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Published July 31, 2011, 09:59 AM

$100 fine for texting while driving one of new North Dakota laws taking effect Monday

BISMARCK - About 300 new state laws take effect in North Dakota on Monday, including the mandatory use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and the texting-while-driving ban.

The latest batch of laws approved by state lawmakers earlier this year affects people across the state.

Here are some of the state’s newest laws:

Guns

A public or private employer may not prohibit employees or customers from having lawfully possessed firearms locked inside their private vehicles in a parking lot. Exceptions include schools and correctional facilities.

The law stems from a Fargo constituent who wanted to go straight from work to a shooting range. Gun advocates said employees have a constitutional right to store guns in their property.

Texting

North Dakota will now have a statewide texting-while-driving ban. Drivers may not compose, read or send electronic messages. This includes checking email, texting, instant messaging and using the Internet. Violators face a $100 fine.

North Dakota is among the 34 states, the District of Columbia and Guam that now ban text-messaging for all drivers, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Rep. Lawrence Klemin, R-Bismarck, pushed for the law, saying it will make roads safer for everyone.

Fighting Sioux

The University of North Dakota’s athletic teams are required by law to use the Fighting Sioux nickname.

This controversial law halted the university’s transition away from the nickname and logo, deemed “hostile and abusive” by the NCAA.

If the school keeps the nickname, the NCAA has said UND can’t host postseason tournaments or wear Fighting Sioux attire during these tournaments.

A state delegation was scheduled to meet with the NCAA this past week, but the trip was delayed due to the funeral of Senate Majority Leader Bob Stenehjem.

State officials will defend the law to keep the nickname during an Aug. 12 meeting with the NCAA in Indianapolis.

Sports concussions

Each school district and nonpublic school that sponsors or sanctions athletic activity must have a concussion management program.

Students must be removed from practice or competition if a concussion is suspected and be examined by a health care provider. Officials, coaches and athletic trainers must receive training about the nature and risk of concussion.

NFL Senior Vice President Jeff Miller was among the advocates for the law aimed at better protecting young athletes.

Closed roads

Drivers knowingly entering a closed road face a $250 fine.

Colleges

Each high school must provide to the North Dakota University System a list of all sophomores and juniors, along with their addresses and telephone numbers. The University System will give this information to colleges in the state.

Fake IDs

Licensed retailers of alcoholic beverages can seize an ID if there is reasonable belief that it’s been altered, falsified or is being used to unlawfully obtain alcohol.

Schools

Each public and nonpublic school district must conduct lockdown drills.

State symbols

The convergent lady beetle, hippodamia convergens, commonly known as a ladybug, is the official insect of the state of North Dakota.

“Serit ut alteri saeclo prosit” is the North Dakota state Latin motto. This means, “One sows for the benefit of another age.”

Student fees

The state Board of Higher Education must publish on its website the amount of mandatory fees that each college charges students, along with a breakdown of the fees by purpose or service.

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