2021 ND Legislature

2021 Legislature

Summary

The North Dakota Legislative Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of North Dakota. The Legislative Assembly consists of two chambers, the lower North Dakota House of Representatives, with 94 representatives, and the upper North Dakota Senate, with 47 senators. The state is divided into 47 constituent districts, with two representatives and one senator elected from each district. Members of both houses are elected without term limits. Due to the Legislative Assembly being a biennial legislature, with the House and Senate sitting for only 80 days in odd-numbered years, a Legislative Council oversees legislative affairs in the interim periods, doing longer-term studies of issues, and drafting legislation for consideration of both houses during the next session.

The Legislative Assembly convenes in the west chamber of the 19-story Art Deco state capitol building in Bismarck.

News

Fargo lawmaker proposes “green corridor”
Prairie Public, Dave ThompsonOctober 20, 2021

As part of a proposal to spend $400 million of federal COVID relief funds on infrastructure projects, Sen. Tim Mathern (D-Fargo) is pushing for a “green corridor” for North Dakota.

“A green corridor is making sure that we have transportation routes in North Dakota for people who use what we call ‘green energy’ — electricity, hydrogen, natural gas,” Mathern said. “The goal is to have the infrastructure ready for the future.”

Mathern said it would include constructing charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as stations for hydrogen fuel. He said it’s not just for passenger cars – it’s also for big semi trucks, which will use electricity or hydrogen fuels.

“If our state doesn’t have these recharging units, or fueling units, trucking companies will go around North Dakota,” Mathern said.

Mathern says under his proposal, state agencies, such as Commerce or DOT, would be making the decisions on where those fueling stations are built.

The proposal is being considered by the interim House and Senate Appropriations Committees, for possible introduction in the November special session.

Redistricting Committee votes to create two House subdistricts
Prairie Public, Dave ThompsonSeptember 29, 2021

The Legislature’s Redistricting Committee has endorsed the idea of having House subdistricts in those districts that serve two of the state’s Native American reservations.

Affected would be District 4 – which includes Fort Berthold, and District 9, which includes the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Rep. Terry Jones (R-New Town) is one of the District 4 House members. He appealed to the Committee to reject the subdistrict idea.

“The people of District 4 voted overwhelmingly for us to represent them,” Jones told the Committee Wednesday. “I would ask what business anyone has to change the game for those people who voted for us. I have full faith in our performance in making sure we are treating the Native American population in District 4 fairly and equitably, and they have adequate representation.”

Jones appeared before the Committee Tuesday as well to plead that case.

“To subdivide a small portion of the state, based on something to do with a sovereign nation, that stands up and claims ‘We’re soverign,’ but they want special treatment in the Legislature, the answer from me and my constituents is ‘Thank you, no,’” Jones said.

Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) made the motion to create the two subdistricts.

“I have come to believe that doing this is doing the right thing,” Holmberg said.

Holmberg said there are legal arguments that creating the subdistricts would be in the spirit of the Voting Rights Act.

“But doing this is the right thing to do, in our relationships with our Native populations,” Holmberg said.

The vote was 10 to 6. It will be up to the full Legislature to make the final call, during a November special session.

Redistricting panel to hold legislative districts at 47
Associated Press, James MacPhersonAugust 26, 2021

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A panel of North Dakota lawmakers on Thursday agreed to use the current number of legislators and the districts they represent as a template for redrawing new political boundaries.

The redistricting committee, which has 14 Republicans and two Democrats, began the arduous task of redistricting that when finalized later this year likely will show urban areas of the state gaining political strength in the Legislature, and rural parts losing clout due to population shifts in the past decade.

The panel is expected to complete its work by November, after several work sessions. No drafts of proposed legislative districts were offered at the initial meeting.

North Dakota now has 47 legislative districts, with each represented by two House members and a senator. The Legislature has 141 lawmakers — 47 senators and 94 House members.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has partially vetoed a bill aimed at penalizing the state’s 11 colleges and universities for funneling federal grant money to individuals or organizations that promote or perform abortions.

Burgum said in his veto message late Friday that the sanctions are “problematic.” He vetoed the portion of the bill that contains the sanctions.

The Republican-led North Dakota Legislature passed the bill, which was primarily aimed at preventing North Dakota State University from funneling grant money to Planned Parenthood for sex education in the state.

About

Source: Wikipedia

Constitutional mandates

According to Article IV, Section 1 of the North Dakota Constitution, the Senate must be composed of no fewer than 40 senators, and no more than 54. Similarly, the House of Representatives must be composed of no fewer than 80 and no more than 108 representatives. Section 2 states that the Legislative Assembly can divide the state into as many legislative districts of compact and contiguous territory as there are senators. A senator and at least two representatives must be apportioned to each senatorial district and be elected at large or from subdistricts from those districts. The Legislative Assembly may combine two senatorial districts only when a single member senatorial district includes a federal facility or federal installation, containing over two-thirds of the population of a single member senatorial district, and may provide for the election of senators at-large and representatives at-large from subdistricts from those districts.

In addition to a four-year term for both houses of the Legislative Assembly, Section 3 states that one-half of the members of the Senate and one-half of the members of the House of Representatives must be elected biennially. Originally, the North Dakota Constitution limited members of the North Dakota House of Representatives to two-year terms, with the all representatives standing for reelection at the same time. In 1996, the voters approved a constitutional amendment that changed the term for representatives to four-years with staggered terms. The amendment went into effect July 1, 1997, and was first applied in the 1998 elections.[1][2] All statutes passed by the Legislative Assembly and signed by the governor become part of the North Dakota Century Code.

Qualifications

Members of both houses elected to the Legislative Assembly must be, on the day of the election, a qualified elector from their home district and must be a resident of North Dakota for one year immediately prior to their election.

Legislative management

Due to the biennial nature of the legislature, legislation, research, committee reports, and testimony during interim periods is provided by the Legislative Management. Legislative Management consists of 17 legislators, including the majority and minority leaders of both houses and the Speaker of the House. The Speaker appoints six other representatives, three from the majority party and three from the minority party as recommended by the majority and minority leaders, respectively. The Lieutenant Governor, as President of the Senate, appoints four senators from the majority and two from the minority as recommended by the majority and minority leaders, though the Senate President does not sit on Legislative Management.

Meeting places

Built between 1883 and 1884, the original territorial (and later) state capitol building served as the home to the Legislative Assembly until the morning of December 28, 1930, when the original building burned down. During the fire, Secretary of State Robert Byrne saved the original copy of the state constitution, but suffered cuts and burns on his hands while breaking a window to reach the document. In the interim period without a capitol, the Legislative Assembly convened in both the War Memorial Building and the City Auditorium in Bismarck. Under the approval of Governor George F. Shafer, the current Art Deco capitol was built as a replacement between 1931 and 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression.

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