ND Legislature Wrap - Mon.
Pat Sweeney | Apr 15, 2019 AT 5:12 pm
North Dakota voters will get to decide if it should be more difficult for citizens to amend the state constitution.
Senators on Monday approved House amendments to a resolution that allows the Legislature to vote on an initiated measure following voters' approval.
Votes in both chambers largely fell along party lines, with Democrats dissenting.
Any initiated measures would go back to voters for final approval if it fails to win lawmakers' endorsement.
Opponents of the resolution argue the move damages residents' participation in the legislative process and is contrary to the will of the people.
North Dakota is among about two dozen states with some form of an initiative process.
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The North Dakota Legislature has passed a measure that makes it illegal to pass a pet off as a service animal.
Representatives voted 85-4 on Monday to approve the measure that makes it an infraction for falsely claiming a pet as a service animal to "gain admission to a public place" or obtain housing.
An infraction has a maximum fine of $1,000.
The Senate approved the bill earlier.
Backers of the bill say it is aimed at protecting disabled people who truly rely on service animals.
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Republican Gov. Doug Burgum made no comment last week when he signed legislation making it a crime for a doctor performing a second-trimester abortion to use instruments such as clamps, scissors and forceps to remove the fetus from the womb.
Pressed Monday to expand on his approval, Burgum says simply that he considered both sides before deciding to sign the bill.
The bill passed easily in the GOP-led Legislature last month. But Burgum tells The Associated Press that he "read every letter" that came to him on supporting or opposing the bill before deciding to sign it.
Abortion-rights groups argue that banning the procedure is unconstitutional because it interferes with private medical decisions.
The bill becomes effective if a federal appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court allows its enforcement.
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A lawyer and former one-term state representative has been elected by North Dakota Democrats as the party's chairwoman.
Thirty-year-old Kylie Oversen of Grand Forks was elected Saturday to the post she has held previously.
She replaces Warren Larson, who took over for Oversen during her failed bid for tax commissioner last year.
Oversen lost her seat in the Legislature in 2016.
North Dakota Democrats hold no statewide offices and only 25 of 141 seats in the Legislature.