By Doug Leier
Every other year in North Dakota, elected officials gather at the state capital to propose, review, debate and ultimately vote on legislation that will set the course for the state and its citizens.
Some of these bills are also related to how the North Dakota Game and Fish Department delivers services to its customers, which is partly why we closely track bills and provide input or testimony as needed or appropriate.
Because state law often dictates how we conduct business at the Game and Fish Department, it is vitally important that we diligently track bills and establish a rapport with key legislators because bill language can, and does, change quite frequently throughout the session.
While we do our very best to keep the best interests of our customers in mind while helping shape legislation, it is still important for each and every citizen of this state to make their own voices heard on those bills they deem important.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department tracked 21 outdoors-related bills during the 2021 legislative session, nine of which were passed by both chambers and signed into law.
The following bills take effect Aug. 1.
- HB 1017 – Appropriates $92,368,134 to the Game and Fish Department for the biennium beginning July 1, 2021, and ending June 30, 2023. Passed House 81-13. Passed Senate 46-1.
- HB 1081 – Relates to access and activities on trust lands and provides a penalty. Passed House 68-25. Passed Senate 40-7.
- HB 1113 – Requires written permission from the owner of the property, or an individual authorized by the owner, to place bait for the purpose of attracting wildlife and to install camera/video equipment that must have identification. In addition, provides a penalty. Passed House 94-0. Passed Senate 47-0.
- HB 1218 – Nonresidents who own land in North Dakota may hunt during the first seven days of the pheasant season on land they enroll in the PLOTS program. Passed House 92-0. Passed Senate 46-1.
- HB 1221 – Adds clarification to section 47-05-17 of century code, relating to an exemption from prohibition against severing hunting rights from surface estates. Passed House 65-26. Pass Senate 45-2.
- HB 1242 – An individual who was issued an apprentice hunter validation license in 2020-21 may receive another. Passed House 91-0. Passed Senate 45-2.
- HB 1411 – An individual may use an artificial light to pursue on the individual’s premises at any time throughout the year any predatory animal attempting to destroy property. Passed House 92-2. Passed Senate 47-0.
- SB 2036 – Legislative management shall continue to study the electronic land access database and application during the 2021-22 interim and expand it to all counties. Passed Senate 45-2. Passed House 91-2.
- SB 2144 – Allows the owner or an individual authorized by the owner the option to designate land as posted or closed to hunting in an online database and provides a penalty for trespass. Passed Senate 44-2. Passed House 89-3.