The North Dakota State Government is responsible for coordinating the delivery of public services to our 750,000 residents. Just like the US federal government, our state government consists of three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. In addition, the Indian Affairs Commission serves as the liaison between the Executive Branch and the five federally recognized tribes in North Dakota.
The Executive Branch is responsible for executing the laws that are created by the state's legislative branch and defined by the state's judicial branch. The voters of the state elect officials making up the executive branch as outlined in Article V of the North Dakota Constitution: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Agriculture Commissioner, Attorney General, Auditor, Insurance Commissioner, Three Public Service Commissioners, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tax Commissioner and Treasurer. The legislative assembly may by law provide for a department of labor to be administered by a public official who may be either elected or appointed.
North Dakota Legislative Assembly is the state legislature of North Dakota. The Legislative Assembly consists of two chambers, the North Dakota House of Representatives, with 94 representatives, and the North Dakota Senate, with 47 senators. The state is divided into 47 constituent districts, with two representatives and one senator elected from each district.
Members of both houses are elected without term limits. Due to the Legislative Assembly being a biennial legislature, with the House and Senate sitting for only 80 days in odd-numbered years, a Legislative Council oversees legislative affairs in the interim periods, doing longer-term studies of issues, and drafting legislation for consideration of both houses during the next session.
The Legislative Assembly convenes in the west chamber of the 19-story capitol building in Bismarck.
The North Dakota Judicial System consists of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, District Courts, and Municipal Courts. Together they form a judicial team responsible for providing an equal and fair system of justice to citizens of North Dakota.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state. It is composed of five justices elected in a non-partisan election for ten-year terms. Each justice must be a licensed attorney and a citizen of the United States and North Dakota.
The Court of Appeals hears only the cases assigned to it by the Supreme Court. It is composed of three judges chosen from among active and retired district court judges, retired justices of the Supreme Court, and attorneys.
The District Courts are the courts of general jurisdiction in North Dakota. They have original and general jurisdiction in all cases, including criminal felony and misdemeanor cases, and general jurisdiction for civil cases.
Municipal Courts in North Dakota have jurisdiction of all violations of municipal ordinances, with some exceptions.