North Dakota Legislature: Bills on law enforcement recruiting, elections take center stage

Photo by: North Dakota Legislative Branch
Photo by: North Dakota Legislative Branch

(Bismarck, ND) -- Several bills are moving through the State Legislature in Bismarck involving key issues in North Dakota.

A North Dakota House bill would clarify the citizenship proof requirements on Election Day.

The bill adds language to existing statutes that would allow people who've recently become citizens to bring back proof after Election Day. Residents who have recently become citizens would have nearly two weeks after the election to bring in paperwork proving citizenship.

Anyone who shows up to vote who isn't a legal citizen could be charged with a felony. Voters are already required to show a valid ID or proof of address before they can fill out a ballot.

Meanwhile, House members are moving forward with a bill that would change some election laws.

The bill would remove the word electronic from voting system descriptions, and allow county auditors to start counting early and absentee ballots three days before Election Day. The measure also clarifies that presidential electors would meet the first Tuesday after the second Wednesday of November to cast votes in the electoral college. The House also passed a related Senate Bill that would prohibit causing a disturbance at a polling place.

The House is also advancing a bill designed to help with the recruitment and retention of law enforcement officers in the state.

The Back the Blue grant program would boost retention and recruitment efforts for local law enforcement agencies. Supporters say the bill would provide law enforcement with additional resources to address recruitment issues.

And a House bill dealing with big game baiting is getting another hearing.

The bill was heard Thursday in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee and would prevent Game and Fish from imposing bans on deer baiting. The ban is commonly used to prevent chronic wasting disease, a deadly threat to deer.

Supporters of the bill say baiting doesn't necessarily contribute to the spread of CWD.