North Dakota Senate weekly summary (Week of Feb. 6 – 10)
Article by, Andi Lefor (Assistant to the Senate Majority Leader)
The Senate is continuing to hold hearings for House bills before the required crossover date in the hope of finishing the session without using the maximum allowed days, in case the legislature needs to reconvene.
This week, the Senate passed three House bills with emergency clauses related to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. HB 1293 improved trespass law to remove burdens from landowners, law enforcement, and the judicial system, and HB 1304 brought forth a prohibition on the concealment of an identity with a mask while committing a criminal act. In addition, HB 1426 enhanced the penalties for riot-related crimes.
Though brought forward in response to the Dakota Access pipeline protests, these bills are not merely reactionary; rather, these bills are good law that will serve our citizens well even after the protest in question is brought to a finish.
After a long floor debate, the Senate also passed a bill that transferred some authority from the Department of Health into a new Department of Environmental Quality. The purpose is to separate the two departments in order to maximize efficiency.
This week, the bill that would have raised the speed limit to 80mph on I-29 and I-94 failed on the floor, putting an end to a contentious argument. In addition, the Senate passed the budgets for several state agencies and funded a task force on human trafficking.
*This summary was provided by Andi Lefor. Andi serves as the Assistant to the Senate Majority Leader in the North Dakota Legislature.
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