BISMARCK -- A bipartisan group of North Dakota lawmakers have proposed legislation that, if approved by voters, would phase out the Office of the State Treasurer.
It’s an idea that was most recently raised by Sen. Tim Mathern, D-Fargo, in his failed bid for the office in the 2016 election. He’s a co-sponsor of a resolution that would amend the state Constitution to remove the state treasurer as an elected constitutional officer effective Jan. 1, 2021. A companion resolution would assign responsibility to Legislative Management to study the statutory changes needed to transfer the office’s duties to other state agencies, according to a news release issued Monday, Jan. 9.
Supporters say it’s an effort to create a more efficient government in tough budget times.
“This is not a new idea,” said Rep. Mike Nathe, R-Bismarck, the primary sponsor of the resolution. “But I think it’s a new and different environment we find ourselves in today with the challenges that we face.”
Kelly Schmidt, a Republican who defeated Mathern for a fourth term in office in November, issued a statement Monday morning indicating she believes voters would retain the office, as they did in 1984 and 2000.
“The Treasurer’s Office provides the checks and balances and the transparency in government spending that the people have come to trust,” her statement said.
In a presentation to a division of the House Appropriations Committee Monday morning, Schmidt pushed back against any perception that her office duplicates services.
“The complexity of what we do is often misunderstood,” she said.
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.