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STATE TREASURER          
[Constitution, Article V, Section 12; NDCC Chapter 54-11]
               
The office of the Territorial Treasurer was created in 1862 (T. L. 1862, Ch. 86). The Treasurer was elected to a two-year term and responsible for receiving territorial funds, disbursing funds on warrants issued by the Territorial Auditor, and reporting to the Legislative Assembly on the condition of the Treasury. In 1889 the office of the State Treasurer was created by the North Dakota State Constitution. The State Treasurer was elected to a two-year term prior to passage of a constitutional amendment in 1964 establishing a four-year term of office. Until 1995 the State Treasurer was the only elective office limited to two consecutive terms. Officer qualifications include being a qualified elector of the state and at least twenty-five years old.

As custodian of all state funds the function of the State Treasurer was required to receive, manage, and invest all state moneys and disburse state funds. Additionally the Treasurer reported on activities and maintained custody of and all transactions relative to securities held or owned by the state, maintained copyrights, and reported on the status of the State Treasury. Duties also included collecting taxes on alcohol, administrating and licensing liquor and beer wholesalers, and maintaining the Permanent Fund. The State Treasurer distributed revenue to the appropriate entities from the collections of  various taxes including highway tax, coal severance tax, estate tax, coal conversion tax, facilities tax, cigarette tax, oil and gas gross production tax,  and personal property replacement tax. The State Treasurer also provided investment services. Additionally, since the creation of the office the Territorial and State Treasurer has served on a wide variety of boards and commissions.

A movement to eliminate the office of the State Treasurer and transfer the State Treasurer's duties to other state agencies culminated when the State Legislature approved an amendment to the State Constitution eliminating the office. However the proposed constitutional amendment eliminating the office of State Treasurer was disapproved by voters on November 5, 1983. A second movement to eliminate the office in 2000 also culminated in a vote by the state’s citizens to retain the office. Called the North Dakota Elimination of State Treasurer Act (2000) it was placed on the primary ballot as North Dakota Constitutional Measure Three.

In 2005 the office of the State Treasurer adopted the mission to “fulfill its constitutional and statutory responsibilities in order to assure sound financial oversight and absolute safety of all public funds collected, managed, and disbursed”.

The session laws in 2009 listed duties and powers of the Treasurer including to collect a record for each deposit of money into Treasury:

  • to keep an account of all money received and disbursed and keep separate accounts of the different funds;  
  • to keep and disburse all moneys belonging to the state in the manner provided by law and at the discretion of the State Treasurer payment of tax distribution shall be corrected in a timely manner;
  • to keep all revenues and expenditures of state agencies and all moneys received and disbursed by the Treasurer in accordance with the requirements of the state’s central accounting system; to credit all state income earned on the deposit or investment according to the law, pay warrants drawn by the Office of Management and Budget and signed by the State Auditor and State Treasurer out of funds upon which they are drawn and in order in which they are presented;
  • to redeem warrants drawn by the Office of Management and Budget and signed by the State Auditor and State Treasurer in conformity with law if there is money in the Treasury appropriated for that purpose; to maintain a report of the payment of monthly warrants, provide for the Legislative Assembly (or committee) information in writing the condition of the Treasury or duties of the office, and submit to the Governor and Secretary of State a biennial report; and
  • to promote access to financial education tools that can help all North Dakotans make wiser choices in all areas of personal financial management (S. L. 2009, Ch. 466).

Headquarters for the Office of the State Treasurer is at the State Capitol. The office has five divisions: Administration, Investments, Accounting, Tax Distributions, and Cash Management.

CHRONOLOGY

1862       The office of the Territorial Treasurer was created and the Treasurer was elected to a two-year term (T. L. 1862, Ch. 86).

1864       The Treasurer was a member of the Board of Education for the Territory along with the Governor and Secretary. The Board appointed a Superintendent of Public Instruction and made recommendations to the Legislature about educational improvements (T. L. 1864, Ch. 41). In 1865 this was repealed.

1867       The Territorial Board of Equalization consisted of the Governor, Auditor, and Treasurer (T. L. 1867, Ch. 4).

1881       The Treasurer served as a member of the Normal School Board of Education (T. L. 1881, Ch. 99).

1885       From 1885 to 1905 the Treasurer had responsibility for maintenance of standards of weights and measures conforming to the US standards (T. L. 1885, Ch. 151).

1889       As established in the State Constitution the Treasurer was chosen by the state electors. Duties were set by the law and the State Treasurer was eligible to serve for only two consecutive two-year terms (Constitution, 1889, Article III).

1890       The State Treasurer served on the Commissioners of Public Printing as an ex-officio member (S. L. 1890, Ch. 119).  In 1919 this Commission was repealed.

1892       The Treasurer was part of the State Board of Canvassers (Special Session, S. L. 1892, S.B. 1).

1909       The Legislature required the State Treasurer to publish a report that provided for “greater publicity” the finances of the state (S. L. 1909, Ch. 217).

1911       The Treasurer and the Secretary of State were added to the Auditing Board (S. L. 1911, Ch. 51).

1913       The State Treasurer became an ex-officio member of the Teachers Insurance and Retirement Board of Trustees (S. L. 1913, Ch. 251) and one of the members of the State Board of Immigration “for the encouragement of immigration to North Dakota” (S. L. 1913, Ch. 44).

1915       The Treasurer was removed from the State Board of Immigration (S. L. 1915, Ch. 234).

1939       In an initiated measure the State Laboratories Department was created and the State Treasurer served on the State Laboratories Commission for the purpose of directing the Department (Initiated Measure, S. L. 1939, Ch. 258).  

1961       Along with the Governor and others the State Treasurer served from 1961to1971on a Civil Defense Advisory Council (S. L. 1961, Ch. 248).

1963       The Treasurer became a member of the State Investment Board (S. L. 1963, Ch. 205).  

1964       The State Treasurer was elected to a two-year term prior to passage of a constitutional amendment establishing a four-year term of office. The State Treasurer was limited to serving two consecutive terms (S. L. 1965, Ch. 475).

1965       The State Treasurer became a member of the State Historical Board.

1969       An amendment added section four to the Century Code related to the records of the State Treasurer [NDCC 54-11-04].  Legislation amended the Century Code [NDCC 54-11-06] concerning  irregularities in the books of the State Treasurer, the role of the State Auditor in such matters, and reasoning for a temporary suspension of the Treasurer (S. L. 1969, Ch. 437). Legislation also amended the Century Code [NDCC 54-11-07] concerning the circumstances for the suspension of the State Treasurer by the Governor (S. L. 1969, Ch. 438).

1977       Legislation related to the numbering, retention, and storage of certain documents by the State Treasurer and a listing of the records to be kept by the Treasurer (S. L. 1977, Ch. 487).
               
1983       A proposed constitutional amendment to eliminate the office of State Treasurer was disapproved by voters on November 5, 1983.

1995       The prohibition of serving more than two terms was lifted by the vote of the people for the election of 1996 (S. L. 1995, Ch. 646, HCR 3009).

1996       The State Treasurer became the trustee for the Veterans Postwar Trust fund.

2000       A second movement to eliminate the office in 2000 also culminated in a vote by the state’s citizens to retain the office and was Constitutional Measure Three on the primary ballot.  

2001 Powers of tax collection of beer and liquor were transferred from the State Treasurer to the Tax Commissioner by an act to create and enact a new section to the Century Code [NDCC 5-03] relating to deposit of taxes and fees from beer and liquor wholesalers in the state general fund and to amend and reenact sections relating to transfer of tax collection responsibilities from the State Treasurer to the State Tax Commissioner (S. L. 2001, Ch. 84). 

2005       A new subsection was added to the Century Code relating to the correction of erroneous distributions by the State Treasurer and to correcting any underpayment, overpayment, or erroneous payment of tax distribution funds by the State Treasurer (S. L. 2005, Ch. 483).

2009       Legislation amended a section of the Century Code [NDCC 54-11-01] regarding the duties and powers of the State Treasurer (S. L. 2009, Ch. 466).

SERIES

30502 Audit Reports.
30516 Outgoing Letters.
30517 Annual Statistical Information Report for the Board of Equalization.
30518 Correspondence.
30708 Quarterly Reports.
30709 Daily Balance Ledger.
30710 Monthly Balance Ledger.
30711 Cash Books.
30712 Journals.
30713 Record of Department-Owned Bonds.
30714 Bond Register.
30715 Depository Bond Register.
30716 Mill and Elevator Association, Bank of North Dakota, and Real Estate Bond Register.
30717 Real Estate Bond Register.
30718 Permanent School and Institutional Funds Bond Register.
30719 Bond Correspondence.
30720 Bond Register Index.
30721 Bond and Mortgage Investment Record.
30725 Record of Securities.
30731 Bond Account Ledger.
31318 Bonds.
30724 Twine and Cordage Factory Record of Certificates of Indebtedness.
30722 School District Certificate of Indebtedness Record.
30726 Hail Insurance Register.
30723 Treasurer’s Record of Certificates of Indebtedness.
30732 Permanent School Fund Ledger.
30729 Record of Gross Earnings and Taxes of Car Equipment Companies.
30730 Registers of Farm Loans.
30727 Assessment of Incomes of Individuals, Farmers, and Dairymen.
39728 Assessment of Income of Corporations.

SOURCES

Gray, David P.  Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
Laws of Dakota Territory.
Legislative History of North Dakota State Agencies: Richard J. Wolfert State Librarian. State Library.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.
North Dakota State Treasurer Website.

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