North Dakota Land Board, GOP lawmakers disagree over fund repayment

BISMARCK — A panel chaired by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum voted Monday, March 11, to pursue a legislative fix that would pay back state funds that the state’s land commissioner says have been shorted, putting it at odds with top Republican lawmakers.

A Senate committee will consider a delayed bill addressing the issue Wednesday morning. Land Commissioner Jodi Smith has said that two constitutional funds meant to benefit North Dakota’s public schools were shorted $137 million over roughly the past decade, meaning money flowed to other state buckets.

State officials have blamed the discrepancy on an “ambiguous” state law.