Senate measure puts more requirements on initiated Constitutional amendments | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Senate measure puts more requirements on initiated Constitutional amendments

Mar 1, 2019

A Senate committee is looking at a Constitutional change that its supporter says would make it tougher to get an initiated Constitutional measure on the ballot.

Sen. Jessica Unruh (R-Beulah) is the main sponsor of the measure. It would raise the threshold of qualified signatures on the petition for getting those measures put on the ballot from 4 percent of the state’s electorate to 8 percent. It would also require that at least 50 percent of the signatures come from residents of each of the state’s 53 counties. The petition has to be submitted at least 240 days in advance of the election. And it would require a 60 percent “yes” vote to take effect.

"Changing our Constitution should be hard," Unruh told the Senate Government and Veterans' Affairs Committee. "We need some buy-in from the entire state."

Opponents said the measure, like others, seeks to curb public involvement.

"SCR 4015 will take the will of the people and make it impossible for them to ever amend the Constitution," said North Dakota AFL-CIO President Waylon Hedegaard. "That's not what we need."

At least one other measure still pending in the Legislature would raise the required public vote to 60 percent approval.