Dustup over interim committee chairmanships | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Dustup over interim committee chairmanships

Jun 11, 2019

Legislative Management Committee meeting 6/10/19.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Democrats on the Legislative Management Committee say the committee chair, House Majority Leader Chet Pollert (R-Carrington), did not live up t6o a commitment made that Democrats would be chairing some interim study committees.

But Pollert disputes that.

Two years ago, Democratic lawmakers chaired two interim committees. And House Minority Leader Josh Boschee (D-Fargo) said he had a commitment from Pollert that Democrats would have the gavel on four committees. Only one Democrat – Rep. Corey Mock (D-Grand Forks) – has a chairmanship. He will chair the interim Information Technology Committee.

Committee Democrats tried through motion to make Sen. Erin Oban (D-Bismarck) as chair of Education Policy – a committee she chaired in the last interim – and Sen. Larry Robinson (D-Valley City) to chair Higher Education. Both motions failed on a party-line vote.

"This was an opportunity to make sure we set the record straight on chairmanships," Boschee said. "It's unfortunate the Republican majority wasn't able to follow through with that commitment."

Pollert said he had approached Democrats about chairing committees – but they turned him down, saying those were not the committees they wanted.

"I feel I lived up to my portion," Pollert said. "If you don't take one, but there's 20 more, there was an availability."

Democrats will be vice-chairs of four committees.