Dems respond further to Hoeven’s denial

Received from the four western North Dakota legislators who want to see a special session called to address infrastructure needs in the oil counties and cities: 

June 24, 2010


Governor Hoeven, through his spokesperson Don Canton has dismissed our call for a special session without even a moment of consideration for our points. Canton says that the Governor says, that there is no need to go into special session now because the state has already addressed the situation in oil country. Canton promptly discusses $50 million coming from federal leases, but fails to disclose that through a formula in the Flood Control Act, 50% must go to schools and 25% went to certain townships and only the last 25% to counties.

We say to Canton, let us talk to the Governor. In our letter we requested a meeting to visit about these important issues. Our intent has been criticized by some Republicans as a political ploy, but the fact is, our constituents need the state’s help now. We offered an example of an emergency measure that could provide immediate support to the region for counties that cannot borrow against future taxes. We know that a special session is not likely to be the time for a comprehensive solution. It’s purpose is to bring some relief immediately where the need is great and the solutions are too far into the future.

We also presented the Governor with a plan for a special session that followed the template used by Gov. Schaffer in the 1994 special session. A disciplined plan is necessary to ensure that such a special session not be distracted by extraneous issues. Long term solutions can and must be addressed in the regular session.

In North Dakota, the Governor has limited powers. He can authorize some bonding authority as he has done with Williston for housing, but the solutions for our part of the oil patch are not found in this authority. Any supplemental appropriation to provide counties and townships with upfront funds based on expected revenues must be done by the legislature.

Some have suggested that Dunn and Mountrail County should have complained earlier like Williston. This is ludicrous. Our counties did come before the last legislative session in 2009 because they anticipated what would happen to their roads. The legislature provided a small portion of support, but certainly not adequate to deal with the problems at hand.

Governor Hoeven’s dismissal of our request is more than disappointing.

Respectfully submitted,

Representative Kenton Onstad, Parshall

Senator John Warner, Ryder

Representative Tom Conklin, Douglas

Representative Shirley Meyer, Dickinson

Election presser in Minot

Secretary of State Democratic candidate Corey Mock and Sen. John Warner, D-Ryder, are having a news conference in Minot tomorrow.

They will discuss a request by Warner for an attorney general’s opinion regarding a recent decision by Secretary of State Al Jaeger, according to a news release.

Jaeger misplaced election paperwork of Libertarian Public Service Commission candidate Joshua Voytek, which prevented Voytek from being placed on the June primary ballot.

Jaeger said the documents were mistakenly attached to other business registration paperwork in his office, according to an Associated Press report. Jaeger and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Voytek’s name will be listed on the November ballot even though North Dakota law requires statewide primary candidates to get at least 300 votes to be eligible to run in the fall.

The 1 p.m. news conference at the Minot Public Library will discuss "the error, accompanied by questions surrounding the issue."