ND Legislative Wrap - Thu.

ND Legislative Wrap - Thu. Click to Enlarge

The North Dakota Legislature has endorsed a major spending plan aimed at rebuilding infrastructure projects outside of the state's oil patch.

The Senate voted 46-0 on Thursday for the House bill aimed at providing $250 million in every two-year budget cycle for counties, cities and airports in non-oil producing areas.

The proposal by the Legislature's Republican majority leaders has been called "Operation Prairie Dog."

The legislation assumes that that oil production and prices will hold at the current levels.

The measure now heads to Gov. Doug Burgum.

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North Dakota's Republican-led Senate has defeated a measure that would outlaw sobriety checkpoints in the state.

Senators voted 36-10 to kill the House bill on Thursday. It would have required "reasonable suspicion for certain traffic stops."

Bismarck GOP Rep. Rick Becker was the measure's primary sponsor. He says sobriety checkpoints are ineffective and don't act as a deterrent.

Opponents of the bill say the checkpoints are effective and probably save lives.

Becker unsuccessfully pushed similar legislation two years ago.

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North Dakota's House has endorsed legislation that would charge owners of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles an annual fee.

Representatives approved the Senate bill 72-17 on Thursday but with some amendments. It now goes back to the Senate for approval.

Backers of the legislation say all vehicles contribute to wear and tear on the state's roads and drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles should pay their share.

North Dakota is among 30 states that don't levy a fee for owners of electric vehicles.

The legislation says owners of electric vehicles would be charged $120 annually. Plug-in hybrid vehicle owners would pay $50 a year.

Owners of electric motorcycles would pay $20 annually.

Data show there are 3,850 hybrids and 141 electric vehicles registered in the state.

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North Dakota's Republican-led Legislature has passed a resolution urging Congress to follow the state's lead and ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Senators passed the House resolution on Thursday.

North Dakota passed a law in 2013 that outlaws abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain by then.

The Red River Clinic in Fargo is the state's sole abortion clinic. Officials at the clinic say the ban is unconstitutional but it does not apply to North Dakota because no abortions are performed at the clinic after 16 weeks.



AP


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