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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
[Authorized:  NDCC Section 54-34-03]

Prior to the creation of the Economic Development Commission, the North Dakota Research Foundation was involved in the promotion of the state's natural resources. Created in 1943 (S. L. 1943, Ch. 197) the Research Foundation was under the supervision of the Industrial Commission and members were the dean of the School of Engineering at the University of North Dakota, the dean of the School of Agriculture at the North Dakota Agricultural College, and the members of the Industrial Commission. The function of the North Dakota Research Foundation was to conduct research relating to development of the state's natural resources, with an emphasis on increasing the use of lignite coal and other energy resources. Demonstration of North Dakota's energy resources and other advantages was to provide businesses and industries an incentive to locate in the state. The emphasis shifted from research to promotion of the state's resources and economic potential with the creation of the Economic Development Commission.

Created in 1957 (S. L. 1957, Ch. 242), the Economic Development Commission was required to promote agricultural and industrial development in North Dakota. It was to serve as liaison between local promoters and industrial and business firms interested in locating in the state and to administer the community development program.  The Commission was responsible for disseminating information concerning the resources and economy of the state. The Economic Development Commission consisted of the Governor as chairman, eight gubernatorial appointees serving staggered four-year terms, and the director of the Commission serving as the secretary. The director of the Economic Development Commission also served as a member on other councils and commissions.

In 1963, the State Planning Agency was created within the Economic Development Commission (S. L. 1963, Ch. 447). Headed by the director of the Economic Development Commission, the State Planning Agency was required to advise and coordinate all planning activities of state government. The State Planning Agency was transferred to the Department of Accounts and Purchases in 1969.

The name of the Economic Development Commission was changed to BIDD (the Business and Industrial Development Department) in 1969 (S.L. 1969, Ch. 446) and in 1981 the name was changed back to the original name Economic Development Commission (S. L. 1981, Ch. 528). There were no major changes in functions or composition when the name changes took place. Also in 1981, the Tourism Promotion Bureau (S. L. 1965, Ch. 15) was transferred from the
State Highway Department to the Economic Development Commission in 1981 (S. L. 1981, Ch. 528).

By 1987, the Economic Development Commission consisted of the Governor as chair and nine members appointed by the Governor for staggered five-year terms. One member was appointed from each of the eight planning districts and a member at large to represent minorities. Instead of the Governor designating the vice chairman, that duty was given to the Commission. The Commission’s responsibility was expanded to include assisting and advising the Legislative
Assembly. Additionally, the Commission rather than the Governor could appoint special committees to assist in limited projects or specialized fields of research and economic development (S. L. 1987, Ch. 622). 

Commission members increased to ten in 1989 by adding a member to represent the state’s system of Higher Education and the Commissioner appointed a director with the educational qualifications, knowledge, and experience necessary to ensure professional competency (S. L. 1989, Ch. 24). The Commission had three major objectives and each objective had specific program elements. The objectives were to retain and expand the existing basic industry, to introduce new industry into the state, and to recruit industry expanding or relocating from out of state.

The Legislature repealed the Economic Development Commission in 1991 and created the Department of Economic Development and Finance (S. L. 1991, Ch. 95).

CHRONOLOGY

1943  Created as the North Dakota Research Foundation (S. L. 1943, Ch. 197).

1957  The Legislature established the Economic Development Commission (S. L. 1957, Ch. 242).

1963       State Planning Agency created within the Economic Development Commission (S. L. 1963, Ch. 447).

1965  Creation of the Tourism Promotion Bureau within the State Highway Department (S. L. 1965, Ch. 15).

1969  The State Planning Agency was transferred to the Department of Accounts and Purchases. The name of the Economic Development Commission was changed to BIDD, the Business and Industrial Development Department (S. L. 1969, Ch. 446).

1981  The name of the agency was changed again from BIDD to the Economic Development Commission. The Tourism Promotion Bureau was transferred to the Economic Development Commission from the State Highway Department (S. L. 1981, Ch. 528).

1987  The director of the Economic Development Commission was appointed by the members of the Commission and membership expanded from eight to nine persons appointed by the Governor (S. L. 1987, Ch 622).

1989  The Commission members increased to ten. A member was added to represent the state’s system of Higher Education. Other legislation that passed during the session gave the Commission authority to carry out the objectives and program elements as planned (S. L. 1989, Ch. 24).

1991       The Legislature repealed the Economic Development Commission and created the Department of Economic Development and Finance (S. L. 1991, Ch. 95).

SERIES

30052  Minutes of Meetings.
30054  Monthly Program Reports.
30880  Community Date Files.
31480 Administrative Files.

SOURCES

Gray, David P.  Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF
[NDCC 54-34.3]

The Economic Development Commission created in 1957 was repealed by the Legislature and replaced by the Department of Economic Development and Finance to assume the functions, powers, and duties of the Economic Development Commission. The director of the Department was appointed by and served at the will of the Governor.  Commission members were the Governor as chair and nine members, one from each of the eight planning districts and one at-large member representing minorities (S. L. 1991, Ch. 95).  

The mission of the Department, as spelled out in the enabling legislation, included attracting and creating new wealth-generating enterprises in the state, promoting economic diversification and innovation within basic industries and economic sectors, promoting increased productivity and value-added products and processes, and maintaining and revitalizing economically depressed rural areas. Other directives encouraged supportive partnerships with sources of financial and intellectual capital, and the identification of state statutes, rules, and policies which impede economic development. An Office of North Dakota American Indian Business Development, the Office of North Dakota Women's Business Development, a Division of Finance, and the Division of Science and Technology were added to the Department. Program elements for the retention and expansion of existing industry included: federal procurement, exporting, home-based manufacturing, technology transfer, technical development, and alternative strategies for agriculture. The guidelines for program elements relating to startup or recruitment were established.

In 1991 the Legislature passed other bills relating directly or indirectly to the duties of the Department of Economics and Finance. Legislation created [NDCC 10-30.3] the North Dakota Future Fund, Incorporated (a statewide non-profit development corporation) comprised of eight members including the director of the Department of Economic Development and Finance, at least one member enrolled in a North Dakota tribe, and one member from a rural North Dakota area. Additionally Technology Transfer Incorporated was established by the Legislative Assembly for the purpose of providing a program and budgetary interface between the Department of Economic Development and Finance and the North Dakota University System. A Board of Directors consisted of two members appointed by the Commissioner of Higher Education, one of whom was be the commissioner, the director of the Department of Economic Development and Finance, a representative appointed by the North Dakota Industrial Development Association, and three members appointed by the Governor who represented agriculture, energy, manufacturing, and export services (S. L. 1991, Ch. 95).   

In 1991 the Tourism Promotion Bureau moved from the Department of Economic Development and Finance and merged with the Department of Parks and Recreation (S. L. 1991, Ch. 640 & Ch. 641). Other legislation included the promotion of a statewide Sunday business opening law (S. L. 1991, Ch. 130), the creation of a program promoting and providing for workforce development programs (S. L. 1991, Ch. 541), and the selection of the members to serve on the Board of Directors for the Rural Development Fund (S. L. 1991, Ch. 130, Ch. 131).

In 1997 the Agricultural Products Utilization Commission became a division within the Department of Economic Development and Finance (S. L.1997, Ch. 48). Also in 1997 the feasibility and desirability of establishing a Department of Commerce was studied. The purpose of the study was to resolve whether a Department of Commerce should be an elected or appointed office and to decide on a structure for the Department. The findings were sent to the Legislative Assembly (S. L. 1997, Ch. 589). 

In 1999 the Economic Development Foundation was restructured (S. L. 1999, Ch. 462), and in 2001, the Economic Development and Finance Department became one of the cabinet-level departments within the Department of Commerce (S. L. 2001, Ch. 488).

CHRONOLOGY

1991       The Legislature repealed the Economic Development Commission and new legislation created the Department of Economic Development and Finance (S. L. 1991, Ch. 95). The North Dakota Future Fund was created, and also the Technology Transfer, Incorporated was established by the Legislative Assembly. Tourism merged with Parks and Recreation (S. L. 1991, Ch. 640 & Ch. 641), and a bill on statewide Sunday business opening was passed (S. L. 1991, Ch. 130). A program to provide for workforce development was created (S. L. 1991, Ch. 541), and the Rural Development Fund Board of Directors chosen (S. L. 1991, Ch. 130, Ch. 131).

1995       The North Dakota Development Fund was established (S. L. 1995, Ch. 21).
 
1997       The Division of Science and Technology [NDCC 54-34.3-7] was repealed (S. L. 1997, Ch. 48). A study by the Legislative Council was set up to determine the feasibility of a Department of Commerce (S. L. 1997, Ch. 589), and the Legislature relocated the Agricultural Products Utilization Commission within the Department of Economic Development and Finance as a division (S. L. 1997, Ch. 48).
  
1999       The Economic Development Foundation was structured (S. L. 1999, Ch. 462). The Legislative Council was asked to study the feasibility of a heritage-tourism program for tourists to explore the culture and history of North Dakota (S. L. 1999, Ch. 589).

2001       The Department of Economic Development and Finance was repealed [NDCC 54-34.3-09], and the Legislature created the Economic Development and Finance Department as one of the cabinet-level departments within the newly created Department of Commerce (S. L. 2001, Ch 488).

SERIES

31695 State Agency Correspondence.
31696 Travel Statistics.
31734 Public Service Announcements File.
31929 Coal Development Research on Taxes File.
32187 Community Betterment Association. Promotional Material.
32293 Business and Industrial Development Department.

SOURCES

North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.

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