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Senate passes bill to curb Governor's executive powers

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The state Senate passed a measure to limit some of the Governor’s executive powers in times of an emergency.

The measure says a Governor’s emergency order would be good for 30 days, and then before another 30 days, the Governor must call legislators into a special session. That would mean the order could last up to 60 days, before the Legislature would weigh-in on extending or ending the declared emergency.

"The intent of this bill is to make it that every part of North Dakota is heard and represented during a disaster like this," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Janne Myrdal (R-Edinburg).

Sen. JoNell Bakke (D-Grand Forks) said the Legislature already has the power to call itself back into session. And she argued lawmakers have oversight already, because of the Emergency Commission – which has 4 lawmakers – and the Budget Section.

"We can, and should be, asking questions of the Governor, especially for an emergency as long as this one," Bakke said. "But setting arbitrary limits on the Governor's authority, and subsituting our judgement for that of experts on the ground, is not the answer."

The measure passed 40 to 7 – and will now be considered in the House.

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