Grand Forks County Commission to continue discussion on possible implementation of home rule

The Grand Forks County Commission will once again discuss the possibility of a home rule charter, this time in an Administrative Services Committee meeting at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Implementing home rule for a county inherently includes the transfer of authority over municipal matters and decisions from state laws to a local charter that can be created and amended by voters – something like a local constitution. It allows county governments to carry out acts that aren’t specifically prohibited by the home rule constitution.

There are 44 states with provisions for home rule charters, including North Dakota. Its origins have been traced back to what is called Dillon’s Rule, from a case ruling in 1868, which likens the connection between municipalities to the state to that of a child and its parent.

As for implementation, North Dakota’s Legislature allows for a home rule proposal to be “initiated in a petition filed with the board of county commissioners and signed by qualified electors of the county, not fewer in number than 2% of the population of the county.”

So, why might the Grand Forks County Commission want to enact home rule? It provides the county more control

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