BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum issued an executive order today convening a special session of the state Legislature on Oct. 23 to address the components of a budget bill that was recently voided as unconstitutional by the North Dakota Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled Sept. 28 that Senate Bill 2015, the appropriations bill for the state Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was void because it violated the state Constitution’s rule that states, “No bill may embrace more than one subject, which must be expressed in its title.” The court’s ruling and the case docket originally indicated the opinion would take effect Oct. 28, but last Thursday the court issued a second opinion stating it had no authority to delay the judgement, so SB 2015 was voided immediately.
Legislative leaders sent Burgum a letter Friday, Oct. 13, requesting that he convene a special session to address SB 2015. They noted that all legislation enacted during a special session called by the governor becomes effective on the date specified in the act. By contrast, if the Legislature were to call itself back into session using the remaining five days of their 80-day biennial session limit, any bill that passed would not take effect for 90 days unless an emergency clause was approved by two-thirds of the Legislature.
Convening in special session next week will avoid a Nov. 1 interruption to state government services to citizens. Burgum’s executive order sets the scope of the special session as addressing the OMB budget, enacting other components of SB 2015 and making strategic investments in areas such as tax relief and infrastructure.
“Since the Supreme Court first ruled the OMB bill invalid, we have been collaborating with House and Senate leaders to navigate the complexities of calling the Legislature back for a special session, and we are grateful for their leadership and the work by Legislative Council,” Burgum said. “By calling the Legislature back into session, we can enact the OMB budget and other provisions of the bill before Nov. 1, continue delivering services to citizens without interruption and make strategic investments in areas such as tax relief and infrastructure that strengthen North Dakota’s economic future.”