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WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 01, 2013, 09:29 AM

New laws in effect around US, here's a look at North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — This part of summer is a time for patriotism. It's also the time new state laws go into effect across the nation.

By: The Associated Press, Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — This part of summer is a time for patriotism. It's also the time new state laws go into effect across the nation.

Fiscal years begin July 1 on most financial calendars, and a slew of state government spending regulations kick in each year on that date. Policy laws also hit the books in a wave, though states often mark their independence by enacting such legislation on their own time.

Among the laws set to take effect this year around the U.S. are new abortion limits, gun laws and technology rules. And one state, Wyoming, will start setting up a lottery Monday, leaving only a handful of states without a jackpot drawing.

North Dakota has more than 475 new laws, most of which take effect Aug. 1, although spending bills generally become law at the start of July. So as you get ready for Fourth of July cookouts and family gatherings, consider this roundup of recent legislation from Bismarck:

— ABORTION: North Dakota's Republican-controlled Legislature and GOP Gov. Jack Dalrymple approved four measures this year that would make North Dakota the most restrictive state in the nation to get an abortion.

One of the measures would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected and before some women know they are pregnant.

Another would prohibit women from having an abortion because a fetus has a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome.

A third would require a doctor who performs abortions to be a physician with hospital-admitting privileges.

A fourth measure would outlaw abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the disputed premise that at that point a fetus can feel pain.

The abortion laws go into effect on Aug. 1.

— GUNS: North Dakota will allow a concealed-carry permit holder to pack a gun at church beginning Aug. 1 if officials in there approve and notify law enforcement.

Another measure allows people to have a gun in public during a declared state of emergency. That measure gives gun owners the right to sue if the government attempts to confiscate weapons or ammunition during the emergency.

It also is no longer illegal for a hunter to carry a loaded gun in their vehicle. The hunter may be fined $25 instead.

— DRUNKEN DRIVING: Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed legislation that increases fines and other penalties for drunken driving in North Dakota. The new law that takes effect on July 1 will require jail time or community service work for first-time DUI offenders who have a blood alcohol content of 0.16 percent, or twice the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent.

— WASTED NATURAL GAS: New legislation offers North Dakota oil drillers tax breaks beginning July 1 if they stop burning and wasting natural gas. The Republican-sponsored bills offer oil companies tax incentives for capturing and using the byproduct of the state's booming crude production.

— OIL TAX LOOPHOLE: A new law closes a tax loophole used by the oil industry that the Tax Department says is costing the state at least $50 million each year. The measure that passed the Senate and House on the last day of the 80-day legislative session also gives the Three Affiliated Tribes a greater share of the taxes collected from reservation oil production beginning July 1.

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