ND property tax activists fight legal-fee ruling

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota property tax activists are fighting a judge's ruling that they have to pay the legal fees of some county officials who were critical of their campaign.

The dispute goes back to last June's failed ballot measure to abolish property taxes.

During the campaign, the measure's backers sued several county and state officials. They claimed the officials were illegally campaigning against the measure.

South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick threw out the lawsuit. He followed up by ordering property tax critics to pay some of the officials' legal fees.

The measure's supporters say Romanick's ruling has some factual errors. They're asking him to reconsider.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says the ruling may deter questionable lawsuits about public policy debates in the future.