- 1 Updates
- 2 Actions Taken by the State Government
- 3 Elected Officials
- 4 Key Upcoming Elections
- 5 Obamacare / ACA
- 6 Policing
- 7 Immigration
- 8 Voting Rights
- 9 Mass Incarceration
- 10 Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
- 11 Housing/Infrastructure
- 12 Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
- 13 LGBTQ+ Issues
- 14 Educational Justice
- 15 Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- 16 Climate / Environment
- 17 Disability Rights
- 18 Organizations
- 19 Local News Sources
- 20 Relevant City and County Information
Actions Taken by the State Government
Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by North Dakota lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:
Harmful bills proposed by North Dakota lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:
- HB1369 would require voters to show voter ID to have their votes counted, likely reducing the number of votes from people of color that get counted.
See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.
- Governor: Doug Burgum (R)
- Secretary of State: Al Jaeger (R)
- Speaker of the House: Larry Bellew (R)
Key Upcoming Elections
There is no voter registration in North Dakota. In order to vote there, you must be a resident of the state, and have been a resident of the precinct for 30 days. Bring proof of identification the first time you vote. A non-photo ID is requested every time you vote.
- Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D) is up for reelection in 2018.
- North Dakota will be one of the hardest hit in the case of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): the sixth highest in overall negative effect, second highest potential for lost jobs and negative economic impact, and third highest growth in uncompensated care in 2021.
- If there is a full repeal of the ACA, 38,000 people in North Dakota (or 5.0% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 69,000 people (or 9.1% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/29/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) This is because with a full repeal, premiums will not increase the way they would under a partial repeal, since insurance companies will be able to discriminate on the basis of preexisting conditions and won't be required to provide essential health benefits.
- The number of uninsured people in North Dakota is predicted to be 46,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 91,000, a 98.7% increase.
- North Dakota is among the many states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.
- Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in North Dakota could pay up to 71% more for the same coverage, compared to men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.
- Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 8,000 jobs could be lost in North Dakota in the event of repeal. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.
- Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who is up for reelection in 2018, voted to keep the ACA.
- Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay strategy, young adults in North Dakota could pay $691 more in 2018.
- 6 people have been killed by police in the state of North Dakota from 2013 through 2016.
- 0% of the people killed by police were black.
- No homicide rates for police killings per population are available at this time..
- In 2013, North Dakota had 18,569 immigrants, making up 2.7% of the population.
- There are estimated to be less than 5,000 undocumented immigrants in North Dakota, making up 0.5% of the population.
Rights of Non-Citizens
- North Dakota does not allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers’ licenses.
- North Dakota does not allow undocumented immigrants to attend public college at the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents and citizens.
- In 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order (DACA) that defers deportation for children who were brought to the country as children. The action allows them to work lawfully but does not create a pathway to citizenship or give them legal status in the United States. In North Dakota, 145 individuals have benefited from this executive action.
- 0.7% of K-12 students in North Dakota had undocumented parents in 2014.
- Undocumented immigrants in North Dakota made up 0.7% of the labor workforce in 2014.
- If all undocumented workers were removed from North Dakota, the state would lose $55.1 million in economic activity.
- Undocumented immigrants paid $5.5 million in state and local taxes in North Dakota in 2012.
- North Dakota does not have any cities or counties with sanctuary policies.
- North Dakota ranked second in refugee resettlement per capita in 2016, with 71 refugees resettled per 100,000 residents.
- North Dakota’s Department of Human Services has a refugee resettlement program.
- North Dakota permits early voting and no-excuse absentee voting. It is the only state in which there is no formal voter registration system, so voters are required to provide some form of identification at the polls.
- In August 2016 a federal judge called North Dakota’s strict voter-ID law unfair to Native Americans and blocked its use in the coming election, continuing a series of recent victories against restrictions imposed by state legislatures.
- Despite this ruling, lawmakers have since introduced legislation to enact or heighten strict voter ID requirements.
- In 2014, North Dakota had 2,833 incarcerated people, plus a probation population of 4,947 and parole population of 548.
- 371 people are incarcerated in private prisons in North Dakota.
- 171 juveniles are in custody in North Dakota.
- Of the prison population, 65 people were serving life sentences, and 27 were serving life sentences without parole.
- In North Dakota, a black person is 5.2 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person.
- Corrections expenditures in 2014 were $103 million.
Tax Cuts for the Wealthy
- North Dakota residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:
- Households: 18,000
- Adults and children: 56,000
- Children: 34,000
- In 2015, an average of 24,771 households and 53,148 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in a given month in North Dakota. In 2011, approximately 9% of the population of North Dakota was receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps). The average monthly benefit per North Dakota household was $252 per household and $117 per person in 2016.
- In 2016, an average of 2,707 households, including 1,105 families and 2,242 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in a given month. The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in North Dakota was $486 in 2014. Average benefits in North Dakota have fallen in value by 26.1% since 1996.
- In 2016, an average of 2,799 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in a given month.
- In December 2015, there were 689 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category who received $402.03 per person on average, for a total of $277,000.
- 19,900 low-income households in North Dakota spent more than half of their income on housing.
- In 2014, North Dakota had 64 units of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income.)
- In North Dakota, there were 923 homeless people in 2016, which is 0.17% of the total national homeless population.
- Of the homeless population, there were 70 families, 116 veterans, 64 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 120 people experiencing chronic homelessness.
- North Dakota received $56 million in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.
- In North Dakota, more than 13,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.
- Nearly all North Dakota households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.
- In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 21.8% of North Dakota’s bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 44% of North Dakota’s roads were in poor or mediocre condition.
- Driving on these roads leads to an additional $237 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There was one abortion provider in North Dakota in 2015.
- In 2014, 15.1 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in North Dakota had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.
Policy Solutions / Issues
- There is a 24-hour waiting period required after mandatory counseling.
- Parental consent is required for minors.
- Ultrasound requirements exist.
- Abortion is prohibited after 20 weeks except in cases of life or health endangerment.
- Medical abortion is limited.
- Private insurance coverage is limited.
- State Medicaid does not fund most abortions.
- TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws exist.
Women and Wages
- In North Dakota, 12.4% of women live in poverty. 33.1% of single mothers live in poverty, as do 11.6% of women age 65 and older.
- For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.71, which is nine cents below the national average of $0.80.
- African American women are paid $0.64 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.53 for every dollar made by white men.
- In 2013, there were 5,177 reports of domestic violence. Many other incidents went unreported. 94% of the victims were women.
Religious freedom law
North Dakota does not currently have state religious freedom laws. Religious freedom laws protect people's right to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, after same-sex marriage was legalized, conservative states have attempted to enact similar laws with provisions that allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.
North Dakota lacks nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, adoption, foster care, insurance, credit, and jury selection.
North Dakota also lacks laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in parenting, including second-parent adoption, foster care, parental presumption for same-sex couples, consent to inseminate, and de facto parent recognition. North Dakota does have laws in place allowing surrogacy.
Hate crime laws
North Dakota also does not include LGBTQ+ people in its hate crime laws as a protected group and doesn't have required reporting of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people.
North Dakota does not have certain laws protecting LGBTQ+ youth, including transgender inclusion in sports, protection from conversion therapy, laws to address LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education laws, and LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies.
Health and safety laws
North Dakota does not have certain laws protecting the health and safety of its LGBTQ+ citizens, including nondiscrimination protections in the ACA exchanges, a ban on insurance exclusions for trans health care, trans-inclusive health benefits for state employees, gender marker changes on identification documents, health data collection, and gender-neutral single-occupancy restrooms. North Dakota does have laws that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in ensuring their health and safety, such as laws that criminalize HIV/AIDS.
- HIV criminalization laws are those that make it illegal for an HIV-positive person to “knowingly expose” another person to HIV—in some states, this means that it is illegal not to disclose HIV-positive status to a sex partner, but many laws criminalize behaviors that are unlikely to lead to transmission. Because the laws focus on disclosure, not actual transmission, they serve no real purpose. All states have other, non-HIV-specific laws that can be used to prosecute transmission of HIV, so these laws just needlessly single out and stigmatize HIV-positive people and reinforce the image of them as “dangerous.” It also allows the saliva or blood of an HIV-positive person to be classified in court as a “deadly weapon.” HIV criminalization laws also disproportionately target people of color, mainly Black people, and gay men.
- North Dakota is ranked 17th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $7,117 per student.
- As of 2013, North Dakota ranked 42nd in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $47,344 per year.
- 87% of students in North Dakota attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 70% higher income.
- As of 2014, there were no public charter schools in North Dakota.
- 90% of White students, 74% of Latino students, 76% of Black students, and 85% of Asian/Pacific Islander students graduate from high school in four years. These numbers are fairly close to the national average: slightly higher for White and Black students, and slightly lower for Latino and Asian students.
Consumer Protections/Workers' Rights
- North Dakota's minimum wage is $7.25, matching the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
- North Dakota has no state law for paid sick leave.
- North Dakota has no state law for paid family leave.
- North Dakota has Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can prohibit unions that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. Such laws are designed to reduce unions' income and power.
- North Dakota is a state with an at-will exemption. "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law. Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.
- North Dakota also has a public policy exemption, meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).
- North Dakota does allow for implied contract exemptions.. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements. As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.
- North Dakota does not support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. Courts have interpreted the covenant in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.
Climate / Environment
- About 69% of North Dakota’s electricity generation is from coal, and about 29% comes from renewable sources, mostly wind.
- North Dakota does not have any sites on the National Priorities List.
- Approximately 2.7% of North Dakota’s land is federally owned.
- In 2014, the Black population had the highest air pollution exposure indices—23—compared to an overall index of 12.
- In 2012, people of color in North Dakota were more likely to have asthma—9.5%, compared to 8.0% overall.
- North Dakota does not have its own environmental agency, but the Department of Health has an Environmental Health section.
- North Dakota does not have a climate action plan.
- In 2007, North Dakota established a renewable energy goal of 10% by 2015.
- North Dakota has the 6th-lowest percentage of disabled people in America: 10.7% of North Dakota’s residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
- North Dakotans with disabilities have the third-highest employment rate in the country, at 48.8%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1811] People without disabilities in North Dakota have a 83.6% employment rate. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18120]
- Approximately 13.0% of eligible voters in North Dakota have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.71%.
- Of adults with disabilities in North Dakota, 22.0% live in poverty, as opposed to 9.4% of non-disabled adults. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 24.4%, as opposed to 14.6% for non-disabled children. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130]
- In North Dakota, 3.3% of adults between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]