- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Legislature will let voters decide whether their elected legislators should be required to live in the districts they represent.

North Dakota’s House passed a resolution 75-17 on Wednesday that will put the constitutional amendment on the November 2016 ballot. The Senate had endorsed it 44-3 on Tuesday.

The North Dakota Constitution only specifies that state lawmakers live in the district from where they are elected on the day of the election. The relaxed language has spurred some lawmakers to move outside their districts once elected, which legislative leaders from both parties sought to prevent in the bipartisan proposal.

Rep. Jim Kasper, R-Fargo, who carried the bill on the House floor, said the resolution should help quell constituents’ concerns.

“We are about as close as we can get to solving the problems that we’ve had over the course of the last many, many years of people maybe not living in their district their entire term,” Kasper told fellow representatives.

Neither the Secretary of State’s office, which regulates elections, nor the Legislative Council, the Legislature’s research arm, has records to show how many lawmakers currently live outside of their districts. It’s an open secret at the Capitol that a handful of lawmakers - both Democrats and Republicans - don’t live in the district they represent.

Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, and Rep. Mark Dosch, R-Bismarck, are two lawmakers who live outside their districts but voted in favor of the resolution Wednesday.

Mock, who has served in the House since 2008, said he and his wife recently bought a home about a mile outside of his district. The assistant House minority leader said he was unsure if he would seek re-election in his current district, which is held by fellow Democratic House member Eliot Glassheim.

Dosch, who has been in the House since 2001, said he and his wife became “empty nesters” last year and bought a smaller place a few blocks from his old house that’s outside of his district.

“I knew when I moved I would not be able to run again,” he said.

Dosch owns and works at two hotels that are in his district. He also employs about 60 people “and most of them live in my district,” he said.

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