Ryan Taylor asks for Attorney General’s Opinion on Whether Industrial Commission has Violated Open Records Law

Ryan Taylor asks for Attorney General’s Opinion on Whether Industrial Commission has Violated Open Records Law

(BISMARCK, ND – APRIL 11) – Agriculture Commissioner candidate Ryan Taylor announced today that he is asking Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem for an opinion on whether the Industrial Commission has violated North Dakota’s Open Records and Meeting Law (N.D. Century Code, Chapter 44-04).

The request arises out of an open records request sent to the Industrial Commission on March 5, 2014 by former Valley City State University President Dr. Ellen Chaffee, who is a volunteer for Taylor’s campaign. She requested copies of the minutes of the Industrial Commission for the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and through March 1, 2014. Dr. Chaffee sent two follow-up requests asking for the status of the minutes. She did not receive the 2009 minutes until April 4, 2014. The minutes for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 have yet to be received.

“I don’t make this request lightly,” said Taylor. “But the Industrial Commission oversees many aspects of our state’s economy. It has direct oversight over oil and gas development and it is unacceptable that five years of its minutes are not readily available to all North Dakotans. It’s especially unacceptable when you consider the scope of oil and gas development during this period.”

Taylor added: “North Dakotans expect open and transparent government. We can go online or open up our weekly newspapers and read the minutes of our county commissions, city councils, and local school boards. We can look up our legislators’ voting records within hours of when the votes are cast. We can even find online the minutes of many organizations within days of their meetings. But, right now, we cannot access the minutes of the most important commission in state government in a timely fashion.”

“The Industrial Commission is where sunshine should shine brightest,” says Taylor. “Today, I’m asking for the Attorney General’s opinion, and I’m also promising North Dakotans that if I’m elected Ag Commissioner I’ll work to make the minutes of the Industrial Commission accessible in a speedy manner and easily available. I’ll make sure our public employees have the resources they need to get the job done because it’s not their fault, it’s the responsibility of the elected officials to assure the transparency that gives people faith in their government. The Ag Commissioner should be advocating for them and for all constituents. As consumers, we would not accept this type of a delay from a business, we certainly shouldn’t accept it from our state government as taxpayers.”

ABOUT RYAN TAYLOR. Ryan Taylor, the endorsed North Dakota Democratic-NPL candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, is a businessman and fourth-generation rancher. The Taylor Ranch, near Towner, has been in the family for over a century. Taylor lives there with his wife, Nikki, and their three young children. From 2002 to 2012, Taylor served in the North Dakota Senate where he served on the Agriculture Committee. He was Senate Minority Leader from 2010 to 2012 and was the North Dakota Democratic-NPL nominee for governor in 2012. Taylor currently serves as a McHenry County Commissioner. He is a member of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, a trustee of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, a Bush Foundation Fellow, and sits on the board of directors for Hartland Mutual Insurance and Metigoshe Ministries. Taylor holds degrees in Agricultural Economics and Mass Communications from NDSU.

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Letter to Attorney General Stenehjem – Formal Request for an Opinion

Open records request emails from Dr. Ellen Chaffee

N.D.C.C. 44-04-21 – Open voting at public meetings required – Results recorded in minutes.

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From: Dem-NPL News

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