The Measure of a State

By Stacy Sturm

There are four measures on the ballot June 12. Two have been promoted and debated and then promoted and debated some more. But the other two have been added quietly and are garnering little attention. Here are ALL the measures and what a “Yes” or “No” vote would mean.

Measure 1

Is a Legislatively-Referred Constitutional Amendment (LRCA).

The measure as it will appear on the ballot:

This constitutional measure would amend and reenact section 6 of Article IV of the North Dakota Constitution. This measure would prohibit the appointment of a member of the Legislative As­sembly to a state office for which the compensation was increased in an amount greater than any gen­eral legislative increase provided to full-time state employees during the member’s term of office.

YES – would allow legislators to get full-time government jobs, which have had pay increases, as long as the increase in pay was not more than the general increase given to full-time state employees.

NO – would keep the constitution as it is: legislators cannot get a full-time government job that has had a pay increase during that legislator’s time in elected office.

Measure 2

Measure 2 is an Initiated Consti­tutional Amendment (CICA). The measure was proposed by a group called Empower the Taxpayer in March 2010 and approved for circulation by the North Dakota Secretary of State in late March. Specifically, the measure requires the legislature to replace local governments’ property tax income with state tax revenue.

The measure as it will appear on the ballot reads:

This initiat­ed constitutional measure would amend sections 1, 4, 14, 15, and 16 of Article X of the North Dakota Constitution and repeal sections 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10 of that same ar­ticle, eliminating property taxes, poll taxes, and acreage taxes, ef­fective January 1, 2012. The mea­sure would require the Legislative Assembly to replace lost revenue to cities, counties, townships, school districts, and other politi­cal subdivisions with allocations of various state-level taxes and other revenues, without restric­tions on how these revenues may be spent by the political subdivisions.

YES – would eliminate property taxes, poll taxes, and acreage taxes. The lost revenue would be replaced with state-level taxes, and other sources.

NO – would keep the constitution as it is, allowing counties, cities, townships, villages, and districts to collect property, poll, and acreage taxes.

Measure 3

Measure 3 is an Initiated Consti­tutional Amendment (CICA). Ac­cording to the proposed initiative, a person’s right to act or refuse due to a religious belief may not be burdened by the government unless the government proves it has a “compelling interest” in regulating behavior. The mea­sure is sponsored by the Religious Liberty Restoration Amendment Committee.

The measure as it appears on the ballot reads:

This initiated constitutional measure would add a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution stat­ing, “Government may not burden a person’s or religious organiza­tion’s religious liberty. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held reli­gious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to fur­ther that interest. A burden in­cludes indirect burdens such as withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.”

YES – would prohibit government from acting against, or not acting for, any person or organization’s religious liberty. Unless there is a compelling reason against a specific act.

NO – would keep the state constitution as it is and reject the measure as stated above.

Measure 4

Measure 4 is a Voter Referen­dum (VR). The measure would allow for the University of North Dakota to use the “Fighting Sioux” nickname and logo by re­pealing Senate Bill 2370, a law that repealed an earlier mandate requiring the use of the nickname. The measure is proposed by mem­bers of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe.

The measure as it appears on the ballot reads:

This referen­dum measure concerns Senate Bill 2370 as passed by the Leg­islative Assembly in the Novem­ber 2011 special session (Session Laws, Chapter 580). Senate Bill 2370 repealed section 15-10-46 of the North Dakota Century Code, which required the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

YES – would allow the University of North Dakota to stop using the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo and later change to something else.

NO – would require the University of North Dakota to use the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

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