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Published January 13 2011

North Dakota Legislature notebook: Many issues on tap for lawmakers

BISMARCK – Prohibiting drinking at college sporting events, banning tuition increases and including abstinence concepts in school health curriculum are among the issues lawmakers will discuss in the coming weeks.

North Dakota lawmakers are piling up their workload this week as they introduce more and more bills. Here’s a summary of some of the issues out there:

Drinking alcohol

House Bill 1212 would prohibit alcohol at college sporting events with minors present. A person may not possess or sell alcohol in the presence of minors at public or nonpublic college sporting events of student athletes.

Tuition

House Bill 1301 says the State Board of Higher Education may not increase tuition for students attending institutions under its control beyond the level in effect during the 2011 spring semester.

The bill proposes the state pay $26.5 million to the state board to offset the financial impact of the prohibition, which would be in effect from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013.

Abstinence

House Bill 1229 would require school districts to ensure health curriculum includes exposing students to abstinence-based concepts beginning July 1, 2012.

This includes that “abstinence is the expected standard for all students,” and “sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.”

Driving

Senate Bill 2157 relates to the fee and demerit points for entering a road closed due to hazardous conditions. The proposed penalty is $100 and two points.

Senate Bill 2177 says a vehicle may not overtake a bicycle in the same lane or on the shoulder of the same lane as the vehicle unless there is at least 3 feet between the vehicle and the bicycle.

Writing bad checks

Senate Bill 2158 increases the penalty to $35 for issuing a check with nonsufficient funds or without an account.

Lockdown drills

House Bill 1215 would require lockdown drills at schools. The drills would be designed by a committee that includes the principal or administrator, law enforcement, the fire department and any other emergency response entity.

The drills would need to occur at least twice each school year.

Taxes

House Bill 1289 would reduce income tax rates for individuals, estates and trusts.

House Bill 1309 would create a sales tax holiday for clothing. Gross receipts from sales of clothing would be exempt from taxes on the third Friday of August of each year and the immediately following Saturday and Sunday.

To view all of these bills and many more, visit www.legis.nd.gov and click on Prefiled Bills.


Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.