• Member-benefits.jpg
  • North Dakota Legislative Assembly to reconvene following Supreme Court ruling

  • North Dakota Legislative Assembly to reconvene following Supreme Court ruling

    North Dakota Legislative Assembly to reconvene following Supreme Court ruling


    North Dakota’s Legislative Assembly will convene next week, October 23 to October 27, to address the recent ruling of the North Dakota Supreme Court. The State’s Highest Court ruled that Senate Bill 2015, Office of Management and Budget, violated the State's constitution, voiding the entire piece of legislation passed during the 68th Legislative Session, which adjourned on April 30, 2023. This week, following an Executive Order by Governor Doug Burgum that calls for the Legislative Assembly to convene in a special session, legislative leaders from across the state meet to plan for the upcoming special session - outlining bills, establishing rules and discussing procedures.  


    The details 

    In September, the North Dakota Supreme Court released a unanimous opinion ruling that Senate Bill 2015 of the 68th Legislative Assembly violated Article IV § 13 of the North Dakota State Constitution, better known as the single-subject rule. This longstanding rule states that “...No bill shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in its title, but a bill which violates this provision shall be invalidated thereby only as to so much thereof as shall not be so expressed.” Moreover, the Supreme Court’s Opinion stated that SB 2015 did include more than one subject and declared the entire bill unconstitutional, meaning that the bill is null and void. 

    Senate Bill 2015, the Office of Management and Budget bill, is a key funding bill for North Dakota’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and has traditionally been the last bill passed during a regular session. The reason for this tradition is to allow for the legislature to make final adjustments and include additional provisions in the final days of the legislative session. Moreover, SB 2015 includes critical funding and legal language. For instance, this bill included $26.5 million in inflationary funding for career academies, $2 million in funding for the state’s new Office of Legal Immigration, $100 million in funding to the Water Infrastructure Revolving Loan Fund and a plethora of other critical provisions. 

    In response to the recent North Dakota Supreme Court ruling on Senate Bill 2015, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issued an Executive Order (2023-09) on Monday, October 16, convening a special session of the North Dakota Legislative Assembly. According to the Executive Order, the Legislative Assembly will convene on Monday, October 23, for the purposes of; enacting and authorizing appropriations bills for the OMB, enacting other components of Senate Bill 2015 and utilizing additional revenue to make strategic investments into tax relief and infrastructure. The Legislative Assembly is directed to complete these tasks by Friday, October 27. 

    Following the Governor’s Executive Order, the Interim Legislative Management Committee held a meeting on Tuesday, October 17 to discuss proposed bills, joint rules and administrative matters relating to the upcoming special session. To comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Legislative Council has drafted 14 bills (7 Policy and 7 Appropriations). These 14 bills are drafted to enact components of the OMB Bill, with a few minor adjustments to comply with constitutionality and avoid a governor’s veto. However, these 14 proposed bills may not be the only bills considered during the special session. Legislative Management has set a deadline of Thursday, October 19 at 5 p.m. for all members of the Legislature to submit bill concepts and proposals to the Legislative Council. These bill concepts and proposals will then be reviewed and voted upon by Legislative Management, determining if they will be heard during the special session. This consideration process will primarily take place during the Legislative Management meeting scheduled for Friday, October 20 at 10:00 a.m. In an article from INFORUM, House Majority Leader Mike Lefor is quoted saying, “Any new bills should be limited and emergent, meaning they can't wait until the 2025 regular session.” 

    Furthermore, at the October 17 meeting, Legislative Management also advanced rules, intending to expedite the legislative process to allow for greater efficiency during the special session. This temporary amendment and/or repeal of many House and Senate procedural rules, allows the legislature to fast-track legislation through the legislative process to meet the October 27 deadline. For example, a major rule change would dissolve all regular session committees and erect two committees; a joint policy committee and a joint appropriations committee. These committees will be comprised of equal members from each legislative chamber, selected by the respective majority leaders.  

    Please note: This information is accurate as of 10/19/2023 and is subject to change or updates.

    The FMWF Chamber of Commerce is proud to work alongside our business and community leaders to advocate on behalf of our community in the North Dakota Special Legislative Session. For more information regarding The Chamber’s public policy and advocacy efforts, please visit https://www.fmwfchamber.com/public-policy

    Leave a Comment
    * Required field