Both chambers of the Republican-dominated Legislature ended their biennial regular session just after midnight on Friday, April 30, but the effects of the more than 500 laws they made will be felt by North Dakotans for years to come.
Here are some of the major themes and highlights of the 2021 legislative session.
The halls of the Capitol felt strangely quiet and empty during this year’s session, save for persistent and combative lobbying from many of the state’s anti-mask and vaccine skeptical residents. The strange workplace dynamic meant the COVID-19 pandemic was front of mind for conservative legislators who felt sympathetic toward struggling businesses and disgusted by restrictions on certain behaviors.
Republican lawmakers passed a ban on mask mandates issued by state officials in reaction to a face covering requirement imposed by Gov. Doug Burgum’s administration in November. Burgum vetoed the proposal, but the Legislature narrowly voted to override the decision and force the bill into law. And after vocal outcries from constituents, lawmakers approved a limited ban on so-called “vaccine passports” in the final days of the session.
Burgum was proud to sign another GOP-backed bill to shield North