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House rejects Senate's rewritten abortion law

BISMARCK - The House on Tuesday refused to concur with the Senate's wholesale rewrite of the abortion ban trigger bill. House Bill 1466 now will go to negotiations in a conference committee of three senators and three House members. House Judicia...

BISMARCK - The House on Tuesday refused to concur with the Senate's wholesale rewrite of the abortion ban trigger bill.

House Bill 1466 now will go to negotiations in a conference committee of three senators and three House members.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Duane DeKrey, R-Pettibone, said two members of his committee asked him to recommend the House not concur.

The House passed HB1466, 61-26, on Jan. 26. It bans all abortions in the state unless necessary to save the life of the mother. It is stayed until the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

The Senate held onto the bill until Friday, when it accepted a floor amendment compromise and passed it 41-6.

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The Senate's bill says that if and when the attorney general concludes that Roe has been effectively overturned, the Legislature would meet immediately to consider new restrictions on abortions in the state.

Heritage Center gets funds

Senators agreed with the House on Tuesday to adopt a bill providing $1.5 million to the ongoing planning for the state Heritage Center expansion.

Senate Bill 2341 originally called for $54.7 million - $30.7 of it in state general funds - cash this coming biennium, which the Senate later reduced to no dollars and a mere encouragement for the governor to put money into his 2009-11 budget for it.

But the House opened the purse up a little. It appropriated $1.5 million from the Land and Minerals Trust Fund to further planning and design, contingent on State Historical Society certifying it has raised $1.5 million in private funds. It also will have to have spent the $1.5 million in private funds on furthering the project before the state funds are released.

Anti-drinking fund gets OKA $100,000 fund for programs aimed at cutting down on underage drinking and drug use and impaired driving by minors got final approval in the Senate on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 2276 sets up a governor's prevention and advisory council with $100,000 for grants to award to groups that would use the money to campaign against the problems.

Some legislators said the bill won't be needed because the North Dakota members of Students Against Destructive Decisions may succeed in placing an initiated measure on next year's ballot that would raise $1.3 million for their cause through a beer tax.

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A section of SB2276 prohibits groups that might get the council grants from using it to further an initiated measure.

The petition drive to get on the ballot needs 12,884 signatures by Tuesday.

Cole works for Forum Communication Co., which owns the Herald.

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