October 8th, 2014 2014 Ballot Measure Guide With eight measure on the ballot, keeping tabs on what each one really means can be difficult. There w

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October 8th, 2014


2014 Ballot Measure Guide

With eight measure on the ballot, keeping tabs on what each one really means can be difficult.


There will be eight measures on the statewide ballot for voters to weigh in on, the most since 1996.

Measures 1 & 6 are social conscience issues, and are the type that are better addressed by other organizations.

Measure 1 – Declares in the state constitution that life begins at conception.

Measure 6 – Addresses the issue known as “shared parenting,” by creating a legal presumption that each parent is a fit parent and entitled to be awarded equal parental rights by a court.

Measure 8 moves the school start date to after Labor Day, and is simply a preference choice for parents.

The remaining measures have substantial impact on state finances, voter rights, higher education governance, and free-market principles that the Watchdog Network has deemed priorities. This is not to diminish the importance or impact of 1, 6, and 8, just to say there are already enough voices on those other issues that can deal with them on their own.


Measure 2 – Prevents the state from imposing mortgage, sales or transfer taxes on the mortgage or transfer of real property.

During the 2012 campaign to abolish property taxes, a tax on mortgage payments, or a sales tax on the transfer of property was suggest as a partial way to pay for a transition to a government finance scheme that did not have property taxes. Measure 2 closes the door on that possibility with a yes vote.

Yes on 2 means you never want a sales or transfer tax on property sales.

No on 2 means you want the door left open for a new tax to be created.


Measure 3 – Abolishes current State Board of Higher Education and replaces it with appointed Commission of Higher Education.

Measure 3 is a “do-something” approach to addressing the runaway train that is the North Dakota University System. While it does not guarantee real improvements, it does signal that the public is fed up with the way the higher education system has been operating. A Yes vote kicks out the current board and creates a new full-time three member commission to do the job of the current dysfunctional board.

Yes on 3 means you are tired of the way the Board of Higher Education has managed itself and the university system and you just want to see something changed.

No on 3 means you want the Board of Higher Education to have a blank check to do whatever it wants, including violating state law over and over.


Measure 4 –Prevents citizens from initiating constitutional ballot measure that spend money or force the legislature to spend money, and requires measures that have significant fiscal impacts on the state to be voted on at a general election. While this seems minor, it is a wolf in sheep's clothing because it would also prevent the citizens from restricting the revenue the legislature has to work with. Constitutionally abolishing the income tax, property tax, or limiting the sales tax would be impossible. It would also block citizen efforts to determine a purpose for the state's Legacy Fund. Measure 4 supporters do not trust the public's ability to approve and reject major fiscal proposals. Click here to listen to a discussion about Measure 4. While supporters are trying to prevent Measure 5 supporters from trying again if they lose, it also prevents fiscal conservatives from pushing for constitutional tax reforms - which is simply not a good trade. Also, click here to read the recent editorial in the Grand Forks Herald.

Yes on 4 means you do not think taxpaying voters can be trusting to vote for constitutional measures that affect the state's spending or tax climate, and that the legislature should act as the gate keep of the constitutional for fiscal matters.

No on 4 means you trust the taxpaying voters to be able to decide for themselves on constitutional fiscal matters.


Measure 5 – allocates 5% of oil tax revenue to conservation issues. It creates a taxpayers funded government agency which would act as a government front for special interest group to buy land and create environmentalist programs. Placing the actual power of government and a budget of over $100 million per year in the hands of special interests is really bad policy. Read more on Measure 5 here.

Yes on 5 means you want to create a huge new agency with with a budget the legislature can never rein in even if it wants to do so.

No on 5 means you do not want to give special interest groups the constitutional ability to control government agencies.


Measure 7 – Repeals the antiquated protectionist law that says pharmacies must be 51% owned by pharmacists and opens the door to free-market completion. While many do not like the idea of letting Walmart enter the pharmacy market, the current long-standing law designed to prevent competition creates a poor image for North Dakota's overall business policy.

Yes on 7 means you opposes laws that pick winners and losers.

No on 7 means you are fine with laws that pick winners and losers.


This will be a major election when it comes to the direction of our state on many levels.

Will voters send the signal that enough is enough in higher education with Measure 3?

Will voters take the legislature's bait and give away their rights and power to regulate the state's tax and spend policies with Measure 4?

Will voters grown government with Measure 5?

Will a one-of-a-kind law protecting a certain industry from outside competition be overturned with Measure 7?

It can be a gamble to trust voters with these decisions, but history has shown that voters are capable of making the right decisions - usually.

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-Dustin Gawrylow, Managing Director

North Dakota Watchdog Network