North Dakota Legislature: Insulin cap, opioids, other major topics brought up with new round of bills

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

(Bismarck, ND) -- Several more bills are beginning to move across the aisle as the 68th legislative session in Bismarck heats up.

A bill to cap insulin prices for North Dakota public employees is moving forward.

The state Senate approved an amended version of the bill Wednesday, capping the price of a 30-day supply of insulin at 25-dollars for residents covered by the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System. State law requires lawmakers to apply insurance mandates to a trial through PERS before expanding the polices statewide. About 60-thousand current and retired public employees and their dependents are covered by PERS.

The North Dakota House is considering a bill dealing with mineral rights and development for landowners.

The bill recognizes the right of mineral developers to dig for minerals on any land in the state. Developers are also required to compensate landowners for damage done to the land. The bill would implement compensation for surface owners at the time they can't use the land while minerals are being developed. The compensation price would depend on how long the landowner can use the land during development and for any permanent damage to the land.

A separate house bill aims to differentiate domestic terrorists from common criminals.

The bill sets specific standards that must be met to classify a person as a domestic terrorist. The bill was heard Wednesday and received a tie vote in committee.  Further action has been postponed on the bill.

The House is also advancing a bill that would define milk as an animal product.

The House voted Wednesday to approve the bill that would clarify the definition of milk in state law. The bill would define milk as the "lacteal secretion" obtained from a hoofed mammal. The bill now heads to the state Senate.

North Dakota lawmakers are set to create a fund where opioid settlement money can collect.

A House bill would create the fund with the intention to use the money to help people recover from drug addiction. Governor Burgum set up an advisory committee this winter made up of six people who would oversee the account and find places where the money could best be spent. The state has received nine million dollars so far, but could bring in about 60-million dollars over the next 18 years.

Lawmakers are also considering a bill meant to protect victims of domestic abuse.

The bill would shield people from abusive litigation, which is when a person files a quick series of lawsuits against a former romantic partner that could be considered harassment or abuse. The bill's sponsor would relieve victims of the financial burden that accompanies responding to flurries of nuisance suits. Those found guilty of abusive litigation would have their suits and motions against a former partner vetted by a judge before it is sent forward.

And another house bill would eliminate certain scholarship opportunities.

The bill would prohibit higher education institutions from providing scholarships for students based on their race, gender identity, or sex. The bill's sponsor says scholarships that prioritize certain minority groups are biased. The North Dakotas Universities System is pushing back against the bill, saying its passage would cost the state millions in federal funding. The bill remains in committee.