In the last several weeks of the North Dakota legislative session, quite a bit happened.

Below, we have made call outs to important #NDLeg updates, with some you can act on today. Whether that means you make a phone call, write an email, or set up an appointment with your legislators, anything you can do matters and will make an impact.

Keeping an eye at the weeks ahead, we’re prepared to continue monitoring changes via our Bill Tracker and further hold elected officials accountable to make your voices heard at the Capital.

These are bills that have passed one chamber but are still in play in the second chamber:

  • House Bill 1286 would substantially overhaul civil forfeiture, one of the greatest threats to private property rights in North Dakota.

HB 1286 has gone through several subcommittee meetings and ultimately was amended by the committee. The amended bill raises the standard of proof to clear and convincing evidence in forfeiture proceedings and retains the conviction requirement, which was a major point of contention among the interested parties and the committee. Additionally, the amended bill directs funds obtained through civil asset forfeiture into the attorney general assets forfeiture fund.

HB 1286 passed in the House and was referred to Senate Judiciary Committee. The ACLU supports HB 1286.

  • Senate Bill 2044  would increase the legal penalties for tampering with or damaging a critical infrastructure facility or public service. The bill would criminalize activity far beyond the intentional causing of property damage, extending penalties to activity such as “interfering with” or “inhibiting” the operations of critical infrastructure.

    The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee amended the conspirator portion of the bill. If an organization has pled guilty or is convicted of conspiring with someone who has pled guilty or been convicted of damaging a critical infrastructure facility, the organization must be assessed a fine equivalent to the penalty for each individual, not to exceed $100,000. 

SB 2044 passed in the Senate. The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced the bill to the House floor earlier this week. The ACLU opposes SB 2044.

  • Senate Bill 2209 would bar disclosure of records on security plans for public or private entities, including “critical infrastructure,” such as fossil fuel pipeline companies.

SB 2209 passed the Senate and referred to the House Industry, Business and Labor Committee where a hearing took place on last week, but no action has been taken yet. The ACLU opposes SB 2209.

These are bills that we supported but have since been killed:

  • House 1231 said that law enforcement may not authorize the use of unmanned aerial vehicles armed with any “lethal, less lethal, or nonlethal” weapons. This bill failed in the House.
  • House Bill 1442 would have outlawed DUI checkpoints and required police to have “reasonable suspicion” to stop a driver. The bill passed out of the House but was killed in the Senate Judiciary committee.
  • Senate Bill 2159 would have provided a $1.5 million appropriation to the attorney general to award grants to organizations involved in providing prevention and treatment services to human trafficking victims. SB 2159 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but failed in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

North Dakotans must continue to act and defend the rights and well-being of everyone in the state. Whether writing a letter, making a phone call, or setting up a meeting, every voice can make the difference.

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