The election of Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, a 38-year veteran of the Legislature and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, as chairman of the interim Legislative Management Committee may signal a shift to a more moderate and a more collegial Legislature.
While we hear much oratory about problems, we see limited accomplishment, primarily because the proposed solutions have been too conventional. There are quick solutions to knotty problems if we are willing to think creatively.
This sequester was supposed to happen at midnight on March 1. It reminded me of the night we crossed the Year 2000 and everyone stayed up to see if the computers in the world would explode and humanity would have to start collecting data all over again.
Four of the hottest social issues in state legislatures around the country in this lawmaking season are abortion, same-sex marriage, marijuana and guns. The North Dakota Legislature is having its share of these controversies in the current session.
The authority to initiate and refer laws, often called “direct democracy,” has been a constant irritant to the Legislature but, in fact, it has saved the assembly from some unpleasant job-threatening controversies.
Taking advantage of last year’s petition signature scandal, some legislators have proposed tightening up the procedure by which citizens can initiate laws, refer acts of the Legislature and amend the constitution.
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