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Politics & Government

Interim studies picked

The Legislative Management Committee has chosen 44 studies for the interim between now and the 2017 Legislative session.

The chairman – Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) – says there are a number of interesting issues.

"Taxation issues, of course," said Holmberg. "We've got some oil issues. We also have that whole issue of transferring the funding of county social service to the state. That will be an interesting one."

Holmberg says another big issue will be the continuing study of higher education, and the issues surrounding the University System.

"Administrative costs will be one that the Legislature will be very interested in, "said Holmberg. "Also, their different interpretation of what their appropriation means. We're going to try to make it crystal clear that this is your money. Period."

The Committee also agreed to study the issue of voter registration.

"We brag that we are the only state that does not have voter registration," said Holmberg. "That's probably true if you say we don't have voter registration through the Secretary of State's office. But there are those that would say we have a de facto voter registration through the driver's license division (of the Department of Transportation)."

Sen. Connie Triplett (D-Grand Forks) says that will be a very big issue.

"We have, in effect, developed a 30-day voter registration, but we don't acknowledge it," said Triplett. "The fact that we don't acknowledge it on the Secretary of State's Website or anywhere else -- we lead people into believing that they will be able to vote. Then they find out at the last minute they can't. So this is an important issue for voter access."

Holmberg says committee names will be assigned – and lawmakers will be asked which committees they want. He says by June 16th, those questionnaires should be back – and the committees, their chairmen and vice-chairmen, will be chosen.

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