ND Legislature: Abortion, costs top Capitol issues

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 31, 2013 at 9:01 am •  Published: March 31, 2013
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The three signed last week that drew worldwide attention include one that bans abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, or when a heartbeat can be detected. Dalrymple also signed into law other measures that make the state the first to ban abortions based on genetic defects such as Down syndrome and require a doctor who performs abortions to be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges.

The governor says he doesn't know how much a court fight would cost but says money isn't the issue. He has urged lawmakers to set aside funding for a legal fight promised by abortion-rights advocates.

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OIL TAXES AGAIN

Democrats say they will offer an amendment this week to a Republican-sponsored House bill aimed at restructuring oil taxes.

House assistant Democratic leader Corey Mock of Grand Forks said the amendment will target the so-called stripper well loophole that's costing the state millions of dollars in lost revenue annually.

A Senate bill aimed at restructuring oil taxes was killed by the House earlier this month. Now the Senate is considering a House bill that would redo the state's oil tax policy.

Both measures seek to close loopholes used by oil companies in exchange for lower tax rates.

The oil industry, however, has been critical of the House bill, saying it's overly complex and penalizes drillers.

It's unlikely the oil industry will be supportive of the Democrats' amendment.

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ANIMAL CRUELTY

North Dakota's House could act this week on a measure to toughen the state's animal cruelty law, though some animal rights groups say it doesn't go far enough.

Senators endorsed the measure last month that would have created some felony penalties for cruelty, abandonment and neglect. Under the House version, only cruelty would be a felony.

The most severe punishment for animal cruelty now is a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Animal rights groups have said South Dakota and North Dakota are the only states without felony penalties for animal mistreatment.

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Follow James MacPherson on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/macphersonja .



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