Council opposes bill to let local candidates declare a party
The Grand Forks City Council has taken a stance against a state House bill that would bring party politics into local elections. A legislative proposal from Rep. Scott Louser, R-Minot, would require that certain candidates in local elections eith...
The Grand Forks City Council has taken a stance against a state House bill that would bring party politics into local elections.
A legislative proposal from Rep. Scott Louser, R-Minot, would require that certain candidates in local elections either declare a party or run as independents. North Dakota Century Code currently prohibits this.
"One of the things that I've always enjoyed about the city council is it's not affiliated with any party," Council Vice President Ken Vein said during Tuesday's meeting. "My votes have never been along any party line. I'm not sure what value it brings to this body."
Louser's bill doesn't apply to candidates for judicial office or a superintendent of public instruction. Three state lawmakers serving Grand Forks are co-sponsoring the proposal.
The council voted to oppose Louser's bill 4-1 with council member Danny Weigel dissenting. Council President Dana Sande and council member Sandi Marshall were not present.
The debate Tuesday night wasn't between supporting and opposing the Louser's bill, but on whether the council should wait to have more information before officially declaring its stance.
Council members and City Attorney Howard Swanson said Tuesday night it was unclear whether Louser's bill encroaches upon any of the legislative priorities local leaders established before the state's legislative session began.
Weigel, who said he could see both the positive and negative sides of the bill, also said he couldn't support opposing it before having more information.
Vein said the council can still change its stance if more information surfaces before Louser's bill has its hearing. He and other council members said they voted to oppose the bill Tuesday just in case the hearing is scheduled before the council meets again.
As of Monday evening, there was still no hearing scheduled for Louser's bill. It has been assigned to the House Government and Veteran Affairs.