(The Center Square) – The North Dakota Supreme Court tossed the state’s budget bill Thursday, saying it is invalid because it addressed more than one subject.
Senate Bill 2015 originally only included items regarding state spending and the Office of Management and Budget. Still, lawmakers later added a provision that increased the number of lawmakers on the Board of Trustees of the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System from two to four. The retirement board filed a lawsuit saying the state’s constitution prohibited legislators from sitting on it because it violates the separation of powers and the state’s single-subject rule for legislation.
The Supreme Court agreed with the board and said the bill violated the state’s constitution. Their decision makes all of the bill invalid, including state spending.
“Declaring all of S.B. 2015 invalid is necessary because creation of the act violated a requirement imposed by the Constitution,” Justices Daniel J. Crothers and Jerod E. Tufte wrote in their majority opinion. “It is the Court’s duty to uphold the clear requirements of the Constitution when they are violated, whether inadvertently or not.’
Gov. Doug Burgum said he is meeting with legislators to determine the “best course of action.”
“As acknowledged by the Supreme Court, this decision has far-reaching consequences that will require a special session of the Legislative Assembly to enact the nearly 70 sections of the OMB bill that have now been voided,” Burgum said.