitutional Measure 1:
This was the "Legislative promotion request measure of 2012," and the only semi-disappointing loss for good government advocates.  The State constitution has a provision similar to the 27th amendment, stating that legislators who voted to raise the pay of an office may not then be appointed to said office.  The legislature referred a measure to outright repeal this provision in 2008 and was rejected.  This measure was a compromise of sorts.  It's easier to see a before and after.  

Before:

Section 6. While serving in the legislative assembly, no member may hold any full-time
appointive state office established by this constitution or designated by law. During the term for which elected, no member of the legislative assembly may be appointed to any full-time office which has been created, or to any office for which the compensation has been increased, by the legislative assembly during that term.

North Dakota Constitution Article IV, Section 6

After:
While serving in the legislative assembly, no member may hold any fulltime appointive state office established by this constitution or designated by law. During the
term for which elected, no member of the legislative assembly may be appointed to any full-time office that has been created by the legislative assembly. During the term for which elected, no member of the legislative assembly may be appointed to any full-time office for which the legislative assembly has increased the compensation in an amount greater than the general rate of increase provided to full-time state employees.

Constitutional Measure 1 (emphasis mine)

The link shows what language was crossed out and what was added.  Note the "full time" language that I bolded there.  That's worth noting.  Legislators may now be appointed to part time positions that they've jacked up the pay for.  The primary failure of this came down to ballot language, I think:  
This constitutional measure would amend and reenact section 6 of Article IV of the North Dakota Constitution.  This measure would prohibit the appointment of a member of the Legislative Assembly to a state office for which the compensation was increased in an amount greater than any general legislative increase provided to full-time state employees during the member's term of office.

Measure 1 Ballot Language

The language failed to mention the fact that the constitution already bans it outright.  This measure passed 60-40.  Expect to see more people leave the legislature now for cushy state government jobs.

Aside from Measure 1, everything else on the ballot came out well.

Constitutional Measure 2
This measure was the most widely reported nationally.  The measure would have banned property taxes in the state.  It's important to note that the state constitution already prevents the State of North Dakota from levying property taxes.  That means that this would only affect city and county governments.  The measure states that the legislature would have had to provide the funds to pay for the lost revenue through other sources.  

This whole deal turned into a huge sideshow.  The concept was a little absurd for a number of notions.  Agree or disagree with property taxes, setting up this kind of tension between the legislature and local governments would have been disastrous.  Taking away the primary source of funding for local governments and then making them dependent on the legislature would have been absolutely insane.  On top of requiring every locality to hire a lobbyist to beg, borrow, or plead for money from their state government--a losing proposition for sure--the measure would have also changed the state legislature from one that meets once every two years for 80 days into a body in constant special session dealing with every city or county that needs to build a new school or fund a renovation of their courthouse.

In the heat of the debate on this, the proponents of the measure filed a lawsuit against the state tax commissioner, a few state legislators, the state association of counties, the league of cities, and a couple of county officials.  They accused them of violating the Corrupt Practices Act, the law that states that 1: Public officials can't use taxpayer resources to support political causes(see 16.1-10-02 in the link) , and 2.)you can't lie or mislead voters in political advertisements(see 16.1-10-04.1).  The lawsuit was laughed out of court twice.  First, at the district court, and then again at the state supreme court.  Both times the parties were thrown out on standing.  For a good laugh, listen to the recording of the oral argument (available here).  It gets particularly hilarious during the final rebuttal by the measure's proponents.  Start around 44:30.  The justices begin tearing the plaintiffs' lawyer apart around 45:00.  

It's also worth noting that one of the proponents of the measure is a city judge in Casselton, ND.  By the logic they were using, she was just as much in violation of the law as they were accusing everyone else of being.  It didn't help their case that they got the date of the election wrong in their briefs to the court--twice!

After they swatted the proponents around in oral argument, the case was thrown out on standing.  Private citizens may not enforce a criminal statute, such as the corrupt practices act. The case was argued last Tuesday, and a full opinion(not a "here's the result, an opinion will follow) was issued 3 days later, with 4 days to spare before the election.

Measure 2 went down in flames yesterday, losing 77-23.

Constitutional Measure 3:
This was the one real measure that worried me.  This measure was a cleverly worded, but extremely badly-written amendment.  I won't even try to summarize the language.  Here it is:

Government may not burden a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest. A burden includes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.
Measure 3 language (emphasis mine)
I bolded the part that made this measure worse than other laws around the country.  This didn't just apply strict scrutiny to acts that violate religious liberty, it said that every specific action or inaction by the government must be narrowly tailored so as not to violate anyone's sincerely held religious belief.  My co-blogger at North Decoder, Chet, who is a criminal defense/trial attorney, offered his tongue in cheek support of the measure back when it was proposed, calling it a boon to his profession.

A couple of people who I know, one of whom is a very good friend was a member of the sponsoring committee on this measure.  I haven't had the chance to talk to him throughout the effort to pass this measure, since I live in a different state now, but I was very worried about this measure passing because of the fluffy-sounding language included in it.  Thankfully my fears were unfounded and the measure did not pass.  Voters rejected it, again by a landslide 64-36 margin.

Referendum Measure 4
The final ballot question was the voters successful attempt at cleaning up the absolute mess created by the legislature in the last session.  By now, you may be aware of the controversy surrounding the Fighting Sioux nickname.  The NCAA required the University of North Dakota, along with other universities to get rid of the nickname that it deemed offensive to Native Americans  Without going into the long history of the nickname or the fight that ensued, in the end, the state's lawsuit against the NCAA wound up being settled, with a timeline being put in place to retire the nickname last fall.  

Then the state legislature got involved...
During the 2010 session, the legislature passed a law to force the University to keep the name, forcing it out of compliance with the settlement, and NCAA policy.  Democrats in the legislature ardently opposed it throughout the debate, but being at a 3-1 disadvantage in both bodies, they basically had no seat at the table.  An all-Republican delegation then went to meet with the NCAA after the session ended with the belief that the NCAA would be so impressed with this law that they passed.  They came home with their tail between their legs.  The NCAA is a private organization, and if you don't want to agree with its rules, no state legislature is going to change their mind.  In the end the legislature came back and repealed the law it had just passed, but also preventing the University from changing the nickname until 2015.

What was on the ballot yesterday was a measure that attempted to repeal the law that was passed in the special session, "repealing the repeal,"  if you follow me.  To add to the confusion, a yes vote was to vote against repealing the repeal, and a no vote was to vote for repealing the law that repealed the law forcing the university to keep the nickname.  This was a case where ballot language made things clearer:

YES – means you approve Senate Bill 2370, the effect of which would allow the University of North Dakota to discontinue the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

NO – means you reject Senate Bill 2370, and would require the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.
Measure 4 Ballot Language (emphasis in original)

North Dakotans, who I think largely back the nickname overall (while I don't have any polling to support this) were tired of the mess.  The university and its students and athletes were now being affected, recruiting of new athletes was being impacted.  They agreed 67-33 to drop the Fighting Sioux nickname.  

The state constitution prevents the legislature from touching measures approved by the voters for 7 years without a 2/3 vote.  My reading of the language of the state constitution  is that this includes referenda.  This ought to put the Fighting Sioux issue to bed.  It ought to.  There is a constitutional measure being circulated regarding the logo too, but my money is on that not even getting on the ballot, much less passing.

So 3 out of 4 in a red state isn't bad.  My faith in the voters of North Dakota to throw out badly-written laws that are put in front of them has been affirmed.  Voters in the state are smart when you give them an issue.  There's just a long tradition of voting for Republicans that throws them off...

Originally posted to North Dakota Kossacks on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:12 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good to know (7+ / 0-)

    that sanity can prevail.

    The Spice must Flow!

    by Texdude50 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:22:37 AM PDT

    •  Its interesting (8+ / 0-)

      I don't think the disconnect between the issues and the republican party has fully set in on the electorate.  

      North Dakota doesn't have voter registration, so its hard to gauge this, but generally speaking, the split between self-identified Republicans and Democrats is probably about even up.  Most voters are independents, but those independents default Republican.  They always have since the state's inception.  

      The NPL took great advantage of this in the late 1910s and managed to create the Bank of North Dakota, among other things.  

      Voters are smart.  They just don't pay attention enough.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

      by Adam Blomeke on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:58:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped for North Dakota Liberals (14+ / 0-)

    Who, like those in my home State, need all the help they can get.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:23:24 AM PDT

  •  Nothing wrong about moniker Fighting Sioux? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    Do Surrendering Sioux or submissive Sioux sound seemingly more satisfactory? I prefer brave warriors for my sports teams. When the Sioux invaded the Cree and lost the battle of Sioux narrows they were indeed the fighting Sioux.

    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

    by Kvetchnrelease on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:53:30 AM PDT

    •  The whole thing was ridiculous (5+ / 0-)

      The name was given to the college by the Sioux tribes in a ceremony decades ago.  

      The NCAA just wouldn't see it way.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

      by Adam Blomeke on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 11:35:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  (cough)Notre Dame(cough) (5+ / 0-)

        The NCAA is full of shit... why don't we have a review of the "Fighting Irish". On the list of things that are never going to happen, changing that name is the neverest...

        •  One teeny little difference: (5+ / 0-)

          Irish-Americans have not had their land stolen, their families massacred, their religion and culture destroyed, their language banned, and their appearance and name appropriated the selfsame group that did all of the above as a so-called "tribute."  

          Sorry.

          •  Not sure the Irish Catholics In 1602 felt much (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tommymet, TofG

            different in what they experienced at the hands of the English than what the People of the First Nations experienced.

            "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

            by Kvetchnrelease on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:37:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm thinking bullshit. Cromwell's crimes against (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ellid, radical simplicity

              the Irish were not in North America. Europe can keep its own problems.

            •  NONE of which happened in the United States (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              radical simplicity

              Sorry.

              •  There was no United States when much of this (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tommymet

                happened to  the First Nations. What the hell does the name of the government have to do with repression?

                "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

                by Kvetchnrelease on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:59:18 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It was there in the case of the sioux (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ellid

                  Tell that to the Cherokee and the Navajo and the Potawatomi, not to mention the ongoing neglect that goes on to this day on many reservations by the federal, state, and local governments.

                  My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

                  by Adam Blomeke on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:26:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Excuse me? (0+ / 0-)

                  EVERYTHING I CITED happened in the 19th and early 20th centuries to the Sioux, Navaho, Apache, Comanche, and other Western tribes, and was done SPECIFICALLY by the United States government, United States Army, and American missionaries and government functionaries carrying out specific American policies.  

                  NONE of this happened to the Irish in America.  None of it.  There was prejudice, yes, and that was terrible, but it does not even come close to what the American government did during the so-called Indian Wars and afterwards.  The former was prejudice.  The latter was genocide.  They are not equivalent, and I am stunned that anyone would think they are.

                  •  Stunning is the failure to acknowledge the (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TofG

                    repression the Irish experienced which your response to the nickname "fighting Irish" neglected. I've corrected your response below. No-one is discounting what the Native Americans experienced at the hands of a repressive government/society. All I am saying is that contrary to what you stated, the Irish did indeed experience similar repression.  Both situations occurred centuries ago and were perpetrated by esentially the same people.

                    had you stated this istead of "have not" it would be true.

                    "Irish-Americans...had their land stolen, their families massacred, their religion and culture destroyed, their language banned, and their appearance and name appropriated the selfsame group that did all of the above as a so-called "tribute."

                    "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

                    by Kvetchnrelease on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 11:39:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The above is what the Irish experinced in 17th C. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TofG

                      When King James I ascended the throne. If you study their experience, you will find it almost identical to what the first nations exprinced.

                      "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

                      by Kvetchnrelease on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 11:46:32 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I already know that (0+ / 0-)

                        And it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH the objectification of Native Americans by American sports teams.  You know this, and I am appalled that you would equate this with Notre Dame's sports teams naming themselves after a brigade in the Civil War

                        •  I never said it did, I was simply refreshing your (0+ / 0-)

                          recollection about what you said the Irish never experienced. The Irish-American ancestors experienced virtually the same horrendous actions against them, as did the ancestors of todays Native Americans, albeit one was in Northern Europe and not North America. I guess I don't understand why you do not want to acknowledge the suffering of these people's ancestors.

                          "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

                          by Kvetchnrelease on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 07:42:37 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  NONE OF THAT HAPPENED IN AMERICA!!!!!!!!! (0+ / 0-)

                      What part of that do you not understand?  

                      Also, how DARE you presume to speak for me!!!!!!!  

      •  As you know, Indians in North Dakota... (4+ / 0-)

        ...were themselves split on the issue. And many of us of Native blood don't agree with the idea that there is nothing wrong with such nicknames.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:45:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's certainly true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kvetchnrelease

          and had the Spirit lake tribe been willing to hold a vote on the issue that would have been the end of it years ago.  

          The tribal council refused.

          There was a lot of bad faith and gamesmanship in this whole débâcle.   The frustration that the general public had was that long after most people thought the issue was over, it was drug up again by the legislature and activist alumni.

          A pox on all their houses for letting such a petty issue go on for so long to the detriment of students and the university.

          My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

          by Adam Blomeke on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 02:01:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The yes vote prevailed in every county (2+ / 0-)

          including the ones with the largest Native American population. That may show that the support in the NA community was overstated. Sioux County was one of the counties where the vote was closest and even there the nickname lost by seven or eight percentage points.

          •  again, this vote was not about (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            doinaheckuvanutjob

            The sioux nickname.  I wouldn't take it as that.

            This was a vote about moving on.  It was time to acknowledge that those of us who supported the nickname lost, and that it was not worth inflicting more pain on the university for something as petty as a sports team logo.

            Its time to move on and put the argument to bed.  That's what this vote was about.  It succeeded in that.

            My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

            by Adam Blomeke on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:27:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm a UND alum (0+ / 0-)

        Graduated in 07, so I was there during the last years of the name use. Personally I think the NCAA went way to far with the whole dubbing our campus "hostile and abusive," but I am so tired of the damn debate that I too just want it to go away. Most of my fellow alum, even the dire hard UND fans, feel exactly the same way.

        Husband looking for work in NoVA/DC! Skilled in web content manag. & Photoshop. Please email me at adorgan@hotmail.com if you have any leads!

        by fille americaine on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 05:28:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe The NCAA Was Right, Maybe They Were Wrong... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but in either case it's not the sort of thing the governmetn has any business sticking its nose into.

        Those North Dakota legislators must all be Big Government liberal pinko socialist quiche-eaters who never got Saint Ronald's memo that Government Is The Problem.

        On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

        by stevemb on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 11:51:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fighting Norwegians or Fighting Canucks (0+ / 0-)

      would be more accurate.

  •  What Happened to Local Government? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo

    I thought Republicans believed that decision should be left up to the local government not co-opted by the state. I doubt the States' Rights crowd thinks it means that all local decisions should be ceded to the State government.

  •  As an Indian, I'm glad to see North Dakotans... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam Blomeke, JVolvo, cacamp

    ...vote the way they did on Measure 4, even if they wanted to keep the nickname and logo. (Also glad to see Measure 2 get busted.)

    We've been covering the issue in First Nations News & Views. One example can be seen here.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 01:41:38 PM PDT

    •  here's a statistic that may help folks understand (0+ / 0-)
      Statistics: There are approximately 3,000 schools using Indian people as mascots. Each has four grades with aproximately 6 teams for each grade. Each team plays aproximately 10 games per year. This makes 720,000 games, and if each game has 500 people (stadiums have many thousands while soccer fields have few, 500 is an arbitrary but real number used to make my point), there are 360,000,000 Americans taking part in a given year. If one-half of them are in the opposition, we have the amazing statistic of 180 MILLION! Americans per year taking part in the Great-American-Weekend-Sport of "Mass Racial Taunting"! (MRT) of Indian people. The other 180 million Americans think it is not a big thing.
      Warning: These statistics do not take into account the hundreds of millions of Americans joining the "MRT" of my people, at home and in front of their kids.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 10:26:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And in many cases, (0+ / 0-)

        Particularly with the redskins, or the cases where there are mascots running around on the field, I understand.  I really do.  

        For me, at least, I saw the logo and the nickname as exalting the Native Americans, never disrespectful or insulting.

        Again, though, that argument was lost a long time ago, by 2009 if not 2007.  Most of us got that.  The legislature, governor, and proponents of the referendum didn't, apparently. The university is currently out of compliance of the terms of the settlement with the NCAA, meaning that it may not compete in postseason games.  Even with this vote today, state law still stipulates that the university may not implement a new logo until January 1, 2015. As an athlete, would you go to a university where you had to forefeit any chance at postseason play for 2 years?

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

        by Adam Blomeke on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:44:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but what about your opponents on the other side of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades

          the field? Do the South Dakota Jackrabbits "exhalt" the 'fighting sioux' or do they try to think of the most demeaning names they can to denigrate the opposition. It doesn't matter if you and your fellow ND fans want to "exhalt' them the fans on the other side use the nickname and mascot as hate objects. If you put an Indian on the field as a mascot at least half of the assembled crowd will vilify it and use hateful rhetoric against them. Is that so hard to understand?

          We Indians probably wouldn't object if you could guarantee that every one in the stands on both sides would stand and exhalt our people and no one would use the occasion to hurl racial epithets. But you nor anyone else who thinks they're 'exhalting' us can do that can you? So it don't matter what your intentions are the end result is a barrage of insults hurled at our people every time an Indian mascot takes the field.

          America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

          by cacamp on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 09:32:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I trolled voted No on Measure 4. (0+ / 0-)

    I like UND over NDSU but I have never backed the name change honestly. I just find the national humiliation of the name-backers too appropriate and funny to want it to end. I know that makes me a bad person.

    Still glad the voters were sick of the issue.

  •  RE: Constitutional Measure 3 (0+ / 0-)

    While reading through the linked "tongue-in-cheek" article, my first thought was this would a lot of people on a hunting list.

    Beat/Kill a gay person? It's what my religion says to do.

    Beat/Kill a woman? It's what my religion says to do.

    Beat/Kill a person of color? It's what my religion says to do.

    Assassinate an elected official?  It's what my religion says to do.

    Beat/Kill people of other political views?  It's what my religion says to do.

    Beat/Kill people of other religions? It's what my religion says to do.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abby

    by SaraBeth on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:40:32 AM PDT

    •  smoke peyote? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SaraBeth

      hold slaves?

      And the thing is, that the state has to prove IN EVERY INSTANCE that it has a compelling reason IN THAT CASE to stop those cases.  You don't get to build case law that says "the state has a compelling interest against stopping murder, so laws making murder a felony are OK still.  The state now has to show that each individual honor killing it prosecutes does not place a burden on that murderer's religious liberty.

      It was a terribly poorly-written amendment, and I'm extremely glad that voters were smart enough to vote it down.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

      by Adam Blomeke on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:50:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But of course government has a compelling (0+ / 0-)

      ...interest in regulating the ability of a person to beat and kill someone on the street. How do you get less restrictive than the already existing prohibitions for assault and murder? You can't.

  •  This seems reasonable to me. (0+ / 0-)

    Perhaps I am naive to think this, but aren't legislators likely to have qualifications that would allow them to perform well in many appointed positions? Personally I'm not sure that any restriction is needed as the person appointed to a particular position is only one of many people who voted for the raise or creation of that position. I think there would have to be many such appointed positions for there to be a problem with legislators jacking up the pay for positions that are about to be occupied by their colleagues to unreasonably high levels.

    The language below seems perhaps a reasonable compromise. They can still increase the pay of appointed positions in line with inflation and/or other wide scale increases without eliminating potentially qualified individuals from holding the office. It would seem this would keep tit-for-tat exchanges to a minimum.

    To me the blanket ban sounds more like something anti-government tea party folks who have complete distrust of all branches of government would support and the new language the sort of good government compromise typically supported by liberals and moderates.

    While serving in the legislative assembly, no member may hold any fulltime appointive state office established by this constitution or designated by law. During the
    term for which elected, no member of the legislative assembly may be appointed to any full-time office that has been created by the legislative assembly. During the term for which elected, no member of the legislative assembly may be appointed to any full-time office for which the legislative assembly has increased the compensation in an amount greater than the general rate of increase provided to full-time state employees.
    •  It's a reasonable compromise, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scotths

      the issue was that voters were mislead by the ballot language into believing that there was currently no restriction in state law banning legislators from getting appointed to offices where pay raises were instituted.

      Had the Secretary of State provided better language, I'm not sure voters would have voted for the amendment.

      Keep in mind that in North Dakota, incumbency is extremely powerful.  It basically grants you a position for life, regardless of party, because of the name recognition it gives a person.  

      Here's a list of the constitutional elected officials in the state, Those that were appointed to their office by the governor (State Law does not provide for any confirmation from the legislature) are bolded.  Those done by John Hoeven (or as a result of his actions(elected to the senate) are starred:

      Governor*
      Lieutenant Governor*
      Agriculture Commissioner*
      Attorney General
      State Auditor
      Insurance Commissioner*
      Public Service Commissioner(Cramer)
      Public Service Commissioner(Kalk)
      Public Service Commissioner(Clark)
      Secretary of State
      Superintendent of Public Instruction
      Tax Commissioner
      Treasurer
      Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
      Associate Justice(Crothers)*
      Associate Justice(Maring)
      Associate Justice(Caspner)
      Associate Justice(Sandstrom)

      All but one of those bolded individuals is a Republican.  The only exception is the Chief Justice, Gerald VanDeWalle, who's been there forever.  

      There's also pretty big loopholes in this too.  First off, where's the enforcement mechanism here?  You think the Attorney General's gonna prosecute this?  Ha!  He appointed a state senator to be one of his deputies in violation of the constitution as it was written originally.

      Not to mention the question of how you calculate differences in pay over time.

      Given that this was a Referred Measure (meaning the legislature voted to put it on the ballot), It's really really seedy the way this played out.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

      by Adam Blomeke on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 08:22:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  agree on this (0+ / 0-)
        the issue was that voters were mislead by the ballot language into believing that there was currently no restriction in state law banning legislators from getting appointed to offices where pay raises were instituted.
        The language should as clearly as possible express what the initiative does. It seems like it wouldn't be hard to accurately explain that on the ballot.
        Had the Secretary of State provided better language, I'm not sure voters would have voted for the amendment.
        With your language I probably would have voted for it. With the secretary of states language I think there is a good chance I would have voted against it not being sure of the negative impact of eliminating all legislators from consideration for appointment to certain positions. It sounds petty to me unless there is some evidence that salaries are being pushed up to unreasonably high amounts by legislators angling for the positions.
        Keep in mind that in North Dakota, incumbency is extremely powerful.  It basically grants you a position for life, regardless of party, because of the name recognition it gives a person.
        Not sure what significance that has here? If anything secure legislative positions might make people less likely to seek appointed positions?
        There's also pretty big loopholes in this too.  First off, where's the enforcement mechanism here?  You think the Attorney General's gonna prosecute this?  Ha!  He appointed a state senator to be one of his deputies in violation of the constitution as it was written originally.
        This is exactly the sort of reason I would oppose such a restriction. Why shouldn't the Attorney General be able to chose who he feels is most qualified to be a deputy? Do we think that the law maker voted to raise the salary for deputy AGs as a result of a long turn plan to become one? Does time as a law maker not help qualify one for a position enforcing the laws?
        Here's a list of the constitutional elected officials in the state, Those that were appointed to their office by the governor (State Law does not provide for any confirmation from the legislature) are bolded.  Those done by John Hoeven (or as a result of his actions(elected to the senate) are starred:

        [...]

        All but one of those bolded individuals is a Republican.  The only exception is the Chief Justice, Gerald VanDeWalle, who's been there forever.  

        I'm somewhat confused about what your point is here? It would appear as though a Republican appointed Republicans to various positions that become open? I'm not sure as to why that would be seen as a problem from a procedural standpoint? Nor am I sure as to how that related to the question of pay for their offices?
  •  this is interesting.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam Blomeke

    So, if opponents to a law obtain signatures to try to repeal the law and don't succeed in doing so the law is now enshrined in such a way as to require a 2/3rds vote to repeal it? With an initiative or a referendum that actually repeals a law this makes sense. An initiative or successful  referendum is a statement by the people that they oppose the legislature and it thus makes sense to make it difficult for the legislature to simply undo what the people just did.

    However, a failed referendum (ie. in this case the "yes" side winning keeping the law in place) is a statement that the people agree with the legislature and aren't going to repeal the law at this time. It seems surprising and unnecessary that repealing such a law becomes impossible as a result.  Why tie the hands of the legislature when the people just said they were ok with what the legislature just did?

    A parallel could be drawn with a failed initiative. If an initiative fails is the legislature bound not to pass a law similar or identical to the failed initiative without a 2/3rds majority? I would suspect such a restriction doesn't exist.

    Of course in the case given hopefully the referendum brings an end to the issue.

    The state constitution prevents the legislature from touching measures approved by the voters for 7 years without a 2/3 vote.  My reading of the language of the state constitution  is that this includes referenda.  This ought to put the Fighting Sioux issue to bed.  It ought to.  There is a constitutional measure being circulated regarding the logo too, but my money is on that not even getting on the ballot, much less passing.
    •  Here's the language in the State Constitution: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scotths
      If a majority of votes cast upon an initiated or a referred measure are affirmative, it shall be deemed enacted. An initiated or referred measure which is approved shall become law thirty days after the election, and a referred measure which is rejected shall be void immediately. If conflicting measures are approved, the one receiving the highest number of affirmative votes shall be law. A measure approved by the electors may not be repealed or amended by the legislative assembly for seven years from its effective date, except by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house.
      North Dakota Constitution Art. III Section 8
      That language certainly does not suggest that initiated measures that fail would be subject to the 2/3 threshold, but it might make referenda subject to that, I don't know...

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

      by Adam Blomeke on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 08:43:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That seems hard to interpret (0+ / 0-)

        With regards to an initiative it is clear that it means an initiative that passed and became law would be subject to the threshold. The questions seems to be what constituts "approved by the electors" with regards to a referendum. Seems like it could be the yes side, the no side, both or neither.

        Perhaps also given that the legislature passed the law and the people voted to support it the 2/3rds majority question has yet to come up regarding a referendum that didn't repeal the law.

        That language certainly does not suggest that initiated measures that fail would be subject to the 2/3 threshold, but it might make referenda subject to that, I don't know...
        A measure approved by the electors may not be repealed or amended by the legislative assembly for seven years from its effective date, except by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to each house.
        •  Either way... (0+ / 0-)

          If I were a legislator, I wouldn't want to touch this issue with a twenty-foot pole.

          That being said, If I had to vote on the matter as a judge, I'd say that voters approving the measure would mean the referendum succeeds and the law is repealed.

          IANAL, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night...

          My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. -- Senator Carl Schurz(MO-1899)

          by Adam Blomeke on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:01:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this Adam (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam Blomeke

    A lot of important political activity is at the state level. The Kochs realize this as does Karl Rove. Thanks for updating us.

    I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

    by Eric Blair on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 07:21:25 AM PDT

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