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Forum and wire reports, Published March 20 2009

North Dakota House may take time out to watch Bison game

BISMARCK – The North Dakota House won’t let official business keep them from following the really important event today.

House Majority Leader Rep. Al Carlson, R-Fargo, informed House members at the end of Thursday’s session that, depending on how the game is going, they may end up watching it in the chamber.

The game starts at 11:30 a.m. today. The House floor session begins at 1 p.m. The game can be viewed over the Internet, Carlson said.

The Senate has announced no plans to take in the game. Its session starts at 12:30 p.m.

Abortion law OK’d

North Dakota will have a new law requiring abortion providers to inform women that no one can coerce them into having an abortion.

The House gave final passage Thursday to Senate Bill 2265, and it now goes to the governor. The Senate passed the bill earlier.

The signs must say: “NOTICE: No one can force you to have an abortion. It is against the law for a spouse, a boyfriend, a parent, a friend, a medical care provider, or any other person to in any way force you to have an abortion.”

They’ll have to be placed so they’re easily seen “in areas that ensure maximum visibility to women at the time a woman gives consent to an abortion.”

Kindergarten study

Senate Bill 2202, which called for mandatory kindergarten attendance for all North Dakota youngsters, is now only a study.

A majority of House Education Committee members did not want to mandate attendance, said Chairwoman Rae Ann Kelsch, R-Mandan. She said that included members of both parties.

The committee amended the bill into a study and then gave it a do-pass recommendation on a 9-5 vote. The House approved the amendment Thursday and the watered-down bill should be voted on by the full House today.

Insurance bill killed

The Senate on Thursday killed a bill that would have mandated a higher minimum coverage on North Dakota vehicle owners.

The House had narrowly passed House Bill 1068 in January.

The bill died on a 31-16 vote in the Senate.

‘Apprentice hunter’ rule

Young hunters may have a chance to go into the field without taking a safety course beforehand.

North Dakota’s Senate has approved legislation that allows sportsmen who are at least 16 years old to be designated as an “apprentice hunters.”

The apprentice does not have to take a safety course before hunting. He or she may hunt with another adult hunter who has taken the course.

Wind developer plans

The president of North Dakota’s leading wind power developer says the company will be building another 170 megawatts of generating capacity this year.

Mitch Davidson is chief executive officer of Next-Era Energy Resources. The company was formerly known as FPL Energy.

The company wants to add 120 megawatts to its Ashtabula wind center north of Valley City, and 49.5 megawatts to the Wilton center north of Bismarck.

North Dakota has more than 700 megawatts of wind energy capacity and NextEra built about 500 megawatts.

Bottle rocket sales

North Dakota’s House has voted to ban the sale of bottle rockets, and there wasn’t a vote to spare.

House members voted 48-42 to approve a bill that bars the sale or distribution of bottle rockets. It would take effect Aug. 1, after the Fourth of July holiday.

House bills need at least 48 votes to win approval.

The measure now goes to Gov. John Hoeven for his review.


Copyright © 2009 The Forum. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.