A little constitutional house cleaning

North Dakota State Roundup

Published September 1, 2006  | September 2006 issue

North Dakota residents soundly passed a referendum to eliminate entire outdated sections of its state constitution and update others in an effort to appear more current and business friendly.

The so-called Measure 2 abolished 11 of 17 sections of Article 12 in the state's constitution, which regulated railroads, banks and other businesses. In many cases, a lot of changes were constitutionally cosmetic because the sections were outdated, or sometimes either superseded by or duplicative of other state or federal laws.

But there were substantive changes. Measure 2 eliminated the requirement that North Dakota corporations elect directors using a method that favored nonmajority shareholders, which some business advocates said deterred firms from locating there. The new law still allows this method of shareholder voting, but gives corporations more freedom in how directors are elected.

Ronald A. Wirtz