Measure 1: This legislation would eliminate legislative authority in the constitution to impose a poll tax on voters. A poll tax was found unconstitutional in 1964, and the outdated language in the current law needs to be removed. The Minot Daily News supports a yes vote on Measure 1.
Measure 2: This would require key state executive branch officials to take oaths of office under the constitution. The constitution does require an oath for legislative and judicial members, but executive officials were added to the list by legislative action in 1890. Measure 2 would simply make the requirement to take an oath, written or verbal, part of the constitution instead. The Minot Daily News supports a yes vote on Measure 2.
Measure 3: This would protect the rights of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices. There is some disagreement over the need for Measure 3. Supporters argue the state should be proactive in permanently protecting farming and ranching against the potential for unnecessary and costly changes becoming law with the support of outside interests, like the Humane Society of the United States and others. Opponents say the state's current right-to-farm law is adequate. We're not convinced of the need to change the constitution with such open-ended and permanent language. The Minot Daily News supports a no vote on Measure 3.
Measure 4: This would eliminate smoking in most areas that were not included in an August 2005 law. Smoking would be banned in bars, truck stops, tobacco stores, work places available to be leased to the public for private functions and smoking rooms in hotels. It would also ban smoking within 20 feet of entrances, exits or air-intakes of locations that ban smoking. Private businesses seem to be solving some of this issue on their own. Locally, some bars have gone non-smoking without being forced to by government, and we expect that trend to continue as more customers make their preferences known by not patronizing smoking establishments. Supporters say the intent of the measure is to protect the health of employees and others who have limited choices in avoiding smoking establishments. But generally, employees have choices, too, given the state's extremely low unemployment rate. This measure represents the continued expansion of government authority over everyday lives and choices. Which freedom would be next on the list? The Minot Daily News supports a no vote on Measure 4.
Measure 5: Perhaps the most controversial of this year's measures, Measure 5 would strengthen N.D.'s laws on animal cruelty relating to horses, dogs and cats. Supporters argue that N.D. is one of only two states that doesn't treat malicious or intentional animal harm as a felony, and Measure 5 would not apply to production agriculture or lawful activities of hunters and trappers, licensed veterinarians, scientific researchers or to individuals engaged in lawful defense of life or property. Opponents say the measure is too limiting in which animals it protects, and doesn't address neglect and starvation, the most common forms of abuse. Support from the Humane Society of the United States worries some North Dakotans, who disagree with many of that group's positions. A coalition called North Dakota Animal Stewards plans to introduce a proposal at the 2013 Legislature that covers more than pets and includes varying penalties based on the offense. We want all animals to be protected from torture and abuse, and in that sense, Measure 5 is too limited. We would like to see this issue solved by lawmakers in the 2013 session. The Minot Daily News supports a no vote on?Measure 5.