Ethics initiative leader meeting with opponents, to look for common ground

Nov 9, 2018

One of the leaders of the drive for Measure One – the ethics measure, which voters passed – said she’s meeting with representatives of the measure’s opponents, hoping to “smooth things over” after a spirited campaign.

Voters passed the measure in Tuesday’s election.  A number of business groups, lobbying organizations and  the ACLU opposed the measure.

Supporters are working with legislators and the Legislative Council for enabling legislation to be introduced in the 2019 Legislative session.

"I see this as an opportunity for them to have input in this beginning stage," said Dina Butcher of Bismarck, the co-chair of North Dakotans for Public Integrity. "They can help us address the issues they were so adamant about."

Butcher said the opponents made it sound that the measure couldn't be touched.

"But in this enabling legislation, there are plenty of places where we can come together," Butcher said.

The 2019 Legislature will have to create -- and fund -- an ethics commission.  But there's further work to be done.

"We said all along that the Legislature to put in definitions and prescribe what needs to happen," Butcher said. "We have legislators and some of our own lawyers looking at what's needed."

Butcher said the rules affecting transparency and rules for lobbyists may take a little longer.

"I want everyone to recognize this is good for the citizens of North Dakota, and good for those organizations," Butcher said. "I hope we'll all have confidence there's no 'dark money' coming into North Dakota."

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