Legislative Update Week 13
Posted 3/31/17 (Fri)
Week 13 of the Legislative Session
House bill 1369, updates to ND’s voting ID bill, received a do pass recommendation from the Senate Government and Veteran’s Affairs committee. The bill is a significant improvement in the variety of identification proof someone can provide when voting. It adds set aside ballots as the fail-safe instead of affidavits. There are concerns about set aside ballots, but with the much improved ID options it is better to support the primary ID changes despite the set aside ballots. We are pleased that the committee adopted amendments suggested by NDWN’s intern, which allows follow up identification proof for set aside ballots done by email or fax in addition to returning in person. This reduces any travel needed by voters. Although the bill could be further improved, we are happy to see so many positive changes in the area of identification options.
The refugee study bill did get a Do Not Pass recommendation, but still passed the Senate by a vote of 27-19. Although a study is not necessarily impactful, it does not establish a welcoming tone from our state for refugees. We’ll watch whether the study is picked up. If it is, we will watch it closely.
There are a variety of Governor’s Boards and Commissions that have open slots in 2017. If you know of an individual that would be an exceptional representative to serve on a Board or Commission of Governor Doug Burgum, please encourage them to apply online - Application Form. Vacancies and upcoming term end dates can be viewed at Governor's Boards & Commissions.
The funding bills for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and Human Trafficking victim services received a Do Pass recommendation from the House Appropriations committee and is awaiting full vote from the House. Assuming it will pass, we hope the bills get assigned conference committees so that some of the cuts can be restored.
Just today, the Senate defeated two nefarious bills from the House:
1425, a bill that was attempting to prohibit foreign laws from infringing on US and state law. It was was fiercely opposed by both the ND Catholic Conference and the ACLU because “HB 1425, which purports to regulate North Dakota courts’ use and recognition of foreign law is unnecessary, raises significant constitutional concerns, and also has the potential to create significant unintended consequences in the everyday lives of North Dakotans who marry abroad, file for divorce, adopt children from overseas, or conduct other family matters that involve foreign or international law.” The Senate defeated the bill by a vote of 15-29.
In addition, the Senate defeated HB 1329, aimed at eliminating “safe spaces” on state campuses. This bill was attempting to stifle “trigger warnings” and other efforts to help those who have experience trauma and discrimination. The Senate was wise to defeat this by a vote of 7-37.