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Director of ND Legislative Council retiring in August

North Dakota Capitol in Bismarck. Forum photo by Darren Gibbins

BISMARCK—The head of the North Dakota Legislative Council, a team of attorneys, accountants and researchers that advises state lawmakers, is retiring later this year.

Jim Smith told lawmakers Thursday, April 19, he would retire at the end of August after 39 years with the agency. He said he would help with the transition to a new director.

Smith pointed to technological advances as among his proudest accomplishments during his tenure, including video recordings of floor sessions and a mobile app for tracking bills.

Smith was the agency's top budget analyst before being named its director in 2007. Longtime state Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, said he was the first "non-lawyer" to head the agency, which was created in 1945.

Legislative Council has about three dozen staffers who conduct research, draft bills and work on the state's budget, among other responsibilities.

Legislative Management, a committee of state lawmakers, will have Smith's successor in place before the 2019 legislative session, said Holmberg, the committee's chairman.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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