Legislative session has wide-ranging impact on North Dakota outdoors
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department tracked 28 outdoors-related bills during the 2017 legislative session, 11 of which were passed by both chambers and signed into law.
The following bills take effect Aug. 1, unless the bill includes an emergency clause, which indicates it is already in effect.
- HB 1017 – Appropriates $83,277,498 to the Game and Fish Department for the biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019. Passed house 72-13. Passed Senate 44-1.
- HB 1025 – Provides a guideline for the Director to allocate big game hunting licenses to eligible organizations, and turkey hunting licenses for individuals receiving hunting expeditions from a nonprofit organization. Passed House 84-6. Passed Senate 45-0.
- HB 1150 – Allows a resident of North Dakota, who does not want to receive a hunting license issued by lottery, to purchase a bonus point for a fee that is the same as the respective license. The fee is allocated to the Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program. Passed House 90-0. Passed Senate 44-0.
- HB 1204 – Reduces the age from 16 to 12 to qualify for an apprentice hunter validation license; allows youth who turn age 11 before the end of the calendar year to receive a whitetail doe license valid only for the youth hunting season without having taken the hunter education course; repeals the eagle language on state law, however, eagles remain protected under federal regulations. Passed House 83-2. Passed Senate 47-0.
- HB 1207 – Allows Game and Fish to seize tangible property presumed abandoned on state game refuges, real property leased or managed by the Game and Fish Department, and state game or fish management areas. After 90 days, the Director may dispose of seized, unclaimed, tangible property presumed abandoned, or order it be turned over to the North Dakota Wildlife Federation to be sold for the highest price obtainable. The sale proceeds, after expenses of the seizure and sale are deducted, must be remitted to the North Dakota Wildlife Federation Report All Poachers fund. A report of the sale, supported by proper vouchers covering all deductions made for expenses, must be filed for the record with the Director. Passed House 84-4. Passed Senate 46-0.
- HB 1367 – An operator of a personal watercraft is not required to have an observer on board while towing an individual on water skis, kneeboard or an inflatable craft if the personal watercraft is equipped with a mirror on each side with an unobstructed field of vision to the rear; allows an individual who is at least 16 years old to windsurf or boardsail without wearing a personal flotation device; prohibits water skiing or surfboarding between one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise. Includes emergency clause. Passed House 87-5. Passed Senate 44-3.
- HB 1419 – Gives the Director the option to establish a shooting sports grant program, which may be made available to schools, clubs and organized youth groups. Passed House 85-3. Passed Senate 41-4.
- SB 2239 – Repeals the annual inspection of all watercraft used for hire. Includes emergency clause. Passed House 89-2. Passed Senate 47-0.
- SB 2284 – A vendor who sells hunting and fishing licenses may add a 3 percent service fee to the total transaction. The service fee does not apply to license purchases or applications made through the Game and Fish Department website. Passed House 91-3. Passed Senate 46-0.
- SB 2308 – Allows a fish house and a coyote snare to be identified by a registration number provided by the Game and Fish Department. Previously, the trapper or angler needed to display their name or telephone number. This new law provides a registration number as another option for identifying fish house and snare ownership. Passed House 90-2. Passed Senate 47-0.
- SB 2318 – Requires the pheasant hunting season to open no later than October 12. In 2017, the season is tentatively set to open October 7. Passed House 81-10. Passed Senate 46-0.