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North Dakota Legislature to consider gun, pot, ethics bills

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Ethics, guns, marijuana and Sunday shopping. Lawmakers will be considering some weighty issues as North Dakota’s legislative session enters its fourth week. Here’s a glimpse at what’s expected:

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA

The North Dakota Legislature is giving itself more time to write rules to oversee the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law.

The House and Senate last week approved an emergency measure proposal to delay the law until the end of July. The measure was supported by both Republican and Democratic leaders.

The Legislature is expected to introduce a bill this week that would outline the proposed rules for medical pot.

The so-called North Dakota Compassionate Care Act won 65 percent voter approval in November. It allows the use of marijuana as medicine for people who suffer from one of several debilitating illnesses.

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ETHICS COMMISSION

North Dakota lawmakers will again decide if they want closer oversight of themselves.

House Minority Leader Corey Mock of Grand Forks is pushing HB1431 that would create a bipartisan commission to investigate alleged acts of wrongdoing by politicians.

Mock said North Dakota is one of the few states that doesn’t have an ethics commission or committee. And he says it should.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson of Fargo has said he believes an ethics commission isn’t required because the Legislature already follows high standards of conduct.

The Legislature defeated attempts to create an ethics commission in the past three sessions.

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PACKING HEAT

The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee hears several gun measures this week, including one that would allow North Dakota residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

Another measure would allow concealed-carry permit holders to pack guns at schools, if education officials allow it. The Senate has killed a similar measure in the previous two legislative sessions.

North Dakota’s Republican-led Legislature has been pro-gun over the years, though. In 2015 it approved a spate of pro-gun legislation to allow a concealed-carry permit holder to pack heat in public parks, rest areas and liquor stores, and at political functions and concerts.

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BLUE LAWS

Some North Dakota lawmakers believe noon is too late to begin shopping on Sunday.

The measure, HB1163, would repeal North Dakota’s longstanding Sunday business restrictions that are part of the state’s so-called blue laws.

Rep. Pam Anderson of Fargo is the sponsor of the bipartisan legislation.

North Dakota law once required most businesses to stay closed on Sundays. It was changed in 1985 to allow grocery stores to open.

The Legislature in 1991 allowed most businesses to open on Sundays but they couldn’t open their doors before noon.

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MASK LAW

House Majority Leader Al Carlson is sponsoring a measure making it a crime for adults to wear masks in most cases – similar to one that lasted for nearly 50 years that was aimed at the Ku Klux Klan.

The bill was spurred by Dakota Access pipeline protests but Carlson and others say it would include any protest.

There are exemptions, including for people under the age of 17, theatrical productions, holidays and “religious beliefs,” or for “the purpose of providing protection from the elements.”

Copyright © 2017 The Washington Times, LLC.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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