Single-Subject And The Supreme Court
This weeks' North Dakota Supreme Court decision that the OMB Budget violated "single-subject" outlines the danger of enacting rules that are not clearly defined: judges will do the defining.
North Dakota legislators got a lesson in “be careful what you wish for” this week when the North Dakota Supreme Court invalidated Senate Bill 2015 - the budget for the Office of Management and Budget - on the basis that it violated what is called “the one-subject rule”.
Some background: at the end of every legislative session, when there is a desire to pass legislation that either previously failed or was never introduced, there has been a long-standing tradition to stick it into the OMB Budget Bill as a “must pass” bill, usually in the final hours of each session. This has become a messier and more chaotic process as time has gone by.
Until recently, it was believed by many legislators that the “one-subject rule” was more of a tradition than a law - much like how every bill gets a vote of the chamber it was introduced. This belief stemmed from the fact that in modern times the legislature had not been challenged on the way it had been operating.
Article IV, Section 13 of the North…
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to North Dakota's Watchdog Update to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.