BISMARCK, N.D. - The North Dakota Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would stiffen penalties for drunken driving.
Also passed and now heading to a 2014 primary election vote is a resolution to change the deadlines for filing petitions for initiated ballot measures.
Sen. Kelly Armstrong, R-Dickinson, introduced House Bill 1302 to the chamber.
HB1302 makes 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 law as well as two appropriations. The first is a $1.2 million appropriation for alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelets that will be used by those participating in the state’s 24/7 Sobriety Program.
Armstrong said the provision for the 24/7 Sobriety Program ensures that not only will more repeat offenders do more jail time but “we’re going to make you stay sober for at least one calendar year.”
The other appropriation is $360,000 to the Department of Human Services for an underage drinking prevention program.
With no debate, HB1302 passed unanimously 47-0. The bill now goes to conference committee.
Sponsors of HB1302 are Reps. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo, George Keiser, R-Bismarck, Dwight Kiefert, R-Valley City, Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck, Dan Ruby, R-Minot, and Lois Delmore, D-Grand Forks, and Sens. David Hogue, R-Minot, Larry Luick, R-Fairmont, Stan Lyson, R-Williston, Jim Dotzenrod, D-Wyndmere, and David O’Connell, D-Lansford.
Armstrong also introduced House Concurrent Resolution 3034 to the Senate.
HCR3034 would extend deadlines for the ballot initiative process. It would move the deadline for submitting petitions with signatures for ballot measures from 90 days to 120 days before an election.
In addition, any challenges of a decision on a measure made by the secretary of state would need to be filed with the Supreme Court at least 75 days before an election.
Armstrong said these deadlines were created in order to allow adequate review of petitions by the secretary of state’s office and to give the Supreme Court ample time to consider any challenges.
The bill will be on the 2014 primary election ballot. Armstrong said if approved, HCR3034 would take effect on Jan. 1, 2015. The deadline would ensure that any ballot measures currently underway wouldn’t be affected, he said.
HCR3034 passed by a 30-17 vote.
Sponsors of HCR3034 are Reps. William Kretschmar, R-Venturia, Roger Brabandt, R-Minot, Lois Delmore, D-Grand Forks, Andrew Maragos, R-Minot, and Gary Paur, R-Gilby, and Sens. Robert Erbele, R-Lehr, and Stan Lyson, R-Williston.