ND Legislative Wrap - Monday

ND Legislative Wrap - Monday Click to Enlarge

The Republican-led Senate has killed a Democrat measure for an appointed non-partisan commission to draw a new map for North Dakota's legislative districts.

The Senate defeated the bill 36-10, along party lines on Monday.

The measure was sponsored by Democratic legislative leaders.

North Dakota now has 47 legislative districts, each of which is represented by a senator and two House members.

Legislative redistricting is normally done after each federal census, which happens every 10 years. The last one was done in 2011 by a Republican-controlled committee of lawmakers over five months.

Redistricting plans are intended to ensure that each member of the Legislature represents about the same number of people.

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Several mothers with babes in arms joined women's groups in lobbying North Dakota lawmakers to pass a measure removing what they describe as subjective language in the state's breastfeeding law.

Women may breastfeed in public if they do it "in a discreet and modest manner." A bipartisan bill removes that language, and also makes it illegal to prohibit a mother from breastfeeding.

A House committee gave the measure a "do not pass" recommendation. The full House did not get to the bill on Monday's calendar but should vote on it Tuesday.

Fargo Democratic Rep. Gretchen Dobervich says the current law is "outdated."

The legislation comes after an incident at a Fargo restaurant last year when a woman was told to leave because she was breastfeeding her baby without a cover.

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North Dakota's Senate has passed legislation that would waive burial fees for a veteran's spouse and dependents at the state Veterans Cemetery south of Mandan.

Belcourt Democratic Sen. Richard Marcellais is the lead sponsor of the bill that would waive the $550 fee for spouses and dependents. Veterans already may be buried there at no cost.

The Senate gave unanimous support to the bill on Monday.

The legislation would set aside $250,000 in the next two-year budget cycle to fund the burials.

The measure now moves to the House for consideration.


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