Legislative notebook:: Bill reduces appointed legislatorsA veteran legislator says there are too many legislative appointments being made and a law passed in 2001 should be changed to allow more special elections.
By: By Janell Cole , N.D. Capitol Bureau, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — A veteran legislator says there are too many legislative appointments being made and a law passed in 2001 should be changed to allow more special elections.
Rep. William Kretschmar, R-Venturia, has proposed House Bill 1538.
Until 2001, most legislative vacancies were not filled until the next regular election. But after Rep. Clarence Martin, R-Lefor, died during the 1997 session, the Republican-controlled Legislature came up with a new law under which the political party that held the vacated seat appoints a replacement.
“I’m a firm believer in the election of members of the Legislature,” he told the House Judiciary Committee Monday. Filling legislative vacancies when a lawmaker dies or resigns midway through his or her term should be done by political party appointments only when it happens during a session, he said.
Since the 2001 law took effect, 10 legislative vacancies between sessions that resulted from death or resignation have been filled by party appointment; in four cases, the appointee was defeated in the next election and did not get to serve in the next session.
HB 1538 would have political parties make appointments if lawmakers died during a session, but otherwise the vacancies would be filled with special elections.
A bill heard by a legislative committee Monday would allow candidates in school and other local elections to run with a political party endorsement.
North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth said he sees House Bill 1471 as a party-building law and testified for it to the House Judiciary Committee.
But Secretary of State Al Jaeger opposes the bill because it would introduce a partisan political element to the administration of elections.
The North Dakota League of Cities and the North Dakota Association of Counties also oppose the bill.
Currently, all local elections are done on a no-party ballot.
The committee took no immediate action.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Dwight Wrangham, R-Bismarck, and Rep. Tracy Potter, D-Bismarck.
BILL WOULD STOP GRANNY-SNATCHING
North Dakota could become one of several states enacting a uniform law that’s designed to decrease legal battles across state lines among families of elderly or incapacitated persons — cases that often involve control of large estates or fortunes.
Senate Bill 2074 involves how courts will determine which state can appoint a guardian or conservator if there is a conflict and how such guardianships or conservatorships can be transferred from one state to another.
The AARP was among those testifying Monday in favor of the bill.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING BAN ADVANCES
The state House on Monday passed a bill banning human trafficking. House Bill 1185 makes it a class A felony to engage in human trafficking with an adult victim and a class AA felony if the person is a juvenile. The bill now goes to the Senate.
The House vote was 93-0.
Every year, the state Labor Commissioner gets 500 complaints from workers about money withheld from their checks that the workers say they did not authorize.
In some cases, the employers are doing so because they are trying to recoup money they believe the employees lost through criminal activity.
The House on Monday passed a bill that prohibits employers from withholding money from workers checks for alleged criminal wrongdoing if the employer has not made a police report alleging a crime was committed, unless the workers have given written approval for the withholding. The bill passed 93-0 and now goes to the Senate.
Cole works for Forum
Communications Co., which
owns The Jamestown Sun