Recapping the 67th legislative session

Local News

In some ways, the 67th legislative session was unlike any other — starting off with a court case over a district seat, pandemic protocols and eventually the expulsion of a lawmaker. During those unique circumstances, here are some of the bills that became law.

The governor and state health officer can no longer enact a mask mandate. That bill passed both chambers, and had the votes to overcome the governor’s veto.

“I believe good people, when they’re educated and informed will make good decisions,” Sen. Terry Wanzek said in support of the bill.

And you might see some better roads and bridges soon. A $680 million bipartisan bonding bill aims to improve infrastructure using legacy fund dollars.

“Well this bill will be one of probably three bills coming through the legislature that will put Legacy money out into the state of North Dakota, investments, grants and so forth to help the people of this state move forward,” Sen. Rich Wardner said.

Soon, schools will have immunity from lawsuits for posting the Ten Commandments in the classroom.

“I certainly hope our teachers would be able to teach that as much as we teach Darwinism today,” Sen. Janne Myrdal said.

Plus, a slew of gun-related bills passed, one of which makes North Dakota a stand-your-ground state, eliminating the duty to retreat before using deadly force, in some circumstances.

“It’s not saying you can shoot anybody you want. It’s saying if you find yourself at risk of death or serious bodily harm, or a felony involving violence, you don’t have to run away,” Rep. Ben Koppelman said.

But lots of bills didn’t pass.

“Do you really think any person would change their gender and subject themselves to abuse just to win a track event, or play on a basketball team?” Sen. JoNell Bakke said.

One that came close would have restricted transgender students’ participation in public school sports. The governor vetoed it, and the legislature almost overrode it but was four votes shy in the Senate.

Advocates of legalizing marijuana were also dealt a blow, with a bill that made it through the House but was snuffed out in the Senate.

“The object is not to make it where there’s no regulation whatsoever, but the idea is to say that this is a legal substance, but not that this is an unregulated legal substance,” Rep. Marvin Nelson said.

The 47 senators and 94 representatives meet in Bismarck every two years.


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