From an article in the Grand Forks Herald:
A bill to establish a trespass law in North Dakota stands to be among the more prominent pieces of outdoors legislation on tap when lawmakers convene Tuesday.
Terry Steinwand, director of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, said a trespass bill hasn't been pre-filed, but reliable sources have confirmed a bill is coming.
Steinwand said he doesn't know how the legislation will be worded.
"I can only speculate," he said. The Dakota Access Pipeline protests apparently prompted calls for new legislation, Steinwand said.
Currently in North Dakota, private land that isn't posted is open for hunters and others to access without permission. Hunters must gain landowner permission to enter posted land except in rare circumstances.
"We haven't seen a trespass bill in the Legislature for a number of years," said Mike McEnroe of Bismarck, president of the North Dakota Wildlife Federation. "That could be a big issue, one North Dakota sportsmen have been concerned about for a number of years."
Among the outdoors bills to be pre-filed is SB 2056, which would allow archery hunters older than 65 to hunt with a crossbow throughout the archery season. Current law requires archery hunters to obtain a doctor's certification confirming a disability before they can hunt with a crossbow during archery season.
Sen. Ronald Sorvaag, R-Fargo, and Rep. Mary Johnson, R-Fargo, are listed as the bill's authors.
Steinwand said the department's budget isn't in line for 10 percent cuts like other state agencies because it is entirely funded by users, including hunters, anglers and federal allocations from the sales taxes on hunting and fishing gear.
McEnroe said the Wildlife Federation will lobby on behalf of maintaining the department's budget proposal.
"The money is solid, so we'll try to hold that," he said.
Also pre-filed was HB 1025, a bill covering licenses that given to nonprofit groups as special allocations or fundraisers. The bill grandfathers in groups such as the Mule Deer Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Midwest chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation, North American wildlife enforcement museum, and Hunter Education Association, Steinwand said.
"This bill if passed as written would mandate we develop administrative rules as to how we give out those" licenses to other groups, he said. The number of licenses could not exceed 2 percent of the general lottery allocation, and eligible nonprofit groups would have 501c3 tax-exempt status, Steinwand said.
Gone are the days when nonresident hunting issues dominated the outdoors agenda at the Legislature, McEnroe said. During the last session in 2015, lawmakers introduced about 40 bills related to hunting and fishing, McEnroe said, down from about 55 outdoors-related bills during a typical session.
"All kinds of one-constituent bills get introduced to help a particular district or corner of the state," McEnroe said. "I'm sure there'll be any number of those.
"There'll be surprises. There always are."
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department again this session will provide daily updates on outdoors legislation. The updates will be available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov/legislation.