The North Dakota legislature voted on April 8 to send the North Dakota Board of Higher Education Membership Amendment to the 2020 ballot.
The measure would amend the state constitution to do the following:
- increase the number of members on the state’s board of higher education from eight to 15;
- increase the length of board member terms from four years to six years;
- require the board to have at minimum of one meeting per year with the directors of each of the education institutions overseen by the board;
- restrict the membership of the board to exclude any state officials, legislators, and employees of the state; and
- prohibit employees of an institution under control of the board from being members of the board for two years following the termination of such employment.
The amendment was introduced as Senate Concurrent Resolution 4016 on February 15, 2019. The state Senate approved the amendment by a vote of 29-14, with four absent or not voting, on March 7, 2019. The state House passed the measure with amendments on April 2, 2019, by a vote of 50-41. On April 8, 2019, the Senate concurred with the House’s amendments, by a vote of 27-17.
As of April 11, 2019, six constitutional amendments that would go on the 2020 ballot were approved in one chamber of the legislature and are pending approval in the other. Between 1996 and 2018, an average of six measures appeared on the ballot in North Dakota during even-numbered election years. Citizen initiatives can also be put on the North Dakota ballot in 2020. To qualify an initiative for the ballot, proponents must submit 26,904 valid signatures by July 6, 2020.
So far in 2019, 21 statewide ballot measures have been certified for the 2020 ballot in 11 states.