Legislators try to reach agreement on DUI, cruelty bills

2013-04-16T17:06:00Z Legislators try to reach agreement on DUI, cruelty billsBy NICK SMITH | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

Conference committees began work Tuesday on hashing out details of legislation that would increase penalties for animal cruelty and drunken driving.

Legislators discussing Senate Bill 2211, the animal cruelty bill, were unable to come to a consensus and agreed to meet again on Thursday. Committee members discussing House Bill 1302, the DUI bill, also were unable to come to a consensus. A date for their next meeting wasn’t set on Tuesday.


Rep. David Rust, R-Tioga, said changes made by the House to SB2211 removed the felony charge from the first and second offenses.

The bill now allows for those charged with abuse, neglect and abandonment to face a Class A misdemeanor for the first and second offenses. A third and subsequent offenses would be Class C felonies Animal cruelty would be a Class C felony charge on the first offense.

Rep. David Rust, R-Tioga, said the House also made changes to language defining abuse, neglect, abandonment and cruelty.

SB2211 passed the Senate 45-0 on Feb. 8 and the House by a 90-1 vote on April 3.

Rust added that there were other amendments made to SB2211. They include providing law enforcement with a list of veterinarians when dealing with a case. It also would require agricultural and livestock organizations to provide information to Legislative Management during the interim on the impact of SB2211.

Asked about language making exceptions for predators and unwelcome animals, Rust said, “you can’t write in every possible exception” into the bill.

Rust compared animal neglect to animal cruelty. He said cases of neglect are more likely from someone being lazy or absent-minded and not providing adequate care of an animal. He called animal cruelty a more severe degree of inappropriate treatment.

“You’re ratcheting it up a bit,” Rust said. “You have something of a sadistic mind.”


HB1302 will make a first and second DUI conviction a Class B misdemeanor, a third conviction a Class A misdemeanor and a fourth or subsequent conviction a Class C felony.

Lawmakers added a vehicular homicide provision to the bill. It also has appropriations in HB1302 for alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelets and for an underage drinking prevention program to be administered by the Department of Human Services.

HB1302 passed the House by an 80-14 vote on Feb. 27 and by a 47-0 vote on April 10 in the Senate.

Sen. Kelly Armstrong, R-Dickinson, said the rationale for making a second offense a Class B misdemeanor was due to the impact it could have on municipal and county courts.

“(It) would’ve been a substantial shift,” Armstrong said.

Class A misdemeanor cases would shift from municipal court to county court, since municipal courts only hear up to Class B misdemeanor cases. Armstrong said that could impact the court system and also could affect already-crowded county jails.

Rep. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo, suggested allowing the change to a Class A misdemeanor but also changing state law to allow municipal courts to hear Class A misdemeanor DUI cases.

“I believe we can do that,” Koppelman said.

Armstrong said that while the Legislature does have authority to make the change in state law, “there is a lot of trepidation” about doing so.

Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.

Copyright 2015 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bismarck accepts detailed flood plan

Bismarck accepts detailed flood plan

In response to a spring ice jam flood in 2009 and Missouri River flooding caused by higher releases from Garrison Dam in 2011, the Bismarck Ci…

9 hours ago

House sends income tax bill to governor

The North Dakota House seized on a final opportunity this session to pass an income tax bill by approving the last bill still alive by a nearl… Updated: 11:11 pm

10 hours ago

Oil tax bill introduced, quickly slammed

Oil tax bill introduced, quickly slammed

Republicans unveiled a bill Friday that would permanently enact a flat tax if a large oil tax trigger in state law kicks in in the coming mont…

10 hours ago

Governor signs pre-K expansion bill

Governor signs pre-K expansion bill

With his signature, Gov. Jack Dalrymple opened the door Friday to expanded early childhood education in the state of North Dakota.

14 hours ago

Study added to historical society budget, concerns remain

Study added to historical society budget, concerns remain

Funding for a study of an appropriate remedy for erosion plaguing a burial site at Double Ditch Indian Village duplicates previous work and th…

April 16, 2015 5:45 pm

Senate rejects income tax reduction bill

Senate rejects income tax reduction bill

A bill that would have reduced income taxes by 5 percent during the second year of the 2015-17 biennium failed to pass the North Dakota Senate…

April 16, 2015 12:30 pm

Featured Ads

View All Ads