BISMARCK-A bevy of new North Dakota laws will become effective Tuesday, Aug. 1. Gov. Doug Burgum signed 440 bills this year, including 10 spending bills with partial vetoes. Spending bills took effect July 1.
Here's a breakdown on some of the most notable legislation state lawmakers passed this year that will become effective Tuesday.
• House Bill 1221 strengthens protections for confidential informants and was inspired by the death of Andrew Sadek, the North Dakota State College of Science student found dead after working undercover for police. The new law requires law enforcement officials to undergo training before using confidential informants and mandates written agreements with informants.
• House Bill 1430 expands the state's distracted driving laws. Under the new law, a driver could be cited and fined $100 for distracted driving if he or she commits a traffic offense or is involved in an accident while distracted. It was already illegal to text while driving in North Dakota, but the bill's supporters said it recognizes other things can distract drivers.
• Senate Bill 2152 shields public records related to applicants for government jobs in North Dakota. It says any records identifying an applicant for a job with a "public entity" are confidential, except for records related to three or more designated finalists. Supporters said it protects applicant privacy and encourage more people to apply for public jobs, while one opponent called it an "assault" on taxpayers' right to know about their government's actions.
• House Bill 1311 boosts the fines for littering on North Dakota highways from $100 to $500. There were only five such offenses recorded in 2015 and 2016, according to a fiscal note on the bill.
• House Bill 1151 raised the threshold for reporting spills, a move that was welcomed by the oil industry but opposed by many landowners. Under the new law, the industry won't have to report spills of oil, produced water or natural gas liquids under 10 barrels if the spill stays on the well site or facility location.
• House Bill 1428 allows parents of home-educated children to opt out of standardized tests if the parents have a philosophical, moral or religious objection to the use of the tests. A parent previously had to meet certain requirements to opt out, such as being licensed to teach, along with having an objection. But the bill removed the requirement that both of those criteria be met.
• House Bill 1269 updates the state's Good Samaritan law for reporting drug overdoses. It says a person is immune from prosecution for drug possession charges if they, "in good faith," seek medical assistance for someone overdosing on drugs.
• Senate Bill 2295 exempts records related to a Title IX complaint or investigation at a state higher education institution from the state's open records law if it contains "personally identifiable information about a party to the complaint." An exempt record is not required by state law to be opened to the public. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that bans discrimination based on sex in education programs that receive federal funds.