Jack Dura / Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK - The North Dakota Senate unanimously passed a bill on Thursday that seeks a uniform approach to cybersecurity for public entities. The state Information Technology Department requested Senate Bill 2110. The Senate Political Subdivisions Committee amended language in the bill for ITD to only "advise and oversee" cybersecurity strategy for all executive state agencies, cities, counties, school districts, higher education institutions "or other political subdivisions."
BISMARCK — The North Dakota House gave its approval on Wednesday, Feb. 6, for some friendly competition: a contest for a new state logo offering $9,500 as first prize. House Bill 1457 passed 78-14. Rep. Marvin Nelson, D-Rolla, introduced the bill, which would direct the state Department of Commerce to administer a contest for a new design. Nelson has criticized the recently introduced "Be Legendary" design and how it was developed — with no opportunity for artists or graphic designers to participate.
BISMARCK - What may be the last trial related to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests ended in a mixed verdict on Tuesday, Feb. 5. South Central District Judge David Reich convicted Katrina Silk of misdemeanor physical obstruction of a governmental function. He acquitted her on four other misdemeanor charges related to activities in a pasture along the pipeline route on Oct. 22, 2016, when officers arrested dozens of people who claimed to be on a prayer walk.
BISMARCK - Implementing its online business hub represents a new era for the North Dakota secretary of state's office, but also a point of criticism from the 2018 election. About 80 percent of FirstStop has rolled out since mid-January, according to Secretary of State Al Jaeger. His office has been mailing thousands of personal identification numbers for contractors and businesses to access the site — more than 200,000 letters going out in daily batches of 25,000 due to mail capacity at the state Capitol.
BISMARCK — State senators rejected legislation Thursday, Jan. 31, that sought to create a revolving loan fund with Legacy Fund dollars for North Dakota infrastructure projects. The North Dakota Senate rejected Senate Concurrent Resolution 4005 in an 11-34 vote. Sen. David Hogue, R-Minot, introduced the plan in mid-January to the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee, which recommended a unanimous "do not pass."
BISMARCK — Legislation to reform civil asset forfeiture in North Dakota drew a stream of strong and, at times, animated testimony on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in a lengthy hearing. Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, introduced House Bill 1286 to reform the state's civil asset forfeiture. His bill would require convictions for suspects' property to be forfeited as well as reporting from law enforcement on seizures and forfeitures. In addition, the proceeds from the sale of forfeitures would be deposited to the state's common schools trust fund.
BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers questioned the intent and scenarios associated with a so-called "stand your ground" bill that backers say would cover property, but opponents see as overreaching. Rep. Jeff Magrum, R-Hazelton, introduced House Bill 1497 on Tuesday, Jan. 29, before the House Judiciary Committee. He said current law gives perpetrators an advantage over potential victims. He said his bill would allow for someone to use deadly force when confronted with damage to property or theft on their property.
BISMARCK - A North Dakota House committee has given a unanimous do-pass recommendation to a Democratic-NPL lawmaker's bill for a new state logo contest. Rep. Marvin Nelson, of Rolla, introduced House Bill 1457 Tuesday, Jan. 29, to the House Industry, Business and Labor Committee, which would direct the state Department of Commerce to administer a contest for a new state logo with monetary prizes. In October, the state Tourism Division rolled out its "Be Legendary" brand, ditching the previous "North Dakota Legendary" logo from 2002.
BISMARCK — Bipartisan legislation would establish a paid family leave program for North Dakota workers kickstarted with Legacy Fund earnings. Fargo Democratic-NPL Rep. Karla Rose Hanson introduced House Bill 1509 on Monday, Jan. 28, to the House Industry, Business and Labor Committee. The bill would require businesses with 50 or more employees to participate in the program, with 2 cents contributed each by employers and employees on every $10 in wages.
BISMARCK — Lawmakers of the North Dakota House voted overwhelmingly Monday, Jan. 28, to kill a bill that aimed to tighten animal cruelty. Rep. Mary Adams, D-Grand Forks, introduced House Bill 1445 to prevent convicted animal abusers from acquiring other animals. The House Agriculture Committee heard the bill Thursday, giving it a 13-1 do-not-pass recommendation. Rep. Craig Headland, R-Montpelier, was vocal in his opposition to the bill in committee, pointing to animal agriculture practices that could be affected by the bill’s “broad language.”