- Associated Press - Monday, February 6, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Legislature is moving toward its midsession break in about three weeks and lawmakers are busy mulling bills in their respective chambers.

Here’s a look at some legislative highlights upcoming this week:

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

If there is one bill that could slow progress, it’s the new rules written to oversee the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law.

The 81-page bill is to be heard Wednesday in the Capitol’s largest hearing room.



The House and Senate earlier 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 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.

The bill to be considered this week outlines the proposed rules for medical pot.

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LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING

North Dakota Democrats are pushing for an independent commission to redraw state legislative districts.

The Democrats’ proposal is up Thursday in the Senate Government and Veterans Affairs Committee. Democrats complain that Republicans have drawn local district boundaries that help the GOP elect state lawmakers.

The bill could have a tough road given the GOP’s big majorities in both chambers.

North Dakota has just one at-large congressional district, meaning it can’t be gerrymandered.

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BY THE NUMBERS

Legislative Council Director Jim Smith says lawmakers have taken action on 410 of the 809 bills introduced this session.

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BILL INTRODUCTION LIMIT

Unlike some legislatures, North Dakota lawmakers can introduce an infinite number of bills during a session and every one of them gets a hearing. Sen. Tom Campbell, a Grafton Republican, has a bill to rein that in some.

His cap would be seven, barring “extraordinary or emergency circumstances.”

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Follow James MacPherson on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/macphersonja

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