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AS I SEE IT

Posted 10/28/14 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor
 
McKenzie County and North Dakota voters are going to be asked to decide on several local, state and national races in the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Voting is an important American right. And it is a right that all voters need to take seriously as they choose who they want to serve them in county government, in the state legislature and in Washington, D.C.
But for North Dakotans, next Tuesday’s election will provide state voters the chance to decide the fate of eight measures. Over the past several weeks, I have provided the readers of the McKenzie County Farmer with my thoughts on each of these eight measures. However, I have been asked to summarize my thoughts on these eight measurers once again, which I will do this week in an abbreviated form.
Constitutional Measure #1 would create and enact a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution, stating “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”
Because of the vagueness of the language in this measure as to what would be allowed or disallowed, I am voting “no.”
Constitutional Measure #2 would create and enact a new section to the North Dakota Constitution which would prohibit mortgage taxes being imposed on the sale or transfer of real property.
Although it is highly unlikely that any form of government in the state would ever consider imposing this tax, I am voting “yes.”
Constitutional Measure #3 would change the board of Higher Ed from an eight-member board to a three-member commission.
While the state’ Higher Education Board has its share of problems, this will do little to solve them. Therefore I am voting “no.”
Constitutional Measure #4 would prohibit initiating a constitutional amendment that would make a direct appropriation of public funds for a specific purpose or require the legislative assembly to approve funds for a specific purpose.
While I dislike limiting the ability of state residents to initiate measures, this measure needs a “yes” vote.
Constitutional Measure #5 would divert five percent of North Dakota’s oil and gas extraction taxes (or approximately $150 million a year) into a special conservation fund.
Considering all of the other needs that the state of North Dakota has, creating this conservation fund makes absolutely no sense. Measure # 5 needs to be soundly defeated.
Initiated Statutory Measure #6 would amend Section 14-09-06.2 of the North Dakota Century Code to create a presumption that each parent is a fit parent and entitled to be awarded equal parental rights and responsibilities by a court unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.
Since safeguards are already in place through the court system and other state agencies to determine fitness of a parent, I think a “yes” vote is appropriate.
Initiated Statutory Measure #7 would repeal North Dakota’s current pharmacy law that provides that all pharmacies in the state must be at least 51 percent owned by a pharmacist.
North Dakotans have been served well by the existing state requirement, so I see no need to change it. I will be voting “no.”
Initiated Statutory Measure #8 would require that all school classes in North Dakota begin after Labor Day.
This is one of those issues that has been discussed for decades. I don’t see any problem with either passing or rejecting this measure. But that said, I will probably vote “yes.”