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State Policy

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NDANO works to strengthen and mobilize the state nonprofit sector’s public policy voice in North Dakota.

2023-24 Legislative Interim

The Legislative Procedure and Arrangements Committee met on December 14, 2023. They approved an expanded legislative internship program (up to 32 interns) for the 2025 session. These positions have a stipend of $3,500 per month and provide college credit.

Legislative Council presented information about their workforce demographics. Over the past decade, they have lost many experienced staff members, mainly due to retirements. Currently, 38% of staff are between 30-39 years old. Term limits will put an additional burden on Legislative Council as more education and training will be needed for new legislators. Committee members discussed the need to beef up legislative staffing, especially in the era of term limits. Senator Hogue advocated for adding policy analysts and communications staff for the Legislature; he expressed concern about too much reliance on lobbyists and executive branch agencies. Vice Chairman Lefor agreed with these concerns and offered to sit down with Legislative Council to draft a 5-year plan. The committee also discussed bill introduction limits (by an individual legislator, by topic, by the judicial and executive branches, and by interim committees). Legislative Council Director John Bjornson cautioned that a bill introduction limit may encourage legislators to roll up numerous topics in a single bill (the impetus for the October special session). He also stated that drafting amendments takes up significantly more time for Legislative Council than drafting bills. Legislative Council is currently developing a staff guide for legislators and resource guides by topic, which will be posted online for legislators and the public.

Finally, the Committee approved a legislative rule amendment (25.9185.01000) regarding member conflicts of interest. Instead of a committee or chamber voting to allow a member with a conflict to vote on a bill, voting allows a member with a conflict to be excused from voting on a bill.

All the latest legislative news, including committee schedules, are posted on the legislative branch website.

Did you know?

  • North Dakota is one of four states where the legislature meets biennially in odd-numbered years. The other states are Montana, Nevada, and Texas.
  • Legislative Session - In North Dakota, each regular legislative biennium generally begins the second Tuesday in January of odd-numbered years. (fiscal bienniums begin in July of odd-numbered years).
  • Crossover - Bills passed by the house of origin are sent to the other house for consideration and final passage.
  • 80-day limit - Section 7, Article IV of the Constitution of North Dakota states, "No regular session of the legislative assembly may exceed eighty natural days during the biennium." 
  • Interim preparations: Studies from session bills and resolutions are prioritized and assigned to committees. Legislators are also assigned to interim committees.
  • Appropriation and tax measures become effective July 1 of odd-numbered years.
  • Nonappropriation and tax measures become effective August 1 of odd-numbered years unless otherwise specified in the bill.
  • Primary election—An election held to narrow party preferences in preparation for the general election. Participants may vote for only one political party during a primary election. Candidates are also nominated for the nonparty offices to be voted upon at the general election.
  • General election - An election to choose an individual's choice for legislators and other various elected positions. Voters may cross political parties during a general election.
  • Legislative Management meeting - Interim committees submit a final report of study findings and recommended bill drafts to be introduced during the regular legislative session. The Legislative Management reviews and approves reports and bill drafts.
  • The terms of legislators elected during the general election take effect on December 1 of even-numbered years.
  • Organizational Session - Three-day session for organizational and orientation purposes in preparation for the regular legislative session. Organizational days are in addition to the 80 legislative days for the regular legislative session.


State Policy Resources

NDANO Advocacy Toolkit Cover

Nonprofit Advocacy: A North Dakota Toolkit is a 32-page publication that includes tips and tactics for advocacy and lobbying, information on the state legislative process, and state and federal lobbying rules. It is a great, inexpensive resource for staff, board members and volunteers!

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