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North Dakota Senate defeats property rights bill

BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Senate on Feb. 20 defeated a bill that would have set up a pilot program in several counties to allow landowners to use an online system to indicate whether their land was open for hunting.

Senate Bill 2225, in its original form, would have removed the requirement that landowners post their land to keep people off of it. Agriculture groups from across the state were strongly in favor of the proposal, while hunting and wildlife groups worried it would hurt the state’s hunting heritage. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee amended the bill to set up the pilot program and gave it a do-pass recommendation.

“While the bill was a far slower and milder approach than the agriculture community's goal to remove the posting requirement completely, the amended bill represented a compromise — a step in the right direction in asserting the fundamental private property rights of landowners and a way to help ensure that access would not be impaired for sportsmen,” said North Dakota Stockmen’s Association president Warren Zenker.

The Senate defeated the bill on a 28-17 vote.

“The right to own and enjoy the use of private property is the cornerstone to a free society. North Dakota's antiquated posting law infringes on private property rights — requiring those who own and care for the land and pay the taxes on it to post it in order to have the same property rights protection as those who own other classes of property,” Zenker said.

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