Earlier this week state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued an opinion stating that legislation passed earlier this year to limit the powers of the state Auditor would likely be found to be unconstitutional if it were challenged in court.
Now at least one legislative leader – Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, a Republican from Dickinson – is saying lawmakers will respect that opinion which was originally requested by current Auditor Josh Gallion.
“We’ll abide by the ruling,” he said.
That’s quite a turn about for Wardner, who not so long ago submitted a column to SayAnythingBlog.com arguing that lawmakers were absolutely within their legal rights. “This action by the legislature was wholly appropriate and necessary,” he wrote in the post published June 7. “The North Dakota State Constitution states that the powers and duties of the State Auditor come from the legislature. Therefore, the legislature has oversight of the auditor and makes decisions on staff requests, length of audits and the quality of all audits including performance audits.”