Sunshine Act bills defeated in North Dakota House

(BISMARCK, N.D.) – Today, the North Dakota House Republicans systematically shot down every portion of the Sunshine Act in a mostly systematic bipartisan fashion, except HB 1447.

Argument for these bills centered around whether or not North Dakota had an ethics problem.

“We posed to these legislators, if ethics is not a problem in North Dakota, why did the GOP so vociferously vote down reform,” Mock said. “If anything, they should be embracing these bills in order to further prove their point.”

Among the bills that were axed today was the formation of an ethics commission, HB 1442. The bill would have created a nine-member commission (4 legislators, 2 from each political party; 5 individuals appointed by the Governor, including 1 Republican, 1 Democrat and 3 from our judicial branch). The commission would have had oversight authority over all elected and appointed members of the legislative, executive, and judicial branch of state government, lobbyists, candidates for elected office, and state employees. HB 1442 received a 24-70 vote.

The following Sunshine Act Bills also failed:

  • HB 1430 – Requires disclosure of political contributions and advertisements made by a third-party corporations or special interest groups. Failed 25-67.
  • HB 1436 – Requires legislative candidates to file same contribution reports as North Dakota statewide candidates. Failed 24-69.
  • HB 1449 – Requires legislative and statewide candidates to disclose expenditures made by their campaign accounts if the expenditure is greater than $200. Failed 21-72.
  • HB 1444 – Requires disclosure of all payments or reimbursements made by special interest groups (for purposes of travel) to state elected officials. Failed 22-71.

However, HB 1447 passed with an 87-6 yea vote. The bill requires campaign contribution reports to be filed electronically and made available to the public within 24-hours of the report being submitted; adjusts reporting periods to begin 40 days before each election. The bill will now go to the Senate.

“The passion of proponents was heard today – and my door remains open to any legislator or elected official willing to move our work forward in the near future,” Mock added.

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