Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Political Science & Public Administration


The purpose of this study is to look at the extent of legislative oversight in the North Dakota State Legislature. The State's legislators meet only once every two years for about four months and the rest of the time they are fulltime private citizens and parttime legislators. Oversight of North Dakota's Executive Branch must be done by legislators who are being pulled in several directions by job, family and constituents. Oversight does not rate high on the priority list in the legislative interim.

In order to get an idea of what types of oversight are available to the State's legislators, this study compares congressional oversight to State oversight techniques. The similarities are interesting. While there is quite a bit written about congressional oversight, little study has been done on state oversight.

In order to get a handle on oversight methods available to North Dakota's legislators and the methods actually used by them a series of interviews were conducted. Chester Nelson, the Legislative Council's fiscal analyst and auditor was interviewed concerning fiscal oversight available to the State's legislators. John Olsrud, Director of the Legislative Council staff, talked about the role of the council staff in assisting legislators in oversight. And finally, fourteen of the State's legislators were interviewed to determine how they feel about oversight.