A proposed North Dakota ballot measure would require lawmakers to swear they’ve read and understood any bill before they’re allowed to vote to approve it. The initiative would require North Dakota legislators to sign a sworn statement before they could vote on any bill. The statement would say they hadn’t been influenced by bribes or vote trading. The proposal says the text of a bill would have to be posted on the Internet for four days before the Legislature could vote on it.
After a similar measure was defeated by state lawmakers earlier this year, a proposed ballot initiative filed with the state on Thursday will seek to repeal the state’s pharmacy ownership law. The initiative was submitted to Secretary of State Al Jaeger, who will review the petition and decide whether to approve it for circulation later this month. To get on the 2010 ballot, supporters will need at least 12,844 signatures from North Dakota voters.
Eight states - Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Oregon - ban or restrict paying people who collect signatures on a ballot initiative, referendum or recall petition based on their productivity, or the number of signatures they collect. Payment-per-signature allows citizens greater certainty in judging the cost of a petition effort. Moreover, in states that have passed such bans, the cost of successfully completing a petition drive has risen considerably, sometimes more than doubling.
Supporters of a ban on so-called “fenced hunting” in North Dakota are trying again to put the issue to a statewide vote. The ballot measure would outlaw fenced game preserves where visitors pay for the right to shoot deer, elk and other big-game animals. Roger Kaseman of Bismarck is chairman of the initiative campaign. He says fenced hunting is unethical and will undermine support for legitimate hunting. Opponents of the proposal say it will violate private property rights.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says North Dakota law does not allow the spending of state money in a campaign on a ballot measure. Three Republican legislators asked Stenehjem for a legal opinion on the question. Stenehjem`s opinion says taxpayer money should not be used in a ballot measure campaign without legal authority to do so.
In the last days of the 2009 session, the Legislature ended its revolt and decided to honor the decision of the voters to use tobacco lawsuit money to fight tobacco addiction. The Legislature justified its temporary rebellion with the argument that the voters didn’t know what they were doing when they voted on the measure.
Residency requirements are one of the most frequently imposed restrictions on the initiative process. These laws require that someone circulating a petition for an initiative, referendum, or recall effort be a resident of the state, county, or locality that the petition is aimed at. Supporters of such requirements claim that they are needed to reduce fraud and insure that circulators can be found if signatures are challenged.
Fargo, ND city commissioners approved a ballot measure that would raise the city’s sales tax by a half-cent to 7%. The money would go to flood protection measures. Citizens will vote on the measure in a June 30 special election.
A proposed state constitutional amendment would create a fund to hold monies from a recent tobacco settlement. A ballot measure that provides more state support for tobacco prevention will be trumped by this amendment if it passes.
The Unites States Supreme Court denied Arizona’s request for an appeal in the case Nader v. Brewer. Last year the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Arizona’s law requiring petition circulators to be state residents. Thirteen other states had asked the high court to overturn the decistion. Similar laws in Ohio and Oklahoma were invalidated last year in the 6th and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeal.