Bill to audit two agencies dies in House – Bismarck Tribune

A more than two-thirds majority of North Dakota House members voted against a bill Wednesday calling for performance audits of two state agencies.

Lawmakers voted down House Bill 1259 by a 22-67 vote. Opponents said audits for the Oil and Gas Division of the North Dakota Industrial Commission and the North Dakota Department of Health could best be done through an interim committee.

HB1259 would have ordered performance audits of both agencies during the 2015-17 biennium.

Bill carrier Rep. Pat Hatlestad, R-Williston, said the interim Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee will consider placing the two proposed audits on its list of future audits.

“HB1259 is a duplication,” Hatlestad said.

Prime bill sponsor Kenton Onstad, D-Parshall, said the proposed audits weren’t out of line. He said with additional scrutiny on regulation of the oil and gas industry in recent years audits would ease public concerns over how well the regulations in place are being carried out.

“There’s a lot of skepticism out there in the public,” Onstad said.

Onstad used the example of the Game and Fish Department audit last year that, among other things, revealed missing firearms used for training programs, most of which have since been recovered.

(Reach Nick Smith at 701-250-8255 or 701-223-8482 or atnick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.)

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