How do the eight ballot measures measure up?
By Annette Tait
Competition and controversy bring voters to the polls. With little competition for local offices this year, the main draw for voters in next week’s election, outside of the statewide races, is controversy. There is plenty of that to be found in the eight measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Voting is not only a right, it’s a responsibility – to learn the facts behind and the actual content of the measures on the ballot, not just what is said in advertising or on social media. To determine whether the measures are solidly and thoughtfully crafted, how they will affect our city, county and state, and if there is the potential for unintended consequences. To carefully consider, then voting accordingly.
The following provides a basic overview of each of the eight measures on next week’s ballot.
Measure 1, is a constitutional amendment proposed by the state legislature which proposes addition of a new section to article I of the state constitution, to read: “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”
Measure 2 is also a constitutional amendment proposed by the state legislature. Measure 2 proposes addition of a new section to article X of the state constitution, to read: “The state and any county, township, city, or any other political subdivision of the state may not impose any mortgage taxes or any sales or transfer taxes on the mortgage or transfer of real property.”
Also proposed by the state legislature, Measure 3 proposes replacing the current state board of higher education of seven governor-appointed citizen members, one governor-appointed student member, a peer-selected non-voting faculty advisor and a peer-selected non-voting staff advisor with a three-member governor-appointed commission. The appointees would be agreed to by a majority of a five-member committee made up of the speaker of the house of representatives, the president pro-tempore of the senate, the chief justice of the North Dakota supreme court, the superintendent of public instruction, and “a representative of an educational interest group selected by three of the four aforementioned individuals.”
Measure 4 is also a constitutional amendment proposed by the state legislature to prohibit voters from placing on the ballot any measure that would appropriate money or require the legislature to appropriate money.
Measure 5 is an initiated constitutional amendment proposed through the petition process. The measure seeks to add a new section to Article X of the North Dakota Constitution creating the Clean Water, Wildlife, and Parks Trust and the Clean Water, Wildlife, and Parks Fund to be financed by five percent of the revenues from the state’s share of oil extraction taxes. If enacted, a three-member commission of the governor, the attorney general and the agriculture commissioner would administer the fund. A 13-member board would review grant applications and make recommendations to the commission. Voters would reconsider continuation of the trust and fund at 25-year intervals.
Measure 6 is an initiated statutory measure proposed through the petition process. If approved, this Measure 6 would amend the Century Code to “create a presumption that each parent is a fit parent and entitled to be awarded equal parental rights and responsibilities by a court unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary; the measure would also provide a definition of equal parenting time.”
Measure 7 is also an initiated statutory measure proposed through the petition process. If approved, this Measure 7 would amend Century Code to “repeal the requirement that an applicant for a permit to operate a pharmacy must be a licensed pharmacist, a business entity controlled by licensed pharmacists, a hospital pharmacy, or a postgraduate medical residency program,” and allow non-pharmacists, such as retail chains and “big box stores” to own and operate pharmacies within the state.
Another initiated statutory measure, Measure 8 would amend the Century Code to require school classes begin after Labor Day. The entire text of the measure reads: “The school year begins on July first and ends on June thirtieth of the following year. School classes shall begin after Labor Day.”